REAL ESTATE

Whole Foods co-chief sets goal of 1,000 U.S. stores

BY Staff Writer

Austin — Whole Foods Market co-CEO Walter Robb told investors at a Jefferies Global Consumer Conference that the now-300-store chain is expected to grow to 1,000 stores in the United States.

The organic grocer sees opportunity in Canada as well, and Robb said it expects to grow its store count there from six to 35.

As reported by Reuters on Wednesday, Robb said the tumult in the commercial property market has created opportunities for companies looking to expand, and Whole Foods has identified locations where it "can put some bets down and take advantage of that," Robb said. However, he added, the chain has left itself flexibility room to exit leases should the economy significantly worsen.

"We have some contingency plans so that if we needed to, we could slow down," said Robb, who added that leases now include exit and buyout clauses.

Robb said Whole Foods would give more detail on growth plans on the company’s next quarterly earnings call.

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REAL ESTATE

Best Buy to sublet store space to smaller retailers

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Minneapolis — Elaborating on previously announced plans to downsize its brick-and-mortar footprint, Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn said this week that the electronics retailer is launching plans to wall off parts of its big-box stores and sublease the space to smaller retailers, such as grocers, beauty supply stores, home furnishing outlets and others.

According to a Thursday report in the Los Angeles Times, Dunn said at the company’s annual shareholder’s meeting that the chain can “reduce our overall square footage while actually increasing our presence. It’s an opportunity to capture cost savings and get ourselves ‘right size,’" he said.

According to the report, Best Buy hopes to lease out between 4,000 sq. ft. and 15,000 sq. ft. at its 46 stores in Southern California. Prospective tenants might include Trader Joe’s or Sephora, according to local brokers.

Click here to read the entire article.

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STORE SPACES

Rite Aid: Remodel 500 stores by fiscal year end

BY Staff Writer

Camp Hill, Pa. — On the heels of its report that it narrowed its loss in the fiscal first quarter to $65.5 million, Rite Aid Corp. said it plans to remodel 500 stores by the end of its fiscal year. It will also close 50 more locations, which would give it a total of about 4,650 stores.

By format, at the end of the first quarter Rite Aid had 51 “value stores,” which offer less expensive merchandise and a smaller variety of items. It has 10 “grocery” format stores in South Carolina, which have added grocery sections through a partnership with Supervalu. The companies said they may expand that format to more locations.

Rite Aid has also opened eight “wellness” stores, featuring a variety of organic food, natural personal care items and homeopathic products.

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