Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford and Paralympic 100m silver medallist Libby Clegg to compete at Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix on 11-12th July

LONDON, 2014-4-10 — /EPR Retail News/ — Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford and Paralympic 100m silver medallist Libby Clegg have confirmed that they will compete at the Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix on 11-12th July. Joining fellow Olympian Mo Farah, the announcement coincides with tickets going on sale for the 2014 Sainsbury’s Summer Series.

Rutherford, who famously leapt to gold on Super Saturday at London 2012 is excited to be returning to compete in front of a home crowd after injury ruled him out from competing at the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games last year.  “What a treat it’ll be to step out into Hampden Park, and again compete in front of a home crowd. We know from London what I can do with the crowd behind me and I can’t wait to get that opportunity at the Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix.”

Clegg, who will line-up for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games two weeks after the IAAF Diamond League visit believes that the Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix will provide her the perfect platform to add to her seven global medals

Clegg said: “The Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix is really close to the Commonwealth Games, so it will be great for me to see how my preparation is going and also face a world-class line-up at Hampden.

“It’s great to have the opportunity to compete as a part of the Diamond League and it’s going to be a great occasion going out in front of a home crowd. I’m sure the Scottish crowd will create the same sort atmosphere as we had at the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games last year.”

The 24 year old was joined in Glasgow today by her guide runner Mikail Huggins as the duo raced against her boyfriend, Scotland rugby 7s player Michael Maltman in a bid to find the Mo Farah lifesize cut outs dotted around the city.

Maltman, who has recently returned from Asia after winning the Bowl Final at the Hong Kong 7s then swapped positions with Clegg as he was given a guide running masterclass by Huggins at Nethercraigs Leisure Centre.

“It was an interesting experience to see how Libby runs. It was quite daunting not being able to see where I was going, but it’s given me a real insight into how much dependence she must put on Mikail during a race,” said Maltman, who is currently preparing for the Emirates Airlines 7s on May 3-4 at Scotstoun.

Huggins added: “With Michael being a burly rugby player, it was impressive how quickly he got the hand of running alongside me. However, after guiding Libby and I through some rugby drills, I don’t think there will be a career change anytime soon!”

Huggins, who starred at the Sainsbury’s Glasgow International Match in January, is excited to return to Scotland with victory on his mind once again when he lines up with Clegg at the Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix.

“We tasted victory at the Sainsbury’s Glasgow International Match earlier this year and that gave us a real taste of what to expect from the Scottish crowd this summer. Hampden is going to be electric and I’m really looking forward to putting on a show on the track.”

Tara Hewitt, Sainsbury’s Head of Sponsorship said:“We’re proud that our support means some of the world’s greatest athletes will be competing in Glasgow at the Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix this summer.  We’ve worked hard to ensure Para-athletic integration across the two days and look forward to welcoming thousands to the first IAAF Diamond League meeting at Hampden Park.”

Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer for EventScotland said: “The Glasgow leg of the IAAF Diamond League will be one of the sporting highlights of an incredible year in Scotland, and demand is guaranteed to be high as tickets go on sale. Scotland is the perfect stage for events and with Greg Rutherford joining fellow Olympians Mo Farah, Christine Ohuruogu, Eilidh Child and Paralympian Libby Clegg at the Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix, fans at Hampden are guaranteed to see some truly world-class athletics.”

Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “The Diamond League series has long been the pinnacle of athletics competition and we’re thrilled to be hosting the event in the city for the first time. The Glasgow Grand Prix will bring the very best athletes to our National Stadium from all over the globe – and they will bring their own army of fans.

“We look forward to welcoming them all to Glasgow in what is the Year of Sport for the city. We have invested more than £200million in sporting infrastructure and can boast some of the best facilities in the world.

“We are continually strengthening our reputation as one of the world’s top sporting cities, and it’s no surprise we have been shortlisted for an honour at the 2014 Ultimate Sports City Awards.”

Tickets for the 2014 Sainsbury’s Summer Series are on sale from Thursday 10 April at www.britishathletics.org.uk

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Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford and Paralympic 100m silver medallist Libby Clegg to compete at Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix on 11-12th July

Organic groceries provider Wild Oats to relaunch at Walmart with more affordable price

Nation’s Largest Grocer Works with Organics Pioneer to Relaunch Brand and Save Customers 25 Percent or More on Organic Groceries

BENTONVILLE, Ark., 2014-4-10 — /EPR Retail News/ — Walmart, the nation’s largest grocer, announced today it will carry Wild Oats organic food items. Originally introduced in 1987, Wild Oats will relaunch at Walmart starting this month with a new, more affordable price point on quality products covering a broad variety of categories – from salsa and pasta sauce to quinoa and chicken broth. Customers will save 25 percent or more when comparing Wild Oats to national brand organic products.*

Wild Oats, a trusted provider of organic groceries, will feature the following lines at Walmart:

  • Wild Oats Marketplace Organic™, which adheres to USDA guidelines for organic certification and includes everything from canned vegetables (15 oz) at $.88 to a full range of spices such as paprika, curry powder and ground cinnamon (2 oz) starting at $2.48. Organic items represent nearly 90 percent of the Wild Oats offering.
  • Wild Oats Marketplace™, which includes products with simple and real ingredients such as ready-to-prepare skillet meals (5.8 oz) at $1.50.
  • Wild Oats Marketplace Originals™, offering new and uniquely formulated items, will be available later this year.

“We know our customers are interested in purchasing organic products and, traditionally, those customers have had to pay more,” said Jack Sinclair, executive vice president of grocery at Walmart U.S. “We are changing that and creating a new price position for organic groceries that increases access. This is part of our ongoing effort to use our scale to deliver quality, affordable groceries to our customers.”

The Wild Oats brand meets customer demand for more affordable organic foods. In fact, internal research found that 91 percent of Walmart shoppers would consider purchasing products from an affordable organic brand at the retailer.

“By partnering with Walmart, Wild Oats is starting a movement that makes it easier than ever for customers to access affordable organic and natural products,” said Tom Casey, CEO of Wild Oats. “Our availability at Walmart will allow us to finally pass along scalable savings directly to consumers. We are reinvigorating our brand by bringing great tasting Wild Oats products to more customers than ever before.”

Walmart and Wild Oats will introduce nearly 100 products as part of the line, removing the price premium associated with organic groceries. For example:

Wild Oats Product Wild Oats Price Comparable Item Price Price Difference
Wild Oats Marketplace Organic Tomato Paste (6 oz) $0.58 $0.98 41%
Wild Oats Marketplace Organic Chicken Broth (32 oz) $1.98 $3.47 43%
Wild Oats Marketplace Organic Cinnamon Applesauce Cups (24 oz) $1.98 $2.78 29%
Wild Oats Marketplace Organic Tomato Sauce (15 oz) $0.88 $1.38 36%

With more than 4,000 stores across the nation selling groceries, Walmart offers a broad assortment of fresh produce, dairy, meat and packaged foods. In addition to growing its organic product offering through Wild Oats, the retailer is expanding its assortment in categories including yogurt, produce, deli and bakery.

“At Walmart, we are focused on offering customers choice,” added Sinclair. “We know our customers count on us to provide them with affordable access to all of the groceries they are looking for.  Organics are no exception.”

Wild Oats product assortment will vary by store.  Walmart.com will also offer Wild Oats later this summer.  More information can be found starting today at www.walmart.com/wildoats and www.wildoats.com.

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Editor’s Note:  Savings claim is based on item price comparisons (per ounce) of 26 nationally branded organic products available at Walmart stores. Research was conducted in April 2014.

About Walmart 
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better – anytime and anywhere — in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices. Each week, more than 245 million customers and members visit our 11,302 stores under 71 banners in 27 countries and ecommerce websites in 10 countries. With fiscal year 2014 sales of over $473 billion, Walmart employs more than 2 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visitinghttp://corporate.walmart.com on Facebook at http://facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/walmart. Online merchandise sales are available at http://www.walmart.com and http://www.samsclub.com.

About Wild Oats
Wild Oats Marketing, LLC was formed by The Yucaipa Companies in December 2011 to bring back the much-loved and trusted Wild Oats brand. Founded in 1987 in Boulder, Colorado, as Wild Oats Markets, the original Wild Oats was a leading operator of natural and organic foods stores and farmers markets in North America, and grew to become the nation’s second-largest natural and organic foods chain.

Organic groceries provider Wild Oats to relaunch at Walmart with more affordable price

Organic groceries provider Wild Oats to relaunch at Walmart with more affordable price

John Lewis opens 92,000 sq ft shop at Vangarde Shopping Park in York

YORK, 2014-4-10 — /EPR Retail News/ — At 9am this morning, John Lewis York opened its doors to excited customers for the very first time. The 92,000 sq ft shop, located at Vangarde Shopping Park in York, is the retailer’s 41st shop and the first John Lewis shop to open this year.
The shop opening comes at an exciting time for John Lewis, as the business marks its 150th Anniversary this year.

Prior to the grand opening, John Lewis director of selling Maggie Porteous gave a speech to Partners (staff) about the retailer’s commitment to Yorkshire. Branch manager Robert Garnish also reflected on the remarkable transformation the shop had undergone and thanked staff for their hard work and dedication in the run up to the opening.

From 8.30am, 150 customers queued outside the shop eagerly awaiting the chance to explore the shop’s extensive product lines across fashion, beauty, consumer electronics, home and nursery.

To officially open the shop, a ribbon was cut by representatives from local organisations that the shop is supporting as part of its charitable giving scheme, Community Matters. The ceremony was attended by Accessible Arts and Media, Arc Life and Independent Domestic Abuse Service.

Andy Street, managing director of John Lewis, said: ‘York has long been a sought after location for us and we’re delighted to be able to expand our reach to customers across the Yorkshire region, providing them with more convenient access to our inspiring products and great service. We’re looking forward to becoming part of the local community here in York.’

Robert Garnish, branch manager of John Lewis York, said: ‘Having grown up in Yorkshire, I am especially excited to be here today as we welcome customers to the shop for the very first time. It’s the culmination of many weeks’ of hard work and it’s fantastic to see how much has been achieved.

‘The new shop is perfectly placed to meet customers’ needs in the York area, with a wide range of products and services on offer and two premium eateries. We’ve now employed 300 people for the shop, and I can’t wait to get to know each of them as well as all of our new customers.’

Customers coming through the doors at John Lewis York will find:

An extensive beauty range, 17 major beauty brands such as Lancôme, Dior and Bobbie Brown as well as exclusive beauty brands to the shop in the local area including Liz Earle, Nars and Lipstick Queen.

The new shop will bring a host of premium and casual fashion brands across menswear, womenswear, childrenswear and baby. John Lewis York will have over 30 different fashion and accessory brands available for men and women. Major fashion brands on offer will include Seasalt, Ted Baker, Wishbone, Whistles, Levis and Jigsaw, alongside John Lewis own brands such as JOHN LEWIS & co, Kin by John Lewis and Somerset by Alice Temperley. There will be over 70 brands across the store’s fashion accessory ranges which includes jewellery, watches and handbags. Brands will include Alex Monroe, Michael Kors, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Rotary, Lulu Guinness and Calvin Klein.

Customers will have two eateries to choose from, The Hotel Chocolat Coco Bar café on the ground floor or the Place to Eat on the first floor.

Customers will also have access to computer terminals in the shop to enable them to browse and purchase products from the wider johnlewis.com range for next day delivery.

There will also be a range of services on offer to complement the wide product offering, including:

Personal Styling
Gift List
Furnishing Fabrics and Floor Covering
Tech Services
Fitted Kitchens and Bathrooms
Home Design Service.

Opening hours for John Lewis York will be 9am – 8pm Monday – Friday, 9am – 7pm Saturday and 11am – 5pm on Sundays (browsing and catering 10.30am – 11am).

The shops address is:
John Lewis York
Vangarde Way
Huntington
York
YO32 9AE

Notes to editors
The John Lewis Partnership – The John Lewis Partnership operates 41 John Lewis shops across the UK (31 department stores and 10 John Lewis at home), johnlewis.com, 312 Waitrose shops, waitrose.com and business to business contracts in the UK and abroad. The business has annual gross sales of over £10bn. It is the UK’s largest example of worker co-ownership where all 91,000 staff are Partners in the business.

John Lewis – John Lewis, ‘Multichannel Retailer of the Year 2014’¹, ‘The Nation’s Best Retailer’² and ‘Best Retailer 2013’³, typically stocks more than 350,000 separate lines in its department stores across fashion, home and technology. Johnlewis.com stocks over 250,000 products, and is consistently ranked one of the top online shopping destinations in the UK. (www.johnlewis.com). John Lewis Insurance offers a range of comprehensive insurance products – home, car, wedding and event, travel and pet insurance and life cover – delivering the values of expertise, trust and customer service expected from the John Lewis brand.

¹ Oracle Retail Week Awards 2014
² Verdict Consumer Satisfaction Awards 2013
³ Which? Awards 2013

You can follow John Lewis on the following social media channels:
www.johnlewis.com/twitter
www.johnlewis.com/facebook
www.johnlewis.com/youtube.

Enquiries
For further information please contact:

Laura Tattam
Senior Press Officer, Community, John Lewis
Telephone: 020 7592 5715
Email: laura_tattam@johnlewis.co.uk

Rite Aid acquires retail clinics operator RediClinic

Will Begin to Open New RediClinics in Select Rite Aid Markets as well as Continue to Support RediClinic’s Expansion in Texas 

CAMP HILL, Pa., 2014-4-10 — /EPR Retail News/ — Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE:RAD) announced today it has acquired Houston-based RediClinic, one of the nation’s leading operators of retail clinics. RediClinic currently operates 30 clinics in the greater Houston, Austin and San Antonio areas. Through the acquisition, RediClinic will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Rite Aid. Details of the transaction were not disclosed.

“RediClinic is a pioneer and a leader in the retail clinic industry, having provided high-quality, convenient and affordable health care to nearly one and a half million people since opening its first clinic in 2005,” said Rite Aid Chairman and CEO John Standley. “Retail clinics play a critical role in today’s health care delivery system and will play an important role in Rite Aid’s overall health and wellness strategy. We are committed to working with RediClinic to expand its current footprint in Texas and, in the near future, begin to bring its expertise in delivering convenient healthcare and wellness programs to Rite Aid customers in select Rite Aid markets.”

RediClinics are staffed by board certified nurse practitioners and physician assistants, who are trained and licensed to treat common conditions and provide preventive services, in collaboration with local physicians who are affiliated with a leading healthcare system in each market. Patients can be treated for more than 30 common medical conditions and RediClinic’s clinicians are able to write prescriptions for these conditions when appropriate.

Additionally, RediClinics provide a broad range of preventive services, including screenings, medical tests, immunizations, and basic physical exams; and the company’s innovative and acclaimed Weigh Forward® weight/lifestyle management program is offered at RediClinics and licensed to other providers.

“Through our new relationship with Rite Aid, RediClinic is well positioned for continued growth in Texas and other states,” said RediClinic CEO Web Golinkin. “Rite Aid enables us to leverage our many years of experience in retail healthcare to the benefit of patients throughout the U.S., and we look forward to working with the Rite Aid team to deliver on our shared mission of helping people live and stay well.”

Rite Aid Corporation is one of the nation’s leading drugstore chains with nearly 4,600 stores in 31 states and the District of Columbia and fiscal 2013 annual revenues of $25.4 billion. Information about Rite Aid, including corporate background and press releases, is available through the company’s website at www.riteaid.com.

# # #

Contact:

Investors: Matt Schroeder 717-214-8867 or investor@riteaid.com

Media: Susan Henderson 717-730-7766

Belk Inc announced operating results for the fiscal year ended February 1, 2014

  • Total sales increase 2.1 percent, comparable store sales rise 2.9 percent
  • Online sales grow 42.5 percent

CHARLOTTE, N.C., 2014-4-10 — /EPR Retail News/ — Belk, Inc., the nation’s largest family owned and operated fashion department store company, today announced operating results for the fiscal year ended February 1, 2014.

Tim Belk, chairman and chief executive officer of Belk, Inc., said, “Despite significant headwinds during the latter part of the year, we are pleased to report our fourth consecutive year of positive comparable store sales. Compared to recent years, fiscal 2014 was a challenging year with a shorter holiday selling season, and our earnings were impacted by additional expense associated with key strategic initiatives, such as expanded Omnichannel and eCommerce capabilities. We spent time last year testing ways to drive incremental sales through item locator and store fulfillment of digital orders, and we plan to expand those efforts this year.”

Net Sales
Net sales for the 52 weeks of fiscal 2014 totaled $4.04 billion, an increase of 2.1 percent, compared with net sales of $3.96 billion in the 53 weeks of fiscal 2013. On a comparable store basis, which included comparable 52-week periods this year and last, net sales for fiscal 2014 were up 2.9 percent.

Merchandise categories achieving the highest growth rate for the year include activewear; ladies contemporary, resort and bridge fashions; ladies suits; men’s better sportswear and clothing; and kids apparel and shoes.

The company’s online sales from belk.com increased 42.5 percent for fiscal 2014. Online sales positively affected the company’s comparable store sales by 1.5 percent for the period.

Net Income
Net income for the period totaled $158.5 million compared to $188.4 million in the prior year. The decrease was primarily the result of a lower margin rate and higher expenses associated with the company’s investments in strategic initiatives during the period, including the launch of a new information technology (IT) platform that included a new merchandising system and the replacement of much of the company’s previous IT infrastructure. Net income excluding non-comparable items totaled $161.0 million in fiscal 2014 compared to $185.5 million in the prior year period. A reconciliation of net income to net income excluding non-comparable items is provided at the end of this release. (See attached PDF file.)

Belk Dividend
The company’s board of directors declared a regular dividend of $.80 per share for stockholders of record on March 26, 2014.

Belk Announces Stock Buyback
The board of directors announced approval of an offer to repurchase up to 2,080,000 shares of the company’s common stock at a price of $48.10 per share. The company expects to launch the repurchase offer on or about April 24, 2014.

Investments in Strategic Initiatives
Belk has planned investments totaling more than $700 million over a three-year period that began in fiscal 2014 for key strategic initiatives focused on:

  • A comprehensive Omnichannel initiative that will enable Belk to connect seamlessly with customers regardless of where they are, offer multiple ways to provide what they want, enhance their in-store shopping experience, and create more personalized customer interactions;
  • Creating compelling shopping environments and driving sales by investing in a flagship strategy, opening stores in existing and new markets, and expanding and remodeling existing stores and key merchandise departments;
  • Supply chain initiatives that align distribution capabilities to maximize sales and service;
  • Information technology that delivers new business capabilities for growth and profitability; and
  • Excelling in customer service. 

New Stores, Store Expansions and Remodels
Belk invested nearly $88 million in store expansion and remodeling projects last year, including the opening of a new store in New Braunfels, Texas, and relocations of stores in Salisbury and Morganton, N.C. to new centers.  Store expansions and remodels were completed in Flowood, Miss., Rock Hill, S.C., Morehead City, N.C., Paragould, Ark., Tifton, Ga., Stuttgart, Ark., Brunswick, Ga., and Mount Pleasant, S.C. (phase 1 – new men’s store). Stores completing remodels included Fredericksburg, Va., Gainesville, Fla., Monroe, La., Bainbridge, Ga., Danville, Va., Elizabeth City, N.C., Griffin, Ga., Natchez, Miss. and Greenville, Miss.

The company will open its first Texas flagship store at Galleria Dallas in Dallas, Texas, on April 9, 2014, and relocated its High Point, N.C. store to a new center at The Palladium at Deep River Shopping Center on March 12. A second new flagship store is scheduled to open in fall 2014 at Bridge Street Town Centre in Huntsville, Ala., along with a new store at Denham Springs/Livingston Parish, La.  Other flagship store expansion and remodeling projects set for completion this fall include Greensboro, N.C. (Friendly Center), Mt. Pleasant, S.C. (phase 2 main store remodel) and Hoover, Ala. (Riverchase Galleria). Belk has also announced the openings of two new stores in 2015 in Bristol, Tenn. (The Pinnacle) and Jacksonville, Fla. (Marketplace at the Fountains), along with a major expansion and remodel of its flagship store in Columbia, S.C. (Columbiana Centre).

eCommerce Fulfillment Center Expansion
In December, Belk announced the expansion of its eCommerce fulfillment center operations in Union County, S.C., to support its growing online business. The company invested approximately $9 million to up fit additional space at the 500,000-square-foot Jonesville facility last year and plans to invest another $32 million this year to further increase the center’s capacity. Belk expects to add approximately 170 new jobs by the end of 2015 in addition to the 124 jobs announced last year. Belk opened the center in 2012.

Private Brand Launches
Belk introduced three new brands during the past fiscal year – MADE Cam Newton, a modern menswear line; CYNTHIA Cynthia Rowley, an exclusive line of apparel, shoes and accessories designed by acclaimed fashion designer Cynthia Rowley; and Chip & Pepper® California, an exclusive line by denim experts Chip & Pepper Foster featuring trend-setting, premium denim. This spring, the company launched Crown & Ivy, an updated ladies better sportswear line in all locations.

Belk Investment in the Community
In addition to a focus on achieving business objectives, Belk maintains a rich legacy of giving back to the communities that have made its success possible. Each year, Belk gives 2.5 percent of its pretax income back to the communities it serves with a focus on education, breast cancer awareness and research, and community strengthening. In the fiscal year ended Feb. 1, 2014, the company and its associates, customers and vendors donated more than $20.9 million to those communities.

During fiscal 2014, in partnership with Charlotte Radiology and Foundation for the Carolinas, Belk announced a $6 million, multi-year investment in the Belk Gives on the Go Mobile Mammography Center. In 2014, the Center plans to visit more than 100 Southern cities, delivering breast cancer screenings and spreading awareness across the South. As of the fiscal 2014 year end, the Center had screened more than 4,500 women.

Modern. Southern. Music.
Belk has launched a year of celebrations and special events in 2014, including a Southern musician showcase competition and a concert sweepstakes, that will pay homage to pop country, Americana, blues, jazz and bluegrass music. Award winning actress Hayden Panettiere, best known for her roles in “Nashville” and “Heroes,” will serve as ambassador for the Belk brand during the campaign through ads, special appearances and promoting Belk via social media.

About Belk, Inc. 
Charlotte, N.C.-based Belk, Inc. (www.belk.com) is the nation’s largest family owned and operated department store company with 300 Belk stores located in 16 Southern states and a growing digital presence.  Its belk.com website offers a wide assortment of national brands and private label fashion apparel, shoes and accessories for the entire family along with top name cosmetics, a wedding registry and a large selection of quality merchandise for the home. Founded in 1888 by William Henry Belk in Monroe, N.C., the company is in the third generation of Belk family leadership and has been committed to community involvement since its inception. In the fiscal year ended Feb. 1, 2014, the company and its associates, customers and vendors donated more than $20.9 million to communities within Belk market areas.

Belk offers many ways to connect via digital and social media, including Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, Google Plus and Belk Blog, and provides exclusive offers, fashion updates, sales notifications and coupons via email or mobile phone text messages. Customers can also download the latest Belk mobile apps for the iPad, iPhone or Android.

Important Information About The Tender Offer
The planned tender offer by Belk for its class A and class B common stock has not yet commenced. This press release constitutes neither an offer to buy nor the solicitation of an offer to sell shares of Belk. The solicitation and the offer to buy Belk’s common stock will only be made pursuant to an offer to purchase and related materials that Belk intends to file with the SEC and to mail to its stockholders.  On commencement of the tender offer, which is expected to begin on or about April 24, 2014, Belk will mail to its stockholders free of charge an offer to purchase and related materials, and will file its offer to purchase with the SEC on Schedule TO. Stockholders are urged to read the offer to purchase and related materials carefully when they become available before making any investment decision with respect to the tender offer because they will contain important information, including the terms and conditions of the offer. Stockholders may obtain for free the offer to purchase and other filed documents at the SEC’s website (when they become available) at www.sec.gov. These documents may also be obtained for free (when they become available) in the “SEC Filings” section of Belk’s website at www.belk.com.

NOTES:

To provide clarity in measuring Belk’s financial performance, Belk supplements the reporting of its consolidated financial information under generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) with the non-GAAP financial measure of “net income excluding non-comparable items.” Belk believes that “net income excluding non-comparable items” is a financial measure that emphasizes the Company’s core ongoing operations and enables investors to focus on period-over-period operating performance. It is among the primary indicators Belk uses in planning and operating the business and forecasting future periods, and Belk believes this measure is an important indicator of recurring operations because it excludes items that may not be indicative of or are unrelated to core operating results. Belk also excludes such items when evaluating company performance in connection with its incentive compensation plans. In addition, this measure provides a better baseline for modeling future earnings expectations and makes it easier to compare Belk’s results with other companies that operate in the same industry. Net income is the most directly comparable GAAP measure. The non-GAAP measure of “net income excluding non-comparable items” should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for GAAP net income.

Certain statements made in this news release may constitute forward-looking statements. Statements regarding future events and developments and the Company’s future performance, as well as our expectations, beliefs, plans, estimates or projections relating to the future, are forward-looking statements. You can identify these forward-looking statements through our use of words such as “may,” “will,” “intend,” “project,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “continue” or other similar words.

Forward-looking statements include information concerning possible or assumed future results from merchandising, marketing and advertising in our stores and through the Internet, general economic conditions, and our ability to be competitive in the retail industry, our ability to execute profitability and efficiency strategies, our ability to execute growth strategies, anticipated benefits from our strategic initiatives to strengthen our merchandising and planning organizations, anticipated benefits from our belk.com website and our eCommerce fulfillment center, the expected benefits of new systems and technology, and the anticipated benefits under our Program Agreement with GE. These forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that may cause our actual results to differ significantly from the results we discuss in such forward-looking statements.

Risks and uncertainties that might cause our results to differ from those we project in our forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: economic, political and business conditions, nationally and in our market areas, including rates of economic growth, interest rates, inflation or deflation, consumer credit availability, levels of consumer debt and bankruptcies, tax rates and policy, unemployment trends, a health pandemic, catastrophic events, potential acts of terrorism and threats of such acts and other matters that influence consumer confidence and spending; our ability to anticipate the demands of our customers for a wide variety of merchandise and services, including our predictions about the merchandise mix, quality, style, service, convenience and credit availability of our customers; unseasonable and extreme weather conditions in our market areas; seasonal fluctuations in quarterly net income due to the significant portion of our revenues generated during the holiday season in the fourth fiscal quarter and the significant amount of inventory we carry during that time; competition from other department and specialty stores and other retailers, including luxury goods retailers, general merchandise stores, Internet retailers, mail order retailers and off-price and discount stores, in the areas of price, merchandise mix, quality, style, service, convenience, credit availability and advertising; our ability to effectively use advertising, marketing and promotional campaigns to generate high customer traffic in our stores and through online sales; variations in the amount of vendor allowances; our ability to successfully implement our new information technology platform that will impact our primary merchandising, planning and core financial process; our ability to successfully operate our website, and our fulfillment facilities and manage our social community engagement by providing a broader range of our information online, including current sales promotions and special events; our ability to manage multiple significant change initiatives simultaneously; our ability to find qualified vendors from which to source our merchandise and our ability to access products in a timely and efficient manner from a wide variety of domestic and international vendors; and to deliver in a timely and cost-efficient manner; increases in the price of merchandise, raw materials, fuel and labor or their reduced availability; the income we receive from, and the timing of receipt of, payments from GE, the operator of our private label credit card business, which depends upon the amount of purchases made through the proprietary credit cards, changes in customers’ credit card use, and GE’s ability to extend credit to our customers; our ability to manage our expense structure; our ability to continue to open new stores, or to remodel or expand existing stores, including the availability of existing retail stores or store sites on acceptable terms and our ability to successfully execute our retailing concept in new markets and geographic regions; our ability to manage risks associated with owning and leasing real estate; the efficient and effective operation of our distribution network, and information systems to manage sales, distribution, merchandise planning and allocation functions; our ability to prevent a security breach that results in the unauthorized disclosure of company, employee or customer information; the effectiveness of third parties in managing our outsourced business; loss of key management or qualified employees or an inability to attract, retain and motivate additional highly skilled employees; changes in federal, state or local laws and regulations; and our ability to comply with debt covenants, which could adversely affect our capital resources, financial condition and liquidity.

Our forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and speak only as of the date of such statements. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, even if future events or new information may impact the validity of such statements.

For a detailed description of the risks and uncertainties that might cause our results to differ from those we project in our forward-looking statements, we refer you to the section captioned “Risk Factors” in our annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended February 2, 2013 that we filed with the SEC on April 17, 2013. Our other filings with the SEC may contain additional information concerning the risks and uncertainties listed above, and other factors you may wish to consider. Upon request, we will provide copies of these filings to you free of charge.

IKEA aquires Hoopeston Wind in Illinois its first wind farm investment in the United States

98 MW Hoopeston Wind Project Is the Largest Single IKEA Renewable Energy Investment Globally to Date

Conshohocken, PA, 2014-4-10 — /EPR Retail News/ — IKEA US announced today that it is making its first wind farm investment in the United States with the purchase of Hoopeston Wind in Hoopeston, Illinois. The 98 megawatt wind farm is the largest single IKEA Group renewable energy investment globally to date and will make a significant contribution to the company’s goal to generate as much renewable energy as the total energy it consumes by 2020. The project is currently being constructed by Apex Clean Energy and is expected to be fully operational by the first half of 2015.

“The US has amazing wind and sun resources that will never run out. We are delighted to make this investment – it is great for jobs, great for energy security, and great for our business. Importantly, it’s great for the future of our climate,” says Steve Howard, Chief Sustainability Officer, IKEA Group.

The announcement was made by Rob Olson, Chief Financial Officer of IKEA US, at a business executive briefing by Climate Declaration signatories for members of the Bi-Cameral Task Force on Climate Change focusing on climate-related business impacts, strategies companies are using to lower their carbon footprints, and the policies needed to mitigate climate change and boost clean energy sources.

“We are committed to renewable energy and to running our business in a way that minimizes our carbon emissions, not only because of the environmental impact, but also because it makes good financial sense,” said Olson. “We invest in our own renewable energy sources so that we can control our exposure to fluctuating electricity costs and continue providing great value to our customers.”

The wind farm purchase is also indicative of the IKEA commitment to growth in the United States. IKEA will open three new stores in 2014 and 2015, and last month announced plans to expand its manufacturing partnership with a key US supplier.

Hoopeston Wind is expected to generate up to 380 GWh of renewable energy each year, which is equivalent to any of the following, calculated annually:

  • The electricity needs of 34,000 average American households1
  • A reduction in CO2 emissions equal to taking 55,000 cars off the road2
  • 165% of the electricity consumed by IKEA US (38 stores, five distribution centers, two
  • service centers and one factory)
  • 130% of the total energy (electricity + heat) consumed by IKEA US
  • 18% of the electricity used by IKEA Group worldwide
  • 10% of the total energy used by IKEA Group worldwide
  • The energy consumed by 70 IKEA stores

The Hoopeston Wind project will install 49 Vestas V100-2.0 MW wind turbines near Hoopeston in Vermilion County, Illinois, approximately 110 miles south of Chicago.

Hoopeston Wind will be fully owned by the IKEA Group and managed by US-based wind and solar developer Apex Clean Energy. Apex President Mark Goodwin said, “Wind energy has been the fastest growing source of new energy generation in the US, and the potential is only beginning to be tapped. This project with IKEA US is an opportunity for Apex to work with a new type of investor and partner to expand wind energy development in this country.”

Hoopeston Wind is the most recent in a series of renewable energy investments by the IKEA Group, which has now committed to own 206 wind turbines worldwide. This includes investments in wind farms in eight other countries to date: Canada, where it is now the largest retail wind energy investor; Denmark; France; Germany; Ireland; Poland; Sweden; and the United Kingdom.

IKEA Group has also installed 550,000 solar panels on IKEA buildings in nine countries. In the US, these investments include solar installations completed on 90% of IKEA locations across 20 states, with a total of 165,000 solar panels providing 38 MW installed capacity. In addition, IKEA integrated a geothermal component into the heating and cooling system of the IKEA store in Centennial, CO, with another geothermal project underway as part of a new Kansas City-area store slated to open in Fall 2014.

In 2013, the IKEA Group produced 1,425 GWh of energy from renewable sources, including wind and solar, equivalent to 37% of the company’s total energy needs. As part of its People & Planet Positive sustainability strategy, the company has allocated $2 billion to invest in wind and solar until 2015 to get closer to its goal of producing 100% as much renewable energy as the total energy it consumes by 2020. The IKEA Group is also leading in making its operations more energy efficient, and since 2010 has saved nearly $55 million3 through energy efficiency efforts in IKEA stores and warehouses.

About IKEA
The IKEA vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people. Our business idea supports this vision by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them. There are currently 305 IKEA Group stores in 26 countries. There are 38 IKEA stores in the US. In FY 13, the IKEA Group had 135,000 co-workers, 684 million visitors to the stores and 1.3 billion visitors to IKEA.com. IKEA incorporates sustainability into day-to-day business and supports initiatives that benefit children and the environment.

For more information, visit facebook.com/IKEAUSA, @IKEAUSANews, @DesignByIKEA, http://pinterest.com/IKEAUSA/, www.youtube.com/IKEAUSA, www.theshare-space.com, www.theshare-space.com/en/Blog

About Apex Clean Energy
Apex Clean Energy is an independent renewable energy company based in Charlottesville, VA. Since its founding in 2009, Apex has become one of the fastest-growing companies in the industry. In December 2012, Apex completed the development and construction of the 300 MW Canadian Hills Wind project outside Oklahoma City. The company has a diversified portfolio of wind energy facilities in development around the country and owns several operating solar PV assets. The company’s management team comprises experts from throughout the industry whose collective prior experience includes the development, financing, construction and operation of over $10 billion in wind and solar energy facilities now operating in the United States.

Contact: Mona Astra Liss ~ IKEA US Corporate PR Director
Mona.Liss@IKEA.com ~ 610.834.0180, ext. 5852

1Calculated using estimated project Net Capacity Factor and the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s ‘Average Residential Monthly Bill by Census Division and State’. (http://www.eia.gov/electricity/sales_revenue_price/html/table5_a.html

2 http://www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-resources/calculator

3 Euro to dollar conversion based on exchange rate 4/7/14

H&M Conscious Foundation named model Alek Wek as official ambassador

Stockholm, Sweden, 2014-4-10 — /EPR Retail News/ — H&M Conscious Foundation has named Sudanese model Alek Wek as its official ambassador as the Foundation initiates its work for its three prioritized global development issues; education, clean water, and strengthening women.

In October 2013, the foundation invited all H&M employees and customers to make a difference. Through a global online voting process everyone had the chance to influence which three global development issues the H&M Conscious Foundation should support. The issues receiving the most votes were: education, clean water, and strengthening women.

As the H&M Conscious Foundation has recently initiated its work for these three prioritized issues, the Foundation has also appointed Sudanese model Alek Wek as its spokesperson. Alek was introduced to H&M Conscious Foundation’s work when asked to give her opinion on which global challenges she found most immediate.

“H&M is a great fashion brand that I always look forward to working with. My Friends and family also love the brand with its new Conscious line. I am so happy to work alongside a company that also choses to give back in such an impactful way. The H&M Conscious Foundation works with communities around the world to promote growth and development in a positive way. Clean water, education and strengthening women are 3 areas that the foundation focuses on. All three of these issues have directly affected my home country of the South Sudan, so it is with a sense of pride that I am happy to lend my voice to the H&M conscious Foundation”.

Alek was born in Southern Sudan and raised in the Dinka tribe. At fourteen, she was forced to flee to London to escape civil war. Soon thereafter, Alek was discovered at a London street fair.  She quickly rose to the top of the modeling industry and was named “Model of the Decade” by i-D magazine

Alek’s influence extends far beyond the fashion world; she spoke at the International Black Caucus Foreign Affairs as a member of a panel that included Hilary Clinton amongst others.  Alek has also served on the advisory board for the U.S. Committee for Refugees and she frequently speaks in New York area schools to raise awareness around famine in Southern Sudan and to educate children on the importance of nourishment.  She has also launched the Bracelet of Life campaign in conjunction with Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders.  Alek also works closely with AIDS awareness organizations, children’s charities, and non-profits dedicated to breast cancer research.

H&M consider it to be its responsibility to make a positive impact in the communities where it operates and that is why the H&M Conscious Foundation will drive change beyond H&M’s own value chain and thereby adding to H&M’s sustainability work

“We are very happy to have Alek as a part of our team and with her knowledge and background we are convinced that we will be able to achieve a lot of great things together, “ says Helena Thybell, global manager for the H&M Conscious Foundation.

The collaboration between Alek Wek and the H&M Conscious Foundation is initiated now and will run for three years to begin with.

Read more about the H&M Conscious Foundation and its work.

*The H&M Conscious Foundation is an independent non-profit global foundation initiated in connection with H&M’s 60th anniversary in 2007. The foundation is committed to use its resources to address some of the world’s most challenging problems and is the philanthropic arm complementing H&M’s sustainability work.

H&M Conscious Foundation is a separate legal organization. As a non-profit foundation it functions independently from    H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB.

GLOBAL MEDIA INQURIES

Only for media representatives
Phone: +46 8 796 53 00
Email: mediarelations@hm.com

Please note the contact details above are only for media representatives. For other enquiries contact H&M’s switchboard on +46 8 796 55 00.

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H&M Conscious Foundation named model Alek Wek as official ambassador

H&M Conscious Foundation named model Alek Wek as official ambassador

H&M publishes its twelfth Conscious Actions Sustainability Report

Stockholm, Sweden, 2014-4-10 — /EPR Retail News/ — Today, H&M publishes its twelfth Conscious Actions Sustainability Report. Some of the highlights during 2013 are the launch of H&M´s roadmap for fair living wages, the first closed loop collection made with recycled material from collected garments and a doubling of the share of more sustainable cotton in the last two years.

“We take a long-term view on our business, and investing in our sustainability means investing in our future. This gives us the opportunity to contribute to the development of communities around the world, and better lives for millions of people”, says Karl-Johan Persson, CEO at H&M.

The report contains a wide range of achievements covering every stage of H&M´s product lifecycle, from design to how the customers take care of their garments. Some of the achievements from last year are:

  • Fair living wage roadmap launched, enabling suppliers to pay higher wages to their workers.
  • Close to 100% of H&M stores worldwide participate in our global garment collecting initiative with the goal to create a closed loop for textiles. 3,047 tonnes of no longer wanted garments were collected.
  • First closed loop products launched, made with 20% recycled material from collected garments.
  • H&M started to implement the game changing water strategy developed together with WWF.
  • H&M doubled the share of more sustainable cotton in the last two years and we are on target with 15.8% of the cotton being certified organic, Better Cotton or recycled. The goal is that all cotton should come from more sustainable sources by 2020 at the latest.
  • More sustainable fabrics now represent 11% of our products’ total material use – up from 9.1% in 2012.
  • H&M launched its first products made with organic leather and organic silk.
  • The amount of recycled polyester used in H&M´s garments is equivalent to 9.5 million PET bottles.
  • H&M was the first brand to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh.
  • 894,975 garment workers in Bangladesh and India educated about their rights since 2008.
  • Clevercare label launched, providing guidance for conscious garment care.
  • 14% less electricity used per H&M store sqm since 2007. The goal is -20% by 2020.
  • 340 million fewer litres of water used in denim production compared to last year.

“H&M again sets the bar in sustainability reporting. It’s commitment to sustainability and the transparency on targets and achievements serve as an inspiration for other brands in this sector. Considering the fact that H&M sources from 1,900 factories reaching 1,6 million people, the potential for change is immense”, says Janet Mensink, International Programme Coordinator Cotton & Textiles for Solidaridad Network.

The report and a summary of its highlights are available to read and download at www.hm.com/consciousactions2013

Contact person:

Camilla Emilsson Falk, Head of Media Relations
Phone: +46 8 796 39 95
E-mail: camilla.emilsson-falk@hm.com

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H&M publishes its twelfth Conscious Actions Sustainability Report

Target and 17 natural, organic and sustainable brands launch “Made to Matter – Handpicked by Target”

Collection makes it easier to find products made with simple, recognizable ingredients at unbeatable prices

MINNEAPOLIS, 2014-4-10 — /EPR Retail News/ — Known for bringing great design to the masses through signature partnerships and products, Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) is now introducing “Made to Matter – Handpicked by Target.” The first-of-its-kind collection brings together 17 leading natural, organic and sustainable brands to introduce new products and make them more accessible to guests.

“Our guests are looking for products they can feel good bringing home without sacrificing price and performance,” said Kathee Tesija, executive vice president, Merchandising and Supply Chain, Target. “We’re taking the guesswork out of buying better-for-you products by bringing together 17 trusted brands.”

Spanning Target’s Baby, Beauty and Personal Care, Grocery, Healthcare and Household product categories, Made to Matter brands include Annie’s Homegrown, Burt’s Bees, Chobani, Clif Bar & Company, Ella’s Kitchen, EVOL, Horizon Organic, Hyland’s, Kashi, Method, Plum Organics, Seventh Generation, SheaMoisture, Target’s Simply Balanced, Vita Coco, Yes To and Zarbee’s Naturals. The Made to Matter collection includes all products currently offered at Target by the participating brands and at least one new exclusive item from each brand.

There will be more than 120 new and limited-time exclusive Made to Matter products. They range from first-to-market product designs and innovations to new scent and flavor options. Products will be available throughout the store, both in the products’ usual aisles and as part of specialized collection displays. Select products also will be available on Target.com and Target’s mobile app. First introduced in Target stores at the end of March, new Made to Matter products will be added throughout spring and summer, with the complete collection available by September 2014.

For additional information on “Made to Matter – Handpicked by Target,” visit Target.com/Pressroom and ABullseyeView.com.

About Target
Minneapolis-based Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) serves guests at 1,924 stores – 1,797 in the United States and 127 in Canada – and at Target.com. Since 1946, Target has given 5 percent of its profit through community grants and programs; today, that giving equals more than $4 million a week. For more information about Target’s commitment to corporate responsibility, visit target.com/corporateresponsibility.

For more information, visit Target.com/Pressroom.

Wincor Nixdorf becomes GS1 Germany solution provider

Retailers and banks benefit from standardized interfaces that lower costs and enhance security throughout the entire cash cycle

Paderborn, Germany, 2014-4-10 — /EPR Retail News/ — How can the overall efficiency of the cash handling process be improved? According to experts, a potential solution lies in a more efficient cash cycle, in which players such as banks, retail enterprises and cash-in-transit companies integrate their processes more closely, for example when it comes to communication along the cash stream. Under the aegis of GS1 Germany, the industry is working to develop process recommendations covering standardized communication via electronic data interchange (EDI), the unambiguous identification of objects along the cash flow and jointly coordinated processes. Now, in the shape of Wincor Nixdorf, GS1 Germany has a new partner to assist in implementing these measures.

Wincor Nixdorf, one of the world’s leading suppliers of IT solutions and services for retail banks and retailers, has decided to become a GS1 Germany solution provider. Wincor Nixdorf’s goal is to take the GS1 standards into account in its software solu-tions, its ATMs and cash recyclers as well as in the overarching project plan for Man-aged Services that is still to be adopted. In this way, Wincor Nixdorf intends to make a contribution toward evolution of the GS1 standards together with other partners in the market. “The commitment made by system and software providers like Wincor Nixdorf has a decisive influence on other cash cycle participants, encouraging them to integrate their processes more efficiently,” says Christian Fischer, Cash Logistics Industry Manager at GS1 Germany, welcoming Wincor Nixdorf’s involvement. “It takes us a big step closer to the vision of an IT-based network of all cash cycle participants.” The advantage of such a network is, for instance, that the commodities in the cash cycle, i.e. the coins, banknotes and transport receptacles, can be tracked no matter where in the cycle they happen to be. That way, those involved always know exactly where their consignments and cash cassettes are, making it easier to manage the risks involved.

“The next important step forward for us will be to integrate the GS1 standards in our solutions and services. Standardized open interfaces will enable our customers to adapt and gear their business to a world that is increasingly governed by networking and shared standards. In our capacity as a GS1 Germany solution provider, we want to play an active part in developing, implementing and disseminating the GS1 standards,” says Thomas Fell, Senior Vice President, Retail at Wincor Nixdorf.

The group of GS1 Germany solution providers comprises almost 100 companies from the fields of hardware and software, communications, logistics and category manage-ment. They provide solutions that enable companies to optimize their interfaces with partners in the value chain.

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CBRE Group analysis: U.S. commercial real estate market continued to recover in first quarter of 2014

Los Angeles, 2014-4-10 — /EPR Retail News/ — The U.S. commercial real estate market continued to recover steadily in the first quarter (Q1) of 2014, according to the latest analysis from CBRE Group, Inc.

  • The office vacancy rate declined by 10 basis points (bps) to reach 14.8% in Q1 2014. Although vacancy rate improvements slowed in Q1 2014 compared to Q4 2013, the national office recovery continues to move in the right direction, with vacancies declining in a majority of the markets.
  • In Q1 2014, national industrial availability1 decreased by 20 bps from the end of 2013, to 11.1% in Q1 2014.
  • The retail availability rate declined 10 bps to 11.9%, marking the first time retail availability has been below 12% since 2009.
  • Demand for the nation’s apartment buildings remained strong with vacancy of 4.9% in Q1 2014.

“Real estate fundamentals continued to improve despite the harsh winter weather in the initial months of 2014,” said Jon Southard, Managing Director of CBRE’s Econometric Advisors group. “Sentiment suggests that companies are looking forward to future demand and beginning to respond with expansion plans.”

Office Market
Q4 2014 marked the first time in a year and a half that the downtown submarkets outperformed the suburbs, as the downtown vacancy rate fell by 10 bps to 12.2% and the suburban vacancy rate remained unchanged at 16.3%. A majority of markets continued to see their vacancy rates fall during the quarter, with rates falling in 34 of the 63 U.S. office markets tracked, rising in 24 and unchanged in five. Consistent with recent quarters, smaller markets were among the best performers; vacancy rates in Baltimore, San Antonio and Stamford fell by 130 bps, 130 bps and 120 bps to 13.2%, 17.4% and 16.6% respectively.

Improvements continue to accelerate in the California, Nevada, Florida and Arizona markets, which were the worst affected regions during the housing crisis. Tucson and Tampa were among the best performers in Q1 2014 with total vacancy declines of 90 bps and 60 bps respectively. The Washington, D.C. office market saw its vacancy rate rise by 30 bps for the second quarter in a row; however, there were positive signs as the District’s vacancy rate fell by 20 bps, while the suburban vacancy rate rose by 50 bps in Q1 2014.

“The strength in private sector employment has been a key factor supporting demand for office space and is expected to remain strong throughout 2014,” noted Mr. Southard. “The total private employment growth average of 182,000 jobs per month in the first three months of the year is a positive sign for future office space demand, especially with professional and business services — a key office-using sector — leading the way. “

CBRE forecasts the U.S. office market vacancy rate will continue to decline in 2014, falling to 14.3% by year end.

Industrial Market
The industrial market, with the availability rate now at 11.1%, has seen its recovery continue for 15 consecutive quarters. The 20-bps drop was the smallest quarterly decline in six quarters, underscoring the recovery’s maturation as many markets are starting to see more significant development. A majority of markets continued to improve during Q1 2014, with 40 out of 61reporting declines in availability, while nine markets remained unchanged and 12 showed increases.

The declines in availability across individual markets showed fewer extreme drops than in some of the recent quarters, with the three largest markets with the strongest declines all less than one percentage point: Atlanta (-80 bps), Detroit (-80 bps), and Philadelphia (-70 bps). The 200 bps increase in availability in Forth Worth, unusual for a market of its size, was partially due to a single 4.7-million-sq. ft. complex that became available during Q1 2014. Across most markets, there continued to be healthy demand.

“The first quarter of 2014 showed the demand for industrial real estate has continued, albeit at a slightly slower pace than the past year. But this does not mean conditions in the market are weakening,“ noted Mr. Southard. “The two forces pushing against lower rate of decline in availability are arguably both good signs: First, we are seeing higher levels of construction than we have since the recovery began. Second, there are a handful of markets that are already fully recovered or very near that mark, which will lead to stronger rent growth in the coming quarters, in some cases beyond prior peaks.”

CBRE forecasts the national industrial availability rate will decline an additional 30 bps in 2014 to 10.8%.

Retail Market
Q1 2014’s retail availability rate of 11.9% was down 60 bps compared to the rate one year ago. This is the first time that the availability rate has dipped below 12% since early 2009, although the rate still remains high compared with 7.4% at its low point in Q4 2005, prior to the downturn. This decline in availability should translate into continued net absorption gains in the first quarter.

The majority of markets recorded declining availability rates in in Q1 2014; 19 markets recorded flat or increasing rates. Honolulu, Tucson, Charlotte and Fort Lauderdale recorded declines in availability rates at or more than 60 bps in Q1 2014. Those markets with the greatest availability decline compared to one year ago were Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Dallas and Tucson. Markets which recorded a significant rise in availability were Salt Lake City, Chicago, San Francisco, and Jacksonville; each of these markets remains at or above what they were one year ago.

CBRE continues to forecast that the availability rate for neighborhood and community shopping centers will decline to 10.6% in 2014.

Apartment Market
Preliminary data indicates that apartment demand continued to expand at a steady pace in Q1 2014. The vacancy rate for professionally-managed apartment units of 4.9% was a drop of 20 bps compared to a year ago.  The market remains tight by historical standards, with the vacancy rate below the long-term norm.  The national apartment demand is now growing at a rate of over 220,000 units or 1.6% on an annual basis, a pace that is stronger than what the market has seen historically.

Vacancy rates declined in 40 of the 63 markets in CBRE’s coverage.  Markets with the biggest year-over-year declines in vacancy (80 bps or more) included Jacksonville, Riverside, Sacramento, Nashville, St. Louis, Houston, Las Vegas, Atlanta, El Paso, Portland, Greensboro, Memphis, and Orange County. Those with the largest year-over-year increases in vacancy (70 bps or more) included Greenville, Oklahoma City, Birmingham, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Albuquerque, Indianapolis, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, and Dayton.  Markets with the lowest vacancy rates (at or below 3.5%)) included Minneapolis, Portland, Miami, Oakland, Newark, Ventura, San Jose, Edison, Orange County, and San Diego.  Effective rent growth has improved slightly last quarter but remains in 2.5-3% per year range in most areas.

CBRE forecasts that the U.S. multi-housing market vacancy rate will average 5.3% in 2014.

1Availability is space that is actively being marketed and available for tenant build-out within 12 months.

About CBRE Group, Inc.
CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBG), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Los Angeles, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (in terms of 2013 revenue).  The Company has approximately 44,000 employees (excluding affiliates), and serves real estate owners, investors and occupiers through approximately 350 offices (excluding affiliates) worldwide. CBRE offers strategic advice and execution for property sales and leasing; corporate services; property, facilities and project management; mortgage banking; appraisal and valuation; development services; investment management; and research and consulting. Please visit our website at www.cbre.com.