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Macy's incubator ready to hatch
The anticipated Chicago fashion design incubator at Macy's State Street flagship, more than a year in the works, is slated to debut this fall.
Mayor Richard Daley and Macy's executives are to unveil details at a Monday press conference, according to officials at the city's department of cultural affairs. It will mark the first fashion incubator in Macy's 800-plus store chain.
The mayor hopes the incubator nurtures young designers and keeps talent from leaving for the fashion scenes in New York and Los Angeles. Macy's, for its part, is eager to win over Chicago shoppers who miss the old Marshall Field's and to find a use for empty space in the sprawling 1.8 million-square-foot downtown emporium, one of the largest stores in the country.
The design studio will be on the 11th floor of the flagship in an area that years ago housed a buying operation. An advisory board is expected to select a half-dozen designers to participate in the program.
Macy's acquired Field's in 2005 and changed the name of the department store chain to Macy's last September.
FORGET THE NECKTIE: At the top of dad's wish lists this year are a dinner out, gift card or something homemade, according to Discover Card's Father's Day shopping survey. More than half of 1,042 respondents in an online survey cited dinner at a restaurant as the most desired gift. Forty-three percent cited a gift card and 38 percent a homemade gift.
In a separate survey from the National Retail Federation, the most popular gift for dad this year will be a greeting card followed by dinner out, clothing and a gift card.
Consumers are expected to spend $10 billion on Father's Day gifts this year, up 10 percent from last year, the retail trade organization said.
NEVER ENOUGH CHOCOLATE: Moonstruck Chocolate Co., the artisan chocolate-espresso bar chain, plans to double the number of chocolate cafes it operates by 2009 to 17 stores.
The Portland, Ore.-based retailer plans to open eight stores on the East Coast and in the Midwest in the next two years, including one at Oakbrook Center in suburban Oak Brook later this year. A second Chicago-area store is in the works for 2009 at an undisclosed location.
Moonstruck opened its first chocolate cafe in Portland in 1996. Its sole Chicago store is on North Michigan Avenue south of the Chicago River.
BUCKTOWN BLUES: Levi's plans to open a store at 1552 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Bucktown on Friday, according to Chicago-based Baum Realty Group. The store joins a string of national chains that have moved into the boutique-lined neighborhood in the past two years, including Urban Outfitters, G-Star Denim, Scoop and American Apparel.
San Francisco-based Levi Strauss & Co., which sells its jeans through such stores as J.C. Penney and Kohl's, is expanding its freestanding stores in the U.S. and Europe. It already has stores on North Michigan Avenue in Chicago and in Evanston. ---------- firstname.lastname@example.org