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Business in the Burbs

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Archive for the 'Retail' Category

T.J. Maxx completes remodeling of Hartsdale store

August
18

T.J. Maxx, the off-price retail chain, recently completed a remodeling of its store at the Dalewood III Shopping Center in Hartsdale. The store redesigned its dressing rooms, revamped the checkout area and added new signage. The beauty department also doubled in size.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Tuesday, August 18th, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
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Organic food retailer signs lease in Nanuet

July
17

A new retailer is coming to Rockland Plaza in Nanuet. A Matter of Health, a natural and organic whole food and product retailer, recently leased 15,000 square feet at the plaza, according to property owner Centro Properties Group.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Friday, July 17th, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
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Spano proposes changes to Westchester item pricing law

February
2

A 34-year-old law that requires Westchester County stores to manually attach price tags to most items would get a major overhaul under a proposal by County Executive Andrew Spano.

Retailers that can demonstrate that computer scanning technology consistently gives consumers accurate prices at the checkout line would be eligible for a waiver from the county’s item pricing law under Spano’s proposal.

“Our item-pricing law was enacted in 1975 to ensure that consumers at the register were able to make sure they were being properly charged, “ Spano said in a written statement. “But with technological advances and the use of scanners it is time to look again at this law. My proposal would continue to protect consumers but at the same time reduce the costs to some businesses.”

Merchants have complained that a requirement for workers to manually price each item raises labor and operating costs for the stores, putting upward pressure on consumer prices. A 2004 study of supermarket chains in the Tri-State area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut found that prices at stores subject to item-pricing laws were about 25 cents higher, or 9.6 percent per item, than stores that didn’t face such requirements.

“We find that the item-pricing law costs are at least an order of magnitude higher than the benefits,” wrote Professor Mark Bergen of University of Minnesota, one of the study’s co-authors.

Westchester has enforced its item pricing law with fines against major retailers in recent years.

But many New York counties have already abandoned such policies.

Rockland, Nassau, Suffolk, Erie, Renssalear and St. Lawrence counties are among those with waivers similar to Spano’s proposal.

Spano’s legislation would allow a retailer to qualify for a waiver from the item pricing law annually if its checkout scanners are at least 98 percent accurate in field tests conducted by the county’s Department of Consumer Protection. There also are requirements for price check scanners to be readily available to consumers throughout the store, and for shelf labels to be displayed for all items. Stores also may be subject to unannounced price checks and inspections by the county.

“Our sense is that scanning technology has gotten so good that most stores will pass the test,” said Gary Brown, director of the county’s Department of Consumer Protection. “We think this is a win-win for consumers and businesses. The stores can use modern scanning technology to give consumers accurate price information…The stores can operate more efficiently and hopefully pass along the savings to consumers.”

Brown said that he expects that supermarkets, pharmacies, department stores, discount chains and other big retailers will be the most interested in seeking waivers from the item pricing law.

Spano will submit the changes to the county Board of Legislators.

“We would like to fast track this legislation,” Brown said. “The sooner (it’s enacted), the better for all concerned.”

Posted by Jay Loomis on Monday, February 2nd, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
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Mall owner says it will stay in region

January
30

Centro Properties Group’s decision to sell the Cortlandt Towne Center does not mean the Australian shopping mall giant plans to pull out of the Lower Hudson Valley, a company spokesman said today.
But Centro’s sale of the Cortlandt mall to Acadia Realty Trust of White Plains sharply reduces Centro’s profile in the region. The mall was the largest of eight properties Centro had in Westchester and Rockland counties; at 646,000 square feet, it accounted for about half of Centro’s 1.2 million square feet in the region.
The company has not put the other seven retail centers on the block, said Jocelyn Bugay, an administrative assistant in the acquisitions section of the company’s Manhattan office.
Bugay confirmed that Acadia paid $78 million for the mall. The deal closed Thursday, she said. Centro was scrambling for new financing last year after several years of broad expansion; its financial problems drove its stock down to mere pennies.
This month the company said it had secured long-term financing, but at terms that diluted the holdings of shareholders.
Centro has shopping centers in Hartsdale, Mamaroneck, Yonkers, New Rochelle, and Nanuet.

Reach staff writer Jerry Gleeson at jgleeson@lohud.com or 914-694-5026.

Posted by Jerry Gleeson on Friday, January 30th, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
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Jaffe, 2 others re-elected to Dress Barn board

December
16

Dress Barn Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer David R. Jaffe and two other incumbents were re-elected to the retailer’s board of directors at last week’s shareholder’s meeting at the company headquarters in Suffern.
Jaffe, Klaus Eppler, and Kate Buggeln will serve three-year terms until 2011. Shareholders also authorized the board to increase the number of shares of common stock from 75 million to 165 million.

Posted by Jerry Gleeson on Tuesday, December 16th, 2008 at 5:37 pm |
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Regional mall owner seeks refinancing

December
16

The debt-strapped owner of more than 650 U.S. shopping malls, including the Cortlandt Towne Center and seven other plazas in the Lower Hudson Valley, appears ready to turn over control of most of the company to lenders under a tentative refinancing deal announced this week.
Centro Properties Group of Melbourne, Australia said it has obtained a one-month extension of its credit contracts that were due to expire yesterday while the refinancing deal is under review.
Centro is struggling with $3.35 billion in debt that it accumulated in the course of expanding its retail holdings around the world in recent years. Its stock sells for pennies a share.
It had planned to sell a portfolio of American malls earlier this year that might have included some regional property, but commercial real estate values have fallen. In September, Centro said the deal was canceled but talks were continuing.
This week Centro said the current refinancing deal calls for part of its debt to be changed to securities that in turn could be converted into the equivalent of 90 percent of Centro’s equity.
The company’s office in Manhattan declined to elaborate on the latest announcement.
Centro has more than 1.26 million square feet of gross leasable space in Westchester and Rockland counties. In addition to the Cortlandt Towne Center, its portfolio includes Rockland Plaza in Nanuet, Dalewood Shopping Center in Hartsdale, Highridge Plaza in Yonkers, North Ridge Plaza in New Rochelle, A & P Mamaroneck, Village Square in Mamaroneck, and a plaza on North Central Avenue in Hartsdale.

Posted by Jerry Gleeson on Tuesday, December 16th, 2008 at 4:33 pm |
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Amscan reports strong Halloween sales

November
21

Amscan Holdings Inc., an Elmsford-based retailer that sells party supplies, said that it posted strong sales during the Halloween season despite the worsening U.S. economic slowdown.

The company reported retail sales of $244.5 million during the five-week Halloween season, an increase of 42.1 percent from a year earlier.

Amscan said it benefited from an expansion of its temporary Halloween USA outlets from 116 stores to 149 stores since last year. In addition to the temporary stores, the company operated 321 Party City and Party America stores and 86 smaller outlet stores during the Halloween season this year.

“We are pleased with the results of our 2008 Halloween selling season,” Chief Executive Officer Gerry Rittenberg said in a written statement. “In spite of general economic conditions and continued aggressive competition from other temporary Halloween stores, our strong marketing efforts and merchandising assortments allowed us to drive results generally in line with our expectations.”

The company said that the sales gain also related to its acquisition of Factory Card & Party Outlet Corp. and the formation of Party City Franchise Group LLC in November 2007.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Friday, November 21st, 2008 at 5:27 pm |
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Survey finds that shoppers are looking for bargains

November
20

Americans will respond to a slowing economy by becoming bargain hunters during the upcoming holiday shopping season, according to a survey released today by MasterCard Inc.

Twenty-nine percent of U.S. shoppers expect to focus more on finding good deals on merchandise this year than last year. Consumer cost-saving strategies also include shifting spend towards practical items, such as gift certificates or gift cards.

The findings were included in a survey of 1,000 adults aged 18 and older commissioned by Purchase-based MasterCard, the second largest credit card brand.

The 2008 holiday shopping season “is all about the smart shopper,” said Rob Sheets, group head of U.S. commerce development at MasterCard.

The top way that Americans plan to economize during the holidays is by patronizing stores that offer special discounts, including free shipping or rebates (42 percent of shoppers). In addition, 28 percent said they will be searching for bargains on Black Friday, the traditional start to the holiday shopping season after Thanksgiving.

According to the survey, other practical shopping strategies include:
•Shopping online (34 percent)
•Seeking early bird specials (30 percent)
•Waiting for last minute deals (28 percent)
•Purchase gift certificates or gift cards for holiday gifts (53 percent).

Posted by Jay Loomis on Thursday, November 20th, 2008 at 12:42 pm |
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Expansion, new tenants revive Loehmann’s Shopping Center

September
4

The recent departure of Lubin’s Men’s & Boy’s World and a Chinese restaurant from a White Plains strip mall has resulted in the 6,000-square-foot expansion of Wine Warehouse, according to Goldschmidt & Associates, the agency that negotiated the deal.

In addition, three new tenants, Carpet World, Bushido Karate and Royal Beauty Supply, occupy the remainder of the vacated space in the Loehmann’s Shopping Center on Route 119.

With the expansion and the additions, the strip mall is fully leased, the Scarsdale-based leasing agent said.

Posted by David Schepp on Thursday, September 4th, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
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Developer plans to build retail center in Cortlandt

September
4

A 36-acre site in the town of Cortlandt opposite Cortlandt Town Center has been sold to a developer who plans to turn the parcel into a mixed-use complex of residences and retail stores.

Westrock Development LLC, based in Yonkers, plans to devote 10 of the acres to retail, creating Cortlandt Crossings, an 85,000-square-foot shopping center with 445 parking spaces and an additional 5,000-square-foot bank site, according to NAI Friedland Realty Inc., the Yonkers-based firm that brokered the sale.

Friedland will also act as leasing agent for the retail spaces. The shopping center, construction for which is expected to start in November 2009 with a planned opening date a year later, will join a mass of other retailers along the section of the Route 6 corridor, including Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Barnes & Noble.

(This posting corrects a previous post that contained incorrect information.)

Posted by David Schepp on Thursday, September 4th, 2008 at 12:13 pm |
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Advent takes stake in Elmsford’s Amscan Holdings

August
25

Global buyout firm Advent International of Boston said it bought a 38 percent stake in Amscan Holdings Inc. of Elmsford, a major manufacturer, distributor and retailer of party goods and accessories in the United States.
The deal’s value was not disclosed. Last year Amscan had gross revenues of $1.7 billion. The investors who sold shares to Advent included Berkshire Partners and Weston Presidio, who both retain some ownership in Amscan, a company spokesman said.
Amscan Chief Executive Officer Gerry Rittenberg said Advent International has a long history of investing in the specialty retail sector. Amscan runs a network of more than 950 stores across the U.S. and Puerto Rico under the brand names Party City, Party America, Factory Card & Party Outlet, The Paper Factory and Halloween USA.
In 2004, funds run by Goldman Sachs & Co. said they would sell their 71 percent stake in Amscan to Berkshire Partners and Weston Presidio in a deal valued at $540 million.

Posted by Jerry Gleeson on Monday, August 25th, 2008 at 5:23 pm |
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Burlington Coat Factory to open White Plains store

August
18

Burlington Coat Factory will open a new store in White Plains in the Shoppes on Main retail complex on Aug. 29.

The 82,000-square-foot store at 255 Main St.  will feature women’s and men’s apparel and accessories, kids clothing, shoes and, of course, coats.

The outlet will also have a home décor department selling bedding, home and bath accessories, housewares and gifts.

Burlington Coat Factory, which has 390 stores in 44 states, has one other store in the Lower Hudson Valley — in Yonkers.

(A previous posting on this blog contained incorrect information.)

Posted by David Schepp on Monday, August 18th, 2008 at 10:06 am |
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Business in the Burbs is our online news blog about businesses based or operating in the Lower Hudson Valley. Visitors here will also find items of interest to consumers in the region. Most contributions are from business reporters and editors covering Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties.

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