STORE SPACES

Starbucks barred from closing Teavana stores in Simon Malls

BY Al Urbanski

A mall owner has won an unusual victory over Starbucks Corp.

In August, Simon Property Group filed a breach of covenant suit against Starbucks for attempting to close 77 Teavana stores in Simon malls. At the time, one legal expert said Simon was drawing a line in the sand.

The bold move paid off for the premium mall owner when an Indiana judge temporarily barred Starbucks from executing the store closings. In a 55-page order, Judge Heather Welch opined that Starbucks was better positioned to sustain the $15 million hit for five months’ rent than Simon was.

“We are disappointed in the judge’s ruling and will continue to focus on finding a resolution,” Starbucks communicated in a statement.

Attorney Dana Kreis Glencer, a leasing specialist at the firm of Dawda Mann in Detroit, told Chain Store Age that Simon’s suit was filed on solid ground.

“Simon may be looking for a settlement, or they may be looking to create some good case law: ‘You violated your covenant to operate and you have to operate,’” she said.

In July, Starbucks announced it planned to close all 379 Teavana stores in the coming year.

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STORE SPACES

Pizza chain gets in fast-lane with express concept for c-stores and airports

BY Marianne Wilson

Pizza Inn is looking to expand via a kiosk format focused on non-traditional development.

The nearly 60-year-old fast-casual chain” is launching a new prototype called Pizza Inn Express, or PIE, that is designed to give customers a fast, seamless experience when picking a hot pizza.

Geared towards convenience stores, but also an airport or entertainment venue option, Pizza Inn Express will allow customers to order and pay at a kiosk for grab-and-go or pick up their food at a designated spot. Pizza Inn has a strong presence in the southeastern part of the country where the convenience store segment has the nation’s highest grouping of independent operators. The company expects to have its first prototypes operating within the next 90 days.

“Convenience stores are a $575 billion industry with 70% of sales attributed to in-store purchases,” said Scott Crane, CEO of Pizza Inn parent company, Rave Restaurant Group. “This could be a game-changer for Pizza Inn as we tap into new markets and expansion opportunities for our flagship brand. We’re already seeing great interest from existing and potential franchisees who see this model as a new way to serve customers the same iconic, quality pizza they have come to expect, but in a faster setting.”

Founded in 1958, Pizza Inn is a subsidiary of Dallas-based Rave Restaurant Group, which owns, franchises and supplies more than 300 Pizza Inn and Pie Five restaurants operating domestically and internationally.

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STORE SPACES

Roots in store expansion move

BY CSA STAFF

Canadian apparel retailer Roots Corp. is looking to increase its brick-and-mortar presence outside of its home country.

Roots wants to open 10 to 14 stores in the United States by the end of fiscal 2019, reported the Calgary Herald, and already has four leases signed, including sites in Boston and Washington, D.C. The retailer currently has 120 stores in Canada and four in the United States. It also operates stores in Taiwan and China with local partners.

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