BRETTON'S: A REQUEST TO READERS


This sketch of an un-built Bretton's store is the only image we could find [Image Source]
Do you remember Bretton's, the upscale Canadian department store? It was started in 1985 and became an upscale national retailer with 11 locations. The chain unfortunately closed in 1996.

We want your pictures and stories of Bretton's for a retrospective we're doing on the store, since it was one of our favourite stores when it was open. 

Bretton's was, at the time, Canada's answer to Nordstrom. Customer service was excellent and the merchandise was relatively upscale. Bretton's lacked Nordstrom's shoe selection, however, and store sizes were generally between 30,000 and 60,000 square feet (the largest being the Toronto flagship store at the Manulife Centre, now Indigo Books).
Polo Park Shopping Centre, Winnipeg, 1986. Image: Winnipeg Skyscraper Forum, trebor204

Bretton's first store was in Ottawa and it was expected to open as many as 50 Canadian stores. According to its Wikipedia page, existing mall anchors blocked many potential Bretton's stores via restrictive clauses.

According to Wikipedia, the 11 Canadian Bretton's locations included:


We have fond memories of purchasing merchandise at the West Edmonton Mall Bretton's store. Sales staff were exceptionally friendly and helpful. This was in contrast to Eaton's, Sears and The Bay (Now called 'Hudson's Bay'), all of which had minimal customer service at the time. We were disappointed when Bretton's closed and we look forward to Nordstrom's Canadian stores and their remarkable customer service.

If you have information and/or photos of Bretton's, please email us at: insider@retail-insider.com. We'll reference you if you like, and we'd be grateful for your contribution.


Bretton's Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bretton's

Last Distribution Day for Canadian Penny

[Image Source]
Today (Monday, February 4th) marks the last distribution day that the Canadian penny. Circulation started in 1858. 

There are still six-billion of them in circulation so they won't disappear overnight. The Canadian mint estimates it will take about 3-4 years for pennies to leave Canadian circulation. 

Did you know it costs roughly 1.6 cents to produce a penny? Neither did we. The Canadian Government will save about $11million/year discontinuing the penny. Not much in the big scheme of a government that lavishes spending on multi-billion priorities like 'national defence'. 

Only about 20% of Canadian retail purchases are made in cash. The loss of the penny will have no impact on debit or credit-card purchases, which will will remain cent-specific.  

Canadian retailers now have the option to 'round up or down' their final cash prices, and the Federal Government hasn't formally legislated how rounding will occur. Ottawa has provided 'suggestions' as to how to round a final bill, including "For totals ending in one, two, six or seven will be rounded down, while totals ending in three, four, eight and nine will be rounded up".

Penny production stopped in May 2012, but the Canadian Mint continued its distribution until today. 

Similar countries no longer use pennies. Australia got rid of their penny in 1992, for example. 

Consider rolling-up and donating your pennies to charity. Retail Insider's two favourite charities are: 

1) Covenant House (Toronto and Vancouver). Helping homeless street youth build better lives for themselves while benefiting the community.
2) Access Pro Bono Society of BC - Providing free legal services to lower-income British Columbians.

[Article Sources: 1 and 2]

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Sears Canada Re-Brands

Yesterday Sears Canada presented its rebranding strategy. It includes a modified Sears logo and a new marketing campaign including the commercial above. We're not sure if Sears will win-over Canadians but we applaud their efforts. We think Sears would do best by surrendering their 'better mall' leases for Nordstrom (with ample compensation) and we'll leave that decision to their CEO who is busy overhauling the company.
Sears Canada president and CEO Calvin MacDonald describes his vision for merchandising. A store is a “stage for products.” Photo by Vicki Gilhula.

We are posting text from The Toronto Star:

"Sears Canada launches dramatic new rebrand

TheStar.com
Francine Kopun 
Business Reporter 
7 November 2012

Sears Canada launched a bouncy new rebrand on Wednesday morning, aimed at wooing back old customers and winning new ones using a mix of nostalgia and emotion.

The new tag line is Make Every Day a Great Day, and plants Sears firmly in the space discount retailer Target hopes to occupy when it opens its first stores in Canada in the spring.

The new campaign uses humour and emotion to reach out to customers.

Sears is celebrating 60 years in Canada. The new commercial features snippets of home movies submitted by Sears associates and plays on the relationship Sears has enjoyed in Canada as a general merchandise department store, selling everything from lawnmowers to lingerie, hockey sticks, hula hoops and bar stools.

The Sears logo isn’t revealed until the end of the ad, after a question pops up on the screen: “Today is a gift. What will you do with it?” 

“When we started thinking about how we were going to refresh our position and talk to our customers, we really started with looking at what we sell,” said CEO Calvin McDonald, who took over the faltering retailer in 2011.

“We sell more wants than needs. What wants deliver is inspiration and emotion, happiness, and that was really the emotion we focused on for our brand and tag line.

“A lawnmower isn’t about cutting grass, it’s about making a soccer field . . . a toaster isn’t just a toaster, it makes a great morning.”

McDonald said he wanted to make the tag line a rallying cry for associates for delivering great service to customers.

The Sears logo will remain basically the same, although the blue has been lightened and a new font, designed uniquely for the rebrand, will replace the older one.

McDonald rolled out the new brand to associates at the Sears Eaton Centre location on Wednesday morning before the store opened for business.

Target has built strong success in the U.S. by focusing on a bright and fun customer experience and great prices for unique goods.

“I think this is a very different campaign, and very different position and tone. The tag is different, the tone, humour and emotion is different. Our service model is different, I think our value proposition is different,” said McDonald.

The campaign was created by the Unitas Reputation Agency, which began working with Sears in May."


Sears Canada website: www.sears.ca



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Will Canadian Nordstroms Include Wedding Dresses?

Wedding Suite at Nordstrom, Chicago Michigan Avenue. Photo: William Deshazer via Chicago Tribune
Despite the potential demand, no Vancouver (or Canadian?) department stores include bridal departments. We're specifically referring to where a bride-to-be can buy dresses. That might change when Nordstrom opens.

A Holt Renfrew insider tells us that Holt's Vancouver gets a significant number of requests from potential clients for bridal dresses. The Bay is probably similar. A Nordstrom insider tells us that Nordstrom might introduce its 'Wedding Suite' concept to Canada via its new Vancouver, BC store. Further Wedding Suites could open in other Canadian Nordstrom locations. Nordstrom currently has 18 American Wedding Suite departments.
Image: wwd.com (Nordstrom, Paramus NJ)

Wedding Suite includes dresses, shoes and accessories, along with personal styling. If women are still getting married in 2015, they may have one more place to visit.

Nordstrom Wedding Suite website: http://shop.nordstrom.com/c/wedding-suite-locations?origin=leftnav

Nordstrom website: www.nordstrom.com


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Natural Light to Wash New Vancouver Nordstrom

Designer Handbags at Nordstrom, Santa Monica California. Image: Callison Architects
Are you a fan of natural light in department stores? It's becoming a trend, and a good one if you ask us. A recent visit to Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills was only made better by the fabulous fourth-floor windows and a skylight that bring in the California sunshine.

Canada lacks some of that sun, especially Vancouver. Nordstrom, however, will include some excellent glass-walled exteriors that will bring in whatever natural light Vancouver's Nordstrom can find. And we're expecting this will create an even more superior retail experience. 
Nordstrom Pacific Centre, South-Facing Robson Street Windos on 2nd Floor. Image: James Cheng/Cadillac Fairview
Check out the above image. The South-facing Robson Street side of the new Nordstrom store will include some serious windows on the second-floor. This means the Vancouver Nordstrom's interior will likely be brighter than your average mall-based American store. Similar south-facing light can be experienced on the third-floor of Vancouver's Holt Renfrew store, as well as on the second-floor of Vancouver's Downtown Hudson's Bay Company store. Simply put, natural light makes shopping feel a bit 'better'. At least for us it does. 

It can be expected that Nordstrom's upscale Collectors department will be part of this sun-flooded second level, on the south-porton of this second floor. Holt Renfrew and The Bay's 'The Room' will have some tough competition, both merchandise-wise and aesthetically.

Nordstrom Pacific Centre, Granville/Robson corner w/3rd floor pod-like restaurant: James Cheng/Cadillac Fairview
Check out the next above image. See that glass pod on third-floor in the corner? Expect a new restaurant with a sun-flooded south-facing view of Robson Square. 

East and North-facing windows are nothing to sneeze at, either. And Vancouver's Nordstrom seems to utilize at least some windows on all three of its future floors. 

And as Genesis once said... LET THERE BE LIGHT! ;)

Nordstrom website: www.nordstrom.com

Genesis website: www.genesis-music.com


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TopShop/TopMan Opens in Vancouver, BC, October 18th 2012

Granville Street entrance to TopShop/TopMan - Courtesy Hudson's Bay Company Planning & Design
TopShop/TopMan opens its 33,000 square foot Downtown Vancouver store on October 18th. It is allegedly the largest TopShop store outside of Great Britain (we're not sure if this true, but it's the biggest in Canada nonetheless).

Here's a little video advertising the launch. The video is courtesy of The Hudson's Bay Company ("The Bay"), which owns the Canadian rights to the TopShop/TopMan brands.

Vancouver's TopShop will be located in the basement level of Downtown Vancouver's Hudson's Bay Company department store. It will have its own entrance off of Granville Street, with dedicated escalators taking shoppers down to the store itself (as per the image below).
Granville Street entrance to TopShop/TopMan - Courtesy Hudson's Bay Company Planning & Design
This will be the third full-sized TopShop/TopMan in Canada. Canada's first location opened October 2011 inside The Bay at Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto, and a second location will open Thursday, October 4th 2012 inside The Bay's flagship store at Queen and Yonge Streets in Downtown Toronto, as we previously reported.

Hudson's Bay Company website: www.thebay.com

TopShop website: http://www.topshop.com


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Pacific Centre Nordstrom Expansion Floorplans Revealed

Pacific Centre Lease Plan: 48K expansion below Nordstrom. Image: www.725Granville.com - Cadillac Fairview
Today Cadillac Fairview revealed the floorplan for the retail level located directly below the new Nordstrom store. The retail will be one level and will keep with the aesthetic of the rest of the Pacific Centre mall level. Escalators from the mall will rise to the corner of Granville and Robson Streets as per the floorplan above...

Image: www.725Granville.com - Cadillac Fairview
Don'e expect an exciting looking mall-level retail expansion. It appears the ceilings will be as low as in the rest of the mall, and it doesn't appear there will be any sort of skylight to Nordstrom/the office building above.

Robson/Granville rendering. Nordstrom's entrance will be 725 Granville Street, and a Pacific Centre's mall entrance will be directly on the corner, accessible via escalators from the street
The new mall retail will be about 48,000 square feet. The office building above Nordstrom will be accessible via an entrance off West Georgia Street. If you are interested, office floorplate floorplans for this project are also online. The address for this new project will be 725 Granville Street, and this is its website: http://www.725granville.com.
The offices over Nordstrom have their own entrance lobby on the Granville/Georgia Plaza. Image: www.725Granville.com - Cadillac Fairview

Nordstrom website: www.nordstrom.com

Cadillac Fairview website: www.cadillacfairview.com

Nordstrom Expansion Project website: www.725Granville.com


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Old Navy Signs Lease for Downtown Vancouver store

Photo: MCMP Architects
This week Old Navy signed a lease for a 12,365 square foot store at the corner of Granville and Robson Streets in Vancouver, BC. The store will include 1,598 square feet on the ground level (unit 104 on the floorplan below, with a Granville Street entrance) with an escalator taking shoppers to its 10,767 square foot second floor.
Floorplan: CBRE
The building is under construction and will have the municipal address "720 Robson Street". Two previous buildings were torn down for the project. Old Navy will be located directly across the street from Vancouver's new Nordstrom store, set to open in 2015 as we previously reported. 

Old Navy website: www.oldnavy.ca


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TopShop/TopMan Opening in Toronto October 4, 2012

TopShop/TopMan will open a 19,000 square foot store on the 2nd and 3rd floors of The Hudson's Bay Company's Queen Street store on October 4th, 2012. The Bay has included a Youtube video advertising its new location.

Not long after, a 33,000 square foot TopShop/TopMan will open in the basement at The Bay in Downtown Vancouver, BC. This will be, allegedly, the largest TopShop/TopMan location outside of England. We're not sure if this is true (Chicago's TopShop might be bigger) but according to Bay management, Vancouver's will be even larger. We'll go with that, and we'll happily attend their Vancouver grand opening.
The Bay's Toronto Queen Street flagship store (image: Retail Details)
Watch for coverage of TopShop's Vancouver opening, as well as a Thierry Mugler fashion event in The Room at The Bay, Vancouver, late October.

Hudson's Bay Company website: www.thebay.com

TopShop website: http://www.topshop.com


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New Nordstrom Pacific Centre and Sherway Gardens Renderings

This morning, Cadillac Fairview released renderings of two new Canadian Nordstrom stores: Several at Vancouver's Pacific Centre, the other at Toronto's Sherway Gardens. Let's start with the new Vancouver store:

Nordstrom Pacific Centre, Granville/Georgia entrance: James Cheng/Cadillac Fairview
Nordstrom Pacific Centre, Robson/Howe Street entrance: James Cheng/Cadillac Fairview
Nordstrom Pacific Centre, from Robson Street near Hornby Street: James Cheng/Cadillac Fairview
Nordstrom Pacific Centre, Granville/Robson entrance: James Cheng/Cadillac Fairview
Nordstrom in blue. Notice the 2 light wells for offices above. Image: James Cheng/Cadillac Fairview
Howe Street exterior of Pacific Centre Nordstrom: James Cheng /Cadillac Fairview
Nordstrom's Pacific Centre Vancouver store will include four levels of office space, serviced by two internal light wells. Each office floorplate will be about 70,000 square feet, being the largest office floorplates in the city.

The building is being re-designed by architect James Cheng. As we previously reported, Nordstrom will occupy 230,000 square feet on levels Ground, two and three, while the lower-level of the former Sears store will be 48,000 square feet of multiple-tenant retail. 
Sherway Gardens, Toronto. Nordstrom in blue. Image: Cadillac Fairview
The Sherway Gardens store will be newly-built 138,000 square feet, located where the mall's Sporting Life anchor currently resides as we previously posted.

We are expecting further renderings in the near future, and will continue to update this page.

Be sure to follow us on twitter and Facebook, as we provide interesting updates sometimes not included on this website.

Nordstrom website: www.nordstrom.com

Cadillac Fairview website: www.cadillacfairview.com


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Nordstrom Press Release Names First Four Canadian Locations

Photo: Bloomberg
This morning Nordstrom and commercial real estate owner/manager Cadillac Fairview announced Canada's first four Nordstrom locations. We previously reported these four locations, and we now have more information on opening dates and store sizes:

1) The Vancouver Pacific Centre location will be about 230,000 square feet and will occupy the ground, second and third floors of the current Sears location. The top four floors will be 280,000 square feet of office space, and the 48,000 sq ft basement level will be a retailed extension of Pacific Centre's mall-level. It will open Spring 2015.

2) The Calgary Chinook Centre store will be about 140,000 square feet, occupying the Sears store at the North end of the mall. It will open Fall 2014.

3) The Ottawa Rideau Centre store will be about 157,000 square feet, occupying the two upper levels of of the three-level, 240,000 sq ft  current Sears store. It will open Spring 2015.

4) The Toronto Sherway Gardens store will be about 138,000 square feet, and will be a newly-built store at the south-end of the mall (currently occupied by Sporting life, as we previously reported). It will open Fall 2016.

And now for the information not provided in today's press conference. Nordstrom and Cadillac Fairview are actively trying to take over Sears leases at The Toronto Eaton Centre and Toronto's Yorkdale Shopping Centre. Part of the 800,000 square foot Toronto Eaton Centre store would be Nordstrom, part of the space would be sub-divided, and part might possibly go to La Maison Simons, the Quebec-based retailer seeking a Canadian expansion. The 190,000 square foot Yorkdale store would be entirely (or mostly) Nordstrom, going head-to-head with neighbouring Bay and Holt Renfrew stores.

Nordstrom is examining other retail locations across Canada. Many of these are currently occupied by Sears Canada. A few potential locations include:

-Edmonton: Sears Southgate Shopping Centre
-Richmond, BC: Sears Richmond Centre
-Burnaby BC: Metropolis at Metrotown
-Winnipeg MN: Sears Polo Park

Nordstrom's president, Blake Nordstrom, says Canada has room for between six and nine full-sized Nordstrom stores.

Readers may note that some of the Nordstrom stores seem a bit 'small' and indeed are only slightly larger than a full-sized Holt Renfrew store. Canada's Nordstrom's will initially lack some services offered by some larger American Nordstroms, such as spas, multiple restaurants, and wedding dress salons. The Vancouver store, however, will likely have all of these.

Both Holt Renfrew and The Hudson's Bay Company will be scrambling to secure designer labels and vendors. Holt Renfrew already has massive expansion plans as we previously reported, and The Hudson's Bay Company will issue an IPO late October 2012 to raise much-needed funds (over $1billion) to renovate many of its Canadian locations.

We will consistently update this website with further Nordstrom Canada news, as well as Hudson's Bay Company and Holt Renfrew efforts to modernize and expand their current locations in anticipation of retail competition previously unseen in Canada.

Nordstrom website: www.nordstrom.com

Cadillac Fairview website: www.cadillacfairview.com




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Nordstrom Formally Announcing Canadian Locations Thursday, September 13th

Image :Nordstrom
Nordstrom will announce its first round of Canadian stores via press conference on Thursday, September 13th. We have been provided some insider info from our mole at the Seattle headquarters, and have been asked to not share it until after the Toronto press conference. We can confirm that there will eventually be more than four Nordstrom stores in Canada, though only four will initially be announced.

This is only the beginning. Nordstrom Rack will also open multiple locations in Canada, and we will provide details as they come available. Nordstrom will also be carrying some designers not currently readily available in Canada (or at all), and it will be snatching up some exclusive designers from both The Hudson's Bay Company and Holt Renfrew. Expect label wars unprecedented in Canadian history.

As a teaser, next week we'll be discussing Nordstrom's retail interiors and how Canadian locations will be slightly different than American Nordstroms. Nordstrom will also introduce some hard-shops for women's accessories and clothing, competing directly with Holt Renfrew's designer floors. The Hudson's Bay Company should also be concerned, as Nordstrom will carry both Coach and Burberry.

One of Nordstrom's Canadian challenges will be menswear. Details to follow next week.

Watch this website Thursday and follow us on twitter (@retailinsider_) for timely updates on Nordstrom's entry into Canada!

Nordstrom website: www.nordstrom.com




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$300million Holt Renfrew Expansion Will Be Largest in Company History

Holt Renfrew will spend over $300 million expanding total store square footage by about 40% by the end of 2015. Several stores are slated for significant expansions and we're giving you the preliminary breakdown, Canada-coast-to-coast. 

Holt Renfrew has nine full-line stores in Canada, ranging between about 32,000 sq ft and 180,000 sq ft. We have an 'insider' working at Holt Renfrew's corporate office in Toronto, confirming significant expansion plans for several Holt Renfrew stores. In summary: 

Vancouver BC: This 137,000 square foot store may (possibly) be expanded by about 40,000 square feet by annexing space currently occupied by a two-level sports retailer, as well as some current mall space. The configuration could include some storage space, opening the possibility of a top-level restaurant that had initially been planned for this store when it opened in 2007. It should be noted that this is only being investigated by the retailer, and that no current negotiations with landlord Cadillac Fairview are currently under way. 

Calgary, AB: This 151,000 square foot store includes about 30,000 square feet of unused fourth-floor space that may be opened up to include a spa/salon, restaurant and personal shopping suites. The store currently only uses about 120,000 square feet of its 151,000 square foot configuration of a former Sears/Eatons store.

Edmonton, AB: This 47,000 square foot store may annex 20,000 square feet on the third floor of Manulife Place. Edmonton's Holt Renfrew under-performs compared to most other locations, and its future may be uncertain. 

Toronto Bloor Street: This ~185,000 square foot store (175,926 sq ft in The Holt Renfrew Centre + 3800 sq ft ground level at 60 Bloor Street West + Personal shopping suites in the 60 Bloor tower) will lose its entire eastern-portion of retail, and will be oriented vertically over eight floors as part of a massive project we mentioned in one of our previous posts, taking this flagship to over 200,000 square feet. 

Toronto Sherway Gardens: This 33,670 sq ft store will be demolished and replaced with a 102,000 square foot store, as well as an expansion of the mall as we previously reported.

Toronto Yorkdale Shopping Centre: This 65,047 sq ft store will be expanded both Westward and via a new second-level, creating a ~120,000 square foot store as we previously reported. 

Ottawa ON: This 47,000 sq ft store may be relocated, though this is very preliminary. Holt's Ottawa struggles like the Edmonton location, and will face fierce competition once Nordstrom opens at Rideau Centre.

Montreal QC: This 83,000 sq ft store had initially been planned to expand to about 190,000 square feet. These plans were cancelled as sales in Vancouver and Calgary took off, while Montreal's continue to struggle. Regardless, Holt Renfrew will tentatively move into the ~180,000 square foot space currently occupied by the retailer Ogilvy, also owned by the parent company to Holt Renfrew. This expansion warrants a separate article to follow. 

Quebec City QC: This 32,943 square foot store is currently the smallest and worst-stocked Holt Renfrew store. It faces competition from a recently expanded La Maison Simons, and our source is unsure of the fate of this location. 

Our source also tells us Holt Renfrew management is examining replacing its trademark magenta colour scheme with something new. We fully support this endeavour, personally not liking magenta except when illuminating the exterior of Au Printemps in Paris. 

We'll update you further when we get updates! 

Holt Renfrew website: www.holtrenfrew.com

Ogilvy website: http://ogilvycanada.com/en

Louis Vuitton website: www.louisvuitton.com




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Holt Renfrew Yorkdale to Add Second Level for 120,000 sq ft store.

Current entrance to the Yorkdale Holt Renfrew store  (Photo courtesy of Yorkdale Shopping Centre)
We previously reported that Holt Renfrew at Toronto's Yorkdale Shopping Centre would be expanding by about 19,000 square feet to create an 84,000 square foot store. Today, Holt's CEO Mark Derbyshire confirms that the Yorkdale store will add a second level (modifying a previous food court above Holt's) to create a 120,000+ square foot Holt Renfrew store with a central, two-level atrium. This was a recent further expansion-decision and is expected to be comple by August 2013.

This expansion is partly in response to the entry of Nordstrom into Canada, and partly responding to Harry Rosen's increase in both store sizes and brands. Menswear seems to be the next frontier for larger-format retailers in Canada seeking to grow sales.

The Yorkdale store will include a new 18,000 square foot men's department (the current men's floor is 11,000 square feet) and the new floor will include several new upscale designers. A new unisex contemporary department will also be created, mixing men's and women's clothing brands so that women might influence men's purchases.

Holt Renfrew is about to embark on a $300million expansion. We will provide further details on some expansion proposals for Holt Renfrew stores across Canada.

Holt Renfrew website: www.holtrenfrew.com

Yorkdale Shopping Centre website: www.yorkdale.ca

Harry Rosen website: www.harryrosen.com

Nordstrom website: www.nordstrom.com



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We'll Be Back Shortly!

Hello Readers,

We're on vacation in a relatively remote location, and will be back posting articles in the very near future. 

Be ready for some major retail announcements coming out of Vancouver, Canada. Vancouver, you're going to see some substantial changes (for the better) on Alberni Street near Thurlow. Stay tuned!!!

-Retail Insider


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