Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Prada Factory Outlet in Tuscany

Prada Località Levanella; Montevarchi; 055 91 901; Mon-Sat 9.30-7, Sun 2-9.

Prada's outlet is the hardest to find but most rewarding as it has far more stock in a greater range of sizes than we found at any of the other factory stores. The huge shop sells shoes, bags, sunglasses and above all lots of clothes by Miu Miu, Helmut Lang and Jil Sander as well as Prada. Get there when it opens as they don't restock during the day and queues form at the entrance from mid-morning.

Best buys when we visited included Miu Miu trousers for £45, a Prada Sport wool skirt for £60 and winter coats by Helmut Lang, Miu Miu and Prada starting at around £200.

Please take notice of the opening and closing hours of our Levanella outlet:
- Monday through friday: 10.30am through 8pm, last entrance 7.30pm.
- Saturday: 9.30am through 8pm, last entrance 7.30pm.
- Sunday and festivities: 10.30 through 8pm, last entrance 7.30pm.
- Closed on January 1st, Easter, August 15th and December 25th-26th.
- On December 24th and 31st there could be reduced opening hours.
Prada- Miu Miu- Church's- Car Shoe

Loc. Levanella - S.S. 69 - 52025 Montevarchi (AR)

Italiatel. 055-9789481
We thank you for your collaboration.

Kind regards,
Prada Client Service

Vi preghiamo di prendere nota degli orari di apertura e chiusura del nostro outlet di Levanella:
- dal lunedì al venerdì 10.30-20.00, last entrance 19.30, orario continuato;
- sabato 9.30-20.00, last entrance 19.30, orario continuato;
- domenica e festivi 10.30-20.00, last entrance 19.30, orario continuato.
- Giorni di chiusura 1° Gennaio, Pasqua, 15 Agosto, 25 e 26 Dicembre.
- Nei giorni 24 Dicembre e 31 dicembre possono verificarsi delle aperture con orario ridotto.
Prada- Miu Miu- Church's- Car Shoe

Loc. Levanella - S.S. 69 - 52025 Montevarchi (AR)
Italiatel. 055-9789481
Ringraziandovi della vostra collaborazione
vi inviamo cordiali saluti,
Prada Client Service

Stone Creek Crossing up to $2 million in property tax reimbursements

SAN MARCOS — The city has approved giving an additional $4 million in tax reimbursements to a retail project in San Marcos after the company said the economic downturn threatened completion of the 550,000-square-foot project.

The City Council voted in September 2007 to give Stone Creek Crossing up to $2 million in property tax reimbursements for five years through an economic development grant based on performance. Last week , the city agreed to throw in $4 million more in sales and property tax incentives. In exchange, Stone Creek developers have agreed to build a movie theater, concert hall or other type of entertainment venue at the site, located at Interstate 35 and McCarty Lane.
The center will include a Super Target, a J.C. Penney and a Bealls. San Marcos City Manager Rick Menchaca said that had the city not amended the agreement, the development would still have progressed but possibly without a natural area incorporating Cottonwood Creek.

Menchaca said the land, where building is already under way, has costly drainage problems that deterred other developers in the past. He also said the company was facing higher steel and concrete costs than predicted.

Under the new agreement, the city will keep 20 percent of the property tax payments and give Stone Creek developers any sales tax revenue above $500,000.

If sales tax revenue exceeds $1 million, the city and the developers will split the money.

David Neher , vice president of Direct Development, Stone Creek's Austin-based developer, did not return a call for comment.

The city can afford the extra cash in the coming years in the current economy, Menchaca said: A similar agreement in which the city agreed to give $3 million in reimbursements to San Marcos Factory Shops/Prime Outlets to expand and renovate Prime Outlets has already produced more sales tax revenue than projected.

About half of San Marcos' $39.6 million general fund comes from sales tax revenue, about 60 percent of which is generated at the outlet malls.

The city will complete reimbursements to the mall developers this year, one year ahead of schedule.

The Stone Creek and outlet mall sales and property tax breaks are the only such agreements San Marcos currently has, Menchaca said.
"We look at it as an investment," he said.

San Marcos' sales tax revenue increased 9 percent in August, the most recent month reported, over the previous year. The city relies on sales tax for just under half of its income.

City of Austin voters will decide Tuesday whether to prohibit the city from giving tax incentives to projects or developments that include retail and to stop payment on current agreements.
Austin has only one such agreement with a retail development; the performance-based economic development grant for the Domain is worth up to $57 million over 20 years.

Gurnee Mills Outlet Mall are gearing up for a long day of holiday shopping

Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving and retailers at the Gurnee Mills Outlet Mall are gearing up for a long day of holiday shopping. Gurnee Mills will be closed for the Thanksgiving Day, but will open at midnight for a full day of Christmas shopping on Friday. No doubt retailers will offer special savings, Christmas sales and coupons to entice early birds.

Fill up on Thanksgiving turkey and get a nap in front of the TV. You will need to save your energy for the midnight shopping adventure. There are even hotels nearby if you are traveling a distance and want a base of operations near the mall.

Gurnee Mills is an indoor shopping mall with over 200 stores offering products at discount prices. According to the Gurnee Mills website, over 23 million shoppers visit the mall every year. Major retails at the mall include Off 5th - Saks Fifth Avenue Outlet, Nike Factory Outlet, Bass Pro Shops, T.J. Maxx, Kohl's, Burlington Coat Factory, J.C. Penney Outlet, Sears Grand and Marshalls HomeGoods.

Stores at Gurnee Mills offer accessories, arts & crafts, cards & stationery, books, gifts, children's fashions, cigars and tobacco, entertainment, health and beauty products, home decor, home furnishings, jewelry, luggage, men's fashions, women's fashions, music, electronics, eyewear, photography, shoes, sporting goods, toys and games.

There are two food courts at Gurnee Mills, offering a variety of snacks and meals. If you want a sit down meal, Rainforest Cafe and Ruby Tuesday will wait on you. There are also a number of chain restaurants surrounding the mall.

Gurnee Mills is a large and very spread-out mall. I suggest you look at the mall map on its website and plan a strategy. Visit the stores you are most interested in first. Of course, wear comfortable shoes, because there will be a lot of walking.
If you finish shopping early, there may be time to catch a movie at the Gurnee Marcus Cinema.
Regular mall hours are Monday to Friday 10 am to 9 pm, Saturday 10 am to 9:30 pm and Sunday 11 am to 7 pm. Special Black Friday hours are 12 am (midnight) to 10 pm.

Gurnee Mills Location
Gurnee MIlls is located at the intersection of I-94 and Grand Avenue (IL 132), in Lake County, Illinois. The mall is strategically positioned midway between Chicago, Illinois and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Gurnee is 40 miles from the City of Chicago and 59 miles from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Gurnee Mills Mall, 6170 West Grand Avenue, Gurnee, Illinois 60031. 1-847-263-7500.

Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc. today reported funds from operations

Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc. today reported funds from operations available to common shareholders ("FFO"), a widely accepted measure of REIT performance, for the three months ended September 30, 2008 increased 9.4% to $0.70 per share, or $26.5 million, as compared to FFO of $0.64 per share, or $23.9 million, for the three months ended September 30, 2007. For the nine months ended September 30, 2008, FFO was $64.4 million, or $1.70 per share, as compared to FFO of $67.4 million, or $1.80 per share, for the nine months ended September 30, 2007.

FFO for the nine months ended September 30, 2008 was impacted by a previously announced $8.9 million charge relating to the settlement of $200.0 million in 10 year US Treasury locks, as well as a $406,000 prepayment premium associated with the early extinguishment of debt. Excluding these two non-recurring charges, FFO for the nine months ended September 30, 2008 would have been $1.94 per share, representing an increase of 7.8% compared to the nine months ended September 30, 2007.

For the three months ended September 30, 2008, net income available to common shareholders increased 26.9% to $8.9 million or $0.28 per share, as compared to $7.0 million, or $0.22 per share for the third quarter of 2007. Net income available to common shareholders for the nine months ended September 30, 2008 was $14.3 million, or $0.45 per share compared $13.9 million, or $0.44 per share for the first nine months of 2007. Net income available to common shareholders for the nine months ended September 30, 2008 was also impacted by the non-recurring charges described above.

Net income and FFO per share amounts above are on a diluted basis. FFO is a supplemental non-GAAP financial measure used as a standard in the real estate industry to measure and compare the operating performance of real estate companies. A complete reconciliation containing adjustments from GAAP net income to FFO is included in this press release.
Third Quarter Highlights

-- Received an upgrade from BBB- to BBB from Standard and Poor's Ratings Services on October 23, 2008
-- 31.2% debt-to-total market capitalization ratio, compared to 30.5% as of September 30, 2007
-- 3.92 times interest coverage ratio compared to 3.40 times last year
-- 4.7% increase in same center net operating income for the third quarter and year to date
-- 47.0% average increase in base rental rates on 77,000 square feet of re-leased space during the third quarter of 2008, 43.8% increase year to date, compared to a 37.6% increase year to date in 2007

-- 8.3% average increase in base rental rates on 56,000 square feet of signed renewals during the third quarter of 2008, 17.6% increase year to date, compared to a 13.2% increase year to date in 2007
-- 96.7% occupancy rate for wholly-owned properties, up 0.5% from June 30, 2008
-- Same-space tenant sales for the rolling twelve months ended September 30, 2008 increased 0.3% to $341 per square foot excluding two properties undergoing major renovations
Stanley K. Tanger, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "Our third quarter results were very positive. Same center net operating income increased 4.7% for the quarter as a result of our continuing efforts to drive rental rates on the renewal and releasing of space. Our balance sheet is conservatively positioned given current financial and economic conditions."

Financing Activities and Balance Sheet Summary
On October 23, 2008, Tanger was upgraded by Standard and Poor's Ratings Services from BBB- to BBB, making it one of only two REITs to receive a ratings upgrade this year. The company also currently maintains an investment grade rating with Moody's Investors Service of Baa3.
On June 11, 2008, Tanger closed on a $235.0 million unsecured three year term loan facility. The facility bears interest at a spread over LIBOR of 160 basis points, with the spread adjusting over time, based upon the debt ratings of the company.

On June 26, 2008, the company used proceeds from the term loan to repay its only remaining mortgage with a principal balance of approximately $170.7 million two weeks ahead of its optional prepayment date. As a result of the repayment of this mortgage, Tanger's entire portfolio of wholly-owned properties is now unencumbered. The remaining proceeds of approximately $62.8 million, net of closing costs, were applied against amounts outstanding on the company's unsecured lines of credit and to settle two treasury based interest rate lock protection agreements.

On July 9, 2008, Tanger entered into a LIBOR based interest rate swap agreement, which effectively changes the floating rate of interest on $118.0 million of the unsecured three year term loan facility to a fixed rate of 5.21%. The interest rate swap agreement expires on April 1, 2011. Subsequently, on September 25, 2008, the company entered into an additional LIBOR based interest rate swap agreement, which effectively changes the floating rate of interest on the remaining $117.0 million of the unsecured three year term loan facility to a fixed rate of 5.30%. This interest rate swap agreement also expires on April 1, 2011.

As of September 30, 2008, Tanger had $783.3 million of debt outstanding, equating to a 31.2% debt-to-total market capitalization ratio. The company had $149.5 million outstanding on its $325.0 million in available unsecured lines of credit, and approximately 81% of Tanger's debt was at fixed interest rates as of September 30, 2008. During the third quarter of 2008, Tanger continued to maintain a strong interest coverage ratio of 3.92 times, compared to 3.40 times during the third quarter of last year.

Portfolio Operating Results
During the first nine months of 2008, Tanger executed 351 lease documents, totaling 1,521,000 square feet within its wholly-owned properties. Lease renewals accounted for 1,040,000 square feet, or 77.0% of the square feet which was scheduled to expire during 2008, and generated a 17.6% increase in average base rental rates on a straight-line basis. Base rental increases on re-tenanted space during the first nine months of 2008 averaged 43.8% on a straight-line basis and accounted for the remaining 481,000 square feet.

Same center net operating income increased 4.7% for the third quarter of 2008 and the first nine months of 2008 compared to the same period in 2007. Excluding two properties undergoing major renovations, reported tenant comparable sales per square foot for the rolling twelve months ended September 30, 2008 were up 0.3% to $341 per square foot, compared to $340 per square foot for the twelve months ended September 30, 2007. Sales were impacted by the general weakness in the U.S. economy, as well as severe weather and hurricanes during the third quarter of the year.

Investment and Other Activities
In Washington County, south of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Tanger held a very successful grand opening celebration of its second center in the state on August 29, 2008. The first phase, totaling 370,000 square feet, was approximately 86% leased upon opening. The Washington County center is wholly owned by Tanger.

On October 23, 2008, Tanger held the grand opening of its center in Deer Park (Long Island), NY. The initial phase which contains approximately 656,000 square feet of retail space and 26,000 square feet of office space, opened to huge crowds and parking lots filled beyond their capacity. The retail space at the Deer Park center was approximately 77% leased upon opening. The Deer Park property is owned through a joint venture of which Tanger and two venture partners each own a one-third interest.

Based upon the tremendous response by customers at both of these centers' grand opening events, the company feels confident additional tenant interest in the remaining available space will remain high and additional signed leases for both properties will be completed during the first year stabilization period.

Tanger has entered into purchase options on new development sites located in Mebane, North Carolina and Irving, Texas. Tanger is continuing with its predevelopment work at these locations. However in October, 2008, Tanger made the decision to terminate its purchase options with respect to its potential sites in Port St. Lucie, Florida and Phoenix, Arizona. As a result, Tanger will be taking a charge of approximately $1.8 million relating to its predevelopment costs on these projects during the fourth quarter of 2008.

Tanger Elects New Board Member
At its meeting on October 28, 2008, the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee of the company's Board of Directors recommended, and the Board of Directors approved, that the number of directors be expanded from six members to seven members, and that Ms. Bridget Ryan Berman shall serve as independent director of the company effective January 1, 2009 until the next Annual Shareholders Meeting.

Ms. Berman was formerly the Chief Executive Officer of Giorgio Armani Corp., the wholly-owned US subsidiary of Giorgio Armani S.p.A., one of the leading fashion and luxury goods groups in the world, from 2006 to 2007. Previously, she was Vice President/Chief Operating Officer of Apple Computer Retail from 2004 to 2005 and held various executive positions with Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation, including Group President of Polo Ralph Lauren Global Retail, from 1992 to 2004. Ms. Berman also served in various capacities at May Department Stores, Federated Department Stores, and Allied Stores Corp. from 1982 to 1992. In addition, Ms. Berman was a member of the board of directors, and served on the audit committee for J. Crew Group, Inc. from 2005 to 2006.

"We are pleased to add to our Board of Directors someone with Ms. Berman's credentials," said Steven B. Tanger, President and Chief Operating Officer. "Ms. Berman's extensive experience and impressive background in the retail industry will add value and perspective to our board."

2008 FFO Per Share Guidance
Based on current market conditions and the strength and stability of its core portfolio, the company currently believes its net income for 2008, excluding gains or losses on the sale of real estate, will be between $0.63 and $0.69 per share and its FFO for 2008 will be between $2.35 and $2.41 per share. The company's earnings estimates include the impact of the expected write-off of predevelopment costs mentioned above totaling approximately $1.8 million, but do not include the impact of any potential gains on the sale of land parcels or the impact of any potential sales or acquisitions of properties. The following table provides the reconciliation of estimated diluted net income available to common shareholders per share to estimated diluted FFO per share: For the twelve months ended December 31, 2008:
Low Range High Range
Estimated diluted net income per share $0.63 $0.69
Minority interest, gain/loss on the sale of
real estate, depreciation and amortization
uniquely significant to real estate
including minority interest share and our
share of joint ventures 1.72 1.72
Estimated diluted FFO per share $2.35 $2.41
Third Quarter Conference Call
Tanger will host a conference call to discuss its third quarter results for analysts, investors and other interested parties on Wednesday, October 29, 2008, at 10:00 A.M. eastern time. To access the conference call, listeners should dial 1-877-277-5113 and request to be connected to the Tanger Factory Outlet Centers Third Quarter 2008 Financial Results call. Alternatively, the call will be web cast by CCBN and can be accessed at the company's web site at .
A telephone replay of the call will be available from October 29, 2008 starting at 1:00 P.M. Eastern Time through 11:59 P.M., November 7, 2008, by dialing 1-800-642-1687 (conference ID # 65292786). Additionally, an online archive of the broadcast will also be available through November 7, 2008.
About Tanger Factory Outlet Centers
Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc. , a fully integrated, self-administered and self-managed publicly traded REIT, presently owns 30 outlet centers in 21 states coast to coast, totaling approximately 8.8 million square feet of gross leasable area. Tanger also manages for a fee and owns an interest in three outlet centers containing approximately 1.3 million square feet. Tanger is filing a Form 8-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission that includes a supplemental information package for the quarter ended September 30, 2008. For more information on Tanger Outlet Centers, visit our web site at
Estimates of future net income per share and FFO per share are by definition, and certain other matters discussed in this press release regarding our re-merchandising strategy, the renewal and re-tenanting of space, tenant sales and sales trends, interest rates, funds from operations, the development and opening of new centers, and coverage of the current dividend may be forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially from those projected due to various factors including, but not limited to, the risks associated with general economic and local real estate conditions, the availability and cost of capital, the company's ability to lease its properties, the company's inability to collect rent due to the bankruptcy or insolvency of tenants or otherwise, and competition. For a more detailed discussion of the factors that affect our operating results, interested parties should review the Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc. Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2007.

Samsonite Aims to Add $100 Million to Sales With Footwear Unit

Oct. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Samsonite Corp., the luggage maker owned by CVC Capital Partners Ltd., plans to add about $100 million to revenue in the next five to six years through a new shoe-making unit, Chief Executive Officer Marcello Bottoli said.

``Our strategy aims at building up our brand with products related to traveling,'' Bottoli said yesterday in an interview in Milan, where Samsonite presented its shoes. The company is in talks with potential partners for eyewear and watches, he said.

Samsonite, the world's largest luggage maker, plans to open 180 stores, including franchises, this year and will add about 100 outlets in 2009 to keep sales growing as economies weaken, the CEO said. The global financial crisis is only just beginning and will take ``two to three years'' to pass, he said.

``We haven't seen anything yet,'' said Bottoli, who is based near London. Samsonite began cutting costs in July to become ``slimmer and more competitive during hard times,'' while maintaining investments on its brands and products, the CEO said.

Revenue will show ``modest growth'' next year, according to Bottoli, who forecast sales of about $1.3 billion in 2008.

``We're being conservative with our estimates given the general economic situation,'' he said.
The Mansfield, Massachusetts-based luggage maker may make acquisitions should opportunities arise, the CEO said, adding that Samsonite may spend as much as $400 million on takeovers.
The new footwear unit will be headed by Velimir Soskic, a former executive at Geox SpA, the Italian shoemaker that patented ventilated soles. The company already sells a limited collection of shoes, mainly in Italy.

Advertising Campaigns
Samsonite, which has about 1,000 stores, will also distribute the footwear through wholesaling, the CEO said. The collection will initially be available in Italy, Germany and other European countries such as Spain.

The introduction of footwear will be supported with advertising campaigns and marketing initiatives, Bottoli said. Actress Isabella Rossellini, French actor Jean Reno and Virgin Group Ltd. founder Richard Branson have appeared in Samsonite's commercials, according to the company's Web site.

Samsonite competes with luxury companies such as LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA after adding the Black Label range three years ago to spur growth and create more allure for the brand. Black Label, which this week unveils the first collection designed by Viktor & Rolf, is going ``very well and has the highest growth rate among our brands,'' Bottoli said.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

When you visit a factory outlet center

When you visit a factory outlet center, you will find perhaps 25 to 100 outlet stores offering an extensive selection of merchandise from leading product designers and manufacturers. Many outlet centers also feature restaurants, food courts, and gourmet food shops.

Outlet shopping has grown nationwide, and people travel long distances to take advantage of top-shelf products and designer label clothing at a fraction of the suggested list price. In fact, outlet shopping has become so popular that an outlet center is often a destination in and of itself, and not just something to visit on a rainy day. Some people even plan long weekends and vacations around outlet shopping!

A typical outlet store sells quality products at discount prices, direct from the manufacturer. You will usually find men's, women's, and children's clothing, shoes, and accessories, as well as home appliances and home decor products. In addition to these popular personal and home consumer goods, more specialized outlet stores feature everything from hair accessories to equipment for outdoor enthusiasts!

In addition to periodic sales, outlet stores offer top-quality, in-season merchandise at discount prices every day of the week. While the product selections and prices may vary from those found in normal retail stores, the merchandise often consists of overstocks sold for a fraction of what you would pay elsewhere.

Factory Outlet Shopping features information about individual outlet malls and their outlet stores located throughout the United States. Many of these stores are located near popular tourist attractions and travel destinations, and vacationers often take the opportunity to shop for bargains during their vacations, perhaps on a rainy day when shopping is more fun than sightseeing!

Tips for getting a bargain

  • Read on for some handy tips on how to crack that sale.

  • Check product prices at the outlet prior to the sale. This way, you will not buy that most-wanted pair of shoes at their original price, thinking you have struck a good bargain.

  • Pre-plan your mode of transport. Waiting for an auto rickshaw outside your home with shopping bags ruins the excitement of going bargain hunting.

  • Make sure you leave infants or toddlers at home. If you must take the kids, take a nanny or your husband (trained babysitter) along!

  • Want to pick your desired items without having to fight for them? Hit sales first thing in the morning when shops open or in the afternoon when most folks stay indoors. Avoid rush hour and weekends.

  • Check the labelled price on similar clothes and accessories at the same place. Sometimes the tagged price may vary between two similar accessories of equal value.

  • Always inquire about a store's return policy. Those black trousers you bought might just turn out to be dark blue when you get home.

  • If there are two queues, stand in one and make your friend stand in the other.
    Avoid trial room queues with mother-daughter combo. They take dozens of clothes and a hell lot of time to try.

  • If you are not an expert at breath control, carry a deodorant. Not necessarily for yourself but to help you beat the stuffiness of the place.

  • Have five clothes you want to try on but are allowed to take only two inside the trial room? Well, simply make your friend stand outside with the rest! This trick really works and is a great way to not break the rule.

  • A top that looks fabulous with your new padded bra may look rather ugly over your old sports bra. Make sure you wear the right bra while sale shopping.

  • Plan to buy shoes? Carry a pair of socks along. Those trial socks - worn by countless others - might change your mind.

  • Defective pieces are not rare at a sale. Check for untidy seams and poor quality material.
    Size does matter! So never compromise on it. You might never wear it.

  • Make sure you talk to the sales person and not another customer. The crowd might make it difficult to differentiate between the two.

  • Do not forget to collect shopping points if you have a shopping card of a particular outlet. Check if shopping points can be redeemed / encashed during a sale.

  • Do not ignore bargains on cosmetics and accessories, especially the 'buy one get one free' offers.

  • Plan your budget before entering a sale and stick to it. This will prevent you from over spending.

  • Wear clothes and shoes that are easy to get in and out of. You won't have to spend hours in the trial room.

  • When in doubt, do not buy. Unless you have someone who likes hand-me-downs.
    Sale shopping can be quite an adventure, an exhausting one at that. Carry light snacks or fruits such as apples and bananas to keep you energised.

  • Some vendors do not carry out card transactions. Always carry enough cash too! If they do accept cards, the queue at the cash counter is always shorter.

  • After payment, make sure the sales person packs your purchases properly.

  • To save yourself from embarrassment, check if electronic price tags have been removed.

  • Remember, everyone who tried on clothes must have perspired as much as you. Always wash all clothes before wearing.

The Woodstock Furniture Outlet,

Sturdy furniture lasts for a long time and some even are there for a lifetime. Making furniture requires lots of skill, knowledge and dedication and Americas largest furniture outlets know that. And now, let us go back in time and find out how they have all started.

Whether your concentration in furniture is its history and progress, the carpentry and influential skills involved in creation of fine furniture, or you are just simply looking for furnishings for your own home, then, you might well just visit a furniture factory outlet nearby. And there are lots of big furniture outlets all around the country that might help you with what you want. But, ever wonder how they have all started?

John Mathias Bernhardt, the founder of Bernhardt Furniture Company, became an orphan at the age of 13 when his parents died. He and his brother faced life together, but fate had different plans for them. They were employed in a local general store. His brother stayed in a retail business while John Mathias went to the west and soon secured work as a government surveyor.

It nearly took his life assisting settlers at the frontier. Everything went well and he survived all the difficulties and he returned to begin an enterprise after three years at the frontier and soon his venture became one of the countrys top producers of commercial and residential furniture around. Today, this flourishing endeavor is one of the oldest family enterprises in America.
From the founder R.L Simpson, the name Simpson Furniture appears. He was a skilled furniture retailer and his venture started in1946 when he bought an old building in Cedar Falls and little did he know that it would be Cedar Valleys biggest furniture business in the making. A fire ravaged his hopes and dreams in 1983 and the business faced many losses. No one knew whether Simpson Furniture would still rebuild in downtown or just relocate to another place. Simpson Furniture decided to stay and rebuild a new and even bigger store at the very center of downtown Cedar Falls in that very same spot where it started.

Furniture Affair started way back in 1989, on Bell Road in Phoenix Arizona, in just a small overcrowded room. Nancy Rhodes, the President and CEO of Furniture Affair, was a flourishing stockbroker. Since she was a born entrepreneur she got the idea by just looking at beautiful model homes which was her favorite pastime. As of today, her company is known to be the pioneer in the resale of discount furniture, furniture appraisals, interior design, model home furnishings, and installations.

The Woodstock Furniture Outlet, started in 1988, with the help of Jr. Aarons family; he established and opened the doors of Woodstock Furniture Outlet to the public. It is known for its customer friendly salesmanship and great deals of home furnishings. Starting with just about 6000 square feet building located on Hwy 5, the business continued to develop and the call for more space was unavoidable. So the Woodstock Furniture Outlet moved into a new location, at the intersection of Bells Ferry Road and Hwy 92 in a 25,000 square foot building. Since they have a wider area, there is a need for a furniture store and the Aarons anticipated the on going trend is increasing and they should meet every customers needs. It is a furniture store where everything you need is here to furnish your home. They offer a wide array of home accessories and a huge floral department brimming with floral designs, a living room and dining room models.

Other furniture factory outlets include the Webster Furniture that can be found on Route 1 near Rehoboth Beach, the CORT Putnam Furniture Rental that offers many selections that will fit the needs of corporations, students and professionals, the Hornell Furniture Outlet situated on Main Street in Hornell, New York, the Becker Home Center of the Huseby family that was founded in 1978, the Brownlees Furniture, a family-owned business which is located in Lawrenceville, Georgia, the Malouf Furniture that started in Downtown Greenwood, Mississippi, and the Furniture Outlets USA.

Tanger Outlets opens The Arches in Deer Park

Beyond the black top and the Stop & Shop, Italian villas and European seaside towns are the inspiration for a reality starkly different from this particular stretch of Commack Road in Deer Park.
Like a Hollywood backlot, the new Tanger Outlets at The Arches is taking shape as a retail village unto itself, with a network of walkways on 83 acres connecting a series of smaller piazzas and buildings, each accented with façades of multicolored pastel patterns, terra-cotta tile roofs, columns and corner stones. The idea behind the project - the first regional mall of its size to be built in three decades - is to merge upscale sensibilities with outlet center discounts in a tourist shopping destination that also works as a local community hub.
With a price tag of about $440 million, the 800,000-square-foot outdoor mall is an ambitious project of designer outlet stores poised to open its doors on Thursday. Even as the country heads into a worsening economy, the project's developers said that they are opening at an opportune moment.
"The overriding theory or business model is very simple," explained Steven B. Tanger, president and chief operating officer of Tanger Factory Outlet Centers Inc. "In good times people like a bargain and in not so good times they need a bargain. In the outlet centers, they get it either part of the cycle."
Retail experts also expect that The Arches, which has been four years in the making, will do well as the overall economy continues to slide and shoppers become increasingly focused on finding bargains. They also said such a large outdoor mall and lifestyle center is likely to draw customers from the several competing malls located less than 22 miles away as well as its sister outlet center 35 miles east in Riverhead. But some argue that the Island's first Neiman Marcus outlet and a 16-screen digital cinema that has an IMAX theater make the mall a distinct attraction. Others said The Arches could bring other shopping centers and malls more exposure by pulling shoppers from Nassau and New York City's boroughs, and tourists.
"I think those shopping centers will benefit tremendously from the added traffic this project will bring," said Stu Fagen, director of acquisitions at the Alrose Group in Woodmere. "They are going to see customers who would not normally visit them and they may possibly draw in customers who don't want to wait on line at restaurants at The Arches, so they will get overflow, especially the restaurants."
For years, there have been concerns that the increasing number of shopping centers on Long Island could result in the cannibalization of existing retail centers. A 2006 study released by the Suffolk County Department of Planning revealed that the county's per capita of shopping center space then was 25.2 square feet per person, more than double the 1970 figure of 11.3 square feet per person. Though executives in the commercial real estate sector continue to say that Long Island is under-retailed compared to the rest of the country, the economic downturn - and The Arches' uniqueness as a destination location - may have changed county officials' perspective.
"One of the things our planning department has been saying is that Suffolk County is over-retailed, and I don't dispute that," said Jim Morgo, Suffolk's chief deputy county executive. "However, this particular destination location almost exists on a different level, and there is a reason that now it is a particularly fortuitous happening for Suffolk County."
The county, which saw 7 to 8 percent sales tax revenue increases in the 1990s, lowered its forecast of its 2008 sales tax revenue increase from 2 percent to 1 percent. About half of the county's budget - about $1.2 billion - comes from sales tax revenues. County officials see Tanger's Deer Park shopping center as a potential infusion of much-needed sales tax money. Morgo also points out that much of that money will be generated from people coming from outside Suffolk County.
"It should be a shot in the arm for our economy because of the generation of sales tax and activity," Morgo said.
At The Arches, much attention has been paid to detail, and none of the 14 buildings is exactly alike, said David Blumenfeld, vice president of the Syosset-based Blumenfeld Development Group Ltd., which partnered with Tanger and Apollo Real Estate Advisors to build The Arches.
Tanger is also pursuing LEED certification - from the national Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program - and has incorporated a number of environmental features and strategies, such as using automatic toilets and sinks to reduce water usage, and high-efficiency air conditioning and heating to reduce the cost of electricity. The Arches developers also redeveloped a brownfield, which was once the site of Edo Corp.'s defense electronics plant, and recycled more than 50 percent of its construction waste.
The architects used cast stone and Venetian plaster finish to give the center an "upscale" feel, said John Martin, an architect and The Arches' project manager from Adams & Associates Architecture, a North Carolina firm.
Shutters frame windows and street lamps line the pathways. Panes of almost translucent plastic stretch over some walkways, providing natural light while protecting shoppers from the elements.
One of The Arches' main attractions is the large central fountain, which will double as an outdoor ice skating rink come November and will feature a 60-foot Christmas tree. The mall's center court will have Wi-Fi access.
"Our intent is to create a place with a downtown feeling ... " Blumenfeld said. "We really feel that this will become a place people want to spend a Saturday and a Sunday."
The outdoor mall will open more than 70 percent occupied, with additional retailers expected to lease spaces in the coming weeks, said Curt Fickeisen, The Arches' general manager. And the developers are boosting transportation to the center. Long Island Bus has routed stops for three bus lines, and Tanger will provide a free shuttle bus to meet Long Island Rail Road trains arriving at the Deer Park station during mall hours.
The development of The Arches site faced resistance from local residents, some of whom still worry about the traffic such a regional outdoor mall will create. But Babylon Supervisor Steve Bellone noted that it also plays a significant role in the taxes that Town of Babylon residents pay. The Arches developers received a package of tax incentives, which includes a 60 percent cut in property taxes upon the mall's opening, to be gradually phased into full taxation after 10 years. But even with these incentives, the mall should bring more than $10 million in additional tax revenue, Bellone said.
"Economic development is critical because we need revenue, and we are concerned about the property tax impact on our residents," Bellone said. "In order to remain a vibrant and growing town, we have got to do everything we can to reduce the tax burden on our residents, and projects like this do it in a significant way."

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Tanger Factory Outlet Centers

Tanger Factory Outlet Centers operates as a real estate investment trust (REIT). The company, through its subsidiary, Tanger Properties Limited Partnership, engages in acquiring, developing, owning, operating, and managing factory outlet shopping centers.

As of September 30, 2005, Tanger owned and operated 33 factory outlet centers in 22 states totaling 8.7 million square feet of gross leasable area. It also provides development, leasing, and management services for its outlet centers. The company has elected to be taxed as a REIT under the Internal Revenue Code. As a REIT, it would not be subject to Federal income taxes provided it distributes at least 90% of its taxable income to its shareholders. Tanger Factory Outlet Centers was founded by Stanley K. Tanger in 1981.

The company is headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina. With 31.62 million shares outstanding and 6.86 million shares declared short as of September 2008, there is no longer a failure to deliver in shares of SKT. According to quarterly data provided by the SEC, there were still 353,923 shares of SKT that were failing-to-deliver as of January 29, 2008.

Spendless shoe stores all over the country

According to Adelaide shoe-man, John Charlton, who sold 5.1 million pairs last year alone, not only does the customer demand the right style, the right color, the right price and the right size – after all that they still must fit comfortably as well.

No wonder shoe sales staff get exasperated. In the backblocks of China, retail staff are often told off for slapping customers.

John Charlton, 51, is an Adelaide boy who, while doing a Phys Ed degree at Adelaide Uni, was a casual shoe salesman at David Jones. He got a name for it and after uni was invited to join a manufacturing business making upmarket mens shoes.

After a couple of years he became aware that Adelaide was the only city without an upmarket mens shoe store so he kicked off John Charlton Shoes in Regent Arcade to fill the gap – very profitably for a while.

One of his best customers was David Weeks, of the Weeks family who had set up a particularly successful Adelaide Hills based supermarket chain which was later sold to Coles Myer.

Weeks heard from a contact in Coles Myer that another of its businesses, Ezywalkin, a budget mass market shoe retailing outfit was losing money hand over fist and nobody was listening when he tried to tell them to copy what was happening in the US where a company called Payless was revolutionising shoe retailing.

After Weeks declined the opportunity to pick up Ezywalkin, Charlton and Weeks got together a joint venture with the business model Payless of the US. Payless had a mat for customers to figure out their size and the shoes were arranged in sizes and very easy to find and try on. Prices were low – what retailers call entry-point pricing.

The new Charlton/Weeks venture they called Spendless and opened the first store in jetty Road Glenelg in May 1988. Twenty years later Charlton has bought out Weeks and now runs 131 Spendless shoe stores all over the country bar Tasmania.

In the 20 years, the shoe business has been closed down in Australia apart from tiny niche players RM Williams and Rossi – even Blundstones has moved manufacturing to China.
“When I kicked off in 88, the shoe business was dominated by a big player in each state – Betts & Betts in WA for instance – and there were a lot of independent operators in SA such as Blacks and Factory to Foot that made it quite competitive.

“Our original intention was to build up around 10 stores in SA and leave it at that,” says Charlton but we found that in Queensland, for instance, there was a lazy big player and not much competition but plenty of money up there because everybody was moving there so we started up there and never looked back.”

WA was attacked at the same time, 1993, Victoria a year later and NSW was not breached until 2006.

“All the businesses are run from here – we own them all – and we have a staff of 600 all up.
Headquarters is the Stockland-owned Port Adelaide Distribution Park where Spendless has a 5000 sq metre warehouse and buying office which is the engine room of the empire.
Suzanne James runs the warehouse and distribution function where she’s in charge of 15 macho dude storemen who don’t look like they’d be all that receptive to a friendly mumsy type in charge.

But the place runs like clockwork. Two semi loads of shoes disappear out the door every day and 20 shipping containers arrive every week, unloaded quickly and cartons sorted, stored or distributed.

“I explain to the guys exactly what needs to be done and why it needs to be done carefully and simply so everyone knows exactly what’s going on,” Suzanne explains. “When they do things well they get praised, we talk about things a lot and I’m as nice to them as John is nice to me.”
Charlton says the business works because the customer culture reaches right back into the warehouse – getting the right carton to the right store at the right time is the only way the thing can work.

Spendless is an entry point retailer of shoes for the whole family with outlets in every Westfield shopping centre and other busy centres. It’s true to its name - shoes start at $19.95 and well-made fashion shoes are just $39.95.
The other essential ingredient is the buying group. Two senior buyers mentor two more junior staff – and all came up through the John Martins old style discipline of departmental buyers which Charlton remembers warmly.

Charlton gets mad when he sees poorly made hot fashion shoes hit the marketplace ahead of his own – and more expensive - but he knows he’s doing the right thing waiting for the rights stock from selected Chinese factories as customers rarely return after being sold a dud.
It’s a busy day at the Port Adelaide office as all the state managers are in town to talk about what’s hot in the world of “fast fashion”.

Sex in the City – the movie - has blasted off a worldwide scramble by young employed women to get into the stuff that Carrie and the girls wear in the latest romp. The tribal look with long lace-up leather for that gladiator look – best worn with the new wooden and roman bangles is killing it out there in the stores from Rockhampton to Roeburn and from Mildura to Mandurah.
“Our target customer is any Australian with feet earning $40,000 or less – which the ABS tells us is about 74 per cent of the country’s wage earners,” says Charlton. “With shoes at $20 and merchandised well, footwear has become an impulse buy.”

Spendless has plenty of competition, K-Mart, Target, department stores and boutiques across the country are all in that space, but Spendless is the only national retail chain – for just about anything – based in Adelaide.

In the markets where Spendless Shoes has been operating for 10 years or more (Vic, Qld, SA, WA, NT) approximately 9 per cent of footwear bought retail is from Spendless.
The average Spendless store serves around 40,000 customers a year and 50,000 in regional shopping centres. Almost half the turnover is generated from women’s fashion footwear.

The Marzotto Group

For over 160 years the Marzotto Group has stood for competitiveness and innovation.A world leader in the textile industry, it is highly visible from yarns to fabrics.The Marzotto Group operates in the textile sector with prestigious brands that make it a major player in terms of quality, quantity, R&D on world fabric and yarn markets.

Marzotto, Guabello, Marlane and Tessuti di Sondrio define Group leadership on the fabric front; Lanerossi in the sphere of wool yarns for knitwear, Linificio e Canapificio Nazionale in regard to linen yarns.Each collection keys into the latest fashion trends, while offering the cutting-edge technical performances that guarantee an added value consumers can readily recognize.

Wherever they may be, Marzotto gives its clients a quick and reliable response, for it is a highly structured and flexible group with an innovative marketing policy especially in regard to service. Plus all the resources necessary for making significant investments.

Who are you Wearing

Trussard, Bally, Casharel, MaxMara, Puma, Lotto or Nafnaf - these are the brands Georgians have been dressing up in locally for the last two years. However in order to enjoy that luxury a decent job and high salary is essential.

The clothes of Trussard, Bally, Casharel and MaxMara are mostly for business people of average and high incomes. In Georgia menswear in particular is most in demand.

Georgian Trade Corporation is the official representative of Trussard, Bally, Casharel and MaxMara brands in Georgia, and the shop ‘Outlet’. Today these shops in Tbilisi are considered the most expensive shops, providing good quality, very modern outfits.

“Trussard, Bally and Casharel were opened in Tbilisi approximately 2 years ago. All these brands have separate head offices and accordingly all of them have different requirements, which we have fully met,”

As Iashvili said sales boost during new collections and sales more than at any other time. Daily sales of Georgian Trade Corporation shops amount to around GEL 15-20 thousand. According to this data annual income of the Georgian Trade Corporation is approximately GEL 7 million.

Trussard is the best sold and most demanded brand in the network where clothes, shoes and accessories are offered. Their clothes are both casual and classic, but mostly classic. Daily sales of Trussard are GEL 5-6 thousand, so too are Bally’s. The annual income of both Bally and Trussard is approximately GEL 4 million.

Concerning Cacharel, their daily sales are around GEL 2-3 thousand, and their annual income will be about GEL 2 million. These brands are also for people wearing classic clothes, although one can buy casual and everyday clothes here too.

As Iashvili said they do nothing without the approval from the head offices in Italy, including PR strategy and the shops’ interior design or staff uniform.
“They also send us materials for advertisement free of charge. We only pay for transport and custom clearance charges,” Iashvili said.
According to Iashvili, the design of Trussard, Bally and Casharel shops have not been changed in the two years since their opening, the only changes made concerned shop windows and interior decoration for each new collection’s arrival.
The main attributes in the design of Bally are carpets, white armchairs and lamps. For MaxMara the representatives requested carpets, tables and flowers for decoration. They have already ordered all the details for the decoration and design of the MaxMara shop in Italy. As soon as the decorations arrive, the representatives will provide trainings to the consultants and so will open a MaxMara shop by the end of October.
“We will open MaxMara at the end of October. MaxMara is quite a varied and colourful brand. There will be a big choice of accessories. Daily sales of this brand should reach GEL 5-6 thousand, but this amount may increase considerably,” noted Iashvili.
MaxMara, also titled The House of MaxMara, is an upscale, luxury Italian women’s fashion house most famous for their dresses and haute couture clothing. MaxMara today is one of the largest and most popular Italian fashion brands. It has spread over 20 labels under its name, however MaxMara’s luxury women’s wear remains the most widespread and profitable while its trendy, youth division Max&Co. is starting to gain international popularity as well.
The Georgian Trade Corporation owns all its shops, around 120-130 square meters each.
“We consider all shops which work in our segment as our competitors,” said Iashvili.
Outlet was opened on June 1. All collections of previous collections from all shops of the trade network are moved to this shop where they are sold at sale prices of up to 75%.
The other foreign brand representative in Georgia - Georgian Investment Group Ltd. was founded in 2006. There are three brands in the holding: Nafnaf, Minelli and Kookai. The company owns franchises of these three brands.

Nafnaf was opened on October 1, 2006. There are three Nafnaf shops in Georgia, two in Tbilisi and one in Batumi.

“The Nafnaf head office in France requires us to make the project, design and renovations of the shops according to their standards. Our brand is for people of average level incomes, with a minimum salary of GEL 600,” Mariam Jvarisheishvili, Financial Manager of Georgian Investment Group, told The FINANCIAL.

“We satisfy all requirements as we have everyday and classic clothes and accessories for businesswomen. According to our research, sales are increasing. We can therefore conclude that we satisfy the requirements of the Georgian people,” said Jvarisheishvili.

According to Jvarisheishvili, the basic advantage of the brand is in its quality and exclusion. The decoration of the shop is identical to all other shops of Nafnaf in the world. Their main competitors are Mango and Mexx.

Sales of Nafnaf per day are GEL 1,500 on average, monthly sales - around GEL 45 thousand, and annual sales - GEL 540 thousand.

Renowned French fashion label Nafnaf designs for active women in the 20-35 age range.

“Women all over the world are attracted to Nafnaf’s very high quality clothing at affordable prices,” says Marta Gryglewska-Wiła, Nafnaf Managing Director for Poland. “The clothes are well cut, made from the best materials, are trendy, up-to-date and simply feminine,” she adds.

Nafnaf offers clothes for work, a date, an elegant evening out and for the weekend.

Nafnaf offers several clothing lines within each of its spring/summer and autumn/winter seasonal collections. To stay on top, the stores always include several trendy items and limited series of clothes straight from Paris.

The shop Lotto was opened on December 16, 2007. “Considering that the shop is newly opened, the results have been very satisfying. The interior cost USD 60,000,” said Leila Meskhi, Director of the Lotto shop.

“I am an official representative of the company and have liabilities towards the company. We agreed the design of the shop with the main office, which is an essential condition. Lotto’s image must be upheld,” she added.

As Meskhi noted, Lotto is becoming popular in Tbilisi , as the people who like sportwear are coming to buy this brand. Demand is mainly on darker colours. This brand is for people of all ages and sex who like sporty style clothing. The advantage of Lotto is its good quality, Italian design and available prices.

They sell clothes of approximately GEL 500-1,000 worth a day, approximately GEL 30,000 a month.

It was in June 1973 that Lotto made its debut among sports footwear manufacturers. Tennis shoes signalled the beginning of production, followed by models for basketball, volleyball, athletics and football. Sports clothing took the stage afterwards. In the first 10 years, Lotto focused on the Italian market, becoming a reference brand in the sports articles segment and a leading company in tennis.

Lotto today distributes its products in 80 different countries, through independent sports article stores, specialised chain-stores and large stores with specialised sports departments. Special emphasis is given to developing the retail area through mono-brand stores (flagship stores, street stores, factory outlets) and through corners and shop-in-shops, which are now as widespread in Italy as they are abroad.
Brands in the Regions

The population of Batumi are also active customers of popular brands. There are the following brands’ shops in Adjara: Puma, Sisley, Benetton, Nike and Giordano.

Fifteen years ago a small and non-licensed shop of United Colors of Benetton was opened in Batumi. Since it opened the citizens of Adjara became active users of the brand.

As one of the owners of Benetton and Sisley in Batumi Natela Tsulukidze noted that they did not have any competitors in Adjara and in her opinion Benetton is the most popular brand in Batumi.

Today Metekhi 2000 is the owner of Benetton for kids in Batumi on Zviad Gamsakhurdia Street 10, Benetton for youngsters on Zviad Gamsakhurdia 7, Sisley on Nodar Imnadze Street 3, and Benetton in Kutaisi. “From the very beginning we opened only one shop of Benetton in Batumi and today we possess two shops of Benetton and one shop of Sisley in Batumi and one shop of Benetton in Kutaisi,” Natela Tsulukidze, founder of Metekhi 2000, told The FINANCIAL.

“Since May 29 the citizens of Kutaisi have had the opportunity to become the customers of Benetton as we opened one shop there,” she added.

“When we opened the Benetton shop in Kutaisi, there were no other similar brands there. This is the first precedent in Kutaisi and we have given the residents there the opportunity to be the active customers of the popular brand. We are very satisfied with the working of the shop in Kutaisi as it has showed quite a big figure of sales,” noted Tsulukidze.

According to Tsulukidze, Sisley is for people who prefer a more classical style and Benetton for teenagers and those who like a sporty style.

Benetton is present in 120 countries around the world with a strong Italian character whose style, quality and passion are clearly seen in its brands: the casual United Colors of Benetton, the glamour oriented Sisley, Playlife American college style and Killer Loop streetwear.

The Group has a total yearly production of about 160 million garments and a distribution network of more than 5,500 contemporary stores, mainly managed by independent partners, generating a total turnover of over EUR 2 billion.

Established in 1965, Benetton is now controlled by Edizione Holding (a holding company wholly owned by the Benetton Family) with a 67% stake. It listed on the stock exchange in Milan in 1986.

“When we have a 50% sale in Benetton, we sell clothes amounting to between GEL 1,500 and 2,000 and in Sisley between GEL 2,000 and 2,500. And accordingly when there is no sale on daily sales are doubly increased,” said the founder of Metekhi 2000.

“I think that these two brands are very popular in Batumi and in fact we do not have any serious competitors despite the fact that many new brands have been opened in Batumi recently,” Tsulukidze told The FINANCIAL.

“We have offered sales to our customers in Benetton and Sisley at the same time twice a year in summer and winter. Sale prices start from 30% increasing to 40-50% and sometimes even 70%,” she added.