FINANCE

Party City acquires 18 locations

BY Marianne Wilson

Party City Holdco Inc. continues to acquire its franchised locations.

The company has entered into an agreement to acquire a master franchise group representing 18 franchise stores in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida, and with estimated 2016 sales of approximately $34 million. The purchase price is estimated to be $14.5 million to $15.0 million.

“Acquiring franchise stores over time is an integral component of our strategy to invest in growth opportunities at attractive multiples of earnings,” said James M. Harrison, CEO, Party City Holdco. “This acquisition gives the Company total ownership of the Louisiana and Alabama markets, creating an opportunity to open additional company-owned stores over time and strengthen the brand integrity of these locations, improving the experience for our customers.”

Party City Holdco Inc. designs, manufactures, sources and distributes party goods. The company’s retail operations include over 900 specialty retail party supply stores (including approximately 160 franchise stores) throughout North America operating under the names Party City and Halloween City, and e-commerce websites.

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DEVELOPMENT/REDEVELOPMENT

Hughes buys Macy’s; will convert mall to open-air center

BY Al Urbanski

The Howard Hughes Corporation announced it has purchased the 11.4-acre Macy’s store and parking lot at its Landmark Mall in Alexandria, Virginia, and will set about transforming the enclosed property into an open-air center.

Macy’s shuttering of the location gave Hughes the opportunity to act on a rezoning of the site approved by the Alexandria City Council in 2013. In a release, the company said it intends to turn the 1965 vintage mall into a “vibrant, open-air, mixed-use community … designed to create a dynamic urban village.”

“Our vision is to revive the site and create a new urban hub on the west end of Alexandria,” said Mark Bulmash, Hughes’s senior VP of development.

Hughes will close a portion of the mall at the end of the month as a prelude to redevelopment. A timeline for its progress has not been finalized.


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TECHNOLOGY

Study: Gift card spending hits $46 billion

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Despite being criticized as being impersonal gift options, gift cards continue to rise in popularity.

In fact, gifts care are increasingly expected and eagerly used, especially among "older" millennial adults, according to “Prepaid and Gift Cards in the U.S., 5th Edition,” a report from market research firm Packaged Facts.

Adults across the United States spent $46 billion on gift cards in the last 12 months. Of this amount, consumers spent $28 billion on gift cards for others, and they spent $11 billion on gift cards they kept for themselves. Consumers also received $7 billion worth of gift cards from their employers, data showed.

As expected, Christmas reigns as the largest gift card giving occasion by dollar value, with consumers spending more than $9 billion on gift cards for others, accounting for 33% of gift card spend.

Birthdays followed, with almost $7 billion spent on gift cards as birthday gifts. Another 26% of spending on others falls outside of holidays, with giving tied to "doing something nice," "rewarding someone," and “saying thank you,” the report said.

In terms of dollars and percentages, 25-34 year-olds are heavy gift card givers, spending more than $7 billion on others (26% of the total), while 18-24 year-olds spend the least. Adults aged 35-44 also account for a disproportionate share of gift card spending on others ($6 billion).

Income also translates to gift card giving spend. For example, those with $100,000+ household (HH) incomes comprised 29% of survey respondents but 47% of spend ($13 billion), data revealed.

When it comes to self-gifting, gift card spend by age narrows, albeit with 25-34 year-olds and 35-44 year-olds still spend the most (roughly $3 billion each). Meanwhile, those with $100,000+ HH incomes comprised 48% of spend (more than $5 billion), the report said.

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