REAL ESTATE

Walmart opens second superstore store in Chicago

BY Marianne Wilson

New York City — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Wednesday opened its second supercenter and fifth location overall in Chicago.

The opening of the 157,000-sq.-ft. store, located on the city’s South Side, followed the resolution of a seven-year battle between the retailer and the city’s labor unions and community activists. But sentiment changed as the recession-weakened economy and high unemployment supported Wal-Mart’s case for opening stores in Chicago that would create jobs and bring in sales tax revenue. The chain also agreed to pay Chicago employees at least $8.75 an hour, which is 50 cents above Illinois’ minimum wage.

Wal-Mart slated to open a third supercenter in Chicago next year, on the city’s Far South Side.

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REAL ESTATE

U.K. chain Bonmarche to shutter 160 U.K. stores

BY Katherine Boccaccio

London — A report released Tuesday by Bloomberg said that U.K. clothing chain Bonmarche will close as many as 160 out of 390 stores after its owner Peacock Group sold the chain to an affiliate of Sun European Partners.

KPMG administrated the transaction; the new buyer said that about 2,400 of 3,800 jobs will be retained.

The report said that KPMG had been seeking a buyer for Bonmarche since being appointed earlier this month as administrator to Peacock, which also owns Peacock’s Stores Ltd., a U.K. discount apparel chain.

Sun European VP Matthias Gundlach said in a statement that the company is “confident in putting a sustainable growth program in place and working with the management team to develop the business successfully.”

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REAL ESTATE

CBL to renovate four major malls in 2012

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Chattanooga, Tenn. — CBL & Associates Properties announced that in 2012 it will complete multimillion dollar renovations at four market-dominant CBL Malls, with projects scheduled for Cross Creek Mall in Fayetteville, N.C.; Post Oak Mall in College Station, Texas; Turtle Creek Mall in Hattiesburg, Miss.; and Mall del Norte in Laredo, Texas.

The renovations are expected to be completed by the end of 2012.

“We have always believed that it is important to invest in the ongoing success of our properties and are pleased to continue that commitment with our 2012 renovation program,” said Stephen Lebovitz, president and CEO.

Cross Creek Mall will receive contemporary design improvements including updated entrances, paint, new interior décor and graphics, upgraded restrooms and amenities, and new landscaping. The renovation work at Mall del Norte will complete a series of upgrades started in 2007. Turtle Creek Mall’s renovation will include new carpet and tile throughout, paint, lighting and restroom upgrades, as well as landscaping improvements. The renovation at Post Oak Mall will involve modern updates including new flooring and paint as well as all new amenities such as soft seating areas and décor, updated entrances, and lighting. In addition, the food courts at Cross Creek Mall, Turtle Creek Mall and Post Oak Mall will receive completely new designs, including new tables and chairs.

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