REAL ESTATE

Phillips Edison forms $4 billion grocery-focused REIT

BY Al Urbanski

Phillips Edison, one of the nation’s largest owners and operators of grocery-anchored shopping centers, has formed a new $4 billion REIT focused on this still-growing sector of physical retail.

The Phillips Edison Grocery Center REIT I was formed with the acquisition of certain real estate assets and third-party management businesses of its former sponsor and external advisor, Phillips Edison Limited Partnership.

The new enterprise will manage a portfolio of 235 centers across 32 states, representing more than 26 million sq. ft. of retail space.

“This strategic acquisition allows us to benefit from one of retail real estate’s most comprehensive and successful operating platforms, which was built over the past 25 years,” said chairman and CEO Jeff Edison in an official company statement. “We are now better able to capitalize on growth in the grocery-anchored shopping center industry by gaining scale through our portfolio [and] our asset management business.”

Necessity-based centers, the company noted, “have proven to be both internet and recession resilient.”

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ARTICLE

Off-price retailer completes aggressive growth plan

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Ross Stores has spent the fall in growth mode.

The specialty retailer recently completed its aggressive expansion strategy, which included opening 30 Ross Dress for Less stores and 10 dd’s Discounts stores across 22 different states in September and October. The stores opened across both new and existing markets, and nearly half of the company’s Ross store openings are positioned in the retailer’s newest market – the Midwest.

These new locations complete the company’s store growth plans for fiscal 2017.

“Overall, the company now operates over 1,400 Ross and over 200 dd’s Discounts locations,” said Jim Fassio, president and chief development officer.

“Looking ahead, we continue to believe there is plenty of opportunity to further expand our store base given consumers’ ongoing focus on value,” he added. “We remain confident that, over the long-term, Ross can grow to 2,000 locations and dd’s can become a chain of 500 stores.”

With these additions, the off-price apparel and home fashion chain now operates 1,412 locations in 37 states, the District of Columbia and Guam.

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Global retail leaders work together to meet upcoming data regulations

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Retailers across the globe are committed to protecting their customers’ personal data — and now they are one step closer to that end.

The National Retail Federation and EuroCommerce announced on Monday they are working together to develop a common approach on implementing new European data protection regulations. The move works to address the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), adopted by the European Parliament and Council in April 2016, which will create a single law on data protection across Europe.

“This cooperative effort will help retailers on both sides of the Atlantic prepare their businesses for implementation of the regulations with a retail-specific approach that continues the seamless operations and personalized shopping experiences our customers expect,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay.

Once the GDPR comes into force in May 2018, retailers with storefronts, websites, mobile apps or other digital platforms serving customers will face new compliance standards, additional administrative burdens and liability for violations as well as more stringent enforcement penalties. This will significantly impact European companies, as well any business outside of Europe that collect data on European customers.

The NRF and EuroCommerce reached an agreement during the first of two days of meetings in Brussels, which hosted members of both organizations, as well as U.S. government and European officials and European-based retailers. They discussed all issues impacting the retail industry, including data portability, consumers’ “right to erasure” and having their data removed under the GDPR, gaining data subjects’ consent, profiling and dealing with data breaches. EuroCommerce and NRF held a similar meeting last year to address issues of common concern to retailers on both sides of the Atlantic.

“Consumers want confidence that their data is being treated with care and protected by those holding it,” said EuroCommerce director-general Christian Verschueren.

“By working together, we are looking to ensure that we can implement the regulations in a way which serves all of our customers’ interests,” Verschueren added. “We hope that our transatlantic cooperation can pave the way for a global approach that serves both the privacy concerns of citizens and the competitiveness of industry.”

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