OPERATIONS

Sears cuts 100 headquarters staff

BY Staff Writer

Hoffman Estates, Ill. — A spokesman for Sears Holdings Corp. said that the owner of Sears and Kmart stores is cutting 100 jobs at its headquarters in Hoffman Estates, Ill.

According to Chris Brathwaite, Sears spokesman, the cuts cover a range of positions. The terminated employees were notified Thursday.

The retailer has not said whether additional cuts are planned.

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OPERATIONS

Sears Canada announces price cuts as part of competitive move

BY Staff Writer

Toronto — A Thursday report by Reuters said that Sears Canada is cutting prices on more than 5,000 items as a competitive preemptive move before Wal-Mart and Target begin their expansion march across the country.

According to the report, Sears Canada will also roll out weekly sales promotions and new signage.

"In order to better compete in a complex and ever-changing retail industry, the company is committed to getting the value right for its customers," said Sears in a statement. "This will be the first significant change customers will see as a result of the transformation undertaken by the company."

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REAL ESTATE

Real estate snapshot: Grocery centers and outlets lead development

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York City — A retail real estate market report, issued by Savills US retail group, found that, even as recovery remains slow, a few formats are progressing at a faster clip than others.

According to Gerry Mason, head of Savills, the majority of recent and planned retail development is in the grocery-anchored and outlet center category. CBL & Associates and Tanger Outlets are among the most active developers scheduled to break ground in 2012.

The largest U.S. retail real estate investors, according to the report are Blackstone, New York City, which transacted $10.73 billion in 2011; DDR, Beachwood, Ohio, which transacted $1.66 billion; and Cole RE Investments, which transacted $1.52 billion in 2011.

The report provided a general overview of the U.S. market as it stands, which showed that marginal improvements in the second half of 2011 are leaving most cautiously optimistic about 2012.

However, it still suggested more retailers will fail in 2012. “The retail market is still purging tired concepts and inefficient business models,” said Mason. He suggested Talbots could be a victim, as it is accepting bids to be purchased and will likely file for bankruptcy protection if a deal can’t be reached. Sears Holdings Corp. is another, as it recently announced plans to close 100-120 of its total 2,200 full-line stores in 2012.

“Also, in fourth quarter 2011, Gap announced plans to close 189 stores in the U.S. and downsize numerous Old Navy locations. More closings could follow as the company shifts its focus overseas,” Mason said.

Retailers expected to lead the expansion charge are discount retailers such as Dollar General, Ross Dress for Less and Big Lots). These retailers can fill large footprints and generate strong sales volumes in a recessionary environment, said the report. Other notable movers will be Nordstrom, J.C. Penney, Starbucks and Apple, said the report.

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