Retail Watch: News from ICSC’s ReCon Event in Las Vegas

The International Council of Shopping Centers’ (ICSC) annual confab of deal-making this past weekend kicked off with the surprising news of Liberty Media’s bid for bookseller Barnes & Noble. And the excitement continued from there. ReCon drew nearly 30,000 attendees and 1,000 exhibitors.

CoStar compiled the following summary of major deal announcements. We’ll start with Liberty Media.

The owner of such busineses as QVC, Expedia and the Atlanta Brave National League baseball club, Liberty Media offered to acquire Barnes & Noble Inc. for $17 per share in cash or about $1 billion.

Barnes & Noble is the established leader in retail bookselling, and is at the forefront of the transition to digital. It operates 705 bookstores in 50 states and 636 college bookstores.

Liberty’s equity ownership, which would be attributed to the Liberty Capital group, is expected to be approximately 70% of Barnes & Noble. Liberty expects that its cash contribution toward the purchase price, depending on the amount of financing that can be obtained, will be in the range of $500 million.

In light of the offer, Barnes & Noble has formed a special committee of its board of directors to review strategic alternatives.

Tanger in JV To Develop Outlet Center near Washington, DC

Tanger Factory Outlet Centers Inc. and The Peterson Cos. entered into a joint venture to develop Tanger Outlets at National Harbor.

National Harbor is a waterfront resort destination, including the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center. Developed by The Peterson Cos., the 350-acre development is located on the Potomac River in Prince George’s County, MD.

“The addition of Tanger Outlet Centers is a significant milestone in the ongoing evolution of National Harbor,” said Milt Peterson, founder and chairman of The Peterson Cos. “Their relationships with leading national brands and experience in creating first-class retail destinations are a tremendous complement to the existing retail, restaurant and resort offerings at National Harbor.”

The joint venture will develop an approximately 40-acre parcel at National Harbor expected to house 80 outlet stores in a retail center measuring up to 350,000 square feet.

The joint venture will be co-owned by The Peterson Cos. and Tanger Outlet Centers. The two firms will jointly provide site development and construction supervision services to the venture; Tanger Outlet Centers will provide management services, leasing and marketing to the joint venture.

A construction start is expected after the project achieves the minimum pre-leasing threshold of at least 50%, which could be as early as late 2011.

Smashburger Pipeline Grows to 463 Locations

Smashburger has added five new franchise partners to its rapidly growing family of franchisees, totaling a combined commitment for 63 new franchise units across the country.

These most recent franchise agreements bring Smashburger’s total franchise pipeline to 463 locations, which are expected to open during the next several years. These new commitments will also allow Smashburger to make its debut in four new markets, further expanding its growing national footprint.

Smashburger’s newest franchisees are in the following markets:

  • Queens and Westchester County, NY and Fairfield County, CT. Smashburger has partnered with Rich Greenstein, Ronnie Portnoy and Howie Novick to open 24 restaurants in six years. The three partners are also longtime Dunkin’ Donuts franchisees.
  • Cincinnati, OH. Smashburger has partnered with Scott Snow to open 12 new restaurants. Snow is also a franchisee with Buffalo Wild Wings.
  • Jacksonville, FL. Smashburger has partnered with Jim Crossen of American Food Services Group LLC to expand Smashburger operations in Florida by committing to open seven restaurants over the next four years in Duval County.
  • New Orleans, LA and Birmingham, AL. Smashburger has partnered with Compleat Hospitality Management LLC to open 10 Smashburger restaurants. This new partner is also a Buffalo Wild Wings franchisee.
  • Charlotte, NC. Smashburger has partnered with Craig and Peter Cunningham for a 10-unit agreement. Craig Cunningham previously served as regional area director for Mimi’s Café.

Smashburger plans to open 85 new restaurants in 2011, putting its year-end target at 175 units. Its restaurants are currently half company-owned and half franchised. Smashburger’s goal is to have 500 restaurants in the next few years.

Disney Set To Open 40 Stores This Year

Disney Store plans to open its interactive concept stores in more than 40 locations in 2011 the company.

The company said it is building on the successful launch of the design last year and seeking to capitlaize on the demand from retail property owners eager to bring the Disney shopping destination to their centers.

New and remodeled Disney Store locations to open throughout the fall and winter of 2011 include:

  • Disney Store’s Florida Mall location in Orlando will be remodeled this fall with the new design and Pembroke Lakes Mall in Pembroke Pines, FL, will open an all-new location.
  • Kenwood Towne Center in Cincinnati will receive the first newly designed Disney Store in the state of Ohio.
  • Texas will celebrate the opening of Disney Store locations at La Plaza mall in McAllen and Houston Galleria in Houston.
  • The first newly designed Disney Store in Missouri will open at the St. Louis Galleria.
  • California will get two new locations this fall with stores opening in the Galleria at Roseville in Roseville and Westfield Fashion Square in Sherman Oaks.
  • In addition, locations in Canada’s West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta and Southcentre Mall in Calgary will open this fall.

In spring 2012, the original Disney Store location at the Glendale Galleria in Glendale, CA, will be remodeled to celebrate the retail chain’s 25th anniversary. First built in 1987, the store pioneered the entertainment retail concept. The Glendale store will be just one of many planned remodels in 2012.

By the end of 2011, the specialty retailer will have 60 new concept stores in 16 major markets in North America and eight countries.

Macy’s Announces New Stores for Chicago, Milwaukee

Macy’s Inc. will open two new stores – one each in the Chicago and Milwaukee markets. Both are in shopping centers being redeveloped by Simon Property Group.

A one-level, 140,000-square-foot Macy’s in Gurnee Mills in Gurnee, IL, will open in spring 2013. A former Circuit City store in this center will be razed, with a new Macy’s built in its place as part of an updating and upgrading of Gurnee Mills.

A two-level, 150,000-square-foot Macy’s in Southridge Mall in Greendale, WI, will open in spring 2012. This is a former’s Younker’s location that has been sub-divided in recent years for various specialty retailers. The building will undergo a significant remodeling before re-opening as Macy’s as part of a renovated Southridge Mall.

The Gurnee Mills and Southridge stores are expected to employ about 200 and 160 associates, respectively.

“Chicago and Milwaukee are both very important Macy’s markets where we believe we have untapped potential for growth,” said Ron Klein, Macy’s chief stores officer.

ICSC Announces 2011 Hot Retailers

Based on a survey of ICSC’s worldwide members, four retailers were chosen as the “hottest” concepts for 2011: Athleta, Smashburger, Aldi and Fossil.


Athleta was founded to provide women athletes with apparel for different sports and fitness activities. The company has become one of the premier brands in the rapidly growing women’s sports and active apparel markets. Athleta sells its products in stores, catalogs and via its website. The company is base in Petaluma, CA and has nearly 200 employees. Athleta was acquired by Gap Inc. in September 2008.


Denver-based Smashburger is the country’s fastest growing fast casual “better burger” restaurant concept. Smashburger operates and develops corporate, joint venture and franchise stores across the country. Smashburger currently has 100 stores nationwide and with the commitment from its franchise partners to build over 400 units, Smashburger is on target to have 500 plus stores in the next few years. Smashburger is developed and owned by private equity and concept-development firm Consumer Capital Partners (CCP).


A leader in the grocery retailing industry since 1976, ALDI has more than 1,100 U.S. stores in 31 states primarily from Kansas to the East Coast. In the spring of 2010, ALDI opened a new division in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.

Fossil Inc.

Fossil Inc. is a global retailer specializing in the design, innovation and marketing of fashion lifestyle and accessory products through its two core businesses: Fossil brand; and a multi-brand watch and jewelry portfolio. Fossil operates more than 350 stores worldwide.

Source:  Costar


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