FINANCE

Teavana to expand presence in Canada with acquisition of Teopia chain Atlanta

BY Marianne Wilson

Atlanta — Teavana Inc. on Monday said it will buy Canadian tea retail chain Teaopia Ltd. for $26.9 million in cash. It is Teavana’s first major acquisition since it went public last year.

Teaopia operates 46 stores, primarily in high-end malls across Canada and online. Last year it generated net sales of approximately $17 million and opened 12 stores.

Teavana operates 200 company-owned stores in 39 states, including one store in Canada, and 18 franchised stores primarily in Mexico, as well as through its website.

“With this acquisition, we immediately establish a strong foothold in many of the best mall locations in Canada,” said Andrew Mack, chairman and CEO of Teavana. “Teaopia’s prime mall locations, similar store branding and focus on premium loose-leaf teas, and great store employees and managers all make this opportunity a natural fit for us.”

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OPERATIONS

Neiman Marcus Group names new CIO

BY Staff Writer

Dallas — Neiman Marcus announced that Michael R. Kingston would be joining the company, April 23, as senior VP, CIO of The Neiman Marcus Group. Kingston succeeds Phillip Maxwell, who earlier this month announced his retirement.

Kingston joins Neiman Marcus Group from Ann Inc., parent company of Ann Taylor, where he was the executive VP enterprise transformation and technology.

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REAL ESTATE

Co-Star: Retail real-estate sector posted positive net absorption in first quarter

BY Staff Writer

Washington, D.C. — The retail real estate sector posted positive net absorption, a stable vacancy, and a near-stabilization of rent for the first quarter of 2012, according to the latest research from CoStar Group.

For the first quarter, vacancy nationally was unchanged at 7%, compared with 7.3% one year earlier. Net absorption of 9.4 million sq. ft. was below the 16.2 million sq. ft. in the fourth quarter. Retail completions were exceptionally low at just 4.3 million sq. ft., with a Salt Lake City urban retail project being one of the largest deliveries this quarter.

“We forecast completions of retail space to remain depressed for the year,” said Walter Page, director of research for CoStar’s property and portfolio research. “In-process construction continues to fall compared to office and warehouse construction, which is rising slightly.”

At the metro level, retail performance was more of a mixed bag than other property types, with few standout markets. For example, market rent over the past year ranged in a narrow band with most markets showing a -5% to +2% change, as the impact of housing market distress and Internet retailing has curtailed demand growth. For the quarter, roughly one-third of the markets recorded negative net absorption, suggesting that the retail recovery is still weak. Market vacancy rates range from 2.8% in San Francisco to 12.1% in Phoenix.

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