Retailer roundup

New York — Slow sales figures for the 2000 holiday season have prompted some top-level resignations among leading retailers. Patricia DeRosa, president and COO of AnnTaylor, resigned after months of sliding sales. Peter Whitford, president and CEO of Structure — Columbus, Ohio-based The Limited Inc.'s men's apparel chain — recently left the company after falling short in attempts to turn around the struggling brand.

The Limited also lost its chief store officer, Andrea Weiss, formerly with AnnTaylor. Coral Gables, Fla.-based Sunglass Hut's CEO John Watson also resigned after disappointing holiday sales. And Brentwood, Tenn.-based Service Merchandise recently lost president and COO Charles Septer, who left to pursue other opportunities.

St. Louis — The May Department Stores Co. has announced plans to purchase five Proffitt's, a McRae's department store, and three Parisian locations from Birmingham, Ala.-based Saks Inc. One Parisian store, located in Orlando's The Florida Mall, will be converted into a Lord & Taylor. The deal is estimated at $309 million.

Cincinnati — Locally based Federated Department Stores Inc. plans to close and convert a majority of its Paramus, N.J.-based Stern's department stores to its Macy's and Bloomingdale's banners. The changes will result in a one-time charge of nearly $140 million.

Hoffman Estates, Ill. — Sears, after considering recent dismal same-store sales figures, has decided to close 89 underperforming stores during first quarter 2001. The retailer, which operates 860 department stores and 2,100 specialty stores, is taking a $150 million charge related to the closings.

Minneapolis — Dayton's and Hudson's department stores have been united under the common moniker of Marshall Fields. Prompted by a desire to boost the Fields brand, parent company Target Corp. has instigated the name change across the board for its 19 Dayton's stores and 21 Hudson's. Target acquired the 24-store Marshall Fields chain in 1990.

San Jose, Calif. — Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior are the latest high-fashion tenants to join the post-redevelopment lineup at Westfield Shoppingtown Valley Fair. Both slated to open in spring 2002, the 4,700-sq.-ft. Louis Vuitton and 2,300-sq.-ft. Christian Dior will offer the retailers' full lines. Tiffany & Co. also recently announced plans to lease space at the 1.4 million-sq.-ft. mall.

Facts & figures

Washington D.C. — NAREIT's “Public Equity 100” Index, which tracks the performance of the 100 largest U.S. REITs and real estate operating companies, rose 29% in 2000, well ahead of most other sector benchmarks.

In addition, NAREIT says real estate mutual funds outpaced most others. While the average U.S. diversified stock fund fell 1.6% during 2000, according to mutual fund tracker Lipper Inc., real estate funds earned better than 25% on average.

“REITs were the place to be in 2000,” says NAREIT vice president and director of research Michael Grupe. “Investors worried about stock market turbulence who took refuge in the low volatility, stable earnings and high dividends associated with publicly traded real estate were rewarded.”

The outlook for REIT and publicly traded real estate stock performance is promising. Industry analysts are forecasting total returns of 10% to 15% this year. Over the past decade, the NAREIT Equity REIT Index has gained an average of 13% annually.

Shows & events

April 17-18 — ICSC Mid-Atlantic Idea Exchange, Washington D.C. Hilton & Towers, Washington D.C. Contact: (646) 728-3800; FAX: (212) 589-5555.

Convenience is king for future centers

According to SCW's 2001 Industry Forecast survey, consumer needs for convenience, customer service and e-commerce are expected to have the most impact on the shopping centers of the future.

What future consumer needs do you anticipate will have the most influence on the shopping centers of the future?

Future need

Number of mentions

Convenience

19

Customer Service

15

E-commerce

9

Location

8

Lifestyle Centers

6

Entertainment

4

Source: Intertec Corporate Planning & Research