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February 20, 2009
THE SITE OPTIMIZER
  Tools and strategies for maximizing retail site selection and operation
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IN THIS ISSUE
 Speaking Out Against the Disconnect Between Landlords and Tenants
 A Closer Look: J. Crew Continues to Grow with Madewell
 News & Notes
 Staying In The Moment With Demographic Trends

The Tenant's Perspective

Speaking Out Against the Disconnect Between Landlords and Tenants
Staff Reports

The first three issues of Site Optimizer are being sent to the entire Retail Traffic Online distribution list. To keep receiving Site Optimizer after that, please register to be part of our Site Optimization Community here.

Each month, Site Optimizer will discuss industry trends—most importantly, leasing issues—with a retail executive. In our first installment, we speak with Larry Sidoti, vice president of development with long-time mall stalwart Mrs. Fields Original Cookies Inc. The company's franchise system operates through a network of 1,200 locations in 23 countries, including many located in regional malls in the United States. In late 2008, the company emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and is now looking to grow by bringing new franchisers into the company fold. But with the recession cramping consumer spending, the company has already had to temper its expectations. Mrs. Fields, which also owns the TCBY chain, now plans to open 24 new stores in 2009, down from its goal when it exited bankruptcy in October of opening 40 new franchised stores.

Sidoti, the vice president of development at the company since 2008, has been in the restaurant retail business since 1995, when he founded Juice It Up, a smoothie and juice bar chain based in California. Sidoti has been working with developers, landlords and franchisees to build the company through new development and to keep more troubled franchised locations open for business. He spoke with Site Optimizer about current business conditions.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE.

Case Study

A Closer Look: J. Crew Continues to Grow with Madewell
By Lauren Shepherd

There’s no doubt about it – it’s tough out there for apparel retailers. Faced with a stagnant economy and a brutal slowdown in consumer spending, most have sharply cut back expansion plans to save cash. But not every firm is waiting for the economy to recover. J. Crew Group Inc., the New York-based preppy clothing chain, has slowed down its growth of its namesake stores. But at the same time, it is continuing to expand its new urban concept, Madewell.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE.

News & Notes

News & Notes
Staff Reports

With the recession appearing to worsen and consumer spending grinding to a near-halt, retailers continued to struggle in February. The month began with clothing company Chico’s FAS Inc. announcing the elimination of 180 positions. The Fort Myers, Fla.-based chain also said it may have to close up to 25 stores due to weak sales. The job cuts represented about 11 percent of its workforce at its headquarters. The company expects the cuts to save about $15 million over the next year.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE.

Tech Beat

Staying In The Moment With Demographic Trends
By Elaine Misonzhnik

As economic indicators across the U.S. change by the hour, with one region after another falling victim to the deepest recession in decades, retailers find themselves in a world where site selection decisions have become extremely challenging. Markets considered up-and-coming six months ago may no longer deserve a second look today as past projections for population growth turn out to be wrong and businesses that were previously thriving close down or move to other areas.

In this environment, up-to-the-minute demographic data and projections are vital for retailers. That's the niche that TARGUSInfo a Vienna, Va.-based provider of identification and locations solutions, hopes to fill. A lot of competitors have stepped into this fold, all with different approaches to crunching numbers and producing advice on the best locations to build a new store or find ways to find an existing one operate better.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE.

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In these tough times, it’s more important than ever to make the right decisions. For 14 years, our cutting-edge tools have helped clients boost their odds of success with every site they pick, and with every property they lease. Click here to find out more.


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Strategies For Reinventing Retail Space

This Webcast will look at tips for how empty space can be used in a way that generates foot traffic and cash flow. We’ll explore strategies and incorporate real-life examples of what some creative owners and retailers have done to weather the weak retail environment and keep dark space from harming healthy retailers that are operating. Also, it will look at how landlords and economic development officials can best position existing properties to work with tenants that are expanding. Click here for information.


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In these tough times, it’s more important than ever to make the right decisions. For 14 years, our cutting-edge tools have helped clients boost their odds of success with every site they pick, and with every property they lease. Click here to find out more.
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