British luxury kitchen cabinetmaker Smallbone of Devizes has crossed the Atlantic and opened its first U.S. location on Manhattan's Upper East Side. IBEX Construction, a New York-based firm specializing in high-end retail, corporate and residential construction, completed Smallbone's build-out. The two-level, 3,800-square-foot store opened on E. 65th Street off Lexington Ave. ASquared Architects designed the store.

Pier 1 Imports, Inc. chairman and CEO Marvin J. Girouard announced that he would retire from the company and its board on February 28, 2007. Pier 1 has hired a retail executive search firm, Herbert Mines Associates to find a new CEO.

Office Depot acquired a controlling interest in AsiaEC, one of the largest dealers of office products and services in China. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. AsiaEC is headquartered in Beijing and has offices in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. It will operate under the Office Depot International Division.

John Cutter resigned as president and CEO of Friendly Ice Cream Corp. Donald Smith, chairman, has assumed day-to-day management responsibilities until the company finds a new CEO. Cutter had been with Friendly's since December 1998.

Esprit is expanding into Korea, Vietnam and Mongolia. In August and September, it opened three in-store locations at three Korean department stores: Lotte Jamsil, Samsung Plaza and Lotte Young Plaza. In December it will launch its first flagship in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. Also in December it will open its first flagship in Hanoi, Vietnam.

J. Crew opened its first, “J. Crew by-the-sea” in Carmel, Calif. The store is aimed to be a seaside boutique modeled, in part, on its “J. Crew at-the-beach” store in East Hampton, N.Y. The store features some of J. Crew's typical merchandise, but also carries apparel and accessories specially designed for the location including, a “Pebble Beach Survival Kit” featuring a customized Montauk Tote bag filled with chinos, polos, cashmere and argyle socks.

Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc. reached an agreement with Choose Germany A/S as its franchise operator in Germany. Choose Germany A/S, a subsidiary of Danish company Choose Holding A/S, also holds the franchise rights to Build-A-Bear Workshop in Denmark, Sweden and Norway. The group currently operates five stores in Denmark and one store in Sweden; the first store in Norway is scheduled to open in late October.

The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. reorganized its senior management team. It promoted Stephen Byers to vice chairman with the following divisions reporting to him: stores, operations, private brand, merchandise planning and allocation, and Internet merchandising. Byers was previously executive vice president. In addition, Anthony Buccina, vice chairman and president of merchandising, has assumed additional responsibility for marketing and sales promotion. James Zamberlan was appointed executive vice president of stores and visual merchandising, for all 278 stores.

With the completion of its tax-free swap of class B common stock in Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. for its own common stock, McDonald's Corp. has fully divested its investment in Chipotle. McDonald's initially invested in Chipotle in 1998 when the Denver-based burrito restaurant had about 15 units. Since then, Chipotle has grown to operate more than 500 restaurants.

Wendy's International, Inc. sold the Baja Fresh Mexican Grill restaurant chain to a West Coast restaurant operating company for about $31 million. Baja Fresh operates about 300 Mexican restaurants in the U.S.