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Report: Target plans solar expansion

BY Dan Berthiaume

Minneapolis – Target Corp. is reportedly planning to expand upon existing solar plans for its North Carolina store base. According to the Charlotte Business Journal, Target has added eight stores to the existing 19 stores in the state it plans to equip with rooftop solar panels.

The 27 stores would generate about 10.5 megawatts of solar energy per year. Filings with the North Carolina Utilities Commission indicate Target will add at least two more stores in the state to its solar list. Target currently operates 49 stores in North Carolina.

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Charming Charlie looks beyond North America

BY Dan Berthiaume

Houston – Specialty retailer Charming Charlie is setting its sights beyond its North American store base. Charming Charlie opened the brand’s first locations outside of North America with two new retail stores in Dubai.

The stores, located at City Centre Mirdif and Ibn Battuta Mall, are operated by Apparel Group, Charming Charlie’s first international licensing partner, which has further growth planned for the brand in Qatar this year.

The Charming Charlie stores in Dubai offer a full range of product including fashion jewelry, handbags, small leather goods, scarves, watches, sunglasses, a special occasion collection, and more. Each location showcases the brand’s newest retail concept with signature double doors in vibrant pink lacquer and a residential-style interior that mixes feminine, mid-century accents with luxe materials and whimsical details.

“Dubai is the quintessential shopping destination in the Middle East and an ideal location for worldwide visibility as Charming Charlie begins to evolve into a global lifestyle brand,” said Charlie Chanaratsopon, founder and CEO of Charming Charlie. “Partnering with Apparel Group, a proven retailer with a strong track record and invaluable expertise, enables us to provide a localized experience for our consumers as well as accelerate our growth in the region.”

Opening as many as 55 stores in the U.S. each year, Charming Charlie’s movement into the Middle East marks the beginning of a significant transformation as it evolves into a global brand.

"Brand expansion has always been a key factor in Apparel Group's growth strategy and we’re excited to be launching our new partnership with Charming Charlie in the Gulf region,” said Nilesh Ved, chairman of Apparel Group. “We believe that there is strong demand across the Middle East for Charming Charlie's chic, effortless style, incredible value and fun shopping experience.”

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Report: Check the hours on that ‘24-hour’ Wal-Mart

BY Dan Berthiaume

Bentonville, Ark. – Shoppers who frequent 24-hour Wal-Mart locations may want to double-check the opening and closing times. According to Bloomberg, Wal-Mart will begin closing about forty 24-hour stores in areas including Philadelphia, New Jersey and Maryland for a few hours each night.

This expands upon the nighttime closures of about 25 other 24-hour Wal-Marts, which began earlier this year. Wal-Mart plans to use the downtime for activities such as stocking shelves and preparing store floors for customers.

While employees who had been working overnight shifts to perform tasks such as stocking and cleaning will not have their hours changed, overnight employees who performed customer-facing duties such as checkout will be offered new positions in the same store or other stores. Affected full-time employees who have had their job for more than a year will be eligible for severance.

In addition to fitting into Wal-Mart’s program to improve the store experience with features like better-stocked shelves, the closures could also provide benefits such as reduced shrinkage and also a reduction in the number of hours it pays employee wages. Wal-Mart is in the process of boosting the minimum wage it pays store associates.

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