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RETAIL NOTES: Kleinfeld Hudson’s Bay, a glamorous bridal shop on the top floor of the Hudson’s Bay’s flagship and headquarters building in Toronto, took the big prize — Store of the Year — in the Association for Retail Environments 2015 Design Awards. The annual awards recognize the best in retail design, store fixtures and visual presentation. Designed in house by HBC Store Planning, the 14,000-sq.-ft. Kleinfeld space is a spacious, contemporary showplace that elevates the product and experience beyond customer expectations, with a selection that includes 600-plus bridal gowns. To see all the A.R.E. Design Awards winners, go to ... Starbucks will debut a new smaller, take-away only footprint focused on meeting the demands of urban customers during the morning peak. The first Starbucks Express location is set to open in the company’s second quarter, in New York City, with four additional stores on tap by year-end. ... Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom both plan to open stores in the 700,000-sq.-ft. shopping, dining and entertainment center being developed by General Growth Properties Inc. in Norwalk, Connecticut. The opening is slated for fall 2018. ... U.K. toy retailer Hamleys has opened Europe’s largest toy store, a 73,000-sq.-ft. location close to the Kremlin in Moscow. Designed by Fitch, the two-level space is heavy on interaction and is divided into nine themed areas that combine retail and entertainment. A full-scale replica of the Star Wars Millennium Falcon (that children can test drive) is the star attraction in the “Space” area, while “Motor City” features a Go-Kart track.

COMPANY/PERSONNEL UPDATES: Industry veteran Tony Mancini has been appointed CEO of Global Visual Group, whose holdings include Almax, Lifestyle, Trimco and Viaggio. Previously, Mancini held senior executive leadership positions at Las Vegas Sands Corp., MGM Mirage Design Group and Walt Disney Parks & Resorts/Walt Disney Imagineering. ... The boards of directors of A.R.E. (the Association for Retail Environments) and POPAI (Point of Purchase Advertising International) have agreed to a preliminary framework that will allow them to merge the two associations.

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