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Sustainability Drives Use of Modular Barricades

BY CSA STAFF

Mall barricade systems have evolved greatly in recent years, in terms of both the way they are engineered to their graphic applications. Perhaps the biggest change has been the transition from drywall barricades to modular ones. Chain Store Age spoke with Bob Putnam, president of Boston Barricade Co., Vero Beach, Fla., about the latest trends in barricades.

How have mall barricades evolved over the years?

Today’s barricade systems are engineered using structural aluminum framing with panel faces specifically designed to enhance full-wrap graphic applications. Double doors have been replaced with invisible swing panels, allowing the graphic to flow across the face of the barricade uninterrupted while maintaining access for fixture delivery and storefront construction.

How much waste is eliminated by using modular barricades?

The total potential waste stream from barricades is about 12,000 tons annually. Currently, modular use represents 75%, or about 9,000 tons of solid waste, eliminated annually. The bad news is there is still 5,000 tons of solid waste going to landfills every year.

Are developers requiring the use of modular barricades?

All developers recognize the problem with drywall barricades. Sustainability initiatives have driven most developers to require modular barricade use.

Are retailers embracing this requirement?

Sustainability is important to all of us, including the retailer’s customers. We actually find more and more retailers specifying modular barricades in their plans.

Is there a benefit to the contractor?

Although sustainability is important to contractors, making a profit takes precedence. The benefit to the contractor comes when the retailer works directly with the barricade provider and takes the process and the responsibility out of his scope.

Why would the contractor prefer not to be responsible for the barricade?

The line-item profit, if any, doesn’t come close to covering the hours spent dealing with the mall, the barricade provider and the graphic installer.

If the retailer is handling the barricade, how does it benefit them?

A retailer that uses a managed barricade and graphic program can save a substantial amount of time and money. On average, a retail project manager will field 20 to 50 emails regarding a single barricade installation.

Explain how Boston Barricade’s managed barricade and graphic program work.

We start by using our extensive database of mall specifications (developed over the past 25 years) with the store plans, to create a virtual 3D as-built of the barricade before it is built. This allows us to accurately print the graphic in advance to ensure the barricade and the graphic are installed at the same time.

In addition, we secure approval from mall operations and marketing, coordinate with the GC and take full responsibility from start to finish with a single point of contact.

How does Boston Barricade differ from other modular barricade providers?

Boston Barricade is the largest full-service provider of modular barricades and graphics in North America. We are the only full-service barricade provider with a national footprint. Boston Barricade is the required barricade provider for all Simon properties nationwide and the only national preferred provider at GGP. Our wall system is required by more developers in North America than all the other wall systems combined.

How does the wall system from Boston Barricade differ from other systems available?

We manufacture our modular wall system to be used exclusively in our full-service program. This system is designed and engineered to a higher structural and service standard than any other modular wall system available.

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Snow and Ice Liability Management

BY CSA STAFF

By Rich Arlington

Record snowfall last season spelled trouble for many roofs and parking garage decks. The continuous storms that dumped more than 2 ft. of snow in New England alone had facility owners frantically addressing weight load issues as heavy snow and ice threatened, and in some cases caused, roof and deck top collapses. The fallout: a rise in lawsuits as owners, insurance companies and snow contractors battle over snow and ice procedures followed, or not, in comparison with written contracts.

As an expert witness and consultant on risk and liability due to snow and ice, I see many cases in which the scope of work for snow services is not clearly defined, incomplete or inconsistent with the actual work performed. This opens facility owners up to enormous risk and liability exposure. Consider the case of Standard Landscaping (all names and dates have been changed), a 20-year snow contractor hired by Property Management Co. (PMC), which managed the exterior maintenance of a two-level parking garage for a retail complex. Standard signed a three-year contract with PMC to perform the snow and ice management of the parking garage, which clearly stipulated that Standard was responsible for the removal of snow and ice from all paved surfaces from “curb to curb.”

For two winters, however, Standard had followed the instructions of the mall property manager who instructed them to push the snow on the top of the garage away from the curb and pile it at an opposite side. The day before a 4-in. snowstorm arrived, Standard checked in by phone with the mall manager who simply said to them, “You know what to do.” There was no discussion about expected snowfall or how heavy it might be. Two days later, the parking garage structure collapsed in the section where the snow was piled and everyone involved began to point fingers at each other.

This case is not settled yet, but in the eyes of the court, the one item that the judge will hang her hat on is the contract and whether there was a change in scope. PMC could be held liable since the mall property manager had set a precedent with specific instructions for clearing and stacking that contradicted the contract. The insurance company’s lawyer might try to show how Standard, a veteran contractor, should have known the dangers of snow piling on the top of a parking garage deck. Regardless, each party will incur significant costs.

If PMC and Standard Landscaping had pursued snow education and training, they would likely learn it is the consensus among snow industry professionals that piling of snow on a parking structure deck top is not proper practice. They would also understand another hazard of this is the chance of thaw and refreeze where there is pedestrian foot traffic.

Rich Arlington, CSP, CLP, of Rich Arlington & Associates is an expert witness and consultant to the facility management industry ([email protected]).

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“Super Saturday” Spending Breaks Record

BY CSA STAFF

By Craig Johnson, Customer Growth Partners

Despite being only the penultimate Saturday before Christmas, 2011’s “Super Saturday” Dec. 17 broke the all-time record for holiday spending, with an estimated $26 billion in total retail sales, according to retail consultancy Customer Growth Partners. The total was just shy of the record $27 billion spent on Black Friday.

This year’s Super Saturday spending broke the old record of $25 billion, set in 2007, when the last Saturday was an ideal three days before Christmas. [CGP based its estimate on its in-store field research of the nation’s 35 leading retailers. The company conducts this research in 40 major mall and off-mall venues nationally during the Black Friday weekend and continuing through the peak Holiday season.]

CGP’s analysis of holiday spending has found that consumer spending per capita has finally topped pre-recession 2007 demand levels. Based on government November retail data, and its proprietary retailer database, CGP found that average spending per adult will total $2,330 for the November-December holiday period, up from $2,212 in 2010 and topping the record $2,223 set in 2007.

Despite the Recession’s rigors, American consumers are far more resilient than the experts, and since 2009 they’ve deleveraged sharply, rebalancing their household finances—if they’re among the 91% with jobs. After completing this ‘Great Reset’ in their saving and spending patterns, consumers have resumed the historic 4% to 5% spending growth we saw earlier in the 2000’s.

But unlike the mid-2000’s, consumers are spending without cranking up their credit cards or tapping housing bubble-inflated home equity. Instead, they are spending smartly, and out of current cash flow—a much healthier foundation for sound, sustained growth.

Based on analysis of Dept of Labor data, CGP estimates 2011 Holiday spending per adult, for roughly the top, middle and lower third of households by income as follows:

  • > $70K Household Income: $3134/adult

  • $30-70K HHI: $1992

  • < $30K HHI: $1698.

Unlike retail’s high-growth years of the past decade, holiday spending this year has not been led by the consumer electronics and home improvement sectors, still mired in their own secular slumps. Instead, 2011’s retail rebound is being led by traditional “old” retail—including department stores, toys, and apparel—including the first real return of excitement and newness in fashion since before the recession.

Over the past couple years we have seen one of the great turnarounds in memory in the department store sector—led by two of the grand old names in the sector, Macy’s and Nordstrom, each founded over a century ago. Both have reinvented themselves since the recession, and have made themselves relevant to a new generation of shoppers—and they are each hitting the ball out of the park.

For the holiday season as a whole, CGP preseason forecast of +6.5% growth from 2010 remains on track, about double the consensus forecast of 2.5-3.0%. Although it is notable that other forecasters are belatedly raising their estimates, for example, the National Retail Federation from 2.8% to 3.8%. CGP is believed to have the most accurate Holiday sales forecasting record of any of the ten major retail forecasting organizations.

November retail sales (excluding auto/gasoline/restaurants), which represents about 45% of total Holiday sales, was up 5.7% year-over –year, consistent with CGP’s full season forecast, and reflecting the deferral of cold-weather apparel sales into December due to the warm November. The forecast 6.5% growth represents the strongest year-over-year holiday growth since 2004, and will yield $554B in total Retail sales, topping the total sales record of $521B of 2010.

The real surprise this year may be the day after Christmas. England calls it ‘Boxing Day’, but it will be a boffo day for American retailers, since the 26th is a Monday, with most offices closed for the three day weekend. Shoppers will still be looking for ‘self-gifting’ bargains, but armed with gift cards, consumers are much more likely to pay full price for the new merchandise that smart retailers will put on the floor for the post-Christmas crowds.

Last year, the middle Atlantic and Northeast was hit by a huge post-Christmas snowstorm, wiping out December 26 sales for over 15% of the country, and holding total sales that day to barely $20B nationally.

This year, we think a lot of stores may stay open until Midnight with extended hours, December 26th, may even top Black Friday, with $29 billion in gross sales—although returns for cash will need to be netted against the total. But after the kinds of crowds we’re seeing at the malls, with parking lots often at 110% of capacity, the key post-Christmas week is a true ‘second season’ that will propel the full holiday shopping season to a new all-time record.

Craig Johnson is president of Customer Growth Partners in New Canaan, Conn., a consulting and research firm serving the retail and other consumer industries. Founded in 2001, CGP has conducted both proprietary and public forecasts of holiday retail sales annually since then.

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T.Quiophuio says:
Mar-11-2012 08:16 pm

Tod Bayton
I live in charlotte and I just don't see the people out in the mall's, wally's and target. I know lots of people going into their 2nd and 3rd year of no work and are not trying because they can't find a job that will pay equal to what unemployment pays, their comment Is I will ride this horse until it dies!

T.Quiophuio says:
Mar-11-2012 07:17 pm

Tod Bayton
I live in charlotte and I just don't see the people out in the mall's, wally's and target. I know lots of people going into their 2nd and 3rd year of no work and are not trying because they can't find a job that will pay equal to what unemployment pays, their comment Is I will ride this horse until it dies!

T.Quiophuio says:
Mar-11-2012 08:16 pm

I live in charlotte and I just don't see the people out in the mall's, wally's and target. I know lots of people going into their 2nd and 3rd year of no work and are not trying because they can't find a job that will pay equal to what unemployment pays, their comment Is I will ride this horse until it dies!

T.Quiophuio says:
Mar-11-2012 07:17 pm

I live in charlotte and I just don't see the people out in the mall's, wally's and target. I know lots of people going into their 2nd and 3rd year of no work and are not trying because they can't find a job that will pay equal to what unemployment pays, their comment Is I will ride this horse until it dies!

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