REAL ESTATE

U.K. sporting goods chain acquires two U.S. retailers

BY By Marianne Wilson

Sports Direct, the largest sporting goods retailer in the United Kingdom, has expanded its presence in the United States.

The company announced that it has completed its acquisition of Bob's Stores and Eastern Mountain Sports. It will initially operate a total of some 50 stores in the Northeast and five EMS outdoor adventure schools, along with e-commerce sites for both brands.

In April, Sports Direct received the approval of the Delaware Bankruptcy Court to acquire certain assets of Eastern Outfitters, owners of Bob's Stores and Eastern Mountain Sports. Eastern Outfitters filed for bankruptcy in February.

"Adding these reputable and established retailers to Sports Direct's portfolio of holdings in the U.S. will afford us a strong platform with which to rapidly expand our store and web presence, in this critically important market," stated a representative for Sports Direct, which operates almost 800 stores whcih across the UK, continental Europe and Asia.

Sports Direct said it plans to expand product lines in the acquired Bob's and EMS stores and websites, including the U.S. debut of an extensive portfolio of European brands. The company will honor gift cards and un-expired member rewards that pre-dated the acquisition, and will enhance the member rewards program by offering member-only offers.

In addition to operating retail stores, Sports Direct owns a portfolio of over 30 globally recognized brands, including Slazenger, Everlast, Lonsdale, Karrimor, No Fear and Kangol. It also has a stake in Finish Line.

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REAL ESTATE

Is Amazon Go readying for prime time?

BY By Deena M. Amato-McCoy

A recent job listing by Amazon has raised speculation that the online giant plans to roll out its checkout-free convenience store concept, Amazon Go.

The online giant recently posted a job listing seeking a senior real estate manager for Amazon Go. The role will be based in Seattle and will include travel.

Amazon posted a laundry list of executive responsibilities for the job. These include: developing and executing a strategic real estate plan; site selection and acquisition; developing relationships with key landlords, developers, and brokers; and collaborating with architecture, construction, and engineering teams.

As for job qualifications, Amazon is looking for someone with 10-plus years experience in real estate planning, financial analysis, and transaction management. The candidate should also have experience in managing third party service providers, including brokers and outside legal counsel.

Amazon Go debuted in December, in Seattle, in a beta format open only to Amazon employees. (It was expected to open to the public in early 2017, but its opening has been delayed.) The 1,800 sq. ft. store is powered by what Amazon calls “just walkout technology," which allows it to be completely free of any type of checkout.

Shoppers click on the new Amazon Go app as they enter the store, and hold their smartphone to a scanner similar to an airport security line. Every time the customer picks up an item, it is automatically added to their virtual cart. (If the shopper puts the item back on the shelf, the item is automatically removed from the cart.) Once the customer leaves the store, their purchased is billed to their Amazon.com account.

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REAL ESTATE

Minny Penney’s to become an ‘athletic resort’

BY Al Urbanski

The J.C. Penney store in Edina, Minnesota, with little movement in the aisles is about to see a lot more action.

Simon has announced that the 120,000-sq.-ft. space at its Southdale Center will close and be replaced by a Life Time ‘athletic resort.’ The company runs 123 centers in the U.S. promoting healthy eating and exercise regimens. Centers are one-stop fitness shops offering tennis, swimming, basketball, and yoga along with weight loss and nutrition education.

Life Time founder Bahram Akradi’s vision for his concept is to turn shopping centers into “healthy lifestyle villages” where people work a heavy dose of healthy living into their live-work-play lifestyles.

“Our focus is to develop all-inclusive destinations that encompass the full spectrum of daily life for thousands of individuals, couples and families of all ages," said Akradi.

Southdale Center, which opened in 1956, has the distinction of being the nation’s first indoor regional shopping mall, according to Simon, which looks to lengthen its life span by infusing it with modern offerings and energy.

This project with Life Time is part of a larger vision for Southdale Center, to create a connected community epicenter," said Michael McCarty, Simon’s executive VP of Development Operations. "With new nearby apartments, the recently opened Hennepin County Service Center, a hotel coming soon, and this athletic resort on the way, Southdale is realizing that vision."

Life Time is a rapidly expanding concept with a presence in almost 30 states. Southdale is one of 10 new clubs under development at the current time.


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