REAL ESTATE

SRS announces new associate

BY Michael Fickes

Dallas — SRS Real Estate Partners has hired Michael Straus as an associate in the Chicago office. Straus will focus on tenant and landlord representation as well as new business development.

He brings more than 15 years of managerial and sales experience to SRS. Prior to signing on with SRS, he worked for Student Transportation of America where he oversaw all aspects of operations and managed more than 1,100 employees across the Midwest. He managed sales and contract negotiations, lease renewals, development and acquisitions.

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REAL ESTATE

Report: Future bright for brick-and-mortar retail

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — The future looks bright for retail stores. That’s the conclusion of a new report by the International Council of Shopping Centers. The report, set to be released in May during ICSC’s RECon Conference, finds that population growth in the United States is now outpacing the addition of retail space by three-and-a-half times.

“As a result, shopping space per capita, which peaked in 2009 at 24.2 square feet, now stands at 23.7. This correction will make way for demand in new retail space once again,” the report said.

According to ICSC research, announced store closings in 2013 decreased 43% versus the previous year. When new Census Bureau data becomes available, it is likely that both 2012 and 2013 were net positive in terms of new retail stores.

In another positive sign, pure online retailers are looking for physical space. The report cites such examples as women’s accessories retailer JustFab, which opened its first store in 2012.

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Ashley Furniture opens 500th store; 50 more due in 2014

BY Staff Writer

Arcadia, Wis. — Ashley Furniture HomeStore, the largest furniture retailer in the U.S., celebrated the opening of its 500th store in Longview, Texas, on Feb. 21. It is the chain’s 48th store in the Lone Star state.

The company, whose sales exceeded $3 billion in 2013, has 50 additional HomeStore openings on tap in 2014.

"When the first HomeStore opened in 1997 (in Anchorage, Alaska), we were confident that this business model would be capable of providing complete home furniture solutions that would meet or exceed consumer expectations in price, delivery and service," said Todd Wanek, president and CEO of Ashley and Ashley Furniture HomeStore. "It is with a tenacity to never stop innovating that our teams – from the local level to our corporate headquarters – have propelled our growth throughout the last two decades, and with the latest improvements to our operations and customer fulfillment systems, I’m confident that this trend will continue into the future."

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