GOME Electrical Appliances Holding Limited to acquire the entire issued capital of Artway Development Limited for HK$11,268,000,000

Pushing ahead development of total retail ecosystem on all fronts

Hong Kong, 2015-7-28 — /EPR Retail News/ — GOME Electrical Appliances Holding Limited (HKSE stock code: 493; “GOME” or the “Listed Company”, together with its subsidiaries, “the Group”), a leading electrical appliances and consumer electronics retailer in China, today announced its proposed acquisition (the “Acquisition”) of the entire issued capital of Artway Development Limited (the “Target Company”), a company wholly-owned by the Group’s controlling shareholder. The total consideration for the acquisition stands at HK$11,268,000,000. The acquisition move underscores the controlling shareholder’s commitment years earlier in undertaking quality asset injections, and confidence in the development of the Listed Company. Upon completion of the Acquisition, the Listed Company will successfully complete the nationwide deployment of its O2M “Total Retail” network and its supply value chain covering procurement, logistics and after-sales services, putting GOME’s “Total Retail” strategy in full gear to accelerate the realization of the “building another GOME” goal by 2017.

The consideration will be satisfied in cash, new shares as well as warrants. These include HK$2.2 billion in cash, 6.2 billion new shares allotted and issued at a price of HK$1.39 per share, as well as warrants exercisable into 2.5 billion underlying shares at an initial exercise price of HK$2.15 per underlying share. The cash portion of the consideration will be funded from internal resources. The Acquisition is conditional on the Target Company and the controlling shareholder being granted the Whitewash Waiver and the approval from independent shareholders.

Create synergies to expand business on a national scale and accelerate penetration into fast growing regional markets, fortifying further GOME’s leading position in the industry GOME’s leadership in the electrical appliances and consumer electronic products retail market in the PRC will be strengthened further upon the Acquisition. With the injection of quality retail stores and creation of synergies in supply chain, GOME will take advantage of the growth potential offered by both the online and offline platforms to bring forth better total retail experience to consumers. The increase in economies of scale in supply chain and optimization of capital structure will create greater value and opportunities for shareholders. GOME also expects the acquisition to reap synergies from the integration and sharing of resources in retail sales operations, procurement, logistics, after-sales services, warehousing, information technology infrastructure and human resources. Other benefits include facilitating a more flexible fulfilment management, as well as cost savings in warehousing and distribution. These are vindicated primarily in the areas detailed as below:

1. Retail stores with Target Company are highly complementary; complete nationwide coverage of “Total Retail Ecosystem” Following the completion of the Acquisition, GOME will be able to realize its nationwide network coverage deployment, significantly extending its retail store network from 269 cities to 436 cities. The newly-added stores are primarily located in fast-growing second and thirdtier cities, which are highly complementary to the Group’s existing retail store network. Concurrently, the empowerment of the retail store network will accelerate the Group’s ecommerce development, promoting full integration online and offline. The Group will spearhead the creation of a “Total Retail Ecosystem” with comprehensive shopping scenarios and services for consumers, advancing the implementation of its “Total Retail” strategy.

The Target Company notably offers high-quality assets with immense growth potential, boasting a network of 578 stores located across 181 cities in the PRC. Most of them are located in Central and Western China, Bohai Bay and the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region forming part of China’s Economic Zones with significant governmental support. The latter includes the Silk Road Economic Belt, Greater Northeast Economic Area, Yangtze River Economic Belt and Beibu Gulf Economic Zone. Benefiting from the PRC’s macroeconomic growth and national policies such as the “One Belt, One Road”, “Western Development” and “Northeast China Revitalization”, the numerous stores under the Target Company are strongly positioned to seize the opportunities ahead to achieve rapid development, and deliver a new growth engine to the Group.

2. Total integration of logistics platform nationwide; being one of the largest socialized logistics network platforms for home appliances in the PRC The completion of the Acquisition will also enable GOME to upgrade its existing logistics network which covers 21 regional and 407 city distribution centers, by bringing together the listed and non-listed logistics arms. With the support of its 1,714 retail stores, the Group is poised to successfully complete its national logistics coverage deployment, forming a multidimensional logistics network with regional and city warehousing as well as national last-mile distribution coverage spanning more than 600 cities, 2,500 counties and 45,000 towns that can enjoy localized distribution and installation. The establishment of a comprehensive national logistics network encompassing “points to lines to planes” allows the Group to enhance its logistics services standard and efficiency, and expand further into third-party logistics services to create one of the largest socialized logistics network platforms for home appliances in the PRC. This will put the Group’s “Total Retail” strategy in full swing.

3. Rapid expansion of after-sales network at national level; ascend to become one of the biggest after-sales services network platforms for home appliances in the PRC With an after-sales service platform offering over 2,000 outlets across 400-odd mainland cities, GOME is currently the leading air-conditioner and television installation service provider in the PRC. It provides full process of after-sale services from installation, extended warranty, maintenance to home appliance recycling, with “24-hour turnaround guarantee”. The completion of the Acquisition will give the Group a first-mover advantage into the network of the newly-added retail stores, and let it leverage the market opportunities to fully develop its after-sales service network at a national level. GOME will hence be able to become one of the largest after-sales services platforms for home appliances in the PRC.

4. Hundreds of billions capacity of procurement platform; move to become one of the largest home appliances procurement platforms 3 On the procurement front, with the economies of scale achieved post-Acquisition, GOME will continue to increase product diversity and sharpen the competitive edge and bargaining power enjoyed by its procurement platform, through stronger synergies with suppliers. This will help lead to the formation of a mega home appliances procurement platform with hundreds of billions of capacity, making it the largest of its kind in the PRC with the provision of full range of services in terms of product types and prices. At the same time, the Group will strive to raise the proportion of its differentiated products in the portfolio with an aim to increase its overall margin level, further demonstrating the merits of its product differentiation strategy.

All in all, with the support of the fully integrated procurement platform, logistics platform and after-sales services platform post-Acquisition, GOME is destined to strive ahead and fulfil its highest service standard of “three deliveries/day, precise delivery, installation upon delivery” set for the industry in over 400 cities in the PRC, solidifying its three benchmarking pillars – low-price benchmark, service benchmark and IT benchmark – to heighten customer experience, satisfaction and loyalty in an all-round way.

Moreover, the Target Company will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Group upon the completion of the Acquisition. As such, the management service and purchasing service arrangements will be terminated and the Group’s number of connected transactions reduced, thereby streamlining its corporate governance. In addition, the Group is expected to benefit from potential savings in interest and tax expenses through more favourable financing terms, and the optimization of its capital structure.

Mr. Wang Junzhou, CEO of GOME, said, “The acquisition marks an important milestone in the history of GOME. As the retail store network of the Target Company and GOME are highly complementary, it is envisaged that the acquisition will further strengthen GOME’s total retail value chain and fuel its expansion in second and third-tier markets, and e-commerce development in particular.”

“With its far-sighted leadership of Board of Directors and the management, as well as under the national strategy of ‘Internet Plus’, GOME will continue to focus on data mining and bigdata driven targeted marketing and foster the integration of its online + offline + mobile terminal platforms. This will facilitate GOME to fortify its three benchmarking standards set for the home appliances retail market and provide consumers with the most comprehensive and the highest standard of services. The acceleration of the implementation of the ‘Total Retail’ strategy allows GOME to advance ahead towards its ‘building another GOME’ goal by 2017, creating greater value for shareholders.”

The operations of the Target Company are already being carried out by the Listed Company under relevant management arrangements, subject to payment of management fees to the Listed Company.

-End-

About GOME Electrical Appliances Holding Limited
GOME Electrical Appliances Holding Limited has been listed on The Hong Kong Stock Exchange since July 2004 (HKSE: 00493). The GOME Group was founded in China in 1987 and is engaged in the retail business of electrical appliances and consumer electronics in China. It is the leading retail chain of electrical appliances and consumer electronics and the leading retail chain enterprise in China.

Please visit our website for more information: www.gome.com.hk

For further enquiries, please contact:

Hong Kong
Hill+Knowlton Strategies Asia
Elisa Fong
Tel: (852) 2894 6224 / 9528 9627
Email: elisa.fong@hkstrategies.com

Samantha Wang
Tel: (852) 2894 6266 / 9418 0271
Email: samantha.wang@hkstrategies.com

Beijing
Maggie Zhang
Tel: (86 10) 5928 8178
Email: zhangyuan-cw@gome.com.cn

 

LS travel retail North America announces the opening of two new stores in Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW)’s international terminal

TORONTO, 2015-7-28 — /EPR Retail News/ — LS travel retail North America is pleased to announce the opening of two new stores – Hugo Boss and Tumi – in Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW)’s flagship international terminal. Located side by side in terminal D’s North village, both stores offer complementary items that cater to both leisure and business travelers.

A global leader in high quality luxury fashion and accessories – with stores in 124 countries, including the world’s busiest airports – the international icon Hugo Boss offers premium collections in men’s business and leisure wear, leather goods, watches and fragrances.

With more than 30 years of creating superior products for discerning professionals and frequent travelers, Tumi is known for its black-on-black ballistic nylon travel bags that catapulted the company to its current leadership position, and is recognized as the world’s leading brand of luxury travel, business, and lifestyle accessories.

“We are grateful to DFW for their renewed trust in our team”, said Gerry Savaria, President & CEO of LS travel retail North America. “These two new stores are the perfect addition to DFW’s outstanding terminal D offering and to our company’s overall program in the airport. We look forward to opening more stores later this year in coordination with DFW’s TRIP program”.

These two new stores come after the opening in DFW of 6 locations in the last few months, including two iStores (in terminal A and D). More LS stores (including two 7-Eleven) are scheduled to open later this year.

Spanning over 17,000 acres and with more than 60 million passengers traveling through it in 2014, DFW is the largest airport in Texas and the fourth busiest airport in the United States.

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Toys“R”Us® shows support for Special Olympics 2015 Summer World Games by volunteering at the 10-day event

Company Volunteers Celebrate Young Athletes as They Experience #MyFirstSportsMoment

WAYNE, NJ, 2015-7-28 — /EPR Retail News/ — With the Special Olympics 2015 Summer World Games underway, Toys“R”Us®employees throughout the greater Los Angeles, CA area are proudly showing their support by volunteering at the 10-day event. Company volunteers are on hand to encourage and cheer on the littlest athletes, as they reach personal victories in a variety of sporting activities. Toys“R”Us has a longstanding commitment to Special Olympics, and as a Games Level sponsor of the 2015 World Games, is able to help the organization’s efforts to bring the benefit of sports to children and adults of all abilities. Alternating every two years, the Summer and Winter World Games are the flagship events of the Special Olympics movement. This year marks the first time in 16 years that the Summer World Games have been held in the U.S.

Click to Tweet: @ToysRUs volunteers cheer on @SpecialOlympics Young Athletes to victory at @LA2015 World Games #MyFirstSportsMoment

Earlier this year, the company launched the #MyFirstSportsMoment initiative designed to introduce the youngest aspiring athletes to the world of sports by learning to hit balls, run bases, take jump shots and more. Toys“R”Us has helped provide more than $4 million to the organization in 2015 alone through a combination of its in-store and online fundraising campaign and grants from the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund. In addition to supporting the Summer World Games, these funds will be used to help expand Special Olympics’ Young Athletes program across the globe, which supports 2½ to 7 year olds in building critical physical, cognitive and motor development skills through the power of play.

“At Toys“R”Us, we fully recognize the transformative power of sports and are honored to help bring that to children on such a grand stage,” said Kathleen Waugh, Chairman of the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund. “Watching the Young Athletes compete is a joy and we are proud to have dedicated members of the Toys“R”Us family here at the World Games celebrating the littlest athletes as they experience their very first sports moments.”

Toys“R”Us volunteers are supporting “MyFirst” experiences, including: Aquatics, Softball, Bocce, Golf, Football, Roller Skating, Bowling, Tennis, Basketball and Gymnastics. Fans looking to cheer on the Young Athletes from home can join in on the conversation using #MyFirstSportsMoment on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

To download hi-resolution images of the Special Olympics 2015 Summer World Games, please visit:http://assignments.gettyimages.com/mm/nicePath/gyipa_public?nav=pr288744588.

Charitable Giving at Toys“R”Us

The philanthropic mission of Toys“R”Us, Inc. and the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund is to keep children safe and help them in times of need. The Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund contributes millions of dollars annually to various children’s organizations, including those providing disaster relief to victims of large-scale crises, as well as those supporting America’s military families. The Fund also provides grants to leading special needs organizations, furthering the company’s commitment to children of all abilities. In addition to financial and product donations, Toys“R”Us, Inc. hosts in-store and online fundraising campaigns annually that raise millions of dollars for the company’s signature philanthropic partners.

About Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015 (LA2015)
With 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches representing 177 countries, along with 30,000 volunteers and an anticipated 500,000 spectators, the 2015 Special Olympics World Games – being staged in Los Angeles July 25 – August 2, 2015 – will be the largest sports and humanitarian event anywhere in the world in 2015, and the single biggest event in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympic Games. The 2015 Special Olympics World Games, with the unparalleled spirit, enthusiasm, teamwork, joy and displays of courage and skill that are hallmarks of all Special Olympics events, will feature 25 Olympic-style sports in venues throughout the Los Angeles region. The Opening Ceremony, to be held July 25, 2015 in the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, site of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games, is expected to attract 80,000 spectators. On April 30, 2014, LA2015 and ESPN announced a global programming deal that will see ESPN bring coverage of World Games to millions of fans around the world. Honorary Chairs of the Games are President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and California Governor Jerry Brown serving as Honorary Hosts. Current Founding Champions and sponsors include The Coca-Cola Company, Mattel, Deloitte, Toyota, Bank of America, Kaiser Permanente, OUE Skyspace Los Angeles, Davis Elen Advertising, Microsoft, Toys“R”Us, Google, UPS, AMC Theaters, La Opinión, Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board, WWE, AEG, David Geffen, Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg, The Walt Disney Company, Panda Express, and Knights of Columbus. LA2015, the Games Organizing Committee, is a recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. For more information on the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, including volunteer and sponsorship opportunities, visit www.LA2015.org and on social with #ReachUpLA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About Special Olympics Young Athletes
Young Athletes is an inclusive sport and play program for children with and without intellectual disabilities that focuses on the fun activities that are important to mental and physical growth. Children ages 2 to 7 enjoy games and activities that develop motor, social and cognitive skills, while providing an early introduction to sports and to the world of Special Olympics.

About Special Olympics
Special Olympics is a global movement that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports, every day around the world. We empower people with intellectual disabilities to become accepted and valued members of their communities, which leads to a more respectful and inclusive society for all. Using sports as the catalyst and programming around health and education, Special Olympics is fighting inactivity, injustice and intolerance. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown to more than 4.4 million athletes in 170 countries. With the support of more than 1.3 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 32 Olympic-type sports and more than 81,000 games and competitions throughout the year. Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org. Engage with us on: Twitter  @specialolympics; fb.com/specialolympics; youtube.com/specialolympicshq, instagram.com/specialolympics and specialolympicsblog.wordpress.com.

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Media Contacts:
Toys“R”Us, Inc.
Cheryl O’Brien
973-617-4380
Cheryl.Obrien@toysrus.com

Samantha Xenis
973-617-5306    
Samantha.Xenis@toysrus.com

Toys“R”Us, Inc. to host investor meeting on July 30 to formally introduce Dave Brandon, the company’s new Chairman and CEO

WAYNE, NJ, 2015-7-28 — /EPR Retail News/ — Toys“R”Us, Inc. today announced that it will host an investor meeting on Thursday, July 30 to formally introduce Dave Brandon, the company’s new Chairman and CEO. He and the management team will discuss the company’s Fit for Growth initiative, as it transitions from cost reduction to growth generation.

The meeting will include a discussion of the company’s financial performance, including EBITDA growth and an improved balance sheet. As of May 2, 2015, the company delivered $685 million in Last Twelve Months Adjusted EBITDA, had no significant debt maturities until 2017 and more than $1.1 billion in liquidity. Additionally, the company will address a recent news report that implied there is a lack of support from trade insurers and the erroneous statement that it is seeking to hire a restructuring advisor.

Further details and dial-in information will be forthcoming.

About Toys“R”Us, Inc.
Toys“R”Us, Inc. is the world’s leading dedicated toy and baby products retailer, offering a differentiated shopping experience through its family of brands. Merchandise is sold in 865 Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us stores in the United States, Puerto Rico and Guam, and in 735 international stores and 245 licensed stores in 37 countries and jurisdictions. In addition, it exclusively operates the legendary FAO Schwarz brand and sells extraordinary toys atFAO.com. With its strong portfolio of e-commerce sites including Toysrus.com, Babiesrus.com and FAO.com, it provides shoppers with a broad online selection of distinctive toy and baby products. Headquartered in Wayne, NJ, Toys“R”Us, Inc. employs approximately 66,000 associates annually worldwide. The company is committed to serving its communities as a caring and reputable neighbor through programs dedicated to keeping kids safe and helping them in times of need. Additional information about Toys“R”Us, Inc. can be found on Toysrusinc.com. Follow Toys“R”Us, Babies“R”Us and FAO Schwarz on Facebook at Facebook.com/Toysrus, Facebook.com/Babiesrus and Facebook.com/FAO and on Twitter at Twitter.com/Toysrus, Twitter.com/Babiesrus and Twitter.com/FAOSchwarz.

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For more information please contact:

Lenders and Note Investors:
Chetan Bhandari, Senior Vice President, Corporate Finance & Treasurer at 973-617-5841 orChetan.Bhandari@toysrus.com

Media:
Kathleen Waugh, Vice President, Corporate Communications at 973-617-5888, 646-366-8823 or waughk@toysrus.com

 

Non-GAAP Disclosure of EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA

We believe Adjusted EBITDA is useful to investors because it is frequently used by securities analysts, investors and other interested parties in the evaluation of companies in our industry.  Investors in the Company regularly request Adjusted EBITDA as a supplemental analytical measure to, and in conjunction with, the Company’s financial data prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States (“GAAP”).  We understand that investors use Adjusted EBITDA, among other things, to assess our period-to-period operating performance and to gain insight into the manner in which management analyzes operating performance.

In addition, we believe that Adjusted EBITDA is useful in evaluating our operating performance compared to that of other companies in our industry because the calculation of EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA generally eliminates the effects of financing and income taxes and the accounting effects of capital spending and acquisitions, which items may vary for different companies for reasons unrelated to overall operating performance.  We use the non-GAAP financial measures for planning and forecasting and measuring results against the forecast and in certain cases we use similar measures for bonus targets for certain of our employees.  Using several measures to evaluate the business allows us and investors to assess our relative performance against our competitors.

Although we believe that Adjusted EBITDA can make an evaluation of our operating performance more consistent because it removes items that do not reflect our core operations, other companies, even in the same industry, may define Adjusted EBITDA differently than we do.  As a result, it may be difficult to use Adjusted EBITDA or similarly named non-GAAP measures that other companies may use to compare the performance of those companies to our performance.  The Company does not, and investors should not, place undue reliance on EBITDA or Adjusted EBITDA as measures of operating performance.

A reconciliation of Net loss attributable to Toys “R” Us, Inc. to EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA for Toys “R” Us, Inc. is as follows:

Toys“R”Us, Inc. to host investor meeting on July 30 to formally introduce Dave Brandon, the company’s new Chairman and CEO

 

(a)     Represents the fees expensed to Bain Capital Partners LLC, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. and Vornado Realty Trust (collectively, the “Sponsors”) in accordance with the advisory agreement.
(b)     In fiscal 2014, we revised our definition of Adjusted EBITDA to include non-officers’ severance.
(c)     Represents store closure costs, net of lease surrender payments.  In fiscal 2014, we revised our definition of Adjusted EBITDA to include lease surrender payments.
(d)     Represents the incremental compensation expense related to certain one-time awards and modifications, net of forfeitures of certain officers’ awards.  In fiscal 2014, we revised our definition of Adjusted EBITDA to include the impact of forfeitures of certain officers’ awards.
(e)     Represents the unrealized gain on foreign exchange related to the re-measurement of the portion of the Tranche A-1 loan facility due fiscal 2019 attributed to Toys “R” Us (Canada) Ltd. Toys “R” Us (Canada) Ltee.
(f)      Represents an incremental gain on previously identified clearance inventory.  In fiscal 2014, we also revised our definition of Adjusted EBITDA to include third party fees associated with our clearance efforts.
(g)     Represents property losses and insurance claims recognized.
(h)     Represents certain litigation expenses and settlements recorded for legal matters.
(i)       Adjusted EBITDA is defined as EBITDA (earnings (loss) before net interest income (expense), income tax expense (benefit), depreciation and amortization), as further adjusted to exclude the effects of certain income and expense items that management believes make it more difficult to assess the Company’s actual operating performance including certain items which are generally non-recurring.  We have excluded the impact of such items from internal performance assessments.  We believe that excluding items such as Sponsors’ management and advisory fees, asset impairment charges, restructuring charges, impact of litigation, noncontrolling interest, net gains on sales of properties and other charges, helps investors compare our operating performance with our results in prior periods.  We believe it is appropriate to exclude these items as they are not related to ongoing operating performance and, therefore, limit comparability between periods and between us and similar companies.

Darden Restaurants, Inc. names Todd Burrowes President of LongHorn Steakhouse

ORLANDO, Fla., 2015-7-28 — /EPR Retail News/ — Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) today announced that Todd Burrowes has been named President of LongHorn Steakhouse, effective July 28, 2015.  Burrowes is rejoining the brand after spending the last two years as President, Ruby Tuesday Concept and Chief Operations Officer of Ruby Tuesday, Inc.  Previously, Burrowes spent more than 10 years in operations leadership roles at LongHorn.  He will report to Darden CEO Gene Lee.

“We are excited to welcome Todd back to LongHorn Steakhouse,” said Lee.  “Todd is an energetic and passionate leader who truly understands our culture and how to inspire and motivate our team members.  His operational expertise coupled with his deep knowledge of the brand makes him the ideal person to lead the LongHorn team.”

Burrowes is a seasoned restaurant operator with more than 25 years of experience.  During his prior stint at LongHorn, Burrowes spent approximately 10 years in key leadership positions including Executive Vice President of Operations, Senior Vice President of Operations and Regional Director of Operations.  Prior to his tenure with LongHorn Steakhouse, Burrowes served as Regional Director of Operations for Corner Bakery Cafe and Vice President of Operations forSaltgrass Steak House.

LongHorn Steakhouse generated more than $1.5 billion in sales during fiscal year 2015.  As President, Burrowes will lead all aspects of the business, which is comprised of more than 470 restaurants across 40 states.  He is succeeding Valerie Insignares, who departed the company last week to pursue other interests.

About Darden
Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI) owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants that generate $6.8 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Orlando, Florida, and employing 150,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people.  Our restaurant brands – Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V’s and Yard House – reflect the rich diversity of those who dine with us. Our brands are built on deep insights into what our guests want. For more information, please visit www.darden.com.

(Analysts) Rick Cardenas (407) 245-5892; (Media) Rich Jeffers (407) 245-4189

Auntie Anne’s® named one of the country’s top global franchises by Entrepreneur magazine

International Pretzel Franchise Claims a Top Spot on Prestigious Ranking

LANCASTER, Pa., 2015-7-28 — /EPR Retail News/ — Entrepreneur magazine has named Auntie Anne’s® one of the country’s top global franchises. The iconic soft pretzel company ranks among the top franchises expanding internationally as part of the annual Top Global Franchise list, a comprehensive selection of the top 200 global franchise systems.

The ranking was formulated based on specific criteria, and only companies seeking new franchisees outside the U.S. and with a minimum of five open international locations were considered for this list. To compile the ranking, Entrepreneur started with each company’s 2015 Franchise 500® score—based on objective, quantifiable criteria including system size, growth and financial strength and stability—then adjusted to give extra weight to international size and growth.

“We are so proud of the success the Auntie Anne’s team has seen as we continue to expand the brand to countries across the globe and are grateful to be named a top global franchise,” said Heather Neary, Vice President, Global Marketing at Auntie Anne’s, Inc. “New international Auntie Anne’s locations have continued to prove the concept’s ability to adapt in various cultures by almost instantly creating new loyal fan bases. Looking ahead, Auntie Anne’s has set its sights on additional international development opportunities over the next year.”

Auntie Anne’s is currently in 48 states and more than 30 countries and was ranked no. 34 on Entrepreneur magazine’s 2015 Franchise 500®. Looking ahead, Auntie Anne’s has set its sights on further international development. For more information on franchising opportunities with the brand, please visit www.auntieannesfranchising.com.

To view the full ranking of Entrepreneur’s Top Global Companies, visit www.entrepreneur.com/franchises/topglobal/index.html.

 

About Auntie Anne’s
At its more than 1,500 locations around the world, Auntie Anne’s mixes, twists and bakes pretzels from scratch all day long in full view of guests. Auntie Anne’s can be found in malls, outlet centers, and Walmarts, as well as in non-traditional spaces including universities, airports, travel plazas, amusement parks, and military bases. In addition, it has extended the brand onto retailers’ shelves and also serves as a distributor for fundraising products. Available at select retailers nationwide, pretzel fans can enjoy Auntie Anne’s prepare-at-home products, from frozen Classic and Cinnamon Sugar Soft Pretzels and Pretzel Nuggets, to frozen Pretzel Dogs and Pretzel Pocket Sandwiches, to a versatile Pretzel Baking Kit. For more information, visit Auntie Anne’s website, Facebook page, Twitter or YouTube account.

About FOCUS Brands Inc.
Atlanta-based FOCUS Brands Inc. is the franchisor and operator of over 4,000 ice cream shoppes, bakeries, restaurants and cafes in the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and 60 foreign countries under the brand names Carvel®, Cinnabon®, Schlotzsky’s®, Moe’s Southwest Grill®, Auntie Anne’s® and McAlister’s Deli®, as well as Seattle’s Best Coffee® on certain military bases and in certain international markets. Please visit www.focusbrands.com to learn more.

 

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Media Contact:

Kaitlin Nonnenmocher
PR/Social Media Specialist
knonnenmocher@auntieannesinc.com
(717) 435-1612

Stradivarius to expand its range with the creation of line for young men in 2017

The brand is beginning to put together a multi-faceted team for the new collection

Arteixo, Spain, 2015-7-28 — /EPR Retail News/ — Stradivarius is about to expand its range with the creation of a line for young men which it hopes to launch in 2017. This Inditex Group chain has already begun the work of putting together the design and sales team for this new range, which will be targeted at urban, cosmopolitan young men aged between 20 and 30. The multi-faceted team tasked with creating the Stradivarius men’s collection will be made up of professionals from different areas of the textile sector, including clothes and pattern designers and buyers and based in the chain’s head office in Sallent (Barcelona).

Stradivarius is one of the Inditex Group’s young fashion concepts and it reaches out to people who feel passionate about fashion and creativity. Stradivarius ended 2014 with revenue of over €1.1 billion and a 910-strong stores network across 60 markets. The brand recently overhauled its store image; the new stores put styles together in open and eclectic spaces. The brightness of the stores stands out as this was one of the aspects the interior designers sought to emphasis.

For any press request please contact with:

Communication and Corporate Affairs Division
Edificio Inditex

Avda. de la Diputación s/n
15143 – Arteixo
A Coruña – ESPAÑA

Tlf: +34 981 185 400
Fax: +34 981 185 544
comunicacion@inditex.com

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Stradivarius to expand its range with the creation of line for young men in 2017

Stradivarius to expand its range with the creation of line for young men in 2017

Lowe’s Canada announces two more locations in Ontario in addition to completing the acquisition of 12 former Target sites

Target acquisition accelerates Lowe’s footprint in Canada

TORONTO, ON, 2015-7-28 — /EPR Retail News/ — Lowe’s Canada announced today that in addition to completing the acquisition of 12 former Target sites, the company also plans to open two more locations in Ontario. Construction is currently underway in Ancaster and Mississauga, representing an additional investment in excess of approximately C$50 million.

“These 14 new locations are a tremendous win for us in Canada, accelerating our growth across the country and bringing our total store count to 54 locations,” said Sylvain Prud’homme, president of Lowe’s Canada. “We continue to receive a positive reaction from our customers on our store experience and this helps us reach additional communities more quickly.”

The new Lowe’s store sites are located across Canada, many in markets where Lowe’s is currently underpenetrated. As a result of these new locations, approximately 2,000 jobs will be created in Canada, and Lowe’s total Canadian store count will increase to 54 locations including 37 stores in Ontario, 3 in Saskatchewan, 9 in Alberta and 5 in British Columbia.

Lowe’s acquisition of the 12 former Target locations has been completed, including the purchase of Target’s Milton, Ontario distribution centre for a total purchase price of approximately C$147.75 million. This acquisition came as part of a real estate auction following Target’s decision to cease operations in Canada.

The 14 new stores, located across the country will enhance Lowe’s presence in Western Canada and strengthen its base in Ontario adding four new sites in British Columbia, two in Alberta, one in Saskatchewan and seven in Ontario as follows:

Abbotsford Power Centre Abbotsford, BC 1225 Sumas Way
Nanaimo North Town Centre Nanaimo, BC 4750 Rutherford Road
Prince George Prince George, BC 2999 Massey Drive
Victoria Tillicum Victoria, BC 3170 Tillicum Road
Shoppes at Shawnessy Calgary, AB 295 Shawville Blvd SE
Signal Hill Centre Calgary, AB 5696 Signal Hill Centre SW
Northgate Mall Regina, SK 355 Albert St. N
Ancaster Ancaster, ON 100 Portia Drive
Milton Mall Shopping Centre Milton, ON 55 Ontario Street South
Mississauga Mississauga, ON 5348 Mavis Road
Centrepoint Mall North York, ON 6600 Yonge Street
RioCan St. Laurent Ottawa, ON 1021 St. Laurent Blvd
Shoppers World Danforth Toronto, ON 3003 Danforth Avenue
Intercity Shopping Centre Thunder Bay, ON 1000 Forth William Road

The new distribution centre in Milton, Ontario is strategically located to serve the company’s current and future stores.

Lowe’s Canada is slated to open its 40th store in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in August 2015. Opening dates for the remaining 14 locations will vary based on construction and permitting schedules.

About Lowe’s Canada
Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE: LOW) is a FORTUNE® 50 home improvement company serving approximately 16 million customers a week in the United States, Canada and Mexico through its stores and online. With fiscal year 2014 sales of $56.2 billion, Lowe’s has 1,840 home improvement and hardware stores and more than 265,000 employees. In Canada, Lowe’s opened its first stores in December 2007 and now operates 39 stores in Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia with more than 6,000 employees. For more information, visit www.lowes.ca.

Technology brand Bush unveiled new collection of great value products exclusively available at Argos

Milton Keynes, UK, 2015-7-28 — /EPR Retail News/ — Technology brand Bush has unveiled a new collection of great value technology products set to enhance Irish homes, making customers’ lives simpler and even more enjoyable. The range is exclusively available at one of Ireland’s leading technology retailers, Argos, launching on www.argos.ie and in 40 stores nationwide.

Whether it’s getting together as a family to watch a movie on a Saturday night, or relaxing while the dishwasher takes care of yesterday’s mess – Bush is at the heart of these moments – with a wide selection of products for the home across TV, audio, kitchen appliances and mobile technology.

The AW15 collection aims to make everyone’s lives a little easier by taking the confusion and stress out of home technology. Newly designed packaging will help customers to understand their technology better, with product features and benefits simply explained and clearly presented.

The revamped range will include two distinct lines – Bush and Bush Classic. The Bush range offers everything for families, including a keenly-priced Eluma A1 10” 32GB Windows Tablet and Keyboard (€219.99) which enables work and pleasure on the go.  In addition, a new range of five smartphones including a SIM-free 4G Windows Phone (€39.95) and expanded tablet range, means the Bush range covers all aspects of modern living.

Bush Classic focuses on heritage and design, with great products from the iconic 50’s Style FM radio (€36.99) to colourful Retro-Style Fridge-Freezers available four colours and just €729.99, ensuring customers can buy into the retro trend at highly affordable prices.

Alyson Lockley, Head of Brand – Bush, said: “We are really excited about the new Bush range as it provides great value technology that enriches the home and makes life a little bit easier. We want to make technology easier to understand with clearer product information.  We’ve also got a great range of new products across smartphones and tablets, which with the revamped new packaging, will make ideal Christmas gifts this year.”

In time for the new season, Bush has a brand new logo and look available to view through argos.ie and in the new Argos catalogue.

The range will be available to buy exclusively at Argos and customers can check and reserve on www.argos.ie for free instant pick-up from more than 40 stores nationwide.

-ENDS-

For more information, please contact Aoife Sweeney, PR Manager, Argos Republic of Ireland on aoife.sweeney@argos.co.uk or alternatively, tweet us @ArgosIreland_PR

About Argos
Argos is Ireland’s leading general merchandise retailer and provides a unique offer of choice and convenience. It sells general merchandise and products for the home from 40 stores in the Republic of Ireland and around 700 stores in the UK.

Argos opened its first stores in the Republic in January 1996 in Limerick and Dublin; there is now an Argos catalogue in approximately three quarters of all Irish homes.  Argos is already one of the largest retail employers in the country with around 1,100 employees. In 2005, Argos launched its Irish website, www.argos.ie, which now has over 25,000 products online.

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Argos introduces a convenient way to exchange their gadgets at all its UK stores

Milton Keynes, UK, 2015-7-28 — /EPR Retail News/ — Shoppers can now trade-in their unwanted gadgets at Argos stores up and down the country in the first ever initiative launched by a generalist UK retailer, which offers an immediate quote and redemption.

Argos, in partnership with circular economy experts WRAP, has introduced the innovative new service at all its 788 UK stores, providing customers with a convenient way to exchange their gadgets.

UK householders are estimated to have around £1 billion worth of electrical and electronic equipment in their homes which is no longer used1, and two-thirds of those surveyed by WRAP said they would be willing to trade in their tech products with reputable retailers2.

The Argos and WRAP initiative will not only extend the lifecycle of products but will also help the environment, such as by reducing the volume of electrical items sent to landfill.

Unlike existing schemes, where people have to post gadgets and wait several days or weeks for payment, the new scheme offers them an instant quote and payment for their device over the Argos counter.

Customers can walk into any Argos store, drop off unwanted tech items (initially mobile phones and tablets), receive an instant quote and, if they trade it in, get an Argos gift card to spend on anything in-store from Argos’ range of 50,000+ products. The items are then refurbished in the UK and re-sold.

Amy Whidburn, Head of Corporate Responsibility at Argos, said: “As a leading technology retailer we know that our customers are looking for solutions to responsibly dispose of unwanted gadgets when they replace or trade-up devices.  Our new scheme in conjunction with WRAP offers them a safe way to do this, in a really convenient location on their local high street or retail park, with the added benefit of receiving a gift card in return immediately.

“Depending on the response from customers, we may extend the scheme to include other electrical items in the future, such as camera, sat-navs or laptops.”

Marcus Gover, Director of WRAP, said: “We’re delighted to see this type of service become available over Argos store counters. Our research told us consumers have an appetite for trading in and Argos is now providing a convenient and easy way for them to do just that and release the value from their unwanted gadgets. By doing so we’re keeping valuable resources out of landfill and in use longer, reducing the impact on diminishing virgin materials and protecting our environment.”

This new service is the result of Argos’ work with WRAP through the REBus project3, which helps companies implement new resource efficient business models that keep products, and their materials, in use for longer.

Argos’s gadget trade-in service is one of a number of pilots supported by the EU Life+ funded REBus project – through which WRAP is helping businesses take action and make the circular economy a reality.  For more information visit www.rebus.eu.com.

Watch this short video case study to find out more about the development of the gadget trade-in service with insights from Argos and WRAP.

In the UK WRAP also runs the sustainability action plan, esap4, which is working with the electrical and electronic sector to revolutionise how we design, manufacture, sell, repair, re-use, and recycle electrical and electronic products. Argos’s new gadget trade-in service is helping deliver esap by extending the life of products in a commercially attractive way that’s good for business, good for consumers and good for the environment.

Ends

Notes to editors:

VIDEO: Watch the Argos/WRAP video case study http://tinyurl.com/ng94gk9 outlining how they brought the new gadget trade-in service to fruition.

For more information on the Argos case study see here – http://www.wrap.org.uk/content/argos-gadget-trade

Footnotes:

  1. Estimate based on two TNS omnibus waves (1,223 and 1,258 households) in January 2013.
  2. Consumer demand for resource efficient business models on electrical products  – http://www.wrap.org.uk/content/resource-efficient-business-models-consumer-research
  3. The REBus project is supported by the contribution of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Community. The REBus project is a partnership of Rijkswaterstaat, The Aldersgate Group, the University of Northampton, Knowledge Transfer Network and is led by WRAP. www.rebus.eu.com
  4. esap, which launched in 2014 already has over 60 organisations from the electricals sector signed up. For more information about esap please visit www.wrap.org.uk/esap or get in touch via eproducts@wrap.org.uk

Stats:

  • UK householders have around £1bn worth of electrical and electronic equipment in their homes that they no longer use but which still hold significant value
  • Nearly 40% of disposed electrical products go to landfill
  • Two thirds of consumers are willing to trade in tech products through a reputable retailer

For further media information contact:

ARGOS

Press Office on 0845 120 4365 or email: media.relations@argos.co.uk

 

WRAP

Media team: 01295 819619

Clare Usher – clare.usher@wrap.org.uk

Shona O’Donovan – shonaodonovan@wrap.org.uk 

 

About Argos:  Argos is a leading UK digital retailer, offering around 50,000 products through www.argos.co.uk, its growing mobile channels, stores and over the telephone.

Argos continues to be the UK’s largest high street retailer online with around 121m customer transactions a year through its stores and over 900 million website and app visits in the 12 months to February 2015.  Customers can take advantage of Argos’ convenient Check & Reserve service available through its network of 788 stores across the UK and Republic of Ireland.

In the financial year to February 2015, Argos sales were £4.1 billion and it employed some 29,000 people across the business.

About WRAP:

  • WRAP’s vision is a world where resources are used sustainably. It works in partnership with governments, businesses, trade bodies, local authorities, communities and individuals looking for practical advice to improve resource efficiency that delivers both economic and environmental benefits. www.wrap.org.uk @WRAP_UK
  • Our mission is to accelerate the move to a sustainable resource-efficient economy through:
    • re-inventing how we design, produce and sell products,
    • re-thinking how we use and consume products, and
    • re-defining what is possible through re-use and recycling.
  • First established in 2000, WRAP is a registered charity.  WRAP works with UK governments and other funders to help deliver their policies on waste prevention and resource efficiency.  WRAP is a registered Charity No 1159512 and registered as a Company limited by guarantee in England & Wales No 4125764. Registered office at Second Floor, Blenheim Court, 19 George Street, Banbury, Oxon, OX16 5BH.

 

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Argos introduces a convenient way to exchange their gadgets at all its UK stores

Argos introduces a convenient way to exchange their gadgets at all its UK stores

Nordstrom to expand partnership with MADEWELL by adding distribution to an additional 15 stores across the country

SEATTLE, 2015-7-28 — /EPR Retail News/ — Plans were announced today to expand Nordstrom’spartnership with MADEWELL by adding distribution to an additional 15 stores across the country. By late July, the retailer will carry the MADEWELL collection in a total of 30 locations and Nordstrom.com. Nordstrom is the only U.S. retailer to sell a broad assortment of MADEWELL merchandise, outside of MADEWELL stores.

“We know our customers love the MADEWELL brand, so we’re excited to offer MADEWELL in an additional 15 stores for fall. Our customers are responding very well online and in the first 15 stores where we launched MADEWELL earlier this spring and the MADEWELL team has been great to work with. We’re always looking for ways to evolve our offering to be more relevant and the MADEWELL brand has been a great addition to our merchandise mix,” said Tricia Smith, Nordstrom executive vice president and general merchandise manager of women’s apparel.

The fall collection hitting stores July 27th features woven tops and embroidered boho blouses, as well as MADEWELL’S beloved brand essentials, including High Riser denim, the Transport Tote, and the Slub V-neck Pocket Tee in fall colors.

Nordstrom stores that feature MADEWELL (asterisks indicate new locations):

Arizona New York
Scottsdale Fashion Square (Scottsdale, AZ)* Roosevelt Field (Garden City, NY)
California The Westchester Mall (White Plains, NY)
The Americana at Brand (Glendale, CA) North Carolina
The Grove (Los Angeles, CA) The Streets at Southpoint (Durham, NC)*
South Coast Plaza (Costa Meza, CA) Ohio
San Francisco Center (San Francisco, CA) Easton Town Center (Columbus, OH)*
Fashion Valley (San Diego, CA)* Oregon
Irvine Spectrum Center (Irvine, CA)* Washington Square (Tigard, OR)*
Valley Fair (San Jose, CA)* Pennsylvania
Colorado The Plaza at King of Prussia (Kind of Prussia, PA)
Park Meadows (Lone Tree, CO)* Ross Park Mall (Pittsburgh, PA)
Illinois Tennessee
Michigan Avenue (Chicago, IL) The Mall at Green Hills (Nashville, TN)
Oakbrook Center (Oakbrook, IL) Texas
Maryland Northpark Center (Dallas, TX)
Montgomery Mall (Bethesda, MD) Barton Creek Square (Austin, TX)*
Massachusetts The Shops at La Cantera (San Antonio, TX)*
Natick Mall (Natick, MA)* Utah
Michigan Fashion Place (Murray, UT)*
Somerset Collection  (Troy, MI) Virginia
New Jersey The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City (Arlington, VA)*
Freehold Raceway Mall (Freehold NJ)* Washington
Bellevue Square (Bellevue, WA)
Downtown Seattle (Seattle, WA)*

High-resolution images of MADEWELL items available at Nordstrom are available for download in the Nordstrom press room.

ABOUT NORDSTROM:  
Nordstrom, Inc. is a leading fashion specialty retailer based in the U.S. Founded in 1901 as a shoe store in Seattle, today Nordstrom operates 304 stores in 38 states and Canada. Customers are served at 118 Nordstrom stores in the U.S. and Canada; 178 Nordstrom Rack stores; two Jeffrey boutiques; and one clearance store. Additionally, customers are served online through Nordstrom.com, Nordstromrack.com and HauteLook. The company also ownsTrunk Club, a personalized clothing service serving customers online at TrunkClub.com and its five clubhouses. Nordstrom, Inc.’s common stock is publicly traded on the NYSE under the symbol JWN.

ABOUT MADEWELL:  
The first Madewell store opened in 2006 with designs inspired by its workwear beginnings modernized for today. Denim is at the core of everything we do – from great jeans to all the things you wear with them: tees, ankle boots, leather jackets, and more. Madewell is effortless, sexy, cool, tomboy, artful and unexpected. For more information, visit www.madewell.com and follow us @Madewell1937.

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Nordstrom, Inc.
Pamela Lopez
(206) 303-3171
Pamela.Lopez@nordstrom.com

Madewell
Ellie Whiteford
(212) 209-8354
Ellie.whiteford@madewell.com

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Nordstrom to expand partnership with MADEWELL by adding distribution to an additional 15 stores across the country

Nordstrom to expand partnership with MADEWELL by adding distribution to an additional 15 stores across the country

Starbucks and Sounders FC honor active service members and veterans with complimentary tickets for the Sounders vs. Vancouver Whitecaps match on August 1st

SEATTLE, 2015-7-28 — /EPR Retail News/ — Starbucks and the Sounders FC are honoring active service members and veterans with complimentary tickets for the Sounders FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC match on August 1st at CenturyLink Field.

To redeem tickets, bring military ID to one of two Starbucks community store locations – 23rd & Jackson in Seattle, or Highway 512 & South Tacoma Way in Lakewood, Washington. Look for the Sounders FC between 2 and 4 p.m. on Monday July 27th to receive a maximum of 2 tickets per military ID, while supplies last.

This ticket give-away is one of many ways Starbucks pays tribute to military service. Starbucks is also creating opportunity for veterans and military spouses as they transition from military service to civilian careers. Starbucks is committed to hiring at least 10,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2018.

Read more stories about veterans and military spouses at Starbucks in this special online magazine: Paying Tribute, Creating Opportunity.

About Starbucks Hometown
For more than 40 years, Starbucks has had the pleasure of calling Seattle home. Starbucks is proud of its roots and honored to be a part of the community that has been with us from the beginning. Starbucks continues to celebrate the community at its SoDo headquarters, roasting plant in Kent, Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room in Seattle, and in stores throughout Western Washington. Starbucks is proud to support local initiatives through partnerships with like-minded local organizations including the University of Washington, Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Sounders FC, Seattle Theatre Group, Seafair, and the Seattle International Film Festival. Learn more at http://www.starbucks.com/seattle.

For more information on this news release, contact the Starbucks Newsroom.

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Starbucks and Sounders FC honor active service members and veterans with complimentary tickets for the Sounders vs. Vancouver Whitecaps match on August 1st Photos courtesy Corky Trewin

Starbucks and Sounders FC honor active service members and veterans with complimentary tickets for the Sounders vs. Vancouver Whitecaps match on August 1st
Photos courtesy Corky Trewin

Starbucks plans to build store in Ferguson: will also create partnerships with local women- and minority-owned businesses

SEATTLE, 2015-7-28 — /EPR Retail News/ — When Starbucks chairman and ceo Howard Schultz traveled to St. Louis, Missouri earlier this year for the fourth in a series of partner forums on race, he embarked a low-profile side trip to nearby Ferguson. The city continued to show signs from the rioting and confrontations between police and demonstrators the previous summer after the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

But there was more on display in the city of 21,000 than destruction. There was promise.

Starbucks director of community investments Rodney Hines, who was along on the visit, thought that despite the burned-out buildings and broken windows, the essence of a viable community could be seen. As the tour continued, Schultz suggested “there should be a Starbucks here.”

Earlier this month, Starbucks announced plans to build a store in Ferguson, as part of an accelerated program to open stores in 15 diverse urban communities across the U.S., with at least five stores expected to open in 2016. The jobs created by opening these new stores will help achieve the company’s previously stated goal of hiring 10,000 Opportunity Youth – young people between the ages of 16-24 who face systemic barriers to meaningful jobs and education – and the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative’s collective goal of hiring 100,000 Opportunity Youth by 2018.

In addition to opening a store in the West Florissant neighborhood of Ferguson, Starbucks will launch stores in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago’s South Side; the Jamaica neighborhood in Queens, New York; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and will remodel an existing store at 7th and Camelback in Phoenix, Arizona.

The stores will be designed to accommodate jobs-skills training classes overseen by Starbucks and local organizations. Starbucks will also create partnerships with local women- and minority-owned businesses, as they are doing with a Ferguson bakery called Natalie’s Cakes & More, which was damaged during the unrest.

Starbucks will carry Natalie’s Signature Caramel Cake its Ferguson store when it opens next summer, and the cakes will also be available in five Starbucks in the surrounding St. Louis area beginning August 9, 2015.

Starbucks impact is already being felt, according to the bakery’s owner Natalie DuBose. She said local news about the arrangement between Starbucks and Natalie’s Cakes & More began circulating on July 15, and the next day dozens of Starbucks patrons showed up anxious to get a taste of the bakery’s treats.

“We’ve been in job interviews for the last week and a half,” said DuBose.

“Moving forward, we’re going to hire more because of the quantity that will be in demand at the stores. We’ve been shipping caramel cakes left and right just because of the buzz that they’re in the Starbucks stores.”

The mission in Missouri was to find a location that works on multiple levels, according to Hines. A new coffeehouse would have to forcefully contribute to economic development in the community, provide a third place for social interaction and flourish commercially.

Vice president of Starbucks U.S. store development Rob Sopkin, who along with Hines is spearheading the Ferguson project, took charge of finding a spot that would work for both the community and the company. The Ferguson store is progressing at a rapid clip, fueled by support from city officials and community leaders.

“Whereas it usually takes anywhere from six months to a year to get a lease signed, and then it can take up to a year before we open up, this one took just months,” Sopkin said, adding that he expects the West Florissant store to be operating by the summer of 2016.

“Starbucks is stepping up and investing in our community in a way that will open up exciting opportunities for all,” added Michael McMillan, CEO for the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis. “We hope more businesses will appreciate this city’s resilience and join us in turning what was a tragedy into a triumph.”

For more information on this news release, contact Starbucks Newsroom.

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Starbucks plans to build store in Ferguson: will also create partnerships with local women- and minority-owned businesses Photos courtesy Natalie's Cakes & More

Starbucks plans to build store in Ferguson: will also create partnerships with local women- and minority-owned businesses
Photos courtesy Natalie’s Cakes & More