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Mills Corp. hired Mark Ettenger, a former Goldman Sachs exec, to fill the newly created position of president and help the REIT execute its $3 billion development pipeline and acquisition strategy. Citigroup Smith Barney analyst Jonathan Litt says Ettenger's compensation package probably includes about $1 million as a signing bonus and $2 million in annual salary. “Having met with Ettenger, his 20 years of transactional experience at Goldman Sachs seems to be a nice complement to CEO Larry Siegel's leasing background,” he adds. Ettenger will report directly to Siegel… Federated Department Stores says it will close five Rich's-Macy's and Lazarus-Macy's stores by May 2004 and incur a pre-tax charge of $15 million. The stores to be closed include a Rich's-Macy's in Birmingham, Ala.'s Century Plaza and Atlanta's Cobb Center, as well as a Lazarus-Macy's in Westerville, Ohio; Oxford, Ohio; and Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh location is a downtown store that city officials had hoped would spur an urban renaissance. Another downtown Lazarus-Macy's, in Federated's hometown of Cincinnati, was spared the ax… Finally roused by the wake-up call provided by the FAO Inc. and KB Toys bankruptcies, Toys “R” Us is likely considering a financial restructuring. The retailer is searching for a new CFO and JP Morgan analyst Danielle Fox expects it to conduct sale-leaseback transactions on a majority of its U.S. stores. Store closings could also be on the horizon, but don't expect any action until the new CFO is hired, she says… Home Depot management says it plans to slow expansion, and focus on remodeling existing stores. The home improvement giant says it will open only 175 stores annually compared to its past rate of 200 per year. About 50 percent of new stores will be in new markets… Bruce Ratner, CEO of Forest City Ratner, has completed a deal to buy the New Jersey Nets, bringing his $2.5 billion development plans for a Frank Gehry-designed Brooklyn stadium and mixed-use complex to the fore. The retail portion would be 300,000 square feet, but first Ratner has to overcome community resistance… At the recent Prudential Equity Group retail conference, management from Limited Brands made it clear they'd done their homework on a possible sale of the company's Limited Stores division. Executives said it would cost the company about $150 million to shutter the chain's 338 stores, including recouping lease obligations at only the top malls. Prudential analyst Stacy Pak says Limited Brands will likely continue to wind down the store base as leases expire rather than shell out the money required to close the chain… Too Inc. opened its first Justice store at Polaris Town Center in Columbus, Ohio. The 5,000-square-foot store is aimed at providing value-priced sportswear for tweens. A total of 35 Justice stores are scheduled to open this year… DeBartolo Property Group is partnering with restaurateur Famiglia International to expand the company's Famous Famiglia pizza chain from 25 franchises to become a nationally known brand. DeBartolo has already taken an interest in three other food chains, Ed & Eddie's Homemade Ice Cream, TuscaBella Grill and Patio Bar and The Boathouse…To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Playboy magazine opened a “Bunny Boutique” in New York's tony Henri Bendel department store. The boutique features clothing, gadgets and gifts emblazoned with the famous rabbit head logo. Plans are also under way to open a string of new freestanding Playboy retail stores in the United States.

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