OPERATIONS

Zale appoints new real estate head

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Dallas — Zale Corp. said Monday it has appointed Subha Ramesh as senior VP real estate, effective immediately.

Ramesh, who will report to chief administrative officer Matt Appel, was previously senior VP of Hilco Real Estate. Prior to that, she spent eight years at Limited Brands as senior VP real estate and as VP real estate for Intimate Brands.

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FINANCE

Toys ‘R’ Us expands Asian foothold with strategic acquisition

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Wayne, N.J. — Toys “R” Us announced Tuesday a joint venture with Li & Fung Retailing that will expand Toys “R” Us in Southeast Asia and Greater China.

With the new agreement, the existing Toys “R” Us licensed operations throughout Asia, consisting of more than 100 stores and offices across nine markets, will become 70% majority owned and controlled by Toys “R” Us and 30% owned by Li & Fung Retailing.

Effective immediately, the joint venture will include 90 existing Toys “R” Us stores in Brunei, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand, increasing the chain’s number of wholly owned international units by 17%.

A remaining 14 stores in the Philippines, and Macau, will continue to be operated under a license agreement.

“We believe there is significant growth opportunity for our company in this region, and we look forward to an aggressive expansion of our business in both existing and new Asian markets, including Northern China,” said Jerry Storch, chairman and CEO, Toys “R” Us. “International growth remains a key part of our long-term business strategy, and we are proud to celebrate this important milestone for our company.”

The joint venture will include ownership and oversight of office operations in seven markets, as well as the regional headquarters in Hong Kong. More than 350 employees who had previously been part of the licensed operation will now become Toys “R” Us employees, and the existing eight DCs in Asia will be used to stock Toys “R” Us stores.

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STORE SPACES

Macy’s to invest $400 million to renovate Herald Square flagship

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York City — Macy’s announced it plans to spend about $400 million over the next four years to remodel and update its legendary store at Herald Square in Manhattan.

As part of the project, the store’s space will be expanded by 100,000-sq.-ft., giving it a total of 1.2 million sq. ft. of selling space. The additional space will result from opening up space currently used for stock and offices and extending the mezzanine level in the Broadway Building.

Work will begin in early spring 2012 and continue in phases through the fall of 2015. The majority of every floor, every department and the exterior of the building will be improved over the life of the project.

Macy’s said the store will remain open and operating during construction, with the location of some departments shifting temporarily as work progresses.

“The excitement, size and scale of this remodel reinforces our conviction that Macy’s Herald Square is and will remain a retail store in a class by itself,” said Terry J. Lundgren, Macy’s president and CEO.

“It is our company’s most productive store, and experience shows that improvements in this location consistently result in higher customer traffic and sales volume.”

Lundgren added that, although Macy’s will be modernizing the space, the company will “be careful to preserve and restore the historical integrity of this landmark building.”

Key elements of the remodel project include:

  • A new hall of luxury brands, a series of two- and three-level shops in the Broadway Building. The current Louis Vuitton shop will be updated and enlarged to multiple floors. Other new shops to be announced will be added to expand the luxury shopping experience, including handbags and shoes.
  • Creating the world’s largest women’s shoe department – a total of 39,000 sq. ft. of continuous selling space (63,000 sq. ft. including stockrooms) on the second floor. Part of the footwear space will be an all-new concept for a coffee/wine/chocolate bar.
  • Restoring the first floor “great hall” with an all-new presentation of cosmetics, fragrances and fine jewelry that will incorporate the most advanced thinking on merchandising.
  • Creating an entirely new Impulse presentation of contemporary apparel and accessories for the millennial customer.
  • Creating an entirely new “mstylelab” presentation of juniors and young men’s in the Lower Level. Also incorporated into the Lower Level will be a complex of casual dining experiences, including concepts created by Macy’s Culinary Council of celebrity chefs and a brew pub that will remain open beyond normal store hours.
  • A significant expansion and enhancement of men’s merchandise, which will grow to cover about 200,000 sq. ft. of selling space over seven floors of the Seventh Avenue Building.
  • Infusing technology and new media into the shopping experience throughout the store, including interactive store directories, a system to stream live video feeds of Macy’s events nationwide, digital product information, an enhanced shoe locator system, new wayfinding signage and a new mobile app to guide customers as they shop.
  • A restoration of the store’s exterior to re-capture its original grandeur and take full advantage of foot traffic along America’s top retailing block.
  • Expanding and upgrading amenities. Nearly 300 additional fitting rooms will be added over the next four years. Restroom facilities will be added and improved.
  • Operating systems to improve environmental sustainability, including a new state-of-the-art energy management system and expanded use of LED lighting, that is expected to reduce annual energy use by 15% to 20%.
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