Design

Valencia, VenezuelaCentrobeco, now called BECO, is a popular Venezuelan junior department store. The retailer recently commissioned New York-based GRID/3 International Inc. to revitalize one of its shops located at the La Granjas shopping center. “The new BECO is contemporary, clean, happy and young,” says Marcelo Albertal, a principal with GRID/3.

The shop is three levels — the first two floors are dedicated to sales while the third houses the stockroom. The store is mostly white with only a splash of color on feature walls. The fixtures on the first floor are white and are constructed of materials such as laminates, brushed steel and glass, says Albertal. The floors are predominantly a cream-colored porcelain, though a few areas showcase a European laminated maple wood.

The entire store measures 54,000 sq. ft. BECO funded the renovation. Since the shop opened in June, sales are up nearly 100% from 2000.

Technology

Oxford, United Kingdom — Locally based Tesco Plc has partnered with Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway. Tesco is reportedly paying $22 million for a 35% stake in GroceryWorks, Safeway's existing online business. GroceryWorks will suspend its current operations in order to conform to the Tesco.com format and will then resume business under the Safeway banner, reports Retail NewsBeat. Tesco plans on turning a hefty profit from the deal by the end of 2002.

Safeway produces $23 billion in annual sales through 1,750 stores in the United States and Western Canada. Tesco.com generates $424.8 million in annual sales with one million registered members.

Zaandam, The NetherlandsRoyal Ahold offered $2.15 per share for online grocery partner Peapod's remaining shares — Ahold already owns 52% of Peapod. By acquiring a controlling interest in Peapod last year, Ahold saved the online supermarket from following in the ill-fated footsteps of competitors Webvan and Homeruns. The purchase will cost the international retailer $35 million. According to Reuters, this will have a neutral impact on earnings per share for fiscal 2001. Peapod will be taken off the NASDAQ at the completion of the transaction.

Royal Ahold is a rapidly growing international food provider with more than 8,500 supermarkets, hypermarkets and other store formats in the United States, Europe, Latin America and Asia. Annual sales exceed $47 billion.

Tel Aviv, Israel — Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald's Corp. plans to install web-enabled computers at one of its Tel Aviv locations. Chairman and CEO Jack Greenberg says the new format was developed to accommodate the Israeli teenage pastime of eating fast food while surfing the web. Developed with MSN Israel, the new location sells customers $2 tokens in exchange for 20 minutes of online time from any of more than 20 terminals. Nielsen figures indicate Israelis average 8.5 hours per month on the Internet — more than surfers in 14 European countries, but less than those in the United States.

Expansion

Nottingham, United KingdomThe Boots Co. is opening two locations for its newest concept, Boots Health & Beauty, in Thailand and three more in Taiwan this year. The new format will take the place of the Boots the Chemist stores and will occupy less square footage and focus primarily on body care and cosmetics as opposed to pharmaceutical goods.

“The new concept was developed in response to in-depth consumer research conducted in Asia, South America and Europe,” says Paula Minowa, international development director, Boots Retail (Taiwan). Store executives are expecting the Thailand and Taiwan stores to serve as models for further global expansion.