REAL ESTATE

Wal-Mart pilots convenience concept

BY Staff Writer

Bentonville, Ark. – Wal-Mart is piloting a new small format convenience concept called “Walmart To Go.” The first Walmart To Go store has opened in Bentonville, Ark., location of the retailer’s corporate headquarters.

The concept offers a blend of convenience store products, prepared foods and gasoline. Wal-Mart says it is not to be confused with its other small format concept known as Walmart Express. The Express format measures about 15,000-sq.-ft. and also offers gas, a pharmacy and fresh food offerings. The Walmart To Go store bears the same name as a home delivery grocery service the company launched in 2011 in San Francisco and expanded to Denver in 2013.

As retail tests go Walmart won’t get a true read on the viability of the concept until it is exposed to competition in a market where the shopper base is not distorted by those who work for or sell products to Walmart. The proximity to the retailer’s headquarters ensures that a large percentage of those visiting the store will have some type of Walmart affiliation. Also of note is the fact that the most meaningful competition for Walmart To Go will come from other Wal-Mart formats. A Wal-Mart supercenter with a gas station is located adjacent to Wal-Mart’s headquarters and a 45,000-sq.-ft. Neighborhood Market store, which is also designed to satisfy shoppers’ convenience needs, opened last year and is less than a mile from the new Walmart To Go.

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REAL ESTATE

Gap to open five Old Navy franchise stores in Philippines

BY Dan Berthiaume

San Francisco — Gap Inc. plans to open five franchise-operated Old Navy stores in the Philippines in 2014. The first two Old Navy stores will open in Manila in March and there are plans to open three more stores in the second half of the year for a total of five Old Navy stores in 2014.

The first of two Old Navy stores, a dedicated three-story building, will open in the heart of Manila’s fashion and shopping district, Bonifacio High Street, on March 22. The second store will open in the prominent Glorietta mall on March 29.

The three additional Old Navy stores are targeted to open in the Manila area in the second half of 2014 in new and existing developments. Old Navy is partnering with Stores Specialists, Inc. to open the stores, which already operates Gap brand and Banana Republic stores in the Philippines.

“The Philippines is a natural fit for Old Navy as the country has a strong and growing economy, and consumers in the market are interested in iconic American apparel brands,” said Blair Dunn, general manager, Old Navy franchise. “Through local partners we have immediate access to a deep understanding of the marketplace and consumer needs.”

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Banana Republic to open in Yonkers, N.Y., development

BY Dan Berthiaume

Yonkers, N.Y. – Banana Republic will become a new retailer at the Ridge Hill shopping center in Yonkers, N.Y. Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC), the developer and owner of Ridge Hill, said the Banana Republic location will open beneath the center’s Uniqlo store.

“We are thrilled to be adding these terrific new stores to the existing mix of outstanding shops, restaurants and entertainment venues at Ridge Hill,” said Kathryn Welch, executive VP and director of retail development at Forest City Ratner. “Banana Republic, Anthony Vince Nail Spa, and the soon-to-be-open Little Buddha restaurant are great examples of Ridge Hill’s commitment to combining shopping and dining with services desired by our clientele. They are all spectacular additions for 2014.”

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