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The Ties That Bind

BY Debra Hazel

In good times, an inexperienced owner may be able to manage and lease a shopping center. But in today’s challenging economic environment, owners increasingly are turning to trusted pros for third-party services, as this year’s top management firms attest.

In fact, report several of this year’s top companies, the demand for their services is so great that they are in the enviable position of becoming selective about their assignments.

Not surprisingly, many of the companies are repeats from last year’s list, with Jones Lang LaSalle Retail replacing CB Richard Ellis Retail Services for the top spot, and Fameco Management Services and General Growth Properties also swapping rankings. A more regional player, Levin Management Corp., fills out the list.

As retailers report expansion cutbacks and the bottom line is more important than ever, these companies are using all of their skills—in management, leasing and development—to produce maximum results for their clients.

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OfficeMax 1Q sales fall on weak economy

BY CSA STAFF

NAPERVILLE, Ill. OfficeMax announced that for its first quarter ended March 29, total sales decreased 5.5% to $2.3 billion compared to the first quarter of 2007. Net income increased in the first quarter of 2008 to $63.3 million, or 81 cents per diluted share, from $58.5 million, or 76 cents per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2007.

OfficeMax Retail segment sales decreased 5.5% to $1.11 billion in the first quarter of 2008 compared to the first quarter of 2007, reflecting a same-store sales decrease of 8.7% partially offset by sales from new stores. Retail same-store sales for the first quarter of 2008 declined across all major product categories due to weaker U.S. consumer and small business spending and the negative impact of the Easter holiday occurring in the first quarter of 2008.

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IKEA to open first U.S. manufacturing facility

BY CSA STAFF

DANVILLE, Va. IKEA, through its subsidiary Swedwood, announced that it will open its first U.S. furniture manufacturing facility on May 21 in Danville, Va. The 930,000 square-foot Swedwood factory will produce a variety of wood-based IKEA products, the company reported.

We made excellent progress on construction last year and our installation of equipment and machinery has gone very smoothly, said Bengt Danielsson, North American president of Swedwood. Now our primary objective is to complete appropriate operational training for 175 coworkers as well as to ensure a seamless production and packaging process. 

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