C-SUITE

Specialty retailer emerges from Chapter 11 — on hunt for new CEO

BY Marianne Wilson

Payless ShoeSource has emerged from bankruptcy — with a slimmed down U.S. portfolio and a cleaner balance sheet.

The company on Thursday touted its successful emergence from Chapter 11, and announced that, following the completion of its restructuring, Paul Jones will retire as CEO. The board will begin a search to identify a new chief executive. In the interim, Payless will be led by a newly appointed executive committee comprised of company's CFO, Michael Schwindle, and COO, Mike Vitelli, and Martin R. Wade, III, chairman of Payless’ post-emergence board and interim CEO.

Payless, which filed for Chapter 11 in April, has closed approximately 700 stores during bankruptcy. It currently has about 3,500 stores around the globe. It also eliminated in excess of $435 million, roughly half, of its funded debt.

Going forward, Payless said it plans to invest in areas that will help it stay competitive, including online and international expansion in Asia and Latin America. It is also investing in systems that will adjust inventory quickly in response to customer demand and improve its competitiveness online, according to CNBC.

“In a year where so many major retail companies have filed for Chapter 11 restructurings, Payless is the first to successfully emerge as a stronger and healthier enterprise for the benefit of its customers, employees, suppliers, business partners, and lenders," Jones stated. "That is a testament to the hard work and dedication of everyone at Payless, and I thank them for the honor of having worked with them over these past five years. Our new owners believe wholeheartedly in the future of Payless, and I am confident that they will identify a new leader who will complement our outstanding and deeply committed management team, while sparking new ideas and approaches."

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DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION

Toys ‘R’ Us to make Times Square return — for a limited engagement

BY Marianne Wilson

After a nearly two-year absence, Toys "R" Us is returning to Times Square — but not on a permanent basis.

Citing customer demand, the retailer said it will open a temporary 35,000-sq.-ft. store at the corner of 42nd Street and Broadway, just two blocks from the chain's massive, 110,000-sq.-ft. flagship that it closed at the end of 2015. Scheduled to open in August, the three-level store will offer a "one-stop toy shopping experience — complete with a dedicated play area — just in time for the holiday season."

In addition, the store will feature life-size toy displays and such interactive elements as an animatronic dinosaur (a scaled-down version of the one in its former Times Square flagship). It also will give Toys "R" Us a central location for New Yorkers who want to take advantage of the chain's buy online, pick-up in store service.

"The Times Square holiday shop reunites our brand with an iconic New York destination which we are thrilled about," said Dave Brandon, chairman & CEO, Toys "R" Us, Inc. "More importantly, the store offers customers a host of products tailored to the needs of city dwellers and visitors – all in interest of bringing play to kids and families around the world!"

The first level of the store will feature in-store shops, including Movie HQ (products from this fall's biggest blockbusters), Hot and New (the hottest holiday toys), Star Wars, and Marvel, along with New York City memorabilia. Additionally, it will house a select assortment of electronic and entertainment items.

The second level will include dedicated Lego and Nerf shops, and a full assortment of traditional toys across a range of categories. It will also be home to a dedicated play space where kids will be able to play with products out-of-the-box and experience toy demos.

The lower level will include Hot Wheels items, and action figures, as well as city-friendly modes of transportation such as bikes and scooters.

Toys "R" Us' said its buy online, pick up in store service will be available at the Times Square location, providing Manhattan customers with an easy way to pick up thousands of items in under an hour. Layaway service will also be available.

The retailer did not say how long its temporary store would remain open. Landlord representation was provided by Brittany H. Bragg of Crown Retail Services, and Peter Ripka of Ripco Real Estate was the broker representation for Crown Retail Services.

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DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION

Canadian outerwear brand in brick-and-mortar expansion

BY Marianne Wilson

A premium outerwear best known for its signature goose-down jacket with fur-trimmed hood is expanding its fledgling store footprint.

Canada Goose Holdings Inc. announced plans to open three additional retail stores this fall, with locations in Boston, Calgary (Canada), and Tokyo, Japan. Also opening this fall are two previously announced stores in Chicago and London.

“Having a flagship store in Tokyo is particularly exciting as Japan continues to be one of our strongest growing markets and we can now better answer the call of our Asian customers by giving them an opportunity to engage with our brand, unfiltered,” said Dani Reiss, president & CEO, Canada Goose. “We are equally excited to extend our footprint in North America, where we know our brand’s proud Canadian heritage and unparalleled product innovation and design resonates with locals and tourists alike.”

In Boston, the Canada Goose store will be located in the Prudential Center. The Calgary store will mark the brand’s second store in Canada and will be located in the Cadillac Fairview Chinook Centre. The 3,100-sq.-ft. Tokyo flagship will be operated by the company’s distribution partner and be located in the Sendagaya neighborhood, one of the high-end fashion centers of the city.

Each of the three new stores will feature signature Canadian design elements and select heritage pieces from the company’s six-decades of archives as well as a broad assortment of seasonal collections and exclusive collaborations.

The 60-year-old Canada Goose opened its first freestanding stores in 2016, with flagships in Toronto and New York City.

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