Target and Wal-Mart Fight to Keep Big-Box Retail Relevant

First quarter earnings will be coming out for both Target and Wal-Mart in the coming weeks. Prior quarters were encouraging for each company that they will be able to weather the storm of their respective U.S. sales slumps. The current market, however, is not quite as encouraging; retail sales have been flat or down for four of the past five months and consumer confidence is falling according to researchers at the University of Michigan. Target and Wal-Mart are presently trying to make improvements in order to retain the significant roles they play in the retail industry.

Both of the retail giants are trying to bolster online sales and combat competition from the influx of dollar stores that have thrived in the ever more frugal consumer market. Changes at or near the top have started this process for Target and Wal-Mart. Target named a new CEO, Brian Cornell, who is trying to bring back the affordable style motif associated with the brand. The company has already partnered with Lilly Pulitzer to do so. Domestic affairs for Wal-Mart are now being run by Greg Foran, formerly of Target, who plans to improve store operations across the board. In order to contest companies taking retail business through internet shopping, both companies have invested over $1 billion to increase their e-commerce presence through supply chain and technological improvements.

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Nick Banks

Nick created Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group in 2002 and spent the first eight years developing and acquiring office and retail projects in South Florida as well as North Central Florida. In 2010 the focus of the firm was shifted to primarily serve third party clients and perform brokerage, property management and mortgage banking functions. Nick has personally developed and acquired nearly 200,000 square feet of office and retail properties in markets throughout Florida. Prior to founding Front Street, Nick was the Director of Finance and Dispositions for Stiles Corporation in Fort Lauderdale where he financed and sold over $500 million in commercial real estate. Before joining Stiles, Nick was an Associate Director at GE Capital Real Estate where he sourced over $200 million in financing throughout Florida. Nick is a graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in Finance and a concentration in Real Estate. He serves as a board member and current vice-chair for the United Way of North Central Florida where he also chairs the Development Committee. Nick is actively involved with the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce where he serves as a board member and committee member for the Council for Economic Outreach. He is also a recent graduate of Leadership Gainesville which is a year long leadership program hosted by the Chamber. He is a member of Grace United Methodist Church where he has served as finance chair and as a member of the leadership council. Nick serves as an advisory board member of the University of Florida Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies. Nick was recently named chair of the Gainesville committee for the North Florida chapter of Urban Land Institute (ULI). He is a licensed real estate broker in the State of Florida and is a long time member of the International Council of Shopping Centers.

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