REAL ESTATE

Swiss watchmaker secures flagship location on Madison Ave.

BY CSA STAFF

New York City F.P. Journe announced it has signed a 10-year lease for an 800-sq.-ft. space at 721 Madison Avenue, between East 63rd and 64th Streets (the former Graff store), where it plans to open its first New York store and U.S. flagship.

Surrounded by some of the most esteemed brand names, the high-profile space features soaring ceilings in an elegant pre-war building, according to the retailer’s real estate broker The Lansco Corp., which is a member of the X Team Retail Services Network.

“One year ago, vacancies on Madison Avenue were few and far between, and factors such as sky-rocketing rents and high competition for the small number of spaces available on the market kept many retailers on the sidelines,” said Diane Mandel, a managing director at Lansco. “F.P. Journe timed the market perfectly. The exclusivity and high-quality design of their watches has kept the retailer recession-resistant and has given them the edge in securing this prominent location to grow their U.S. presence.”

F.P. Journe currently has boutiques in Boca Raton, Fla., Tokyo, Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva, and will be opening in Beijing in the fall.

“We always had New York planned in our development. We consider New York as one of the very few ‘centers of the world’ and Madison Avenue is its quintessence in terms of a true luxury retail avenue,” said Pierre Halimi Lacharlotte, the partner for F.P. Journe’s New York store. “When we were offered the Graff store location, it became a priority for us.”

The landlord in this transaction is The Winter Organization.

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JCPenney beats April comps guidance, raises 1Q earnings outlook

BY CSA STAFF

PLANO, Texas JCPenney reported that comparable-store sales decreased 6.6% for the four weeks ended May 2, better than the company’s guidance for sales to decrease 9% to 12% and compared to a 1.7% decrease last year. Total sales in April decreased 5%.

Sales during the month benefited from the shift of Easter into the April reporting period this year, partially offset by the loss of one selling day. The top performing merchandise divisions during the month were women’s and children’s apparel, reflecting a strong customer response to the company’s spring apparel offerings. Fine jewelry experienced the weakest sales during the month. Geographically, the best performing region of the country was the Southwest, while the Central region experienced the weakest results.

Management’s guidance for the four-week period ending May 30, is for a 9% to 12% decrease in comparable-store sales, compared to a 4.4% decrease in last year’s May period.

Based on better-than-expected sales results in the April period, operational efficiencies achieved through process improvements and a consistent focus on expense control, management expects earnings for the first quarter to be in a range of 9 cents to 11 cents per share.

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Children’s Place sees increase in April, 1Q sales

BY CSA STAFF

SECAUCUS, N.J. The Children’s Place Retail Stores announced net sales of $135 million for the four-week period ended May 2, a 5% increase compared to net sales of $128.7 million for the four-week period ended May 3, 2008. Comparable-retail sales, which include online sales, increased 5% in April on top of a 17% increase for the same period last year. During April 2009, comparable-store sales increased 4% in the United States and declined 4% in Canada, and online sales increased 40%.

For the first quarter ended May 2, net sales increased slightly to $401.9 million. Comparable-retail sales, which include online sales, increased 1% during the first quarter of 2009 on top of a 6% increase during the first quarter of last year. For the first quarter of 2009, comparable-store sales declined 1% in the United States and declined 3% in Canada, and online sales increased 42%.

The company is estimating that earnings per share from continuing operations for the first quarter of 2009 will be in the range of 75 cents to 80 cents.

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