REAL ESTATE

Top 10: Apple heads list of retailers with highest sales per square foot

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Apple Inc. operates the most successful retail stores by a significant margin, according to RetailSails, a retail and consumer goods consulting firm. Apple stores averaged $6,050 per sq. ft. in the past 12 months, double those of Tiffany & Co., which ranked second, generating sales of $3,017 per sq. ft.

Here is RetailSails list of the 10 retailers with the highest sales per square foot:

1. Apple ($6,050 per sq. ft.)
2. Tiffany & Co. ($3, 017 psf)
3. Lululemon Athletica ($1,936 psf)
4 Coach ($1,871 psf)
5. Michael Kors ($1,431/psf)
6. Select Comfort ($1,314/psf)
7. True Religion ($1,227/psf)
8. Vera Bradley Designs ($1,186/psf)
9. Birks & Mayors ($1,082/psf)
10. Fairway Market ($1,081/psf)

As to how RetailSails came up with its ranking, the company said it attempted to include as many companies across the broad universe of the U.S. retail industry as possible, deriving information from sources including company press releases and presentations, conference calls and SEC filings. In cases where information was not explicitly provided by the company, RetailSails used estimates based on industry sources or competitors’ figures.

The firm also said it tried to strip out all non-store retail related revenue, such as direct-to consumer (e-commerce, catalog & phone) sales, wholesale, franchise and licensing revenue, membership fees, financial services revenue and gasoline sales, in order to normalize data to provide a meaningful and comprehensive apples-to-apples comparison of retail store productivity.

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REAL ESTATE

Starbucks opens 100th store in Beijing

BY Marianne Wilson

Beijing — Starbucks Coffee Co. advanced its growth plans in China with the opening of its 100th store in Beijing. The company also announced the launch of Starbucks China University, its talent development program.

Starbucks has announced that China will be its second largest market by 2014 and will have 1,500 stores by 2015 across more than 70 cities. It currently operates 700 locations throughout Mainland China.”

The Beijing store is staffed by Starbucks “Coffee Masters,” baristas who have completed a rigorous certification process and have earned the right to wear the distinguished Black Apron after intensive coffee skills and knowledge training, the company said.

Starbucks China University will also offer training curriculums that encompass a broad range of areas and functions of the Starbucks China business, including coffee knowledge and culture training, and provide tailor-designed curriculums on retail and related functional training as well as leadership competency.

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REAL ESTATE

Walgreens restores historic Chicago building into flagship

BY Marianne Wilson

Deerfield, Ill. — Walgreens unveiled its newest Chicago flagship, in the historic Noel State Bank building in the city’s Bucktown/Wicker Park neighborhood (click here to see photos). This is the chain’s second flagship in Chicago and, like its downtown State and Randolph flagship location, features an extensive collection of innovative offerings, products and services unexpected from a drugstore.

The store preserves the architectural integrity of the historic building, which was constructed in 1919. (The original bank fell closed during the Great Depression, and the space has housed several different banks over the decades.) For the last two years, Walgreens worked closely with the city’s Commission on Chicago Landmarks on the building restoration. The exterior is clad entirely in ornamental terra cotta. Large windows are divided by rising pilasters topped with Corinthian capitals, and a prominent cornice wraps around the rounded corner of the building.

Extensive restoration took place on the building’s coffered plaster ceiling, which features abundant non-symmetrical hexagons that frame griffins and other ornate designs, all of which form into successive yet subtle Star of David patterns. At the center is a large stained glass window with a six-point star design. Walgreens also restored the interior columns topped with pilasters and the original bank vault, which will be repurposed as a “Vitamin Vault” in the store’s health and wellness section.

The store’s features include:

  • Vitamin Vault: The original cast iron safe entrance, with visible locking gears, will lead customers into a unique vitamin and supplement section. Original bank lockboxes open and display various vitamin products.
  • An enhanced, state-of-the-art pharmacy designed to encourage greater interaction between pharmacists and patients. An iPad-equipped health guide will help pharmacy customers navigate a wide range of health and wellness products, services and resources including immunizations and health tests. The pharmacy also features an “Ask Your Pharmacist” desk, consultation rooms and Express Rx kiosks for swift checkout.
  • A juice bar featuring fresh fruits and vegetables and made-to-order smoothies. The chocolate malted milkshake, invented by a Walgreens soda fountain manager in 1922, also will be served.
  • Hundreds of fresh food items including produce and high-quality, on-the-go meal options such as wraps, sandwiches and salads made fresh daily. Plus, a wide variety of sushi and sashimi.
  • A best-in-class wine selection boasting more than 700 fine wines.
  • A Look Boutique beauty department featuring dozens of prestige and niche brands not typically found in drug stores. Specially-trained beauty advisors are on hand to offer guidance finding the best solutions for individual needs. Expert shaping and grooming services will be available at the Eyebrow Bar.

“It was thrilling to restore this architectural gem once again into a thriving business anchor in the Bucktown/Wicker Park area,” said Joe Magnacca, Walgreens president of daily living products and solutions. “This flagship store will provide customers with a unique shopping experience within an iconic building. It’s the latest example of how we are stepping out of the traditional drugstore format and helping people get, stay and live well.”

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