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RECon 2012: An interview with Forest City

BY Katherine Boccaccio

As part of Chain Store Age’s lead-up coverage to RECon 2012, to be held May 20-23 in Las Vegas, we talked with Forest City’s Joseph Boehm about what his expectations are for the big real estate show. Visit Forest City’s booth at RECon, Central Hall, C10 Union Street.

What are your expectations for RECon 2012 in terms of activity, attitude, priorities?
I would expect RECon to mirror the sentiment that seems to be pervasive throughout the real estate industry (i.e. cautiously optimistic yet pragmatic). I think the activity and attitude will be slightly improved over last year with expectations for better growth in new store openings looking out in 2013 and 2014. The priorities will continue to be for market efficiency and optimization and less about expansion and increasing market share.

What projects will you be focused on at your booth this year?
Focus will be on our newest opening, Ridge Hill (Yonkers, N.Y.), in addition to the plans for the redevelopment and expansion projects that would include South Bay Galleria in Redondo Beach, Calif., Sunset Galleria in Henderson, Nev., Ballston Commons in Arlington, Va., and Antelope Valley Mall in Palmdale, Calif.

What categories of retail do you feel will be actively in expansion mode in the back half of the year?
Retailers with an outlet presence have been and will continue to be the most active throughout the country. Additionally, several restaurant chains that are showing healthy sales and growth prospects will continue to be active in the back half of 2012. As home furnishings and home goods tend to be leaders out of recession, I would expect several of the retailers in those categories to demonstrate increased growth prospects.

What key convention indicators do you feel will tell the tale of the rest of the year in terms of recovery?
The key convention indicators would include attitude, margin improvement and top line sales improvement.


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Canada’s Golf Town to acquire Golfsmith International

BY Marianne Wilson

Toronto — Golf Town, Canada’s largest specialty golf retailer, will acquire Golfsmith International Holdings Inc. for approximately $97.2 million. The Canadian company will pay $6.10 per share in cash, which represents a 30% premium over the Austin, Texas-based Golfsmith’s Friday closing stock price of $4.71.

Golfsmith operates 85 stores in the United States.

On the closing of the deal, Golfsmith CEO Martin Hanaka will assume the role of CEO of the combined company. Sue Gove, president, Golfsmith COO and CFO, will become the president and COO of the combined company.

“We hold Golf Town in the highest regard and believe them to be an ideal partner to take Golfsmith to the next stage of growth," said Hanaka.

Golf Town is owned by OMERS Private Equity and operates 54 stores across Canada and seven stores in the greater Boston area.

“Golfsmith is a company that we have admired for years. This transaction will give us a formidable footprint in North America and will also provide a strong platform for future growth," said Don Morrison, senior managing director and Canadian country head of OMERS Private Equity.

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Big Lots to honor military members with discounts on Armed Forces Day

BY CSA STAFF

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Big Lots is recognizing Armed Forces Day by offering a special discount for armed forces personnel and their families. On Saturday, May 19, all active, reserve, and retired service members will receive a 10% discount on their qualifying in-store purchases by presenting military identification. The discount can also be applied to sale and clearance items.

"We recognize the effort and sacrifice of all those who serve and protect," said CEO Steve Fishman, himself a former U.S. Army Reservist. "We hope many members of the military will take advantage of this offer and enjoy a special day of shopping in their honor."

Military identification includes the following: military ID card, military dog tags, Veteran ID card, Veterans organization card (e.g. American Legion, VFW), military discharge/separation document, VA benefits card, or other military designations.

The discount will be available at all Big Lots stores nationwide.

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