REAL ESTATE

Wal-Mart drops ambitious expansion plans for India

BY Staff Writer

New York — Wal-Mart Stores has put its ambitious expansion plans in India on hold indefinitely. The discounter and its joint venture partner in India, Bharti Enterprises, are parting ways after six years, the companies announced.

Plans call for Wal-Mart art to acquire Bharti’s 50% stake in their joint venture begun in 2007 to operate cash and carry wholesale stores branded as Best Price Modern Wholesale. At the time, that was the only sector of retail where Indian law allowed for foreign direct investment. The first Best Price store opened in 2009 and today there are 20 units spread throughout India.

Until a change in Indian law last year, Wal-Mart was precluded from owning a majority stake in other retail operations that directly served consumers. However, even with the change, foreign retailers balked at increasing their investments because of an unworkable stipulation that required foreign retailers to purchase 30% of merchandise from local small and medium-size businesses.

“Through Walmart’s investment in India, including our cash and carry business, supply chain infrastructure, direct farm program and supplier development, we want to serve India and its people, and continue to make important social and environmental contributions to the country,” Walmart Asia president and CEO Scott Price said in a statement announcing the separation from Bharti.

Wal-Mart is committed to businesses that serve members and provide good returns for our shareholders, and will continue to advocate for investment conditions that allow FDI multi-brand retail in India, according to Price.

Commenting on its separation from Wal-Mart, Bharti Enterprises vice chairman Rajan Bharti Mittal said, “Bharti is committed to building a world-class retail venture and will continue to invest in Bharti Retail across all formats. We believe that with our current footprint of 212 stores, we have a strong platform to significantly grow the business and delight customers.”

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REAL ESTATE

Bon-Ton Stores enters Utah

BY Vivian Lee

New York — The Bon-Ton Stores has signed a lease with Rouse Properties for a new Herberger’s store at Cache Valley Mall in Logan, Utah — its first in the state.

The company expects to begin remodeling the 62,000-sq.-ft. facility in early spring 2014 and to be completed in the second half of 2014.

“We are excited to be entering both a new market and a new state through this latest transaction with Rouse Properties. We believe this is an attractive market for a Herberger’s store and will enhance the overall shopping experience for consumers in this market.”

The Herberger’s store, which will feature a full merchandise assortment, including home, will join J.C. Penney and T.J. Maxx as anchors at the center. In addition, Cache Valley Mall is also home to several specialty stores, including Aeropostale, American Eagle, Buckle, The Children’s Place, Rue21, Bath & Body Works and Justice.

The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc., with corporate headquarters in York, Pa., and Milwaukee, Wis., operates 272 department stores, which includes 10 furniture galleries, in 25 states in the Northeast, Midwest and upper Great Plains under the Bon-Ton, Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers nameplates. The department stores offer a broad assortment of national and private brand fashion apparel and accessories for women, men and children, as well as cosmetics and home furnishings.

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REAL ESTATE

Overstock.com opens fulfillment center in Jonestown, Pa.

BY Michael Fickes

Salt Lake City — Overstock.com has announced the opening of a distribution center in Jonestown, Pa. The new operation will enable faster fulfillment through state-of-the-art warehouse technologies, while providing room for growth. The new center will fill orders to customers from Maine to Florida within two days.

Initially, the Jonestown warehouse will bring 15 jobs to the area with additional jobs as the operation grows over the next few years. The company’s primary warehouse will remain in Salt Lake City.

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