REAL ESTATE

Walgreens opens Boston flagship

BY Michael Johnsen

Deerfield, Ill. — Walgreens on Wednesday will celebrate the official opening of its latest flagship, located at School and Washington streets in Boston. The store is located in an old Borders store.

“Walgreens is thrilled to provide a flagship location — unlike any traditional drug store — in the thriving and resilient Downtown Crossing neighborhood,” stated Mark Wagner, Walgreens president of operations and community management. “We are transforming into a retail health and daily living destination that offers our customers unique and exceptional experiences to help them get, stay and live well.”

In recognition of the work by first responders following the tragic events earlier this month in the Boston area, Walgreens is presenting donations during the May 1 grand-opening ceremony totaling more than $100,000 to the following local organizations: Boston Police Relief Association, Boston Fire Department Children’s Fund, Boston EMS Relief Association and One Fund Boson.

The new store will showcase the "Boston Moves Kiosk." For consumers who interact with the Boston Moves portal, Walgreens gives residents the opportunity to join the city’s health initiative to lose 1 million pounds and move 10 million miles. The kiosk also lets users enroll in Balance Rewards, Walgreens customer loyalty program.

The store’s expanded features also include an enhanced pharmacy designed to encourage greater interaction between pharmacists and patients. The pharmacy also features an “Ask Your Pharmacist” desk, consultation rooms and an Express Rx kiosk for convenient checkout.

A LOOK Boutique beauty department featuring many prestige and niche cosmetic, skincare and hair care brands not typically found in drug stores is nearby. The beauty section will also display a broad selection of Britain’s leading skincare brand, No7, created by Boots. Specially-trained beauty advisors are on hand to offer guidance finding the best solutions for individual needs.

Befitting a flagship store, Walgreens will provide a robust selection of beer, wine and spirits and quality products appropriate to celebrate special occasions. A Beverage Wizard kiosk provides food and beverage pairing recommendations. And an outdoor café that acts as an extension of the interior space will feature patio seating.

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REAL ESTATE

Golfsmith enters South Carolina

BY Marianne Wilson

Columbia, S.C. — Golfsmith International is opening its first South Carolina store, in the state capital of Columbia, with a grand opening celebration on May 3 to May 5.

The 23,500-sq.-ft. store is part of Golfsmith’s aggressive growth strategy in the Carolinas. Adding to its current Raleigh location, the company recently expanded with new stores in Charlotte and Greensboro — with another new store opening in Myrtle Beach later this spring.

The Columbia store has four high-tech golf simulators and an expansive indoor putting green that enable customers to experience the latest equipment. The new location also features GolfTEC, a state-of-the-art in-store improvement center, with PGA teaching professionals and certified coaches to help golfers improve their games.

"Our new Columbia store is nestled between two iconic Southeast golf destinations — Myrtle Beach and Augusta — with some of the state’s most popular courses nearby. It’s a great location for establishing our presence in South Carolina," said Sue Gove, Golfsmith International president and CEO.

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REAL ESTATE

Uniqlo looks to more openings in fall

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Uniqlo is taking a breather … but only a short one. The Japanese fashion retailer opened its seventh U.S. store — and its first in an outdoor lifestyle center location — on April 19, at Westchester’s Ridge Hill in Yonkers, N.Y. The two-level, 24,000-sq-ft. store comes on the heels of Uniqlo opening at Palisades Center in West Nyack, N.Y., in March. What’s next for the powerhouse brand that has made no secret of its intention to expand across the nation, with 200 stores by 2020?

“We expect to have quite a few stores opening for fall,” Larry Meyer, COO, Uniqlo USA, told Chain Store Age at the unveiling of the company’s LifeWear 2013 Fall/Winter collection. Meyer declined to give specifics, but said the retailer was working on completing leases for various projects. He also said he will be attending the International Council of Shopping Center’s annual RECon event this May in Las Vegas.

“Our development will be in deliberate markets on a market-by-market basis,” Meyer said. “That’s the way we will expand in the U.S.”

While the company will open more flagships “where the opportunity presents itself,” Meyer said, the chain is concentrating on locations in malls, lifestyle centers and other types of centers. Its mall footprint is about 10,000 sq.ft.

Meyer joined Uniqlo this past January. He was previously executive VP and CFO of Forever 21, where he helped grow the brand into a fast-fashion phenomenon and led its entry into Europe. Meyer’s appointment at Uniqlo was viewed throughout the industry as a reflection of the company’s commitment to the U.S. market.

“My role is to build a team that will work in concert with Uniqlo’s Tokyo headquarters and to expand the company within the United States,” Meyer said.

In addition to the stores in Yonkers and West Nyack, Uniqlo has three locations in New York City, one in Paramus, N.J., and one in San Francisco.

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