REAL ESTATE

T.G.I. Friday’s parent to double chain over five years

BY CSA STAFF

Minneapolis — Carlson Restaurants, parent of T.G.I. Friday’s, announced at a conference in Dallas last week that it plans to double the number of units globally under a program it is calling Ambition 2015.

"With the strength of our Friday’s brand, our management team and our franchise partners, we are uniquely positioned to dramatically increase the footprint of our business," said Nick Shepherd, president and CEO of Carlson Restaurants.

Shepherd unveiled the company’s strategic plan, Ambition 2015, to a gathering of franchisees, employees and vendor partners that outlined growth over the next five years, doubling the footprint of the T.G.I. Friday’s brand around the world.

The company said that, for 2010, Friday’s outpaced the casual dining market in the United States by 1.6% as measured by Knapp Track. It currently operates more than 350 restaurants in 60 countries outside of the United States.

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News

Tcherassi brings Latin flavor to Payless collaboration

BY CSA STAFF

TOPEKA, Kan. and MIAMI— Payless ShoeSource announced that it is now partnering with internationally acclaimed Colombian fashion designer, Silvia Tcherassi, to create the latest Payless designer label, Silvia Tcherassi for Payless, with an initial collection available in May.

Under the two-year collaboration, Tcherassi will design two, semi-annual collections including shoes and handbags for the spring and fall seasons. The exclusive designs by Tcherassi, to be priced from $40 to $70 an item, will reflect a strong international and Latin influence, the company reported.

The collection will be available in select cities in the United States and Puerto Rico, as well as through a limited offering on Payless.com.The new line will also be available in stores across Latin America including Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and Trinidad and Tobago.

"I am thrilled to be working with Payless on my first-ever shoe label. This is a great opportunity to create shoes and handbags to complement my existing fashion collections and for the spring/summer season this includes many important silhouettes like wedges, flats, strappy heels and thongs sandals with key trend details like bright color-blocking, unique mesh uppers and satin ribbon details and ties," commented Tcherassi. "It was inspiring to work with the Payless footwear design team in NYC — together we created a sophisticated, contemporary collection that features the latest trends and high-end style, but at an affordable price starting at $40 a pair."

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FINANCE

Report: U.S. consumer spending up in February, economy on ‘firmer footing’

BY CSA STAFF

Washington, D.C. — A report released Monday by the Commerce Department showed that consumer spending in the United States rose more than forecast in February as incomes climbed.

Bloomberg News estimated spending would advance 0.5%.

Purchases increased 0.7%, the most since October, after advancing 0.3% the prior month. Incomes increased 0.3%, less than the 0.4% projected.

The report also showed that the U.S. added jobs for the sixth consecutive month in February and the unemployment rate fell to the lowest level since April 2009.

Retail sales climbed in February by the most in four months, boosted by a jump in auto purchases.

“The economic recovery is on a firmer footing,” Fed officials said.

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