Friday, May 24, 2019

Kohl’s to be more aggressive in pricing on heels of disappointing Q1

Chain Store Age
Kohl’s got off to a slow start in its first quarter, reporting its worst showing in same-store sales in three years and lowering its annual earnings guidance by more than 10%.

On a call with analysts, Kohl’s executives said the company plans to be more aggressive in driving top line sales to regain its momentum and grow market share.. . . more

What Can Building a Tower on Top of its Herald Square Store Do for Macy’s?

NREI
Seeking to cash in on its most valuable real estate asset, Macy Inc.’s CEO Jeff Gennette confirmed that the department store retailer is considering plans to build a 1.2-million-sq.-ft. skyscraper on top of its Herald Square flagship store in Manhattan, Bloomberg reported last week.

The tower would be leased to other office tenants, and Gennette said he hopes to have a plan in place by year-end.

During Macy’s earnings call in February, Gennette said, “In any strategy, to unlock additional real estate value will be on a long-term horizon,” and that Macy’s would “certainly preserve the store and enhance the customer experience.”. . . more

BJ’s aims to improve grocery assortments, digital capabilities

Supermarket News
BJ’s Wholesale Club saw sales edge up in its fiscal 2019 first quarter and topped Wall Street’s earnings-per-share forecast by two cents.

Comparable-store sales grew 2% year over year. Merchandise comparable sales, which excludes fuel, were up 1.9%.. . . more

The unicorns of retail

Retail Dive
Unicorns are having a moment — and not just on the children's bedroom walls. The mythically impressive valuations graced a number of retail businesses this year, three within days of each other, and the coveted title seems to be alighting most frequently on direct-to-consumer (DTC) startups.

Since March, Away, Casper, Glossier and Rent the Runway have all earned the title. That's in part because of the strong following they're building, Glenn Kaufman, managing director at investment firm D Cubed Group, told Retail Dive in an interview. . . . more

Amazon really, really wants to know consumers

Chain Store Age
Amazon is reportedly working on a wearable device that would give the e-tailer unprecedented insight into consumers.

According to Bloomberg, internal Amazon documents indicate the company is developing a voice-activated, wrist-worn device that would recognize the wearer’s emotions by analyzing their voice. Reportedly being jointly developed under the code name “Dylan” by Amazon’s Lab126 hardware group and Alexa voice software division, the device is classified as a “health and wellness” product.. . . more

First Look: Sears goes smaller with new Home & Life stores

Chain Store Age
Sears has unveiled its next chapter, Sears Home & Life, opening stores in Lafayette, Louisiana, Overland Park, Ill., and Anchorage, Alaska.

The apparel-free, smaller-sized format (the footprint ranges from 10,000 sq. ft. to 15,000 sq. ft.) is focused on selling major and small kitchen appliances, mattresses, tools, connected home products and home services. Artwork and photos in the stores include images of the local community. . . . more

Former JC Penney CEO: China trade deal needed by end of year or retail’s ‘got a real problem’

CNBC
The U.S. needs to work out a trade deal with China by the end of the year or the retail sector will be in big trouble, former J.C. Penney CEO Allen Questrom said Thursday.

Questrom, who served as chairman and CEO at the department store chain from September 2000 to December 2004, said he expects President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will come to an agreement soon because “nobody benefits the longer this goes on” and they “don’t want to see a disaster.”. . . more

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Candytopia proves a sweet draw for malls

Chain Store Age
“What if an eccentric chocolatier and a daredevil pop star had a whirlwind romance, got married while skydiving, and had a glamorous, glittering love child who grew up to rule a small nation?”

That’s the promo copy for Candytopia, an experiential retail traveling show created by John Goodman, former Wet Seal CEO and chief of apparel and home at Sears. His company sets up this immersive, Wonka-esque experience in spaces ranging from 14,000 sq. ft. to 25,000 sq. ft. at malls in major markets for runs of four to five months. Admission prices range up to $40 for adults and $30 for kids. . . . more

Topshop’s U.S. stores could close

Chain Store Age
A British fashion retailer could close its U.S. doors.

Topshop could close its 11 stores in the U.S. as part of a financial rescue plan and restructuring of parent company Arcadia Group, The Guardian reported.

Arcadia’s sales and profits have fallen amid increasing competition from online players and fast-fashion giants such as Zara, H&M and Primark. . . . more

Even as tariff pressure built, Best Buy saw its sales, profits rise this spring

StarTribune
Under a cloud of tariffs on Chinese-made goods, Best Buy Co. reported higher-than-expected results for the first quarter, led by sales of appliances, wearables and tablets.

Sales across domestic and international operations were flat, at $9.1 billion, while comparable sales among stores open at least a year rose 1.1%.

Online sales were up 14.5% and amounted to 15.4% of U.S. sales.. . . more

L Brands rides record results at Bath & Body Works

The Columbus Dispatch
Driven by record results at Bath & Body Works, L Brands reported sales and earnings for the first quarter that were better than expected.

While performance at Victoria’s Secret Lingerie, Pink, Victoria’s Secret Beauty and International were largely in line with L Brands’ forecast, not all the news was good. Comparable store sales, a key indicator of a retailer’s health, were flat for the quarter. While Bath & Body Works showed a robust 13 percent growth in comparable store sales, the company’s struggling Victoria’s Secret brand showed a 5 percent decline in such sales.. . . more

Target upgraded by JP Morgan as the retailer is proving safe from Amazon ‘boogeyman’

CNBC
Big-box retailer Target is proving to be safe from the threat of Amazon, according to J.P. Morgan.

“In our view, TGT does not need to outrun AMZN for a revaluation, rather it needs to outcomp other home and apparel retailers, namely the mall based retailers, department stores, and specialty home retailers, for the valuation rerating to materialize,” J.P. Morgan’s Christopher Horvers said in a note to clients Thursday. “Its continued share gain...should help them outcomp its traditional retail peers and transition to the first bucket of retail.” . . . more

After sale talk, Encore Boston Harbor team confirms June 23 opening

Boston Business Journal
The president of Wynn Resorts Ltd.’s Encore Boston Harbor casino says the $2.6 billion gaming resort will open as scheduled in Everett on June 23 at 10:00 a.m.

But it's still unclear whether Wynn Resorts and CEO Matt Maddox will pay the combined $35.5 million in fines owed to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and comply with a host of other conditions the agency required as part of Wynn keeping the state casino license. . . . more

Salem Planning Board Reviews Tuscan Village Site Plans

Patch-Salem
The Planning Board this week reviewed several site plans for projects in the Tuscan Village in Salem, including plans for a five-story medical building that will have urgent care. Board members also reviewed plans for 750,000 square feet of combined restaurant, hotel, retail, residential and office space with hundreds of parking spaces, as well as site plans for a Pressed Cafe to be located in the area. Approval of these site plans are expected at a future Planning Board meeting, as Selectmen work to finalize the development agreement with the Tuscan Development organization.

The 750,000-square-foot mixed-use space would be located in the South and Central Tuscan Village, in the area of 71 Rockingham Park Boulevard. . . . more

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Online socially-minded native in deal with Simon to open stores

Chain Store Age
An online start-up brand founded by the former CEO of Gymboree is taking on brick-and-mortar.

Simon announced that Hope & Henry will open more than 15 stores at Simon centers throughout the United States by the end of third quarter 2019. The brand made its brick-and-mortar debut in 2018, in Simon’s turnkey retail space, The Edit@ Roosevelt Field at Roosevelt Field mall in Garden City, New York. The Edit is designed to showcase a curated selection of new and emerging brands on a rotating basis.. . . more

What do shoppers expect from retailers by 2030?

Chain Store Age
When the thought of retail in the year 2030 comes to mind, some would assume shoppers would be clamoring for a futuristic “Jetsons”-like experience. It turns out shoppers are much more down to earth when it comes to what matters to them most.

That’s according to a new JLL study that explores what shoppers expect from retailers in the next decade. It revealed that, more than anything, consumers want the basics: skilled customer service, personalization, and convenience. . . . more

‘We had executional misses’ — Nordstrom reports decline in profits and sales

The Seattle Times
Barely a day after confirming the opening date for its massive new flagship store in New York City, Nordstrom reported a sharp drop in first-quarter profits and faltering sales, thanks to continued softness in physical retail and a bungled update to its loyalty program.

Net earnings for the first quarter of fiscal 2019 were $37 million, a 57% decline from the same period last year. The Seattle-based retailer’s downbeat results echoed similarly poor first-quarter numbers for J.C. Penney and Kohl’s, which also reported Tuesday.. . . more

TJX Beats Q1 Earnings Estimate, Lifts Full-Year Guidance, Defying Retail Gloom

The Street
TJX Companies posted stronger-than-expected first quarter earnings Tuesday, while boosting its full-year profit guidance, following surprisingly solid same-store sales.

Group net revenues rose 7% to $9.28 billion, the company said, topping analysts' estimates of $9.21 billion as same-store sales at its TJMaxx and Marshall's and HomeGoods brands rose 5% from the same period last year, well ahead of the 3.4% forecast.. . . more

New Tenant Types Invigorate Retail Sector

Chain Store Age
The retail sector is making massive strides as companies re-engineer their selling platforms in a digitally oriented environment. As a result, multi-tenant construction is rising in conjunction with developer confidence, while total retail development remains subdued.

As the new age of retail comes into focus, the sector continues to improve. Omnichannel customer engagement is taking hold with more online retailers discovering the need for a physical presence as it can substantially impact sales. Because of this, many digital brands are rapidly expanding their brick-and-mortar footprints, with Casper, Untuckit and Warby Parker spearheading these efforts.. . . more

Target smashes profit expectations as e-commerce accelerates

StarTribune
Target Corp. said its profit jumped 9% in the latest quarter, smashing expectations as its investments to make digital shopping easier and more convenient paid off.

Sales at comparable stores and through digital orders from its website and mobile applications grew 4.8%.

Digital sales accounted for a hefty 44% of sales growth — half of which came from shoppers who picked up their online orders at stores that day or who used the retailer's same-day home delivery service, Shipt. . . . more

US department store slowdown intensifies retail concerns

Boston Business Journal
Two of the biggest US department stores, Kohl’s and JC Penney, intensified concerns over the health of bricks and mortar retailing on Tuesday as falling sales sent their share prices tumbling.

Quarterly revenues fell short of forecasts at both companies, which between them operate almost 2,000 stores and employ about 225,000 people. By midday in New York, Kohl’s stock was down 11 per cent and JC Penney 9 per cent.. . . more

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

David's Bridal downgraded months after emerging from bankruptcy

Retail Dive
S&P Global downgraded David's Bridal's credit rating into junk territory after the wedding apparel retailer's performance "remained significantly weaker than anticipated after emergence from bankruptcy," according to an S&P release emailed to Retail Dive. David's Bridal did not immediately respond to Retail Dive's request for comment.

Analysts with the ratings agency said that David's Bridal was at risk of failing to repay its debt "as we expect poor customer traffic will pressure operating performance and lead to added volatility.". . . more

When anchors go away

Chain Store Age
A convenient, albeit misleading headline has gained great currency in the retail business — this being that physical retail is disappearing at a rapid rate as shoppers and sales migrate online, creating a real estate landscape rich in opportunity for those (few) retailers who do still actually want to open brick-and-mortar stores.

As is usually the case, the full picture is rather more complicated and nuanced. Certainly, physical retail is under tremendous pressure from online in particular, and some retailers are responding to competitive pressures and changing shopper behaviors by closing stores and rationalizing their networks — sometimes very severely. Among the most prominent in this respect is the department store sector, J.C. Penney and Sears in particular. . . . more

J.C. Penney CEO Jill Soltau: 'there's no silver bullet' and turnaround to take time

The Dallas Morning News
J.C. Penney began a pivotal year under new management with a bigger sales decline and wider loss than analysts expected, but chief executive officer Jill Soltau said the Plano-based department store has "made solid progress acting swiftly, but thoughtfully."

The transformation of 117-year-old Penney, "will take time," she said on a conference call Tuesday morning to review results. Saying she's not guiding on future performance, but it's been her experience that in a turnaround where many aspects go into "righting the ship, things can get worse before they get better." . . . more

Kohl's cuts profit forecast after weak first quarter

Reuters
Kohl’s Corp cut its full-year profit forecast after the department store operator missed Wall Street estimates for quarterly same-store sales and profit, sending its shares down over 10% Tuesday morning.

Much like other U.S. retailers, Kohl’s has been bolstering its digital business to drive a turnaround as it fights to stay relevant at a time when shoppers increasingly prefer shopping online.

To get ahead of the game, Kohl’s has partnered up with Amazon.com and increased its focus on athletic apparel. Yet, Kohl’s missed same-store sales expectations in the reported quarter for the first time in two years.. . . more

Home Depot beats 1Q earnings expectations, misses on same-store sales

Yahoo Finance
Home Depot exceeded Wall Street’s estimates on the bottom-line in fiscal first-quarter results, but missed expectations for comparable same-store sales as unfavorable weather earlier this year dented demand for the retailer’s products.

Comparable same-store sales grew just 2.5% overall in the first quarter, versus the 4.3% expected. In the U.S., same-store sales rose 3%. The metric is closely watched by analysts and serves as a measure of efficiency for retail companies.. . . more

Monday, May 20, 2019

Dressbarn going out of business

Chain Store Age
It’s closing time for a 57-year-old women’s apparel chain.

Dressbarn announced it is winding down operations, including the eventual closing of its approximately 650 stores. The retailer, which is owned by Ann Taylor and Lane Bryant parent Ascena Retail Group, has retained A&G Realty Partners to assist on real estate-related matters.. . . more

Coresight: 12K stores could shutter in 2019

Retail Dive
Retailers in the U.S. have announced 6,378 store closures so far this year, over 500 more than all of 2018's closures, according to a new report from Coresight Research emailed to Retail Dive. Coresight estimates that as many as 12,000 stores could close by the end of the year.

Retail bankruptcies this year account for many of the store closings. The liquidation of Payless ShoeSource's entire fleet, including 2,100 stores this year, accounts for about a third of the announced closures as of May. The liquidation of Gymboree, Charlotte Russe and Shopko in bankruptcy add another 749, 500 and 371 stores respectively, according to Coresight data.. . . more

Kohl’s competes for hearts of online sports fans with Walmart, Amazon

Chain Store Age
Kohl’s is significantly expanding its online assortment of sports gear in a deal that will look familiar to Walmart.

The department store chain is entering an exclusive, long-term partnership with sports apparel and gear marketplace Fanatics to broaden its online fan gear assortment beginning in fall 2019. Kohl’s will add hundreds of thousands of items across team apparel, jerseys, and additional merchandise categories. . . . more

Empire Outlets reports 165,000 visitors in first four days

Chain Store Age
The numbers may have been swollen by all the New York politicians and officials that turned out for its opening day on May 15, but owners of New York City’s first outlet center were nevertheless excited to report a total of 165,000 visitors to Empire Outlets in its first four days.

“This incredible wave of visitors shows that Empire Outlets is already providing a truly unique and unforgettable shopping destination for New Yorkers and people from around the world,” enthused Joseph Ferrara, principal of BFC Partners, developer of the 340,000-sq.-ft. center near the Staten Island Ferry terminal.. . . more

Phillips Edison: Three top retail trends

Chain Store Age
Brands focused on health-and-wellness services are moving into the nation’s shopping centers.

That’s one of the insights found in an overview of the top retail shopping center trends of 2019 by Phillips Edison & Company (PECO), of the nation’s largest owners and operators of grocery-anchored shopping centers. PECO anticipates that 15% to 20% of the leases it executes in 2019 will be medical-related – a significant increase over previous years. The report was as part of the International Council of Shopping Centers’ annual RECon event in Las Vegas.. . . more

Sears' Seven Decades of Self-Destruction

Fortune
The kindest media attention Sears has attracted in years arrived in April, when the company announced it was opening three small stores. “The start of a new Sears era? The retailer announces openings, not closings,” read USA Today’s hopeful headline, which echoed others nationwide.

But viewed through a longer lens, the coverage was more pathetic than upbeat. This is what now passes for good news at the onetime colossus of global retailing: three stores, one of them in Alaska, each smaller than owner Eddie Lampert’s house, offering a somewhat puzzling product line consisting mostly of appliances and mattresses. . . . more

Amazon Bets on Kohl’s as Its Own Brick-and-Mortar Efforts Falter

Bloomberg
Amazon.com Inc. has launched many brick-and-mortar experiments in the past few years: bookstores, grocery pickup kiosks, cashierless convenience stores. Yet none of these have shown as much promise as the e-commerce giant’s unlikely partnership with Kohl’s Corp., the very definition of an old-school retailer.

Two years ago, Kohl’s agreed to let Amazon customers return packages at stores in Chicago and Los Angeles. Last month, the two companies announced the partnership would expand this summer to more than 1,150 stores. That followed a March announcement that Kohl’s would feature Amazon devices in 200 locations. . . . more

Trump tax reform typo creates costly headache for US retailers

Boston Business Journal
US retailers and restaurants say they are shelving hundreds of millions of dollars worth of refurbishment work, from lighting refits to paint jobs, because a mistake in the Trump tax reforms has pushed up the upfront costs.

An apparent typo in the tax law that was rushed through Congress has yet to be fixed 18 months after it was introduced. The changes were supposed to allow businesses to deduct the cost of such work from their tax bills the year it was carried out, but the error means they now need to wait 39 years for full tax relief on store renovations. . . . more

Market Basket named ‘standout’ grocery store by Consumer Reports

Boston Business Journal
A beloved Tewskbury-based supermarket chain has been named a standout by Consumer Reports for its low prices and reader satisfaction.

Market Basket was the only New England company, selected from a total of 96 national and regional chains, to make Consumer Reports’ list of 13 grocery stores with the best prices.. . . more

Friday, May 17, 2019

Lidl targets East Coast for 25 new stores

Supermarket News
In the wake of an acquisition planting itself firmly in metropolitan New York, Lidl US has unveiled an East Coast expansion strategy calling for 25 new stores.

The hard-discount supermarket chain said Friday that it plans to open the new stores in Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia by next spring. Including that expansion, the company expects to top the 100-store mark in the United States by the end of 2020, with locations in nine states.. . . more

Discount chain Fred's is closing 104 more stores

CNN Business
Discount chain Fred's is closing 104 more stores by the end of June.

The Memphis-based retailer said Thursday the closures are in addition to the 159 stores it said in April it was closing. Between the two waves of closures, Fred's is reducing its store count by nearly half.. . . more

Three ways next-day delivery is changing retail

Chain Store Age
Recent next-day delivery efforts by Amazon and Walmart are affecting the entire retail industry.

Shortly after Amazon announced it would work toward shifting standard Prime delivery time from two days to one day, Walmart began piloting free next-day shipping for more than 200,000 items. When two of the industry’s biggest titans both make the same move, it constitutes a paradigm shift. Next-day delivery is already starting to reshape retail in the following three ways: . . . more

Chico’s rejects buyout offer from Sycamore Partners

Chain Store Age
The board of Chico’s FAS has unanimously rejected an unsolicited buyout proposal from Sycamore Partners.

The struggling women’s apparel retailer received an offer from Sycamore Partners on May 10 to acquire the retailer for $3.50 per share in cash, about $407.8 million. On Thursday, May 16, Chico’s said that, following a review, it had determined that Sycamore’s proposal substantially undervalues the company and is not in the best interests of its shareholders.. . . more

Children's Place to close up to 45 stores in 2019, but also opening new stores

USA Today
The Children's Place is opening and closing stores in 2019.

As part of a multiyear plan to close 300 stores by 2020, the New Jersey-based retailer announced this week it plans on closing another 40 to 45 stores in 2019.

But at the same time, the company is looking to grow and fill the void left by former rival Gymboree. The Children's Place purchased the rights to the Gymboree and Crazy 8 brands for $76 million in March.. . . more

Away Is Using Its Latest Round of Funding to Progress Further Into a Bricks-and-Clicks Strategy

ADWEEK
With a fresh $100 million in the bank and a newly minted unicorn valuation of $1.4 billion, Away’s got a whole bag of ideas to cement its status as a brand.

Unsurprisingly, that includes further expanding its retail footprint to 50 stores over the next three years (the company currently has locations in seven cities). However, unlike traditional retailers, direct-to-consumer brands like Away can use retail as a means of expanding the brand experience, as opposed to just a selling channel, industry experts say.. . . more

Walmart’s battle with Amazon has new fronts: Digital ads and A.I.

CNBC
You might only know Walmart as a place to stop to pick up milk or paper towels, maybe a few other things, on your way home from work. But the biggest retailer in the world is doing a lot more than just selling groceries — likely a lot of things you don’t even realize.

CEO Doug McMillon says the company is on track to become more of a “digital enterprise.”. . . more

A Once-Dying Mall in Suburban Boston Sells for $85 Million

CoStar
A retail property that was on its last legs a few years ago has been scooped up by Deutsche Bank.

Through its Rreef real estate investment arm, the German bank paid $85.7 million for Meadow Glen, a 300,00-square-foot property at 3850 Mystic Valley Parkway in Medford, Massachusetts, about five miles north of Boston. The property, anchored now by upscale grocer Wegman’s, also sports a Dick’s Sporting Goods, Marshall’s and a Kohl’s. It had once been a drive-in movie theater before becoming home to Meadow Glen Mall in 1979. But the mall faltered in the late 1990s as it was unable to keep pace with new retail outlets in the area.. . . more

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Four ways food will change retail real estate

Chain Store Age
Americans remain hungry for even more food-and-beverage options, but the industry’s strong growth also brings challenges for restaurateurs, grocers, and their landlords who must monitor and adapt to ever-shifting demographics.

It’s easy to see why the food-and-beverage sector is a darling of the retail real estate industry these days. It has one of the lowest rates of e-commerce penetration of any major retail category. What’s more, it is gaining an increasingly larger share of consumer spending, rising to 24.3% of total retail sales in the past decade from 22.7% before the recession.. . . more

Snipes Acquires KicksUSA

SGB Media
European lifestyle retailer Snipes has acquired KicksUSA and will transition its brand, signage and operations to 62 existing KicksUSA stores along the East Coast.

“With this introduction, we bring the excitement, energy and enthusiasm that the Snipes brand carries from Europe directly to the East Coast,” said Sven Voth, CEO, founder and managing director for Snipes. “Our commitment to keeping trendsetters of all ages up to date with the latest streetwear and sneaker releases is truly our passion – and we are looking forward to extending our unique concept to US customers.”. . . more

What to Expect at RECon 2019

NREI
ICSC’s RECon conference—the “Super Bowl” of retail real estate—is just days away. Thousands of real estate developers, brokers, owners and retailers will soon descend upon Las Vegas for the huge networking and deal-making conference.

At this year’s show, held May 19 to 22, hot topics will include the leasing needs of emerging retailers, changing consumer preferences, how new generations could impact future business decisions, and the rise of mixed-use components and food and beverage concepts in shopping centers.. . . more

30 minutes with retail's top executives

Retail Dive
The retail landscape is in an ever-evolving state of flux as brick-and-mortar merchants grow e-commerce capabilities and online-only players learn how to get physical. Throw in the advancements in augmented reality, artificial intelligence and social media marketing, and the picture gets even more complex.

This series, where we talk to top executives about challenges, opportunities and strategies for success, is just one way Retail Dive is looking to shine some light on the forces — and thought leaders — that are shaking up the retail industry. So sit back and enjoy one (or more) of our deep, narrative dives. . . . more

Walmart beats on earnings, posts best Q1 comp sales in 9 years

Yahoo Finance
Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, reported better-than-expected earnings during the first quarter, driven by strength in its U.S. e-commerce business.

For the first quarter, Walmart delivered adjusted earnings per share of $1.13, surpassing Wall Street analysts’ expectations of $1.02. Revenue for the quarter came in at $123.9 billion, compared to estimates of $124.94 billion.The closely followed comp sales number came in at 3.4%, marking the best first quarter in 9 years, the retailer noted. The comp store sales number was in-line with expectations.. . . more

Kohl's considers purchase of Plano-based At Home

The Dallas Morning News
Kohl's may be kicking the tires of Plano-based At Home, according to Reuters, which quoted anonymous sources Wednesday and sent At Home's stock price up more than 8%.

The home furnishings superstore hasn't confirmed reports that started in April when Reuters first quoted sources saying the company was for sale because of its lackluster stock price. . . . more

Retail’s Top 10 Grocers

Progressive Grocer
Grocers have been accelerating their investments in technology, shopper insights and omnichannel selling over the last year, resulting in the industry creating some of the freshest consumer experiences available today. Retailers such as Walmart and Kroger have poured resources into things like online shopping services, home delivery, autonomous vehicles, and artificial intelligence.

To uncover which grocers are thriving in this new landscape, RIS’ sister publication Progressive Grocer has published its annual Top 50 Grocers report. The report ranked leading grocers across four critical categories that explored financial metrics, store count, employee count, and the power of their banners. . . . more

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Grocery Outlet Sees Opportunity for 4,800 Stores

Winsight Grocery Business
Grocery Outlet hopes to lure investors with a compelling story of reliable growth and profitability—and a very big opportunity for future expansion.

The Emeryville, Calif.-based extreme discounter said it sees the potential to more than double its current 316-store base in states in which it currently operates, and could quadruple its store base to 1,600 locations by expanding to surrounding states.

“Our goal is to expand our store base by approximately 10% annually by penetrating existing and contiguous regions,” the prospectus read. “Over the long term, we believe the market potential exists to establish 4,800 locations nationally.”. . . more

UBS: Tariffs could put $40B in sales and 12K stores at risk

Retail Dive
With half the year yet to complete, retailers have already shuttered a surprising number of stores in 2019. As of late March, U.S. retailers had announced 5,399 store closures and 2,396 store openings, compared to 5,726 closures and 3,243 openings for all of 2018, according to a report from Coresight Research. The company's most recent report records 6,196 store closures in the U.S. and 2,724 openings.

While the potential impact of tariffs has centered on retailers' struggles to amass their holiday inventory and how much they are willing or able to pass off the added cost to consumers, the impact on physical stores is getting missed, according to the UBS analyst team, who titled their report "The Tariff Risk the Market Isn't Thinking Enough About." . . . more

Guitar Center opens landmark store amid ongoing expansion

Chain Store Age
The nation’s largest music instrument retailer has opened its first store in Hawaii — and its 290th location overall.

Reflecting Guitar Center’s updates store format, the 19,000-sq.-ft. store is designed as a destination music store, with showrooms filled with guitars, drums, keys, live sound, a DJ and recording equipment. It also offers rentals, repairs and a contemporary music “lessons academy.”. . . more

U.S. Retail Sales Unexpectedly Fall Amid Weak Auto Purchases

Bloomberg
U.S. retail sales unexpectedly declined in April for the second time in three months, weighed down by soft sales of autos and building materials and suggesting consumer spending will remain subdued this quarter.

The value of overall sales declined 0.2% after a 1.7% increase the prior month that was the strongest gain since 2017, according to Commerce Department figures released Wednesday. That compared with the median forecast in Bloomberg’s survey calling for a 0.2% rise.. . . more

Burger King Parent Defends Strategy as Growth Cools

The Wall Street Journal
Burger King parent Restaurant Brands International Inc. is under pressure from investors to show it has a plan to boost sales at its restaurant chains.

The company, which is backed by 3G Capital and also owns Tim Hortons and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, boosted profit over several years by cutting costs and expanding into new markets.

Now, Burger King and Popeyes have lost some momentum. Burger King is closing underperforming restaurants as same-store sales growth has cooled. Popeyes has posted falling or flat same-store sales in the past three quarters.. . . more

Whole Foods still has highest prices among grocers despite April cuts, says Bank of America

CNBC
Whole Foods still has the highest overall prices among U.S. food retailers, despite the widely publicized discounts the Amazon-owned grocer made in April.

Walmart continues to have lowest overall prices, momentum that will likely be unscathed by Whole Foods’ price cuts, Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts wrote in a Tuesday report. . . . more

Macy's Smashes Q1 Earnings, Same Store Sales Estimates; Confirms 2019 Guidance

TheStreet.com
Macy's Inc. posted stronger-than-expected first quarter earnings Wednesday, and reaffirmed its full-year guidance, as the struggling retailer notched a surprise uptick in same-store sales growth and saw solid gains from its push to online revenues.

Macy's said earnings for the three months ending in March came in at 44 cents per share, down 8.3% from the same period last year but 11 cents ahead of the Street consensus forecast. Group revenues, Macy's said, slipped to $5.504 billion and were just shy of analysts' estimates, but same-store sales rose 0.7% thanks in part to the group's Growth50 turnaround strategy.. . . more

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Taking a look inside Amazon Go’s first NYC store

Supermarket News
The first Amazon Go store in New York City opened its doors last week in downtown Manhattan. Situated in the busy Brookfield Place mall, the 1,300-square-foot store caters to shoppers, nearby workers and tourists seeking a quick meal, snack or drink — and keeps the traffic moving smoothly in and out through its cashierless “Just Walk Out” technology. . . . more

Bed Bath & Beyond’s Woes Extend Beyond Its CEO

NREI
Finally, Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. has acknowledged what has been obvious from the outside for a while: Its longtime CEO isn’t the right person to revive the deeply troubled home-goods chain.

The company announced Monday that Steven Temares, who had held the top job since 2003, has departed that role. Mary Winston, a new board member who previously served as CFO of Family Dollar, has been appointed interim CEO. The leadership shuffle comes after a coalition of activist investors called for sweeping changes at the big-box retailer. . . . more

Fed’s Interest Rate Position Could Help CRE Sales Volume

NREI
The current Goldilocks economy—not too hot and not too cold—is helping to keep the bears from emerging in the commercial real estate sector. In a move aimed at holding on to that warmish balance, the Fed confirmed during its May 1 meeting that it would not change rates. That move is expected to fuel another strong year of transaction activity. At the same time, it is stirring speculation about what action the Fed might take in the fourth quarter.

The Fed has become more dovish on rates, essentially changing its policy from one where it was likely to raise rates two or three times in 2019 to a more neutral position, and capital markets have gained confidence from that shift. . . . more

Walmart takes on Amazon in next-day delivery contest

Chain Store Age
Walmart is piloting its own next-day delivery service — but with a competitive twist.

The discount titan is expanding its existing same-day grocery pickup and delivery service by launching free next-day delivery for purchases of $35 or more across a range of general merchandise from Walmart.com. Unlike Amazon’s planned rollout of standard next-day shipping for all Prime purchases, however, Walmart’s one-day online delivery option does not require a membership fee.. . . more

Survey: Retailer struggle to keep up with industry evolution

Chain Store Age
Only 3% of retailers believe their current model will remain sustainable in the next five years.

That’s according to a new report from OC&C Strategy Consultants and eShop World, released at this year’s World Retail Congress, which found that 76% of retailers believe their model must change for them to remain relevant.. . . more

Behind the Turnaround at Children’s Place

The Wall Street Journal
Children’s Place Inc. has consolidated its position as the leading specialty chain for children’s clothing—a long way from where the company stood when Jane Elfers took over as CEO in 2010.

In March, it agreed to acquire the assets and intellectual property of rival chains Gymboree and Crazy 8, both owned by Gymboree Group Inc., which liquidated the stores after a second foray into bankruptcy protection earlier this year.. . . more

Union representing Macy’s workers votes to authorize strike

Boston Business Journal
A strike is looming at Macy’s stores in parts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

After four months of contract negotiations, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1445 voted Sunday to authorize a strike if necessary. The union represents more than 1,000 Macy’s employees in Boston, Braintree, Natick, Peabody and Warwick, Rhode Island.. . . more

Monday, May 13, 2019

Is it lights out for Lord & Taylor?

Retail Dive
A year after rumors surfaced that HBC was looking into selling Lord & Taylor, the company made it official, saying last week that a sale is among the strategic options it’s now pursuing for its small, struggling department store banner.

It’s easy to find the rationale: Comps at DSG, (the HBC business that comprises Lord & Taylor​ plus the Canadian Hudson's Bay department store chain and now-shuttered Home Outfitters) fell 5.2%, in the company’s most recent quarter. Specifically, Lord & Taylor sales continued to decline year-over-year, the company also said last month. . . . more

Chico's Weighs Buyout While Trying to Move Beyond the Mall

NREI
Malaise in the shopping mall is certainly no secret, with thousands of stores shutting and some familiar names disappearing. Struggling women’s apparel merchant Chico’s FAS Inc. now has a potential lifeline -- which it may throw back.

The retailer said Friday it would review an unsolicited buyout bid from Sycamore Partners, the owner of office supply giant Staples Inc. and department-store chain Belk, noting that it had previously rejected a higher offer from the private equity company.. . . more

Best Buy extends reach into booming health care market with GreatCall

StarTribune
The acquisition of GreatCall, the largest in Best Buy’s history, launched the nation’s No. 1 consumer electronics retailer deeper into the health care marketplace, where it has been dabbling with its own products and services in recent years.

In one fell swoop, Best Buy gained access to about 1 million GreatCall customers, along with an experienced call center operation and a diverse portfolio of devices tailored to older adults — including simple flip phones with large buttons and extra bright screens, wearable alert devices and a line of sensors for high-risk seniors that monitor daily activities at home. . . . more

Bed Bath & Beyond long-time CEO steps down following investor pressure

Reuters
Bed Bath & Beyond Inc.'s long-time Chief Executive Officer Steven Temares stepped down on Monday, following pressure from a group of activist investors that had been pushing for his ouster and a shakeup of the furnishing retailer's board.

The group, comprising Legion Partners Asset Management LLC, Macellum Advisors GP LLC and Ancora Advisors LLC, had piled pressure on the company since March, citing the company's inability to grow sales and margins.. . . more

Amazon offers incentives to employees to start their own delivery business

Chain Store Age
As the race to deliver online goods heats up, Amazon is encouraging its employees to quit and launch their own businesses delivering goods for the online giant — and it’s even providing some funding.

Amazon on Monday announced it is launching a new incentive for current Amazon employees to start a small business owning and operating a package delivery company. The retailer said it will fund the startup costs, up to $10,000, for employees who are accepted into the program and leave their jobs. . . . more

Big changes coming in downtown Andover

The Eagle-Tribune
As construction cranes rise over downtown and tarped-over scaffolding masks Main Street buildings, it would appear that Andover is in the throes of some sort of a business renaissance.

With at least a half-dozen projects or moves underway, the town is also contributing to the growth by reconfiguring its parking plan, a move that was recently endorsed by a vote at annual Town Meeting.. . . more

Petco opens its first-ever ‘pet food kitchen’ — with more to come

Chain Store Age
Petco is tapping into a fast-growing segment of the $32.7 billion pet food and treats market: human-grade food.

The retailer has opened an upscale “pet food kitchen” at its recently remodeled flagship in Manhattan’s Union Square neighborhood where shoppers can purchase fresh, human-grade meals for their pets. . . . more