REAL ESTATE

Ross Stores opens 37 locations, plans 95 new stores

BY Dan Berthiaume

Dublin, Calif. — Ross Stores recently opened a total of 30 Ross Dress for Less and seven DD’s Discounts stores in 14 different states. These openings are part of the off-price retailer’s 2014 expansion plans for about 95 new stores, which will include continuing to build presence in existing markets and grow in the newer markets initially entered in 2011.

Ross believes that long-term expansion opportunities include 2,000 Ross Dress for Less stores and 500 DD’s Discounts stores.

"We remain on track to open a total of approximately 95 new locations in 2014, comprised of about 75 Ross Dress for Less and 20 DD’s Discounts," said Jim Fassio, president and chief development officer. "Today, Ross Dress for Less is the largest off-price apparel and home fashion chain in the U.S. Including these newest openings, Ross now operates 1,173 stores in 33 states, the District of Columbia and Guam.”

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REAL ESTATE

Mattress Firm expands company store base

BY Dan Berthiaume

Houston — Mattress Firm Holding Corp. has entered into an agreement to acquire the outstanding equity interests of Sleep Experts Partners L.P., which operates Sleep Experts retail stores in Texas. In addition, Mattress Firm completed the acquisition of substantially all of the assets and operations of Yotes, Inc., which operated stores under the Mattress Firm brand in Colorado and Kansas, as well as the Virginia retail operations of Southern Max LLC.

Both companies were Mattress Firm franchisees and Southern Max LLC will continue its franchised operations in Tennessee. Collectively, these accretive acquisitions will add approximately 93 specialty retail stores to the Mattress Firm company-operated store base, of which approximately 56 stores are located in Texas with the remainder in Colorado, Kansas, and Virginia. The aggregate purchase price for these acquisitions is approximately $80.5 million, subject, in each case, to customary adjustments.

"These acquisitions will further fortify our market-leading position in key growth markets by expanding our presence in prime areas of the country,” said Steve Stagner, president and CEO of Mattress Firm. “We believe that the addition of an impressive number of high performing stores at the same time also provides the company with the opportunity to further enhance the operating performance and cash flow of these stores at an accelerated pace as we integrate them onto our efficient corporate operating platform.”

The closing of the Sleep Experts acquisition is expected to occur in the first fiscal quarter of 2014, subject to the prior satisfaction of customary closing conditions.

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REAL ESTATE

Crunch Fitness: Eight-plus locations for Dallas

BY Michael Fickes

Dallas — Crunch Fitness is coming to Texas. Dallas entrepreneur, author and founder of Planet Tan, Tony Hartl plans to roll out eight to 10 Crunch Fitness locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area by 2016.

As a multi-unit developer for the Crunch Franchise in DFW, Hartl brings a proven history of business success. He founded Planet Tan in Dallas in 1995 and managed its growth to 17 locations before selling the chain in 2008. At the time of the sale, Planet Tan boasted the highest sales per unit in the industry. Today, as CEO of PAH Capital, Hartl plans to invest in the first Crunch locations in DFW.

Dallas-based United Commercial Realty www.ucr.com, a ChainLinks Retail Advisors partner, will help Hartl to identify locations and represent him in lease negotiations.

Crunch currently has 250 locations and over 300,000 members. “Entrepreneur Magazine” listed Crunch as the hottest franchise to own in 2011 and 2012. The magazine has also ranked Crunch on its 2014 Franchise 500 list.

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