Retailer roundup

Minneapolis Four retail chains were recently honored as “Hot Growth Companies” by Business Week magazine, in recognition of the companies' average sales and earnings growth and return on capital during the past three years. The honorees included: Columbus, Ohio's Abercrombie & Fitch; City of Commerce, Calif.-based 99¢ Only Stores; Secaucus, N.J.-based The Children's Place; and Irving, Texas-based CEC Entertainment, operator and franchisor of the Chuck E. Cheese restaurant chain.

Pittsfield, Mass. KB Toys paid $3.35 million for additional assets of failed dot.com retailer eToys. The move came shortly after KB Toys' successful acquisition of approximately $5.4 million in eToys inventory.

According to Reuters, KB Toys says it bid about $3.35 million for eToys intellectual property assets and services as part of the auction process in eToys' bankruptcy proceedings, which began in March. The previously acquired eToys' inventory will be sold through KBkids.com and in other KB retail outlets. The latest acquired assets include eToys' trade names, logos, URLs and trademarks.

In the news

Washington, D.C. National Retail Federation leaders are applauding President Bush's $1.35 trillion tax cut signed into law last month. The $300 tax rebate checks that will be sent to single taxpayers, along with $600 checks for married couples, are scheduled to start going out early next month, and are required to be in taxpayers' hands by Oct. 1. Those checks will amount to roughly $30 billion going into the third-quarter economy.

A recent Deutsche Bank study predicts that the extra spending power provided by the checks could increase the third-quarter growth rate an extra 1.2 percentage points and account for about 1% of the gross domestic product.

Sausalito, Calif. LOCATION-net acquired Troy, Mich.-based The Green Group, which offers retail market analysis and strategic planning services. The merger created a new company, Market Insite Group.

The new company offers a variety of real estate products and services for retailers, property owners and the financial community. Offerings include a patent-pending scoring index; in-depth statistical analysis of market and survey data; a full range of web-based real estate products and services; sales forecasting; expansion planning; mapping; and traditional consumer group research.

Farmington, Conn. Konover & Associates Inc. recently put its shopping center portfolio, consisting of more than 60 properties and 7 million sq. ft. of GLA, up for sale. Konover president Mike Goman says that going forward, the company will focus on completing the developments it already has in progress and on the company's construction division.

New York Reis Inc. announced the launch of a new series of reports covering shopping center markets nationwide. Accessible electronically at Reis.com, the new retail reports furnish valuable information on rents, vacancies and expenses in more than 50 U.S. markets.

The reports allow owners/managers, retailers, lenders, brokers and consultants to analyze retail trends and forecasts and obtain detailed data at the metro, sub-market and comparable property levels for ICSC-designated shopping center categories.

SIDEBAR -- The mall's next mission: Trap those tourists!

Shopping and traveling go hand in hand, according to a recent survey the Washington, D.C.-based Travel Industry Association of America (TIA) conducted on behalf of Taubman Centers Inc. of Bloomfield Hills, Mich. The study, called The Shopping Traveler, is based on a representative sample survey of 1,000 adults who took at least one trip in 2000.

As recently as the mid-1980s, the so-called traditional travel industry thought of itself as a competitor, not a partner, of retail outlets, shopping centers and malls for consumer dollars, says William Norman, president and CEO of TIA. Now, it can be submitted that shopping is a cause, not an effect, of the decision to travel and the travel experience. Here are some highlights of the report's findings:

  • Shopping continues to be the most popular of common activities for 60% of U.S. travelers.

  • Half of shopping travelers say that shopping was the primary or secondary purpose of one or more trips taken in the past year.

  • Nearly four in 10 shopping travelers (39%) agree that a trip is not complete without going shopping during the trip.

  • One in five shopping travelers spend $500 or more on purchases during their trip. Interestingly, men outspend women while shopping on a trip.

  • Travelers who shop want to patronize different, rather than familiar, stores. More than half of traveling shoppers say they go on shopping trips to find items that represent the destination they are visiting.

  • For 62% of those surveyed, traditional enclosed malls are the most popular places to shop on a trip. Half shop in downtown shopping districts and/or strip centers, while 38% look for outlet centers to shop while on vacation.