REAL ESTATE

Sheetz to open 30 units in 2015 as convenience store channel continues to expand

BY Marianne Wilson

Alexandria, Va. — The ranks of the nation’s convenience stores continue to grow, increasing to 152,794 stores at year end, up nearly 1% from the year prior, according to the 2015 NACS/Nielsen Convenience Industry Store Count. And 2015 is expected to be another busy year: Pennsylvania-based Sheetz plans to open 30 locations in 2015. The chain, which recently opened its 500th location, has said it now sees the potential to double in size.

In addition, Sheetz is testing a 15,000-sq.-ft. grocery store and café concept aimed at college students in Morgantown, West Virginia. More than triple the size of a traditional Sheetz, the new location has indoor and outdoor seating for 100 people. It is located on the ground floor of University Place, a new mixed-use residential and retail complex a few blocks from West Virginia University's downtown campus.

Convenience stores account for 33.9% of all U.S. retail outlets, significantly higher than the U.S. total of other retail channels including drug stores (41,799 stores), supermarket/supercenter (41,529 stores) and dollar stores (26,572 stores), according to the study.

Among the states, Texas continues to lead in store count with 15,434 stores. The rest of the top 10 states for convenience stores are California (11,403), Florida (9,810), New York (8,247), Georgia (6,766), North Carolina (6,301), Ohio (5,539), Michigan, (4,907), Illinois (4,670) and Pennsylvania (4,604), which nudged Virginia out of the top 10.

The convenience retailing industry has roughly doubled in size over the last three decades. At year-end 1984, the store count was 85,300 stores, at year-end 1994 the store count was 98,200 stores and at year-end 2004 the store count was 138,205 stores.

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Ross Stores opening 90 stores in 2015

BY Marianne Wilson

Dublin, Calif. — Ross Stores recently opened 32 Ross Dress for Less stores and five dd’s Discounts locations across 15 different states. The openings are part of the off-price retailer’s 2015 expansion plans to open a total of approximately 90 stores in 2015 (70 Ross and 20 dd’s Discounts).

“These openings reflect our ongoing plans to further increase our presence in existing markets while also expanding in the newer markets which we entered back in 2011,” said Jim Fassio, president and chief development officer. “The 37 stores we recently opened include locations in our largest states of California, Texas and Florida, where we are still able to take advantage of attractive sites to further strengthen our market share.”

Ross’ spring opening plans also includes additional stores in the chain’s newer markets of Illinois, Kentucky and Indiana.

“Looking ahead, we continue to identify future growth opportunities across all of our markets, giving us confidence that Ross Dress for Less can ultimately grow to 2,000 locations and dd’s Discounts can eventually become a chain of 500 stores.”

Ross currently operates 1,242 locations in 33 states.

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Bonobos to open 4,000-sq.-ft. flagship in Manhattan

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Bonobos, the online-driven men’s clothing brand, keeps expanding its physical presence. The company announced plans to opens its largest location to date, in Manhattan’s Flatiron District. The 4,000-sq.-ft. “Guideshop (which is how Bonbos refers to its brick-and-mortar spaces) is slated to open in June. It will be the brand’s seventeenth location nationwide and fourth in New York City, following the expected openings of Guideshops in Newport Beach, California, and Brookfield Place, New York City, in March.

“The Bonobos team is thrilled to open our highest profile Guideshop in the heart of one of Manhattan’s most prominent shopping destinations, just blocks from our headquarters,” said Andy Dunn, CEO and founder of Bonobos. “We’re excited to introduce our phenomenal brand and revolutionary way of shopping on the world stage and to meet our guy where he works, lives, and plays downtown.”

Launched online in 2007 with its signature line of well-fitted men's pants, Bonobos has expanded its offerings over the years to include a full range of menswear, including outerwear. The Guideshops offers shoppers the opportunity to see and try on the clothing in-person before placing an order on the company’s website – which can be completed on-site or at home. They can also take advantage of the on-site stylists for wardobing advice.

Justin Fantasia, an associate at RKF, represented the tenant and negotiated the lease on their behalf. RKF VP Beth Rosen and managing director Richard Gelber represented the landlord, an affiliate of KLM Equities Inc., in the 10-year lease. Kenneth Cole previously occupied the space.

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