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AAFES gears up for Fort Bliss store opening

BY Michael Johnsen

FORT BLISS, Texas The Army and Air Force Exchange Service recently announced that preparations are being made for the grand opening Nov. 5 of the new 217,000-sq. ft. Exchange here, which includes a 1,554-seat movie theater with 10 screens and approximately a half dozen unique offerings, including the first Buffalo Wild Wings and Sarku Japan restaurants to operate on a military installation.

“It’s never been done before,” stated AAFES’ Ft. Bliss general manager Paula Gunderson. “There’s no other military installation that has embarked on a project like this,” she said. “When we cut the ribbon on Nov. 5, the Exchange will be more than twice the size of the former facility. … This extra room is allowing us to greatly expand the stock assortment to better serve the unique and growing demographics of Ft. Bliss.”

Acustomer base of young families cycling in and out of the El Paso area, along with a large retirement community, means that the Exchange’s stock assortment will run the gamut from the latest “must-have” electronics to the staples lifelong exchange shoppers have come to expect.

“The new Apple concept shop seems to be popular, and there is a lot of interest about the expanded fashion area we will soon have,” Gunderson said. “Some of the more interesting additions to the stock assortment will include the first Victoria’s Secret Pink concept shop on a military installation in the continental United States, as well as HP and Nintendo concept shops.”

The fun at “Freedom Crossing” won’t end at the shelves, as crews work on a fenced-in area with shade trees that will serve as a playground, a giant chess board and a quarter-acre green space adjacent to the new theater. “We will have play areas, an interactive fountain and multiple outdoor patios,” Gunderson said. “Even with all the activity today, you can feel the impending sense of community that will be here for decades to come.”

In what industry experts are calling the hardest leasing environment in 50 years, AAFES is optimistic about the future of Freedom Crossing. “Ultimately, this project will create some 900 new jobs for the El Paso community,” said the Exchange’s VP community development Joe Giuffreda. “On Nov. 5, I expect occupancy to be about 70%. Admittedly, it’s a work in progress, but I’m excited about the possibilities once the Exchange and movie theater open. This concept has the potential to transform the exchange benefit,” Giuffreda added. “Once military families at Bliss see this, I expect we will be receiving requests to replicate it at other locations.”

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Energizer launches iPhone charger

BY Allison Cerra

ST. LOUIS Keeping up with the times, Energizer has launched a rechargeable case with built-in battery for the newest edition of the iPhone.

Energizer’s AP 1201 for iPhone 4 has “smart” battery technology that auto senses the iPhone 4 battery power status, which is indicated through “hidden” LEDs on the back of the case. For efficient power management, two charging options provide either high-speed quick charge direct to the iPhone 4, or get simultaneous pass-through charging of the iPhone and AP1201 case. The AP1201 is rechargeable up to 500 times and comes with a USB charging cable.

 

“Energizer appreciates the value and utility that smart phones offer consumers, and also sees that the average consumer’s power requirements have been underestimated,” said Jim Olsen, VP marketing for Energizer North America. “The AP1201 is a direct response to the power deficit that many experience, and is just one of a full line of Energizer Energi To Go solutions that is bringing convenient power to consumers, and that is making mobility easier for them.”

 

The Energizer AP1201 now is available for a suggested retail price of $69.99 at major retailers nationwide.

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Target misses September estimates

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK Target said its same-store sales rose 1.3% in September, missing Wall Street’s expectations for a 1.9% gain. Total sales for the five weeks ended Oct. 2 rose 3.1% to $5.56 billion.

Coming in a month that was relatively positive for most retailers, the results represent a setback in Target’s quest to turn around sales with a focus on groceries and marketing that emphasizes low prices.

The chain said Thursday that grocery, beauty and healthcare sales were strong, but that its monthly performance was near the low end of expectations.

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