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New Survey Rates Petco Among Most Competitive Retailers in U.S.



Feisty One:

San Diego’s own Petco Animal Supplies Inc. is among the top 10 most competitive American retailers, according to a recent National Retail Federation study.

The ranking was based on a survey taken by New York-based Kanbay Research Institute, on behalf of the Washington, D.C., trade association.

Petco, which has 800 retail stores nationwide, was No. 6 on the top 10 list behind The UPS Store, Dollar Tree Stores Inc., Dollar General, Walgreens Co. and Kenneth Cole Productions Inc., respectively. Rounding out the top 10 in spots seven through 10 are Kohl’s Corp., Target Corp., Men’s Warehouse and PetSmart.

Kanbay studied the rate of return on invested capital among large retailers and found that those that made the top 10 list generated returns three times higher than other retailers since 2001.

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Formerly traded on the Nasdaq as PETC, Petco was taken private last year.

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Surfs Up and Out:

So long Kearny Mesa, popular surfing product retailer Reef is headed for the coast.

The company said Jan. 18 that it would be moving come April.

Reef is trading in its current space at 9660 Chesapeake Drive for a 52,260-square-foot facility at 5935 Darwin Court in Carlsbad.

The new digs in the Carlsbad Research Center is more than 15,000 square feet larger than Reef’s current space.

It will house 120 Reef employees, with room for another 55 over the next five years, according to the company.

Terms were not released.

“Our new headquarters reflects the essence of our brand with an ideal coastal location,” said Reef President John Wilson.

Founded in 1984, Reef products include clothing, shoes and accessories, from beanies, bags and board shorts to flip-flops, tanks and bikinis.

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A new cell phone retailer has arrived to an already overcrowded market for wireless service.

San Diego joins the ranks of Palo Alto and Santa Monica with the opening of Helio at 460 Fifth Ave. San Diego is the fourth city in the country to carry this particular product.

A joint venture between Korea’s SK Telecom and EarthLink, Helio first began offering service in the U.S. last May.

Helio markets a multi-tasking mobile device brand that allows tech-savvy consumers to manage their My Space page, play games, watch videos and listen to music, just as easily as they send text messages or make calls.

Helio has spent the past year attempting to differentiate its brand from other, ordinary cell phones; although it does use Sprint Nextel Corp. for its wireless service.

While Sprint may provide the connection, Helio users do not directly pay Sprint for service. Instead, Helio serves as the middleman, and as a result the cost for service isn’t cheap.

The handsets range in price from $100 to $225, and daytime plans start around $65 a month for 500 minutes or $85 a month for 1,000 minutes.

Competing retail providers offer 1,000 daytime minutes a month for as low as $40 a month. But Helio’s prices are for “all-you-can-eat plans,” which include unlimited data services that other providers charge for separately.

Helio held grand opening festivities for its newest store in downtown San Diego’s hip Gaslamp Quarter on Jan. 19 and 20.

The retail outlet is 3,700 square feet and employs 12 people.

The retailer is expected to open a New York store later this year.


Send retailing items to Jessica Long at

jlong@sdbj.com

. She may also be reached at (858) 277-6359, ext. 3114.

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