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Ralph Lauren adds Lauren to board

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK — Ralph Lauren Corporation has elected David Lauren, the company’s EVP of advertising, marketing and corporate communications, to its board of directors. His election brings the number of directors on the company’s board to 13.

“It gives me great pleasure to welcome David to the board of directors,” said Ralph Lauren, chairman and CEO of Ralph Lauren Corporation. “David is a passionate advocate for the Ralph Lauren brand and a uniquely talented creative leader. His marketing and advertising innovations have been invaluable to our growth, and his presence on the board is an important step in the evolution of our company.”

Lauren joined the company in 2001 as chief creative and marketing officer for the company’s e-commerce and media organization. Currently, David Lauren oversees global advertising and marketing for the company, where he has been charged with developing and enhancing the brand’s vision through the company’s advertising campaigns. According to the company, he has been the driving force behind several groundbreaking media initiatives and online innovations. He is the president of the Polo Ralph Lauren Foundation and sits on the board of trustees for the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention.

The announcement comes on the heels of the company’s first quarter results for fiscal 2014, which were better than expected. Its retail sales for the quarter increased 3% to $879 million from $857 million in the first quarter last year.

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Wet Seal posts Q2 sales increases, misses estimates

BY CSA STAFF

FOOTHILL RANCH, Calif. — The Wet Seal Inc. reported net sales of $137.2 million during the second quarter of fiscal 2013. Despite seeing a 1.5% increase from the second quarter of the previous year, results fell a bit short of the $138.5 million analysts had estimated.

Same-store sales grew 3.7%, a substantial turnaround from an 11.1% same-store sales decline during the second quarter of fiscal 2012. E-commerce sales, which are not included in same-store sales totals, remained flat. The company expects earnings per share of about one cent, in line with previous guidance of EPS ranging from flat to two cents per share. Wet Seal will release full earnings for the quarter on Aug. 27.

“We’re pleased to see the business return to positive comp store sales, particularly against the backdrop of a challenging retail environment in June and July," said John D. Goodman, CEO of Wet Seal. "While sales trends softened during the latter months of the period, we generated positive comparable store sales each month of the quarter and achieved an improved blend of regular and promotional pricing. This enabled us to generate a substantial increase in merchandise margin versus a year ago and deliver on our previously announced expectations for earnings improvement. We also ended the quarter with inventories well-positioned entering the key back-to-school shopping period.”

Wet Seal has made notable progress toward restoring top line growth and improving margins by delivering great product and enhancing its brand positioning, according to the company. It is focusing on strengthening its marketing programs and customer engagement initiatives to secure customer loyalty. New leadership in its Arden B division has begun to influence the product assortment, the company stated, and is expected to have a more pronounced effect on both merchandise and brand positioning beginning in the third quarter.

As of August 3, the company operated a total of 525 stores in 47 states and Puerto Rico, including 464 Wet Seal stores and 61 Arden B stores.

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Celebrating in Gainesville

BY Michael Fickes

A spectacular mixed-use development will soon break ground in Gainesville, Fla. — at the intersection of I-75 and Archer Road. When complete, Celebration Pointe will run more than a half-mile along I-75, the heart of Gainesville’s most successful retail corridor.

The project’s specs are awesome: 125 acres, 1 million sq. ft., 300,000 sq. ft. of upper-moderate and specialty retail, a huge restaurant and entertainment component, Class A office space, nearly 1,000 multifamily residential units, a branded hotel.

The developer, Celebration Pointe Development Partners, plans to begin site preparation work soon.

But big mixed-use projects like this require lots of preliminary work. For instance, the development team has been working with officials from Alachua County and Gainesville to include a number of mass transit stops within and adjacent to the project. They have already worked out dedicated rapid transit lanes that will provide ready access to and from Celebration Pointe to the University of Florida, UF Health Shands Hospital and downtown Gainesville.

A prominent main entrance will be on Archer Road and a new vehicular and pedestrian bridge, currently undergoing permitting, will span I 75 to provide multimodal access to and from the Pointe. Finally a new four-lane boulevard with generous pedestrian walkways and a dedicated bus lane will connect the project to Archer Road.

Celebration Pointe will combine this kind of access with demographic strength. The University of Florida, just two miles west of the development is home to more than 50,000 students and 28,000 employees. The site is just minutes from Gainesville’s health care corridor, another large employment center.

Celebration Point also features abundant green space, generous pedestrian walks, natural gathering spots and integrated bike paths.

More than 100 acres have been reserved as a permanent conservation area along the western border of the property. Combine that acreage with the 460-acre Lake Kanapaha Conservation Area and 240-acre Split rock Conservation Area, and more than 800 acres of scenic nature preserve will complement Celebration Pointe to the north and west.

The project will also connect more than five miles of outdoor trails that wind through Celebration Pointe to the surrounding conservation areas.

The network of trails includes a portion of the 12-mile Archer Braid Trail that will run along the northern portion of Celebration Pointe and will connect the development to the University of Florida, UF Health Shands Hospital, Veterans Kanapaha Park, Haile Plantation, Kanapaha Middle School, Wiles Elementary, giving thousands of students and single-family residences walking and biking access from both the east and west sides of I-75.

“Celebration Pointe will provide a dramatic and defining new destination for Gainesville,” said Tonya Creekmore, retail principal in the Avison Young Atlanta office that is leading retail leasing for the project. “Along with having prominent walking and biking trails, the project will focus on creating a sustainable environment intimately tied to its urban identity.”

The development team aims to open the initial phase of Celebration Pointe by the third quarter of 2015.

For retail leasing information, visit the ICSC Florida Conference in Orlando on Aug. 19 -20 or call the Avison Young office at 770-916-6120.


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