Sears Tower to be renamed Willis Tower
Chicago Chicago’s famed Sears Tower is getting a new name. The 1,451-sq.-ft. skyscraper, the tallest building in the United States, is being renamed Willis Tower after London-based Willis Group Holdings.
The insurance broker announced the name change and other details of its agreement with the building’s owners Thursday.
The insurance broker will occupy more than 140,000 sq. ft., at $14.50 per square foot. Willis is moving six local offices into the building. The move is expected to be complete by late summer.
The company said it is not paying extra for the naming rights.
Office Depot provides 1Q update
BOCA RATON, Fla. Office Depot announced that North American retail sales comps in the first quarter to date are tracking slightly better than its fourth quarter performance.
The company announced that it also will close six distribution facilities identified as part of the North American supply chain network consolidation by the end of the first quarter and close 112 North American Retail stores, identified as part of the strategic review, by the end of the first quarter.
Discounters turn up the heat on outdoor living
Wal-Mart published its 2009 Outdoor Living Guide with an emphasis on such brands as Better Homes and Gardens and Weber. The 60-page catalog, with prices effective March 1 through July 1, showed up in stores earlier this week and at Walmart.com.
Featured products include tables and chairs, with 16 pages devoted to the category and an additional 12 pages devoted to grills. Other featured product categories include fire pits, statuary, fountains, decorative lighting, gardening accessories, outdoor clocks, rugs, live plants and grill accessories.
There is a heavy emphasis on Wal-Mart’s Site-to-Store free shipping service, which is called out across the bottom of every page along with a reminder to visit Walmart.com to see an expanded assortment.
At Kmart, the outdoor living message centered on the Jaclyn Smith home collection. The offering will now include outdoor items, notably patio furniture along with tabletop and decor, Kmart announced. According to Jaclyn Smith herself: “In developing the expanded Jaclyn Smith line, it was important to me that customers be empowered to create an entire living space from my home collection — whether it be a dining area, a bedroom and adjoining bath, or a beautiful outdoor getaway,” said Smith.
Target expanded its brand with 27 news stores, all of which celebrated grand openings on March 8.
The openings include new SuperTarget stores in Kissimmee, Fla; Canton, Ga; Hillside, Ill.; and Pflugerville, Allen and Lewisville, Texas.
In Kissimmee, the store’s latest iteration of a garden center included live plants as well as statuary and garden accessories.
In early 2008, Target launched mix-and-match patio furniture in its Garden Place departments. The offering includes coordinating chairs, tables, umbrellas and accessories, allowing shoppers to build personalized patio collections.