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Toys ‘R’ Us extends holiday layaway; announces ‘pay it forward’ donations

BY Staff Writer

Wayne, N.J. — Toys “R” Us announced that it is extending its free layaway program through Dec. 16, due to significant positive response by consumers. The free offer was originally slated to end on Oct. 31. The chain was the first retailer to offer free layaway, starting in September. Since then, other companies have also stepped up with enhanced layaway programs, including Walmart and Kmart.

In addition, the retailer is responding to a nationwide phenomenon of the 2011 holiday season that saw random individuals paying off the remaining balance on in-store layaway orders for someone in their community. In response, Toys “R” Us has pledged to “pay it forward” each time a benefactor visits one of its stores and pays off the balance of the layaway order for someone in their community. For each layaway balance paid off as an act of kindness, the company will donate $200 worth of toys – the approximate average value of a layaway order created at Toys "R" Us – Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, up to $1 million worth of toys.

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PBteen to open five holiday pop-up shops

BY Marianne Wilson

San Francisco — Pbteen, a division of Williams-Sonoma, plans to open five pop-up stores in the Durham, Cincinnati, Edina, Houston and Miami areas this October and November.

The stores will showcase PBteen’s new holiday gift assortment, including gadgets for guys and girls, fur-inspired bedding and lounge seating, jewelry and beauty storage and accessories.

Each pop-up will be anchored around a PBteen Design Lab where teens and their parents can engage with the brand and its products by creating a personalized room electronically on a computer monitor and see it come to life on a television screen overhead.

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Whole Foods to open in Harlem

BY Staff Writer

Austin, Texas — Whole Foods Market has announced two new locations for Manhattan. The company said it plans to open a 39,000-sq.ft. store in the city’s Harlem neighborhood in 2015. The supermarket will be located in the middle of the area’s business district, on 125th Street and Lennox Avenue.

“With so many Harlem residents shopping with us at our other New York City locations, we’re so pleased to bring our natural and organic grocery concept to an area of the city we’ve been looking forward to joining for quite some time,” said Christina Minardi, regional president, Whole Foods Market Northeast Region, in a statement.

In addition, Whole Foods is planning to open a 38,000-sq.-ft. store on the city’s Upper East Side in 2014.

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