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    Hottest Retailers Unveiled at ICSC Spring Convention

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    Around the block and around the world, the retail real estate industry is expanding. As a result, innovative retail concepts are appearing in shopping centers around the world. But what are the “hottest and most wanted” retail concepts shopping centers are seeking for their centers? According to a worldwide member survey by , Inc (ICSC), six retailers were chosen as the “hottest” concepts and received ICSC’s “2007 Hot Retailer Award.” The awards were given during ICSC’s annual Spring Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada.

    This year’s are:

    (http://www.jcrew.com)

    J.Crew began in 1983, with the launch of its first catalog. Since then, the business has expanded to that of an iconic American brand known worldwide for its sophisticated, fun clothing and accessories to live, work, play and even get married in. The first J.Crew store opened in 1989 at the South Street Seaport in New York City. Since then, J.Crew has expanded to 179 retail and 53 outlet stores across the country, and more openings are planned in 2007. J.Crew.com, which was launched in 1996, allows customers to shop beyond the stores and catalog, offering deeper assortments, colors, and size ranges. In January of 2003, Millard “Mickey” Drexler joined the company as CEO and Chairman and named Jeff Pfeifle as President, bringing inspiration, creativity, and unparalleled expertise to J. Crew. Together with their teams, they have set the industry standard for quality, design, and style by using the finest fabrics, craftsmen, and mills throughout Europe and the U.S. to create signature pieces like the J.Crew Legacy blazer, fine Italian cashmere sweaters, and famous broken-in chinos. In 2006, J.Crew expanded its product offerings to include clothing for children ages two through ten, crewcuts. Additionally in 2006, J.Crew launched Madewell, a new start up concept by the entrepreneurial team at J.Crew. Most importantly, the J.Crew Group has renewed its passion for style and exceptional service as it moves toward an exciting future.

    , INC. (http://www.thelittlegym.com)

    The first Little Gym opened in 1976 with the objective of motor skill development made fun. The Little Gym International, Inc. is a gymnastic based program for children two to 12 years of age that helps children develop physically, intellectually, emotionally, and socially in a strictly non-competitive environment. The Little Gym also offers special programs such as dance, karate, sports skills, birthday parties, and parents survival nights. Operated as a franchise, The Little Gym, headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., currently operates in over 17 countries and has 230 gyms in the U.S.

    lucy (http://www.lucy.com)

    Began as an online business in 1999, lucy has captured the women’s activewear market by providing products in a variety of styles and designs. lucy is a Portland, Ore. based apparel company for women who value fit, style, and performance. An expert in active ways of life, lucy listens carefully to the needs of women and creates apparel with on-the-go performance and versatility, as well as a healthy dose of style and color. With its lucy label and exclusive designs from other designers and brands, lucy stands apart from and inspires confidence in those who wear the products and visit the stores. The company operates 43 stores in Arizona, California, Colorado, Washington D.C., Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.

    (http://www..com)

    UNIQLO designs, manufactures, markets and sells casual wear that can be worn by anyone, any day. Rather than dictate a look, UNIQLO provides people everywhere with the piece they need to create their own style. From t-shirts and sweaters to denim, outerwear and trend items, all of UNIQLO’s clothes are made according to exacting Japanese standards for quality and come in an astonishing variety of colors and styles. UNIQLO is committed to providing customers with true excellence and innovation in casual wear, from the design and functionality to the fit and color choices. This concept, along with an unwavering focus on quality and value, has guided UNIQLO’s actions since the establishment of its first store in 1984 Hiroshima, Japan. Today UNIQLO has grown to over 760 UNIQLO stores worldwide and is household name in Japan. UNIQLO is a brand of FAST RETAILING and among the top 10 specialty apparel retailers in the world.

    (http://www..com)

    As the decade of excess, the ’80s, drew to a close, busy women wanted to pare down – to simplify their lives. As a result, in 1990, the perfect opportunity arose to do just that by combining the best of three worlds under one roof — salon, department store, and drug store. Thus, ULTA was born — the first ever one-stop-shop for lipstick, performance hairspray, luxury perfume, and more. By marrying salon expertise with prestige and popular brand cosmetics, ULTA has become a single beauty destination that goes above and beyond other retail stores – it’s a community where women interact via the salon, and experience outstanding beauty advice in a relaxed help-yourself shopping atmosphere. In addition to nearly 200 stores across the nation, ULTA offers its first store-without-walls – ULTA.com where consumers can shop at their convenience.

    (http://www..net)

    WineStyles was founded in 2002 as the result of the idea of simplifying the selection of wine while creating an inviting old world store design. Customers are encouraged to browse and experience wines from around the world, all at surprisingly affordable prices. At the concept’s core is the “Style System” of classifying wine, not by varietal or country of origin but rather by flavor or taste category. Using eight different taste categories, WineStyles defines each wine it sells by the flavor profile it best represents. Styles include: bold, mellow and fruity for red wines and crisp silky and rich for white wines; nectar describing the sweet dessert style wines and bubbly describing champagnes and carbonated wines. From the first store in Coral Springs, Florida, WineStyles has evolved into a network of individually owned WineStyles franchises, operating in over twenty states, Puerto Rico, and Mexico.

    This is the fifth annual “Hot Retailer Award” presentation. Previous winners include: Citi Trends Fashion for Less, Justice – Just for Girls, Massage Envy, Teavana, Apple Stores, Coach, Steve & Barry’s University Sportswear, White House│ Black Market, Williams-Sonoma, Build-A-Bear Workshop, H&M, Hollister, Hot Topic, Trader Joe’s Company, Victoria’s Secret, Chico’s, American Eagle Outfitters (AE), Steven Madden, and P.F. Chang’s China Bistro.