J.C. Penney Co. Inc. plans to accelerate the growth of its store base in the period between 2007 and 2011. At its 2007 analysts meeting, the company announced that it plans to open 250 new stores over the next five years, including its first store in Midtown Manhattan. The 150,000-square-foot store will be constructed in conjunction with Vornado Realty Trust's redevelopment of Manhattan Mall.

Whittard of Chelsea Inc., a British tea and coffee shop, will open its first American location at 170 Newbury St. in Boston, Mass., where it signed a 1,400-square-foot lease.

Potbelly Sandwich Works will open four new locations in Illinois, including a 2,612-square-foot unit on Madison Street in Chicago; a 2,000-square-foot unit on Randolph Street in Chicago; a 2,680-square-foot unit on Roosevelt Road in Glen Ellyn; and a 2,240-square-foot unit on North Avenue in Northlake. David Keady, of HAS Commercial Real Estate, represented Potbelly in all four lease transactions.

British toy retailer Hamleys retained Chute Gerdeman Retail to design its new prototype store concept. The global franchise unit will contain 30,000 square feet to 35,000 square feet of space in an undisclosed location. Opening is scheduled for 2008.

Johnny's Lunch signed a national contract with Coca-Cola Fountain Division to carry Coke products in its restaurants. Johnny's kicked off a national franchise expansion earlier this year, with an agreement to open 75 restaurants in Michigan. The chain is also targeting expansion opportunities in Colorado.

Italian menswear designer Canali signed a 2,600-square-foot lease at 25 Broad St. in New York City. Jack Abelson, of Abelson & Associates, represented the tenant in the transaction. Jeff Winick, Darrell Rubens and Angellina DeRichie, of Winick Realty Group, represented the landlord.

Express is converting its 6,600-square-foot store at the Summit Birmingham in Birmingham, Ala. into a dual gender concept. The retailer will add a full line of men's clothing to the previously all women's store.