Founded in 2009, the CM&R Group delivers a comprehensive, fully integrated, out-sourced solution for managing new and existing real estate. With a combined total of more than four decades in the business, we bring unique perspective to the table, having represented more than 35 brands owned by some of the largest multi-branded specialty retailers in North America.
There’s a science to real estate — identifying options based on criteria, securing locations, and negotiating lease agreements. And in our minds, there’s also the equally important art of it, drawing on our collective experience to ensure that our client has considered the full range of possibilities, and what’s to be gained in the long term, as well as in the short term. Our careers have been defined by an ability to position brands while also maximizing asset value. In any economy, this can be the “X” factor for our retail clients.
With more than 20 years of experience, Cheryl’s distinctive background is highlighted by successes in strategic planning and tactical execution. As Associate Vice President of Real Estate for Limited Brands Inc. (LBI), she played a key role in real estate strategic planning and implementation for one of the nation’s largest multi-branded specialty retail corporations, including rollouts of emerging brands such as Henri Bendel, CO Bigelow, Pink, Too, Abercrombie, and Abercrombie & Fitch. She was also actively involved in the repositioning of mature brands in the LBI portfolio, including Victoria’s Secret, Bath and Body Works, Limited, Express, Structure, NY&CO, and Lane Bryant.
In addition, Cheryl was Vice President of Retail Leasing for Forest City Enterprises for all shopping center developments in New York City and Philadelphia regions. Her responsibilities included developing new relationships with specialty and big box retailers on a national and regional level. She began her career at Forest City in Cleveland, leasing new and existing shopping centers across the United States.
Carol formerly served as Senior Vice President of Real Estate at Foot Locker Realty, Inc., heading up nearly half of the North American market for eight different operating divisions. She also served as Vice President of Real Estate for Laura Ashley N.A. and Melville Realty Company, a major multi-branded retail corporation. She began her career at privately-held Melvin Simon & Associates, the precursor to Simon Property Group, one of the nation’s largest publicly traded REITs.
Carol’s 20+ years in the retail real estate industry include her previous role as an independent consultant for a Los Angeles based international apparel retailer, where she was retained to advise on real estate matters in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. She provided strategic guidance on the existing multi-branded portfolio as well as the launch of a new retail concept. Her responsibilities included creating action plans for each store, developing a marketing package to reinforce brand credibility and improve relationships with existing and prospective landlords, and targeted portfolio management to analyze and determine store closings and rent reductions.
We are pleased to have two knowledgeable and respected veterans like Carol and Cheryl as part of our Claire’s real estate team. They are already adding value to our process in understanding our markets, centers and strategic options.
We are pleased to announce the addition of The CM&R Group to our real estate team. Their experience further enhances our ability to manage our core brand, Justice, and expand the new Brothers concept with our most significant U.S. Landlords.
The CM&R Group offers a proven outsourced solution for managing new and existing retail real estate, with a combined emphasis on strategic planning and tactical implementation. Our clients include emerging brands establishing their retail profile, international brands expanding in North America, and mature brands in the process of repositioning.
Companies have turned to us in virtually every stage of retailing, from brand launches and expansions to rent reductions and store closings, as well as renewal and repositioning. Our goal is to know everything about our clients’ products and their potential customers in order to assess the best real estate possibilities by market and by type. We continually track the changing landscape in all facets of retail and real estate.
Our fully integrated services include market/site analysis and selection, portfolio management, negotiation of all transactional terms, capital allocation and preservation, store planning and construction, and due diligence for companies considering expansion and reallocation, as well as private equity firms seeking to invest in retail companies.
Through our own brand of market analysis, we match retailers with the right space for their business needs and objectives. Our recommendations are based on real world experience, combined with technical information such as customer store data, mapping, psychographics, and demographics. Based on our assessment of venues (including malls, non-mall centers, outlets and street retail), we select locations best positioned to build and strengthen brand presence and maximize profitability. Making a deal is one thing. Making the right deal for our client is quite another.
At CM&R, we know the big picture is important. We assess the retail landscape for retailers seeking to reposition their brands, eliminate inefficiencies and redundancies, leverage multi-branded opportunities, and/or develop strategies to restructure or reallocate real estate assets. We develop strategies for delivering optimal return on investment by highlighting possible synergies, identifying unnecessary costs, and recommending opportunities within reach. This requires a discerning approach, which includes developing and implementing best practices.
We also understand that the details matter. At CM&R, we perform due diligence on existing retail portfolios and potential acquisitions. We analyze real estate portfolios for private equity firms considering investment in retail companies, for management consultants working with retailers to rebuild their brands and operations, and for retail companies considering expansion or consolidation. Our assessments can help position retailers on a continuum of circumstances, from emerging brands to those in transition or seeking to achieve the next level of performance.
We are advocates for our clients. We will recommend they say “no” to a deal if it’s not the right opportunity for their business. We also know it is important to maintain successful landlord relationships, so when we identify the right opportunity, we are in a strong position to bring people to the table. With every location, we benchmark relevant retailers, and work to secure the most beneficial financial scenario possible. We make recommendations that further leverage opportunities to address the wide variety of economic, legal and non-economic provisions which impact a lease commitment.
The CM&R Group establishes “real estate action plans” for every existing location and works with clients to develop budgets based on these plans and capital considerations. We analyze all variables, including location, center viability, market competition, traffic, sales, store size, profitability and economics in order to generate optimal return on investment. This calls for a combination of strategically allocating existing capital and anticipating long-term expenses.
We are engaged in the client process from theory and concept to reality. Regular and effective communication between real estate and construction is essential to ensuring that budgets are met and timely store openings are achieved. We recommend and monitor critical standards for key milestones, regular checkpoints, and quality of information delivery amongst all stakeholders.