STORE SPACES

Retail design firm FRCH in merger

BY Marianne Wilson

FRCH Design Worldwide has joined forces with one of the largest architecture firms in the country.

Nelson announced it has merged operations with FRCH. The newly combined organization has 25 offices with more than 1,100 employees, providing service to current and prospective clients in every region of the country

John “Ozzie” Nelson Jr., chairman and CEO of Nelson, and Jim Tippmann, CEO of FRCH, will lead the new organization as Co-CEOs. Nelson will also serve as chairman of the newly created board, and remain the majority shareholder.

“FRCH’s expertise and 50 years of experience in creating award-winning retail, hospitality, restaurant, entertainment and retail mixed-use environments and innovative consumer experiences is not only complementary to our organization, but positions us to respond to the changing disruption across multiple industries,” said Nelson. “For Nelson’s vast global solutions clients, this merger adds both geographic coverage and an elevated focus on brand, experience, and creative design.”

Over the coming months, both companies will work to further integrate their expanded service offering to provide clients with the full benefit of this merger. With the merger, FRCH has become ‘FRCH a Nelson Company.’

“Merging with Nelson provides our organization and clients with a stronger regional presence offering not only relevant depth of practice area expertise, but more reach nationally to be closer to our clients so that we are there when they need us,” said Tippmann.

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Walgreens to debut new store format

BY Michael Johnsen

Walgreens will unveil the first iteration of its new store format later this spring or in early summer, executives said at the 36th Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference.

It will mark the first major overhaul of the core Walgreens format since it finalized its merger with Alliance Boots in December 2014. The updated format will bring together many of the services Walgreens has been perfecting under one roof — including such healthcare offerings as in-store lab services, optical services and patient care through partnerships with such companies as MedExpress, Alex Gourlay, co-COO Walgreens, told J.P. Morgan healthcare analyst Lisa Gill.

Gourlay expects to pilot the new format for as many as 18 months before rolling the model out.

“We need maybe six months, maybe 18 months, to really understand all of these components to get the right business components to scale,” he said.” Some will scale individually, some will scale collectively. That’s the work we’re doing next.”

Once the format comes together, Walgreens won’t be stopping at just one store.

“We have worked out many of the components, [including] the capital costs required to be able to scale that when we get to the right point,” Gourlay said. “It also tells you we’ve been working on the retail side of the business to create the space to actually accommodate these services.”

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Land’s End to unveil new store concept; launch brick-and-mortar expansion

BY Marianne Wilson

Specialty apparel retailer Land’s End is doubling down on physical retail.

In a presentation at the ICRC Conference in Orlando, the company said it will unveil a new store concept in Chicago this year, and plans to open four to six additional locations. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. During the next five years, the company expects to open between 40 and 60 stores, reported Marketwatch.com.

Lands’ End currently has about 180 locations in Sears Holdings stores. But with Sears continuing to shutter stores, the specialty retailer said it will not be relying on Sears for future growth.

“[I]t’s our expectation that our Sears business at a point in time will go away and that we’ll be talking directly to the consumer through our own stores,” Lands’ End CEO Jerome Griffith said at the conference. Griffith, who assumed his position in March 2017, was previously president and CEO of upscale luggage brand Tumi Holdings.

Land’s End, which started out as a catalog company, was bought by Sears in 2002, before the department store’s acquisition by Eddie Lampert. It was spun off as a separate company in 2014.

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