REAL ESTATE

Discount fashion chain in U.S. expansion

BY Marianne Wilson

A budget fast-fashion retailer with no online presence is expanding its U.S. portfolio.

Primark will open a location at King’s Plaza Mall in Brooklyn, New York, on Saturday, July 7. The 57,900 -sq.-ft. store will feature women’s, men’s and children’s wear items along with home goods, beauty products and gifts.

Featuring a contemporary and upbeat design, the store will feature 56 fitting rooms and 42 registers, access to free WiFi and four customer recharge seating areas. Primark, a division of Associated British Foods PLC, is known for its on-trend family fashions and extremely low prices. The chain does not sell online, saying that selling online would not be cost effective given how low its prices are.

With the opening of the Brooklyn store, Primark will have nine locations in the United States, all in the Northeast. It plans to open two additional outposts later this year, with one at Sawgrass Mills, Sunrise, Florida. The retailer, which has 352 stores throughout Europe, made its U.S. debut in 2015, in Boston.

In an interview with Reuters, AB Foods CEO George Weston said the company is “quietly encouraged” by what it is seeing so far with regards to Primark’s U.S. stores.

“We continue to learn … but it’s still very early days,” he said.

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Restoration Hardware unveils Nashville showplace

BY Marianne Wilson

RH (Restoration Hardware) continues to combine physical retail with hospitality — and to spare no expense in doing it.

The upscale home furnishings retailer’s newest location — RH Nashville, The Gallery at Green Hills — is a four-level luxury destination, with over 70,000 sq. ft. of interior and exterior space, including a lush rooftop park, lounges an upscale café, and a design studio. It also sells merchandise, with artistic vignettes of home furnishings in gallery settings.

“RH Nashville reflects our ongoing quest to revolutionize physical retailing by seamlessly integrating food, wine, art and design,” said RH chairman and CEO Gary Friedman. “We don’t build retail stores. We build inspiring spaces that blur the lines between residential and retail, indoors and outdoors, home and hospitality – spaces that activate all of the senses, and cannot be replicated online.”

The Nashville location also showcases contemporary art from the General Public x RH collection, an art curation and publishing company founded by actress and artist Portia de Rossi. Nearly four dozen works from emerging and established painters across the globe are featured. The new venture uses “synograph” technology to produce 3-D prints that capture reproductions of original works, including the texture and brushwork of paintings, that they are nearly indistinguishable from the original. General Public’s first retail partnership is with RH.

RH Nashville features a charcoal grey Venetian plaster exterior, with an expanse of glass-and-steel French doors.

A striking lounge space, called the Wine Vault, with elegant banquette seating and iridescent gold, groin-vaulted ceilings is located on the main level. The adjoining RH Café is located beneath a soaring glass atrium with a 12-ft. central fountain. A barista bar adjoins the far side of the café.

To move to the upper floors, visitors will ascend one of two glass-enclosed staircases, each with a spectacular installation of crystal Helix chandeliers hanging 65 ft. overhead. Level two features the design atelier – a 6,500-sq.-ft. studio anchored by four, 10-ft. custom tables offering a fully integrated workspace for customers, designers and architects.

An 11,000-sq.-ft. garden space on the rooftop starts in a glass and steel structure with towering banana palms, Mediterranean olive trees, exotic succulents and 18-ft. ceilings at its apex. The indoor space opens onto a rooftop with sculptural evergreen hedging, geometric topiaries and white crepe myrtle trees set within colossal steel planters accented with blue star juniper. The destination features open-air pavilions, chandeliers fountains that enhance the vignettes of RH’s outdoor collections.

RH Nashville marks Friedman’s ongoing collaboration with design architect James Gillam of Backen, Gillam & Kroeger.

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CBRE: Investors bullish on outlet centers

BY CSA Staff

Commercial real estate investors have traditionally shied away from the outlet retail sector, but that’s beginning to change, according to two CBRE executives.

“An influx of new players is beginning to broaden the sector and spark conversations about its key attributes. I’ve seen multiple private equity groups and pension funds underwriting outlet offerings,” CBRE executive VP Richard Frolik told GlobeSt.com.

Frolik’s colleague Phil Voorhees added that outlet centers have always offered great value — a key component of the 21st Century retail equation—and are beginning to catch up in other areas.

“CBRE expects that outlet centers will add quick-casual restaurant, beverage, and even service uses over time, blurring the line between traditional outlet centers and conventional retail,” Voorees said.

Outlet centers embrace of digital marketing alternatives have endeared them to millennial shoppers and new racetrack designs and interactive display directories make the shopping experience easier for Baby Boomers, said Frolik, who noted that 20 new outlet centers have come on-stream in the last four years.

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