Thursday, February 20, 2020

7-Eleven owner in talks for Marathon's Speedway gas stations, sources say

Japan Times
Seven & I Holdings Co., which controls convenience store operator 7-Eleven, is in exclusive talks to acquire Marathon Petroleum Corp.’s Speedway gas stations for about $22 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

The 7-Eleven owner is lining up financing for the potential transaction, which could be announced as soon as next week, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the deliberations were private.. . . more

How Long Can Off-Price Retailers Continue to Outperform?

NREI
The U.S. off-price retail sector remains a bright spot in the turbulent retail environment plagued with bankruptcies and store closings.

Off-price chains continue to buck the trend that’s negatively impacting many flailing bricks-and-mortar retailers. They boast rising same-store sales and growing physical footprints, and many are even looking to grow online. While department stores are suffering from waning foot traffic and reduced store counts, off-price retail is thriving.. . . more

Forever 21 snapped up by mall owners, Authentic Brands

Chain Store Age
The sale of the bankrupt fast-fashion retailer to brand management and licensing firm Authentic Brands Group, Simon Property Group and Brookfield Property Partners has been finalized. Under the terms of the deal, ABG and Simon will each own 37.5% and Brookfield will own 25% of Forever 21’s intellectual property and operating businesses.

The new owners will maintain Forever 21’s headquarters in Los Angeles, as well as its e-commerce business. According to a report by Bloomberg, the owners also plan to keep most of the chain’s 448 U.S. stores open under the leadership of a new CEO that will be announced when the company emerges from Chapter 11. . . . more

Carhartt opens third retail store in Boston area

Boston Business Journal
Workwear brand Carhartt Inc. is opening its third store in the Boston area inside a former gas station and auto repair shop.

The store, spanning 5,000 square feet, is located at 1170 Mass. Ave. in Dorchester, near the South Bay shopping plaza.

The company said the store incorporates elements of its past as a repair shop, with a garage door and tin accents.. . . more

New office, retail building pitched for 'last developable parcel' on Newbury Street

Boston Business Journal
L3 Capital LLC, a real estate investment firm with offices in Chicago and New York, has pitched a five-story office and retail building at the corner of Newbury and Dartmouth streets in Boston, a surface parking lot that’s billed as the last developable parcel of land on the famed Back Bay street.

Boston-based CBT Architects designed the building at 149-155 Newbury St., which was formerly home to the Hotel Aubry apartments. L3 this summer paid $40 million for the 14,504-square-foot lot.

The building — which would be called The Aubry — has been designed to house one to two levels of retail topped by office space. . . . more

A diminished Victoria's Secret is sold

Yahoo Finance
Victoria's Secret, beset by falling sales and uncomfortable questions about its billionaire founder who has run the company for five decades, is being sold.

The company's owner, L Brands, said that the private-equity firm Sycamore Brands will buy 55% of Victoria's Secret for about $525 million. The Columbus, Ohio company will keep the remaining 45% stake. . . . more

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

US ecommerce sales grow 14.9% in 2019

Digital Commerce
Consumers spent $601.75 billion online with U.S. merchants in 2019, up 14.9% from $523.64 billion the prior year, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce quarterly ecommerce figures released Wednesday. That was a higher growth rate than 2018, when online sales reported by the Commerce Department rose 13.6% year over year.

Online’s share of total retail sales has steadily been on the rise—with ecommerce penetration hitting 16.0% in 2019, according to a Digital Commerce (formerly Internet Retailer) analysis of the Commerce Department’s year-end retail data. That was up from 14.4% in 2018 and 13.2% in 2017. The growth in penetration was the biggest annual percentage point jump at least since 2000, the first full year the department began tracking ecommerce spending.. . . more

Did Simon Property Group Just Rewrite Retail’s Script?

Globe St.
Earlier this month Simon Property Group rocked the retail community not only with its announcement that it had bid $3.6 billion for a stake in Taubman Centers, but also that the price it was paying was a 51% premium, according to Morningstar (per Bloomberg). This price spoke volumes about the value these assets have for Simon as well as the industry as a whole, according to analyst Kevin Brown, as it suggests that class A mall REITs in general are undervalued.

Essentially, this analysis rewrites retail’s script of the last several years in which the asset class has been mainly playing defense, and not always successfully.. . . more

Macy's downgraded as 'Polaris' turnaround begins

Retail Dive
S&P Global on Tuesday downgraded Macy's long-term credit rating to BB+ from BBB- and its short-term rating to B from A-3, according to an emailed press release.

These downgrades signal the pressure that Macy's is under to find new life amid the ruins of a department store sector that for decades now has seen its market share dwindle and its customers flee.. . . more

U.K. retailer Wren Kitchens to open U.S. stores

Chain Store Age
A company that describes itself as the U.K.’s fastest-growing bricks-and-mortar retailer is expanding to the U.S. market.

Founded in 2009, Wren Kitchens has 90 showrooms across the U.K., and will make its U.S. debut this summer, opening a location in Milford, Conn., on the site of a former Babies “R” Us site. Several more openings are planned throughout the year in the Northeast. . . . more

Retailers try clothing rental, but will it be a good fit?

Southeast Missourian
Renting clothes could be the future of fashion -- or it could just be a fad.

But traditional retailers can no longer afford to wait on the sidelines to find out. That's why a growing number are now offering customers the option to rent clothes for a monthly fee instead of buying them. Bloomingdale's, Banana Republic and Urban Outfitters are the latest to offer the services. Even footwear chain Designer Brands says it's considering launching a rental service for shoes.

Now a booming $1 billion business, the clothing rental sector is expected to reach $2.5 billion by 2023, according to research firm GlobalData. When combined with resale, it will account for 13% of the total $360 billion U.S. clothing market within the decade, up from 7.3% today. . . . more

Bed Bath & Beyond Boss Tries to Declutter Stores

The Wall Street Journal
Bed Bath & Beyond Inc.’s new chief executive, Mark Tritton, laid out his vision for remaking the troubled retailer. Decluttering stores is high on his list.

The former Target Corp. executive has spent the first 100 days on the job thinking about how many different types of can openers the retailer should stock. After the chain cut the number of options from more than a dozen to about three, sales rose. . . . more

Walmart’s grocery business is winning over more affluent shoppers

CNBC
Walmart is reeling in higher-income customers — including some who are new to the retailer — with its online grocery business, company executives told investors Tuesday at an event in New York.

As its online grocery business grows, the company is seeing pricier items like choice cuts of meat and organic fruits and vegetables in customers’ virtual baskets, said John Furner, president and chief executive officer of Walmart U.S.. . . more

Pier 1, already closing stores in Mass., files for bankruptcy

Boston Business Journal
Pier 1 Imports, which was already in the process of closing hundreds of stores nationwide, including nine across Massachusetts, on Monday became the latest U.S. retailer to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Fort Worth, Texas-based Pier 1 said in a statement that it intends to put itself up for sale as part of the bankruptcy process and that it already has the approval of its lenders to do so. The move comes just weeks after Pier 1 said it would close half of its U.S. stores.

Nine Massachusetts locations will close, including the previously announced closure of the Holyoke location, according to Pier 1′s Facebook page.. . . more

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Macy’s Herald Square Skyscraper Project Faces Tough Road Ahead

NREI
Macy’s Inc. faces a difficult road as it dives into New York City real estate development.

The struggling retailer, trying to generate cash off prime real estate in midtown Manhattan, recently unveiled plans for a 1.5 million-square-foot building atop its iconic store in Manhattan’s Herald Square. But the proposed office tower requires zoning changes that have to be approved by the city, a potentially thorny political process that can delay, or even quash, the project.. . . more

At Home Group continues store expansion

Chain Store Age
At Home Group Inc. is keeping itself busy in February.

The home décor superstore is celebrating the opening of six stores this month, growing its national footprint to 218 locations across 39 states by the end of February. 

At Home sells more than 50,000 home décor items for every room, including furniture, rugs, wall art and housewares to tabletop, patio and holiday décor. Stores average just over 100,000 sq. ft. . . . more

Bed Bath & Beyond in deal to sell one of its businesses

Chain Store Age
Bed Bath & Beyond has begun to shed non-core assets as part of its turnaround efforts.

The struggling home good has entered into definitive agreement to sell its PersonalizationMall.com business to 1-800-Flowers.com for $252 million. Following the closing of the transaction, PersonalizationMall.com will continue to provide product and personalization services to Bed Bath & Beyond and buybuy Baby.. . . more

Walmart Q4 comes up short — and so does outlook

Chain Store Age
Walmart Inc. reported disappointing holiday results as a shorter shopping season and weak demand for toys, video games and apparel cut into its results.

The retail giant on Tuesday reported fourth-quarter sales and earnings that missed Street expectations along with a 2021 earnings outlook that was also less than expected. In a statement, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said that U.S. store sales leading up to Christmas were a “little softer” than expected. . . . more

Retail sales edge up in January; clothing sales take a hit

Chain Store Age
Retail sales in January inched up 0.2% seasonally adjusted over December and were up 2.7% unadjusted year-over-year, according to the National Retail Federation. (The NRF numbers exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants.)

Looking at key retail sectors, sales at clothing and clothing accessory stores fell 3.1% in January (and 0.7% year-over-year), the biggest decline since March 2009. Electronics and appliance store sales were down 0.5% in January and 2.9% year-over-year. . . . more

Market by Macy’s Concept Could Benefit Retail REITs That Specialize in Lifestyle Centers

NREI
The drumbeat of store closures continues, with well over 1,000 already on the books this year. No doubt, these shutdowns will harm landlords, including retail REITs.

But although it wouldn’t make up for the loss of hundreds of larger stores, Macy Inc.’s new smaller-store concept stands to benefit retail REITs and other landlords that own robust portfolios of lifestyle centers—centers that one retail expert says “are picking up where traditional malls left off.”. . . more

Ailing Pier 1 Imports declares bankruptcy

CBS News
Pier 1 Imports declared bankruptcy on Monday in a move aimed at facilitating a sale of the struggling home furnishings company.

The publicly listed retailer is in talks with multiple potential buyers, the company said in a statement that did not disclose possible buyers. It also reiterated a previously announced plan to cut about 40% of headquarters staff and close as many as 450 stores, or about half of the chain's locations. . . . more

Friday, February 14, 2020

Consumer spending rose modestly in January as clothing store sales fell by the most since 2009

CNBC
U.S. consumer spending appears to have slowed further in January, with sales at clothing stores declining by the most since 2009, which could raise concerns about the economy’s ability to continue expanding at a moderate pace.

The Commerce Department said on Friday retail sales excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services were unchanged last month. Data for December was revised down to show the so-called core retail sales rising 0.2% instead of jumping 0.5% as previously reported. . . . more

Wayfair lays off 550 employees

Retail Dive
Wayfair confirmed to Retail Dive it has laid off about 550 employees. The company said it employs more than 17,000 workers globally.

Of the 550 employees impacted, 350 are based in Boston, where the e-commerce retailer is headquartered, the company confirmed. . . . more

Real Estate Fund Redemptions Surge on Alarm Over Malls

NREI
Real-estate funds in the U.S. and Europe are struggling to meet a surge in investor requests to get their cash back, a sign of mounting concerns about the viability of retail properties in the e-commerce era.

The latest to come under duress: UBS Group AG’s flagship real estate fund, which has raised about $25 billion and owns malls across the U.S. Investors are waiting to withdraw about $7 billion from the bank’s Trumbull Property Fund after it underperformed for an extended period, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because the details are private. . . . more

A First Peek Inside Amazon’s New Grocery Store Concept in Los Angeles

NREI
The $800 billion grocery industry is keeping a sharp eye on a strip mall in the Woodland Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles. There, sandwiched between a nail salon and a bank branch, Amazon.com Inc. is working on the first in a new chain of grocery stores set to open this year.

The company has kept construction inside the store firmly under wraps, and, until now, no one has peeked in on Amazon’s latest plan to upend how food is sold. Based on never-before-seen photos of the facility at 6245 Topanga Canyon Blvd., as well as planning documents filed with the city, the store looks remarkably conventional—with a few Amazon-style flourishes. . . . more

Target ad stops little boy and his wheelchair in their tracks

Good Morning America
It was just another Target run, until something that caught little Oliver Garza-Pena's eye made him stop his wheelchair in its tracks.

His mother, Demi Garza Pena, told "Good Morning America" she "could not break" her son's gaze from an advertisement in the boy's clothing section. Oliver will be two next month.. . . more

Home Depot and Lowe's are gearing up to hire 133,000 employees for the springtime rush

Business Insider
Home Depot and Lowe's are set to hand out thousands of orange aprons and red vests to new seasonal, part-time, and full-time workers this spring. Both home improvement giants are in the process of hiring thousands of employees as the sector dives into its busiest season.

Home Depot said in a statement on Tuesday that it planned to take on 80,000 new employees for spring. Lowe's said at the beginning of January that it was looking to to hire 53,000 workers to help out with the rush. . . . more

Never Mind the Internet. Here’s What’s Killing Malls.

The New York Times
Despite a strong consumer economy, physical retailers closed more than 9,000 stores in 2019 — more than the total in 2018, which surpassed the record of 2017. Already this year, retailers have announced more than 1,200 more intended closings, including 125 Macy’s stores.

Some people call what has happened to the shopping landscape “the retail apocalypse.” It is easy to chalk it up to the rise of e-commerce, which has thrived while physical stores struggle. And there is no denying that Amazon and other online retailers have changed consumer behavior radically or that big retailers like Walmart and Target have tried to beef up their own online presence.

But this can be overstated.. . . more

Thursday, February 13, 2020

E-commerce helps Ahold Delhaize to strong fiscal-year finish

Supermarket News
Dutch retail giant Ahold Delhaize cited e-commerce as a catalyst, especially in the United States, in reporting solid sales gains for the 2019 fourth-quarter and fiscal year.

Also on Wednesday, Chairman and CEO Frans Muller told analysts that the global food retailer is seeing results from store upgrades and omnichannel investment in the U.S., including remodels at Stop & Shop and Food Lion and the ongoing rollout of online grocery pickup sites.. . . more

Breaking Down Simon’s Bet on Taubman

NREI
Last week rumors emerged that retail real estate giant Simon Property Group was contemplating acquiring Taubman Centers. On Monday, those rumors came to fruition when the Indianapolis-based REIT announced it had reached an agreement to acquire the Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based company in a deal valued roughly $3.6 billion.

It marked an unexpected climax for two companies that have deep roots in the American mall industry. . . . more

Rodd & Gunn in store expansion mode

Chain Store Age
Rodd & Gunn has its sights set on expanding in the U.S.

The New Zealand-based menswear brand is on target to have 10 U.S. storefronts by year's end. Upcoming locations include the newly expanded Westfield Valley Fair in Santa Clara, Calif., in March, followed by Broadway Plaza in Walnut Creek, Calif., in July,

The additional Northern California locations will bring Rodd & Gunn’s total U.S. roster to 10 stores, following openings in key locations across the nation, including Newport Beach, Calif.; Los Angeles; San Diego; Brooklyn, N.Y.; Greenwich, Conn.; Dallas and Bellevue, Wash.. . . more

Stage Stores reportedly eyeing bankruptcy

Chain Store Age
Stage Stores’ transformation into an off-price retailer has hit some snags.

The retailer is preparing for a financial restructuring that could include a bankruptcy filing, reported The Wall Street Journal. According to the report, Stage Stores has been late in paying its vendors amid a cash crunch.. . . more

Kohl’s in corporate restructuring

Chain Store Age
Kohl’s Corp. is eliminating around 250 positions as part of a restructuring that Kohl’s said “will empower decision-making, reduce management layers, streamline communications and drive greater efficiency in many areas of our business.”

"The departures include removing a layer of regional store leadership roles and positions, restructuring teams in our merchant organization, and changes to other positions in our corporate offices," statement Jen Johnson, Kohl's senior VP of communications. . . . more

Curry Up Now Continues Rapid Expansion

RestaurantNews.com
Curry Up Now, the nation’s largest and fastest growing Indian fast casual concept that’s popularly known for its innovative approach to Indian cuisine, is celebrating the Grand Opening of its highly-anticipated Sacramento location at on Friday, February 21.

With the new outpost, Curry Up Now operates 11 restaurants across the country, with more than 40 in varying stages of development in nearly every major region in the United States.Curry Up Now aims to have at least 20 units in operation by the end of 2020, with upcoming openings slated for Utah, New Jersey, Atlanta, and San Diego. . . . more

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Modell's works with vendors, landlords to avoid bankruptcy

Retail Dive
Modell's Sporting Goods has again turned to strategic advisory firm Berkeley Research Group and law firm Cole Schotz for restructuring advice after a rough several months, CEO Mitchell Modell told Retail Dive, confirming a Tuesday Debtwire report. However, he also said that a bankruptcy filing is off the table for now.

The Northeast sporting goods retailer closed nine stores just this year and is considering other closures as leases expire, he also said.. . . more

Bed Bath & Beyond CEO says turnaround will ‘take time’

The Street
Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. shares plunged to a four-month low Wednesday after it said holiday sales slumped and profit margins narrowed as new CEO Mark Tritton attempts to revive the struggling home furnishings retailer.

Bed Bath & Beyond said comparable sales for the first two months of its fiscal fourth quarter, which ends in February, fell 5.4% from last year, which Tritton put down to a lack of inventory in key categories. Gross margins narrowed by around 3%, the company added in an ad-hoc update after the close of trading Tuesday, thanks in part to promotional sales designed to win back market share from rivals. . . . more

CVS Health beats on fourth-quarter earnings and revenue

CNBC
CVS Health on Wednesday reported fourth-quarter earnings and revenue that beat Wall Street’s expectations, boosted by higher sales in its pharmacy benefit management business.

Same-store sales rose 3.2% during the quarter, with sales in its pharmacy unit up 4.1%, CVS reported. The company’s pharmacy unit reported revenue of $37 billion during the three months ended Dec. 31. That compares with $34 billion last year. It’s retail segment, which includes general merchandise and prescription refills, reported revenue of $22.5 billion, slightly above what it made last year.. . . more

New Galleria at Crystal Run: Trampolines, hotel, upscale restaurants and pumping iron

Poughkeepsie Journal
Pyramid Management Group’s goal these days. The Syracuse company wants to transform the Galleria into more than a mall, so it can survive and thrive in a time when hundreds of malls and tens of thousands of stores have closed since the Great Recession 12 years ago.

Pyramid wants to turn the Galleria into no less than a massive main street — the municipal center the Town of Wallkill has always lacked, with restaurants, entertainment, a hotel and even a residential real estate development.. . . more

Retail landlords go shopping for bankrupt chains

Boston Business Journal
Property executives are unlikely stewards of youthful clothing brands. But Forever 21 is to be subsumed by two of its largest landlords after retail specialists balked at the prospect of reviving the fortunes of the distressed fast-fashion company.

A Delaware bankruptcy judge this week gave the go-ahead to a rescue bid from Simon Property Group and Brookfield Property Partners, a highly unconventional transaction that shows how turmoil in retail is upending long-standing business practices.. . . more

Under Armour warns of big sales hit from coronavirus; may not open NYC flagship

Chain Store Age
Under Armour swung to a loss in its fourth quarter and warned that it expects first-quarter sales declines of $50 million to $60 million, mostly due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak in China.

Amid signs that its turnaround plan has hit challenges, the athletic apparel and gear company said it is considering undertaking a restructuring plan to improve profitability. Among other things, the plan could entail not opening Under Armour’s long-anticipated flagship on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.. . . more

Simon & Taubman: New-age pressures force marriage of old rivals

Chain Store Age
Simon’s 2003 attempt to take over Taubman Centers, a failed bid that set the big mall owners at odds ever since, has culminated in a merger forced by conditions of the times.

“Last year we predicted that we were going to be seeing consolidation among REITs in the mall space. They’ve lost a lot of leverage with retailers. Retailers gained the upper hand, closing stores and driving rents down. So mall owners are forced to consolidate to add more growth,” said Greg Maloney, president and CEO of JLL Retail.. . . more

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Burlington continues to attract new restaurants

Wicked Local
Fogo de Chao Currascaria, a Brazilian steakhouse chain, will be coming to the Burlington Mall next fall, it was announced this week, joining the ever-growing slate of restaurants flocking to Burlington.

Also new to Middlesex Turnpike, the Yard House chain held a ribbon cutting for its new establishment across from the mall last week.

The Burlington Mall recently announced Shake Shack will also join the lower level Primark wing and Karma restaurant next to Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana this spring. Lands’ End will also be relocating to the lower level Primark wing next to a new Milton’s men’s store, which will open a 12,200 square foot store next fall. . . more

Malls Need A Survival Strategy Now That Macy’s Announced It Is Moving Out

Forbes
The fate of many of the nation’s malls hangs in the balance after Macy’s just announced it will close 125 of its stores over the next three years, most of them Macy’s. The move will leave Macy’s with only about 400 stores remaining after shrinking from a high of 773 stores in 2014.

To add insult to injury, Sephora just announced it would open 100 new stores, but most of those will be outside traditional malls where they have been an important in-line tenant.. . . more

The retail apocalypse has led to stores shrinking, adding more features

Business Insider
As department stores and big-box brands fall out of vogue, smaller concept stores are paving the way for the future of retail.

In recent months, department stores like JCPenney and Macy's have abandoned the mall by debuting standalone, small-format stores designed to experiment with new retail strategies and ramp up foot traffic. Likewise, Sephora announced in early February it plans to open 100 smaller-format stores in cities like Nashville and San Jose. Those stores will be positioned closer to neighborhoods rather than embedded in malls, as part of a push toward localizing retail. . . . more

No other bidders step up as Forever 21 nears sale

Retail Dive
Forever 21 said it would suspend an auction for its business scheduled for Monday, as it hasn't received any qualified bids beyond its stalking horse. The retailer previously set a bid deadline of Feb. 7.

Without an auction, the retailer said it planned to go forward with a hearing scheduled for Feb. 11 to approve its stalking horse bid, an $81 million offer assembled by Authentic Brands group and major Forever 21 landlords Simon Property and Brookfield.. . . more

Retail Investors Fuel a Surge in Non-Traded REIT Fundraising

NREI
After weathering a rocky patch that sent many investors to the sidelines, non-traded REITs appear to be back on track with steady gains in capital flowing into the sector.

Non-traded REITs raised $11.8 billion in 2019, which is the highest fundraising total since 2014, according to industry data from Robert A. Stanger & Co. Inc. The firm is predicting another strong year of fundraising ahead with a further 27 percent jump to $15 billion for 2020.. . . more

Why Shopping Centers Need Branding

Globe St
Branding a shopping center can be an important element of success. As the retail market continues to focus on experience, creating a brand and brand characteristics can create value for stakeholders and attract new consumers. It is a way to stand out in an increasingly competitive retail market.

“A brand is much more than just a logo. The branding process is intentional and can be broken down into a few phases; strategy and positioning, placemaking, design, and execution,” Matt Dean, creative director at Beta, tells GlobeSt.com. “Each one of these components is a necessary element in creating a project that has a thoughtful and consistent brand.”. . . more

Macy’s plan to build billion-dollar private label brands faces tough odds

Fortune
Macy's wants to take more of its fate into its own hands.

One of the key components of the comeback plan the struggling department store company unveiled to Wall Street last week is its ambition to turn four of its long established in-house fashion brands—I.N.C. International Concepts, Alfani, Style & Co, and Charter Club—into billion-dollar names.. . . more

IKEA new CEO targets 'even more affordable' furniture as habits shift

Reuters
IKEA named insider Jon Abrahamsson Ring to succeed Torbjorn Loof as chief executive of the world’s biggest furniture brand on Tuesday as it adapts to seismic shifts in shopping.

“I think we could broaden the product range a bit in our lower price range,” Abrahamsson Ring said, adding that new materials, production techniques and distribution methods would help make IKEA “even more affordable”.. . . more

Monday, February 10, 2020

Costco strong in January

Chain Store Age
Costco Wholesale Corp. came strong out of the gate in the first month of the year.

The membership warehouse club retailer reported net sales of $11.57 billion for the four weeks ended February 2, 2020, up 8% from $10.71 billion in the year-ago period. Total same-store sales (excluding the impact of gasoline and foreign exchange) rose 5.3%, with a 5.6% increase in the U.S. E-commerce comparable sales surged 17.2%. . . . more

Dont be fooled by declining C-store numbers

Retail Leader
The number of convenience stores contracted last year, but in doing so became a bigger competitive challenge to other retail channels, as the total figure doesn’t tell the whole story.

The number of convenience stores declined slightly, according to the 2020 NACS/Nielsen Convenience Industry Store Count, with the number of single store operators accounting for the dip. There are now 152,720 convenience stores operating in the U.S. and 121,988 of them sell fuel. . . . more

Macy's new North Star

Retail Dive
Macy's has set a new course toward survival in a turnaround strategy dubbed "Polaris" that plays on its longstanding star logo. The new course is a little like the old course, a 2017 turnaround strategy named "North Star," but it's decidedly Earthbound.​ Ancient Phoenician and Greek travelers were among the first to use the stars in the sky to navigate; Macy's appears to be using the stars on Wall Street.

In a press release and investors day presentation this week, the department store outlined a complicated new brick-and-mortar scheme, massive supply chain overhaul, e-commerce and loyalty upgrades, and merchandising strategy, all the while emphasizing cost restructuring designed to return the company to profitable growth.. . . more

How chain stores are rightsizing New York City retail

Retail Dive
An analysis of stores in New York City last year revealed that the number of national chain stores operating in the retail destination had dropped a notable amount. That the entire retail industry is in flux is not a secret, but the drop in one of the countries top retail destinations sparks a larger question: Is the decline of national retail brands in New York City a regional problem, or endemic of a larger retail shift?

In 2019, the number of national chain stores in New York City dropped by 304 locations, representing a 3.7% decrease over the previous year, and the biggest drop in more than 10 years, according to a report published in December by the Center for an Urban Future, a think tank that focuses on economic issues that affect the city. . . . more

Sears and Kmart store closings continue. Is your location closing in early 2020?

USA Today
More Sears and Kmart stores are set to close in the next couple of months.

The going-out-of-business liquidation sales at 51 Sears and 45 Kmart stores – first announced in November by parent company Transformco – are expected to wrap up by mid-February, company spokesman Larry Costello confirmed Jan. 31. . . . more

Which Are the Most Desired Quick Service Restaurants in the Net Lease Sector?

NREI
New construction properties occupied by Burger King, Popeyes, Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks saw the highest transaction volumes in the first half of 2019, The Boulder Group reported.

QSRs reported the highest number of posted transactions in the net lease sector in the third quarter of 2019 at 150 deals, up from 85 the previous quarter, according to Calkain Cos.’ Third Quarter 2019 Cap Rate Report. While the number of properties sold nearly doubled quarter to quarter, Calkain reported that the average cap rate moved by just 40 basis points to 5.57 percent in the QSR sector.. . . more

Victoria’s Secret reportedly close to being sold to Sycamore Partners

Chain Store Age
Victoria’s Secret may be going private.

L Brands, parent company of Victoria’s Secret and Bed, Bath & Body Works, is close to a deal to selling the troubled lingerie brand to private equity firm Sycamore Partners, reported CNBC. The deal could be announced this week, the report said. . . . more

Simon to buy Taubman Centers in all-cash mega-deal

Chain Store Age
The nation’s largest mall operator is getting bigger.

Simon Property Group Inc. has entered into an agreement to acquire Taubman Centers in a deal valued at approximately $3.6 billion. Simon will acquire all of Taubman’s common stock for $52.50 a share in cash (a 51% premium to Taubman closing price on Friday, Feb.7). The Taubman family, which is selling approximately one-third of its ownership interest, will retain a 20% stake in Taubman Realty Group.. . . more

Friday, February 7, 2020

The toy category still hasn't recovered from the death of Toys R Us

Retail Dive
Going into the holiday season, Target grabbed headlines as it tried to solidify its position as one of the heirs to Toys R Us' lost empire.

The retailer forged a partnership first with Disney to open 25 in-store shops featuring toys from the iconic entertainment company that included one hundred products that could otherwise be found only inside Disney's own stores. . . . more

Macy's revamps private label to reach millennials

Retail Dive
At its Investors Day on Wednesday, Macy's revealed that key to its new "Polaris" turnaround strategy is a refurbishment of its private label brands, especially in women's apparel.

The retailer sees opportunity in appealing to millennial customers, who have largely shunned its stores and its private labels in favor of rivals. Ongman noted that millennials account for half the ready-to-wear market outside of Macy's, where "under 40" apparel shoppers account for just 35%. . . . more

Target journeys into Away's market with new private label luggage

Retail Dive
Target plans to launch a new private label luggage brand next week, according to a corporate blog post.

Dubbed "Open Story," the line includes nearly 40 luggage products and accessories. Prices range from around $20 to $180, which the retailer says is 25% to 30% lower than "comparable" brands.
Products include hard shell luggage, backpacks, garment bags and packing cubes. The brand launches in stores on Sunday and online Feb. 13.. . . more

Retail Continues to Be a Drag on a Generally Strong Labor Market

Footwear News
Despite an arguably strong overall labor market, troubles in the retail sector are proving persistent.

Retail trade noted a loss of 8,300 jobs — a month after the surge in December hiring during the holiday season. Clothing and clothing accessories stores logged a 4,600 decrease in jobs, partially offsetting the 5,500 increase in sporting goods stores. Further, general merchandise stores lost 14,400 jobs: Department stores posted a 16,900 loss in jobs, while warehouse clubs and supercenters improved 2,500. (Non-store or online retailers and miscellaneous store retailers saw little change.). . . more

Economy adds 225,000 payrolls, unemployment rate ticks up to 3.6%

Yahoo Finance
The U.S. economy added a better than expected 225,000 jobs in January, with warmer weather during the month helping boost hiring even in a persistently tight labor market.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate rose slightly to 3.6%, and average hourly earnings growth accelerated over last year.. . . more

Casper, the mattress startup, goes through with lackluster IPO

Boston Business Journal
Casper Sleep, a startup that sells mattresses online, became on Thursday the latest money-losing outfit to get a cold shoulder from Wall Street investors.

The company’s stock began trading on the New York Stock Exchange at $14.50 a share, slipped below $14 in the afternoon and closed at $13.50. The lackluster first day of trading did not come close to fulfilling what Casper’s venture-capital investors thought it was worth a few months ago.. . . more

Macy's Closing More Stores, 4 N.H. Locations Threatened

Patch.com
Macy's said Tuesday it plans to close 125 stores over the next three years, representing a fifth of the retail giant's locations, according to a report. The news comes on the heels of a similar announcement made in January when the company said it would close at least 28 stores.

While it was unknown which locations will be shuttered in this latest round of closings, the news could impact any and all of the four Macy's stores in New Hampshire.. . . more

Thursday, February 6, 2020

WS Development Acquires Rhode Island Shopping Center for Reported Price of $181M

Globe St
Chestnut Hill, MA-based real estate development firm WS Development has added the Garden City Center to its Northeast portfolio.

The firm’s new asset totals more than 530,000 square feet and includes such national tenants as Whole Foods, lululemon, L.L. Bean, Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn, Sephora and Williams Sonoma. . . . more

Macy’s Turnaround Plan Includes New Store Concept

Globe St
On Wednesday of this week Macy’s announced it will close 125 stores over the next three years. On Thursday it is set to open what the retailer hopes will be the antidote to future closings. It is a new store concept called Market by Macy’s in Southlake, Texas.

Market by Macy’s will be about 15,000 square feet, or one-tenth the size of a typical Macy’s. It will feature clothing, home decor, an apothecary and an in-store cafe. These stores will be located off-mall in lifestyle centers. Macy’s Chief Executive Jeff Gennette told analysts that he plans to have four or five of the new stores open by the end of this year.. . . more

Chipotle crushes sales estimates during fourth quarter

Yahoo Finance
Chipotle crushed estimates on the top and bottom lines.

During the fourth-quarter, Chipotle opened 80 new restaurants, 46 of which included drive-thrus, also known as Clipotlanes. The company opened 66 new stores with Chipotlanes during 2019.

For the full year, revenue increased 14.8% from 2018 and totaled $5.6 billion with same-store sales growing 11.1%, boosted by 7% transaction growth and a 4.1% increase in the average check, according to the company. Meanwhile, 2019 restaurant level operating margin was 20.5% for 2019, an improvement from 18.7% in 2018.. . . more

7-Eleven tests cashierless store concept

Chain Store Age
7-Eleven is moving forward with efforts to make in-store shopping as frictionless as possible.

The convenience giant is piloting a 700-sq.-ft. cashierless store with employees at its Irving, Texas, headquarters. To test the store, employees download an app, sign up, check in at the store, enter the store, shop and exit. A detailed receipt appears in the app automatically after the customer exits.. . . more

Tiffany stockholders approve LVMH acquisition

Retail Dive
Tiffany & Co. will join the luxury portfolio of Parisian conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the companies announced on Monday.​ LVMH "will acquire Tiffany for $135 per share in cash, in a transaction with an equity value of approximately €14.7 billion or $16.2 billion," according to a press release from the companies.

The deal is expected to close in the middle of 2020 and is subject to customary closing conditions, including approval from Tiffany's shareholders and regulators, according to the release.. . . more

eBay targeted for potential $30 billion purchase

Chain Store Age
eBay reportedly has a suitor willing to spend more than $30 billion in an acquisition deal.

Following up on an initial report in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes reports that Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the owner of the New York Stock Exchange, has recently approached eBay about purchasing the e-tail giant. Since eBay’s current market cap is $28 billion, an acquisition could wind up costing ICE more than $30 billion with premiums.. . . more

L.L.Bean to lay off 200 employees, close a call center in Maine

Boston Business Journal
The iconic footwear maker L.L. Bean announced this week it will lay off 200 of its employees and close a call center in Lewiston. The layoffs, according to a statement from the footwear company, is due to a reorganizing process within the company.

The company will also close its call center at the Peck Building in Lewiston in 2021. L.L. Bean bought the former department store building 33 years ago.. . . more