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Renaissance at Colony Park sets lifestyle standard

BY Katherine Boccaccio

When Renaissance at Colony Park opened in Ridgeland, Miss., in 2008, it created a stir not only among the local residents of Ridgeland, Miss., but also within the retailer and shopping center communities as a whole.

The project, developed by Mattiace Properties and H.C. Bailey Cos., pulled together the aesthetic elements of a Main Street and town center format with strategic, traffic-driving retail, entertainment and dining offerings.

Renaissance at Colony Park provides spacious green common areas, water features, and a town center square. The design is derived from European and Mediterranean influences, and incorporates classical features such as arched openings, clay tile roofs, and stone and stucco facades. An Italian fountain serves as a focal point at the entrance to the town square, which also features a clock tower.

The approximately half-million sq. ft. of retail offerings includes anchor tenants Fresh Market, Ethan Allen, Barnes & Noble and Apple Store. Dining options abound – with everything from Five Guys Burgers and Fries to P.F. Chang’s to Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano and Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Specialty retailers include Brooks Brothers, Sephora, Charming Charlie, Banana Republic and Anthropologie.

Sharing space on the 57 acres is a Hyatt Place Hotel and about 65,000 sq. ft. of office space, allowing the project to leverage several components toward creating a fully integrated work-shop-dine complex.


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Former Aeropostale exec named to Blue Nile board

BY CSA STAFF

SEATTLE — Blue Nile, an online retailer of diamonds and fine jewelry, has appointed former Aeropostale co-CEO Mindy Meads to its board of directors.

Meads has 35 years of experience in the global apparel industry. She currently serves on two public boards — Wet Seal, a specialty teen brand, and Mela Sciences, a bio tech company. In these roles, she provides strategic counsel focused on growth and the use of multichannel business strategies.

"We are very excited Mindy is joining our board of directors," said Harvey Kanter, Blue Nile president and CEO. "Mindy has played a key role in the success of some of the world’s most well-known retail brands, and her proven leadership and experience will be instrumental as we continue to build our global brand."

Previously, Meads was co-CEO of Aeropostale, where she successfully reinvigorated the merchandise assortment and launched "P.S.," Aeropostale’s kids division. During her tenure, the company’s revenue grew substantially and was recognized as one of the Fortune 100 Fastest Growing Companies.

Prior to Aeropostale, Meads was CEO and president of Victoria’s Secret Direct. Before that, she held executive merchandising positions at Lands’ End for 14 years, including CEO and president during her last two years. In these roles, she successfully built the organization’s global brand around quality, value and service. Earlier in her career, Meads held a wide range of executive and operating roles at Sears, Gymboree, The Limited and Macy’s.

In addition to her corporate work, Meads sits on the board of governors of Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership and the board of trustees of the Masters School. She serves as an adviser to LIM College in New York City, the Little Black Bag Accessory Company and the Be Kind People Project. She is also a former director of the Federal Reserve Board for the 7th District (Chicago) and a former director of the C200 Foundation, an invitation-only group of pre-eminent women leaders from around the world. She received a bachelor of science from the University of Illinois in 1974.

With the addition of Meads, there are nine members on Blue Nile’s board.

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Walmart escalates inspection efforts in Bangladesh

BY CSA STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart has announced plans to conduct in-depth safety inspections at every single factory in Bangladesh that produces goods for the retailer. The company says it aims to complete all reviews within six months and publicly release the names and inspection information on all 279 factories.

Walmart began conducting inspections under the enhanced safety program earlier this year, and will begin posting results of those inspections on June 1. Walmart has also posted on its site a list of failed factories in Bangladesh that are no longer allowed to produce for the retailer. A list of all failed factories will follow in the next few weeks.

"Transparency is vital to make progress in improving factory conditions, and by disclosing this information, government, workers, non-governmental agencies and companies can benefit from this work," said Rajan Kamalanathan, VP of ethical sourcing for Walmart.

Walmart says it is increasing the pace and frequency of its follow-up inspections of factories in Bangladesh — it sends representatives to visit the factories every two months in an effort to “ensure both compliance and progress.”

The safety inspections are designed to provide detailed reports that allow the company to continue to make responsible sourcing decisions, and it will immediately stop production at facilities where urgent safety issues are identified, notify the factory owner and government authorities of the need to take action and require remediation.

"If we identify issues that cause us to believe that people’s lives are in danger, we will take swift action," said Kamalanathan. "Preventing the kinds of tragedies that have recently taken place in Bangladesh will only happen if all stakeholders across the board set clear parameters and take action to drive real safety and compliance improvements."

Walmart also plans to hire Bureau Veritas to provide fire safety training to every worker in every factory that produces goods for the company in Bangladesh. In addition, the company partnering with Labor Voices, a company that communicates directly with workers to identify and share concerns inside of factories, and contribute $600,000 to the grassroots organization.

"Walmart is committed to a global supply chain that first and foremost provides safe conditions for workers," said Kamalanathan. "In announcing these changes, Walmart is focusing directly on the most urgent issue, and that’s worker safety. We invite others to join us in this effort."

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