STORE SPACES

Call for entries: SPECS Tank

BY CSA Staff

Chain Store Age’s 2018 SPECS Conference is looking for a few innovative ideas.

This year’s SPECS (March 18-20, Gaylord Texan, Grapevine, Texas) program will feature a special edition of “SPECS Tank” that will feature up to six contestants vying for the title of “SPECS Tank Innovator of the Year.” Retailers and exhibiting suppliers who have developed an idea, solution or product that has not been mass-produced and is intended for use in retail design, construction, or facilities management are encouraged to enter and show off their ingenuity. Selected contestants will demonstrate the product concept, mock-up or solution to the panel of judges, and will have approximately three minutes to quickly explain the product or solution, what it does, and how it would be used. To enter, click here.

The judges will select their favorite product/solution among the group, and the winner will be honored as “SPECS Tank Innovator of the Year” and receive $1,000. Each of the remaining finalists will receive $100.

The contest is open to all retailers as well as suppliers that are exhibiting at SPECS 2018. The deadline for entries is February 1, 2018. If you have any questions, email Katherine Boccaccio at [email protected]

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Happy Returns opens NYC flagship

BY Marianne Wilson

A concept dedicated to in-person returns for online retailers has made its Big Apple debut.

Happy Returns has opened a Return Bar flagship in the Rockefeller Center retail concourse. The location joins a national network of more than 50 Return Bar locations in 14 metro areas. The sites are located in shopping centers, independent boutiques, and other convenient spots.

“Since the moment we launched in Los Angeles, we have fielded a steady stream of requests from both retailers and shoppers to open a Return Bar in New York City,” said David Sobie, co-founder and CEO of Happy Returns. “We appreciated that New York required a different approach, and are thrilled to be opening in an iconic location that serves as both a transportation hub and a retail destination.”

Happy Returns’ new Manhattan location represents its first collaboration with Tishman Speyer, the owner of Rockefeller Center. The companies also intend to offer Happy Returns as part of Zo, Tishman Speyer’s comprehensive suite of amenities and services for its office tenants.

For more on Happy Returns, click here.

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Sears announces yet another major store closing move

BY Marianne Wilson

Sears Holding Co. is lowering the ax — again.

The embattled retailer on Thursday told employees that it plans to shutter 103 additional stores in 2018, consisting of 64 Kmart stores and 39 Sears locations. This is in addition to the previously announced 63 Sears/Kmart locations scheduled to close at the end of this month.

The new round of closings is expected to take place between early March and April, with liquidation sales starting as early as Jan. 12.

“Sears Holdings continues its strategic assessment of the productivity of our Kmart and Sears store base and will continue to right size our store footprint in number and size,” the company said in a statement. “In the process, as previously announced we will continue to close some unprofitable stores as we transform our business model so that our physical store footprint and our digital capabilities match the needs and preferences of our members.”

The upcoming round of closures will leave the department store retailer with 875 locations. That is down from 3,510 six years ago, according to Business Insider.

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