STORE SPACES

Toys “R” Us continues to expand in China

BY Staff Writer

Wayne, N.J. – Toys “R” Us opened its first stores in Beijing last weekend, marking its continued expansion across China.

The opening of the Beijing stores marks the retailer’s debut in Northern China. Two additional locations are slated to open in September in Tianjing Galaxy Mall in Northern China and Nanning Mixc in Southern China. These four new locations add to the company’s already healthy presence in the country, including stores in Guangzhou, Shanghai and Shenzhen. By the end of September, the retailer will operate 30 stores across 21 cities throughout China.

“As a company, international expansion is a key part of our overall strategy, and we are committed to further growth and investment in our business in China,” said Jerry Storch, chairman and CEO. “Our expansion into Beijing is an important next step as we aggressively extend the Toys “R” Us brand throughout Asia.”

Last October, Toys “R” Us acquired the majority stake in its business in Greater China and Southeast Asia from Li & Fung Retailing. With this agreement, the existing Toys “R” Us licensed operations in this region became 70% majority owned and controlled by Toys “R” Us and 30% owned by Li & Fung Retailing.

Since that time, the company has continued to expand across the region, opening 10 new stores across Brunei, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. In total, the company now operates more than 100 locations in Southeast Asia and Greater China. In addition, 14 stores in the Philippines and Macau continue to be operated under a license agreement.

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STORE SPACES

Sears to compete in Energy Star building competition

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Hoffman Estates, Ill. — Sears Holdings said Friday it has again been selected to participate in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star National Building Competition: Battle of the Buildings.

For the third consecutive year, Sears will participate in the competition, this year entering 56 facilities that will compete against thousands of other teams representing buildings across the country. All efforts will be focused on eliminating waste through improvements in energy efficiency with help from EPA’s Energy Star program.

"This year, we are dramatically increasing the number of facilities which we have entered into the competition and are looking to take our energy management program to the next level,” said Rajan Penkar, senior VP and president, supply chain.

The teams in the 2012 Energy Star National Building Competition represent more than 30 different types of commercial buildings — such as retail stores, schools, hotels and museums — and hail from all 50 states, two U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia. The competitors range from a Kmart store on the island of St. Thomas and a crime lab in Phoenix, to a Federal office building in Nome, Alaska.

The EPA will maintain a website devoted to the competition, Energystar.gov/BattleOfTheBuildings, featuring a list the competitors and their "weigh-in" – a la TV series “The Biggest Loser” — results, a live Twitter feed where competitors will post updates on their progress, and a user-generated photo stream where competitors will upload pictures of their energy-saving efforts.

"Thousands of buildings across the country are going on energy diets with help from EPA and Energy Star," said Jean Lupinacci, director of EPA’s Energy Star Commercial Buildings Program. "Organizations like those competing in this year’s National Building Competition are taking a bold step by putting themselves in the spotlight as they compete to protect the environment and save as much energy as possible."

Competitors will measure and track their building’s monthly energy consumption using EPA’s Energy Star online tracking tool, Portfolio Manager; make improvements to their building’s energy performance; and share their progress. Of the initial pool of nearly 3,300 competitors, the building that demonstrates the greatest percentage-based reduction in energy use intensity will be recognized as the winner in April 2013.

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Express to open 30+ Central and South American stores over 5 years

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Columbus, Ohio — Express said Friday that one of its subsidiaries has entered into a franchise agreement with Fastco Commercial S.A., a retail franchise operator, to open more than 30 Express stores over a five-year period in Panama, Peru, Costa Rica, Colombia, The Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

Express said it expects there will be up to three Express locations open in Panama, Peru, and Costa Rica by the end of the fourth quarter. The product assortment in these locations will resemble that of the U.S. stores with moderate seasonal adjustments. The stores are expected to have the same new store design that Express is rolling out in the U.S.

"This is another exciting step in Express’ international expansion strategy, particularly with such an experienced partner," said Michael Weiss, president, chairman and CEO, Express.

The company previously announced that it plans to drive international expansion through a three-pronged approach that includes company-owned stores, joint venture relationships and franchise agreements.

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