Thursday, January 23, 2020

Fairway Market files for Chapter 11, plans to sell all stores

Supermarket News
A day after refuting reports of an impending liquidation, Fairway Market said it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and aims to sell all of its 14 stores.

Fairway announced early Thursday that, as part of the Jan. 23 filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, the company has entered into a stalking horse asset-purchase deal to sell up to five New York City stores and its distribution center to ShopRite owner-operator Village Super Market for about $70 million.. . . more

Is your Bed Bath & Beyond store closing? See the full list of the 40 stores shuttering in 2020

USA Today
Forty Bed Bath & Beyond stores are on the chopping block.

The New Jersey-based home goods retailer, which also operates buybuy Baby, Harmon Face Values and World Market, shared the list of the closing Bed Bath & Beyond stores with USA TODAY on Tuesday.

Some of the 40 stores – which are located in 19 states and Washington, D.C. – have already closed or will close in the first half of 2020, company spokeswoman Jessica Joyce said, noting these closing locations "no longer meet the standards our customers expect from us.". . . more

Has BOPIS changed holiday selling?

On Christmas Eve, Target prepared nearly five times the number of products for curbside pickup of online orders than it did the year prior. The finding provides more evidence that holiday procrastinators have discovered the convenience of buying online and picking up in-store.

In a blog entry, Target CEO Brian Cornell saw the last-minute BOPIS strength as a sign that “consumers are more and more comfortable shopping later in the season.” . . . more

Grocer Consolidation Is Expected to Continue. How Will It Impact Shopping Center Landlords?

While grocery-anchored shopping centers reign as the safest bet for investors in the troubled retail sector, they’re not immune to many of the same struggles that other retail assets are facing.

Supermarket companies are investing billions of dollars to adapt to consumers’ evolving shopping habits, including delivery and curbside pick-up. Grocers are also dealing with stiff competition from big e-commerce giants like Amazon/Whole Foods and big-box powerhouses like Costco and Walmart.. . . more

After Bankruptcy, Nearly Half of Retailers Close All Stores

The Wall Street Journal
Secured creditors are recovering all or most of their investments when retailers file for bankruptcy protection, even as nearly half these companies don’t survive with a physical presence, according to Fitch Ratings research.

Among large retail and supermarket chains that filed for bankruptcy protection over the past 15 years, 45% closed all of their stores, the ratings firm said in a new report. Fitch found that the bankruptcies of 25 out of 55 retail and supermarket companies ended in liquidations.. . . more

Vote scheduled in Newton on fate of Northland development

Boston Business Journal
The Newton City Council has scheduled a vote to determine the fate of a proposed 23-acre mixed-use project in Newton Upper Falls for March 3.

The project, proposed by Newton-based Northland Investment Corp., calls for an 800-unit residential development, 180,000 square feet of office space and 115,000 square feet of retail space near the MBTA Green Line Newton Highlands stop. . . . more

Retail center near UMass Amherst, Amherst College sells for $18.5M

Boston Business Journal
Waltham-based Crosspoint Associates has acquired the Amherst Shopping Center, a Big Y Supermarket and CVS-anchored retail center in Amherst, from Amherst Shopping Center Associates LLC for $18.5 million, according to a Hampshire County deed.

Big Y Supermarket and CVS are the anchor tenants for the retail center, and the shopping center is the closest grocery and drugstore location to both the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Amherst College, according to a press release.. . . more

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Retailers see lag in customer experience capability

Chain Store Age
Retailers prioritize customer experience, but question their own effectiveness in delivering key aspects.

According to a new survey of retailers from retail technology company Bluecore and Forrester Consulting, 45% of respondents said that winning new customers was one of the three most important business objectives for their company this year. Right behind customer acquisition was “customer experience,” with 39% of respondents citing it as one of their three highest priorities. . . . more

Fairway Market denies report it is going out of business

Chain Store Age
Fairway Market says it is not calling it quits.

The legendary New York City grocer issued a statement saying it has no intention to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or liquidate all its stores. The statement followed a report by the New York Post that Fairway is planning to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and that it will close all 15 of its stores. . . . more

Hair Salon Retailer Ratner Cos. to Close More Than 80 Salons

REBusiness Online
The Ratner Cos., the parent company of salon concepts such as Hair Cuttery, Bubbles and Salon Cielo, plans to trim its 844-store portfolio by 10 percent. The company plans to maintain a presence in all existing markets as it looks to shift resources to its best-performing salons. Ratner Cos. cites “intense competition and rising operating costs,” as well as shifting consumer shopping methods, as the basis for its decision. The firm has engaged in discussions with landlords to renegotiate terms or exit some of its leases. . . . more

Online holiday sales grow 13.6% in 2019

Digital Commerce 360
Despite record-breaking online sales during the 5-day shopping period from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, the holidays weren’t as merry and bright as retailers had hoped. U.S. shoppers spent $138.65 billion online this holiday season, up 13.6% from $122.00 billion in 2018, Digital Commerce 360 estimates. But seasonal sales were a bit sluggish, missing projections from analysts at several large research firms.

Still, online’s share of total retail sales in November and December soared to 19.2%, up from 17.6% in the prior year, according to Digital Commerce 360. This is the highest recorded ecommerce penetration rate to date.. . . more

Express trimming stores in new turnaround move

Chain Store Age
Express Inc. launched a new corporate strategy that involves closing stores and cost reductions.

The apparel retailer said it plans to close approximately 100 stores by 2022, with the total including nine locations that closed in 2019. Another 31 stores will shutter by the end of January 2020, and an additional 35 by the end of January 2021. Currently, Express operates approximately 600 stores. . . . more

US landlords grapple with thousands of store closures

Boston Business Journal
When Forever 21 was struggling to pay its bills last year, the cheap chic retailer’s landlord at Times Square in Manhattan was so determined to keep the store open that it slashed the rent, making the one concession building owners try to avoid.

As part of a deal with Forever 21 after the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Vornado Realty Trust more than halved the $20m in annual rent it had been demanding for the celebrated site on Broadway and another prime space in Midtown.. . . more

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

8 top retail execs on what to expect in 2020

Retail Dive
Every year, thousands of attendees, from CEOs and founders to analysts, gather at the National Retail Federation's Big Show to provide an update on the industry and trends to watch. Whether it was placing the focus back on its physical stores or highlighting the growing importance of sustainability, retailers took the stage at the annual event to give insights into what to expect in 2020.

Here are some of the most notable quotes from industry leaders at this year's show. . . . more

Retail Holiday Sales Up an Impressive 4.1%

Retail Info Systems
Holiday retail sales increased 4.1% this holiday season, topping out at $730.2 billion. The numbers reported by the National Retail Federation, exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants. Online and other non-store sales were up 14.6% over the year before at $167.8 billion and are included in the total.

NRF forecast in October that 2019 holiday sales during November and December would increase between 3.8% and 4.2% for a total of between $727.9 billion and $730.7 billion. The forecast called for online sales to increase between 11% and 14% to between $162.6 billion and $166.9 billion. . . . more

Papyrus parent to close all stores

Retail Dive
In a letter to employees, Dominique Schurman, COO of Schurman Retail Group, which owns Papyrus stores, said the company would close its doors. The company has hired liquidation firm Gordon Brothers to assist with the going-out-of-business sales, according to the letter, viewed by Retail Dive.

Schurman cited "current challenges of the retail industry" and said the company had been "diligently working to revitalize our business" for months beforehand. Schurman thanked employees and told them more information would follow "as we navigate this difficult time." . . . more

J.C. Penney to close six stores and a call center

The Dallas Morning News
J.C. Penney is closing six stores by the end of April and will shut down a call center in Kansas that employs 243 people.

The Plano-based department store company’s spokeswoman, Brooke Buchanan, said the decisions are part of the retailer’s annual review of its 846 stores and other operations.. . . more

Does Walgreens know what it's doing with beauty?
After Walgreen and Alliance Boots merged in 2014, the new management team was confident it could replicate its European-leading beauty and cosmetics strategy here in the U.S.

To capitalize on an exploding beauty category and compete with retail stalwarts like Ulta and Sephora, Walgreens started selling premium brands and hired around 3,500 beauty consultants last year. The new store layouts would transform stodgy drugstores with few options into cosmetics destinations for women and provide an edge over its main competitor, CVS. . . . more

Sears Woes Hit Hometown Stores

The Wall Street Journal
At a Sears Hometown store in Barre, Vt., shelves are bare of Craftsman tools, Whirlpool washing machines and Kenmore ovens. With little product to sell, owner Tom Coulter said he is turning customers away daily.

When the store has merchandise, the prices are often lower on the website of its sister chain, Sears. Mr. Coulter said his commission and bonus will be penalized if he matches’s prices, though he is able to match the prices of other chains without penalty. . . . more

These Cambridge and Somerville retail properties changed hands for $8M

Boston Business Journal
Burlington-based Linear Retail Properties has acquired two retail properties in Cambridge and Somerville for a combined $7.775 million amid a broader effort to expand its portfolio in those markets and others inside Route 128.

The first of the two properties is 1755-1761 Massachusetts Ave., a 6,291-square-foot single-story property located near the MBTA Red Line's Porter Square station. The property, which Linear acquired for $3.625 million, is leased to The Abbey Irish Pub, One Ramen & Sushi, The Laundry Room and Judy Jetson hair salon.. . . more

Friday, January 17, 2020

Macy’s newest ‘story’ is wellness

Chain Store Age
Macy’s is encouraging consumers to “feel good” in the newest version of its ever-changing, narrative-driven in-store experiential concept.

The department store retailer has added “Feel Good Story” shops to 36 locations nationwide. The concept is the latest iteration of Story at Macy’s and comes about 20 months after Macy’s acquired Story, the experiential Manhattan retailer that reinvents itself with a new theme every couple of months.. . . more

Tempur Sealy Expands Tempur-Pedic Retail Footprint

Home Furnishings Business
Bedding supplier Tempur Sealy has announced its plans to open its first Tempur-Pedic retail location in Manhattan in June and is opening its 56th store at the Walt Whitman Mall on Long Island on Friday, Jan. 17, expecting to operate 75 to 80 retail locations by the end of 2020.

The one-of-a-kind store in the Bloomberg building in Manhatten will provide customers with a luxury retail experience, and ensure customers have an opportunity to try out and select the right sleep solution for their personalized needs. . . . more

The Department Store of the Future Will Look a Lot Like the Past

The Wall Street Journal
The department store transformed America. Now some of the very forces that fueled its rise have been turned against it. The only way out may be for it to recapture something of its past.

In an era in which online stores such as are battling with giants like Walmart and Target to offer customers anything under the sun, shopping at a department store for many Americans is almost quaint. Retail sales figures from the Commerce Department this past week showed that overall U.S. department store sales were down 7.2% in November and December from a year earlier.. . . more

Starbucks, home of the $4 latte, is moving into poor areas

The Seattle Times
Starbucks has cultivated a reputation for being socially responsible said Thursday it is expanding its effort to put more coffee shops — and create more jobs — in poor neighborhoods.

Starbucks plans to open or remodel 85 stores by 2025 in rural and urban communities across the U.S. Each store will hire local staff, including construction crews and artists, and will have community event spaces. The effort will bring to 100 the number of “community stores” Starbucks has opened since it announced the program in 2015.. . . more

Simon expands partnership with omnichannel returns platform

Chain Store Age
A major mall operator is accepting returns of online purchases at more locations.

Simon is now providing the Happy Returns service, which enables shoppers to return online purchases at guest services counters for immediate refunds, at 52 malls across the country. The company began partnering with Happy Returns, a third-party online return and exchange platform, as a pilot program in five centers in 2017, and has been gradually expanding it since.. . . more

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Gap is no longer spinning off Old Navy

Gap Inc. has called off plans to split Old Navy into a separate public company, the company announced in a press release Thursday.

The apparel maker also announced that Neil Fiske, president and CEO of the Gap brand, is departing.. . . more

US retail sales climb in December, and November sales were revised up

U.S. retail sales rose for a third straight month in December, with households buying a range of goods even as they cut back on purchases of motor vehicles, which could strengthen the view that the economy maintained a moderate growth pace at the end of 2019.

The Commerce Department said on Thursday retail sales increased 0.3% last month. Data for November was revised up to show retail sales gaining 0.3% instead of rising 0.2% as previously reported. . . . more

Moody’s: Operating income of department stores in 2019 to be down about 20%

Chain Store Age
Another dismal year for U.S. department stores will accelerate change in 2020.

That’s according to a new report from Moody's Investors Service, which said that despite strength in most other sectors of the retail industry in 2019, department stores lost momentum in 2019, with operating income for the year projected to be down about 20%.. . . more

PGA Tour to ramp up store expansion

Chain Store Age
PGA Tour Superstore is adding more locations to its expanding store portfolio.

The experiential golf gear and apparel retailer will open three stores this spring. PGA Tour, which currently operates 41 stores in 16 states, also is looking to open additional stores later in the year. And more are in the works. The company plans to accelerate its growth strategy to expand its brick-and-mortar presence by another 50% the next three years. . . . more

Which Troubled Retailers Might Run Out of Time in 2020?

U.S. store closures in 2019 set an all-time record with roughly 9,300 closings, reported global marketing research firm Coresight Group. That shattered the previous record of approximately 8,100 stores in 2017.

Closings last year outpaced store openings more than two to one, Coresight found, with 4,454 new stores in 2019, compared to 4,311 in 2018. . . . more

Payless emerges from bankruptcy with US growth plan, store reopenings

New York Post
Payless ShoeSource — once America’s most ubiquitous discount shoe retailer — is planning a comeback.

The budget chain is emerging from bankruptcy protection on Thursday with plans to reopen some of the 2,100 stores that it had shuttered last year in the US.

Known for its affordable shoes, boots, sandals and accessories, Payless execs declined to say how many stores it might open in the US, where it once operated as many as 2,500 stores.. . . more

Costco proves why it's Amazon-proof as stores like Target and Macy's struggle

Business Insider
Target joined the lineup of retailers to report weaker-than-expected holiday sales numbers on Wednesday.

The big-box store reported that sales grew 1.4% during November and December, breaking its eight-quarter streak of 3% growth or more.

While analysts weren't ready to sound the alarm just yet, its results stood in stark contrast to another one of retail's top players — Costco, indicating that the warehouse chain really is one of the few players that has managed to stave off the threat of Amazon.. . . more

Bose to close all North American, European retail stores

Boston Business Journal
Bose Corp. will close all of its 119 retail stores in North America, Europe, Japan and Australia “over the next several months” as the Framingham-based consumer electronics company handles “the dramatic shift to online shopping in specific markets,” the company announced Wednesday.

Bose has retail locations at the Burlington Mall and Colonie Center in Albany, New York, as well as factory stores in Wrentham, Merrimack, New Hampshire and Central Valley, New York.. . . more

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Why Nordstrom Is Keeping Its ‘Passion’ for Stores Amid Broader Retail Downsizing

Footwear News
Amid a rapidly changing retail landscape characterized by widespread store closures and the rise of e-commerce, Nordstrom has arguably managed to stay ahead of many of its competitors.

The Seattle-based retailer has often been lauded for its innovative concepts and omnichannel savvy, including its pioneering of the “buy online, pick up in store” service, a revamped loyalty program and experiential store offerings.

But even as the department store naturally ramps up its focus on digital, it’s hardly scaling back on its brick-and-mortar strategy. According to Co-president Erik Nordstrom, success in today’s highly competitive selling environment lies in balance.. . . more

Express cuts 10% of corporate workforce

Retail Dive
Express on Thursday announced a 10% cut in its corporate workforce, at its Columbus, Ohio, headquarters and its New York City design studio, "to align its organization with the company's go-forward strategy," which has been developed over the past six months.

The specialty apparel retailer is also streamlining its store management operations to make stores more efficient, according to a company press release.. . . more

Strip Centers Shine as Some Shoppers Sour on Malls

The Wall Street Journal
While many stock-market investors have soured on the mall experience, some are still flocking to a more mundane type of retail: strip centers and grocery-store-anchored shopping centers.

The centers, which predate the American mall, offer routine necessities such as groceries for dinner, a gym workout or a visit to the dentist, in contrast to special purchases typically made at indoor malls, like a toy or a new dress.

Whereas mall owners hope to entice customers to spend an hour or more browsing the property, strip-center landlords say they simply want to offer stores and services that bring back local shoppers more than once a week.. . . more

Pickett Plaza at Polar Park entrance will feature retail

Worcester Telegram & Gazette
City officials are looking to make the former General Pickett Municipal Parking Lot on Green Street into more than just one of the entrances into Polar Park.

They also want to make it a year-round community space that will serve as an entrance to the Canal District as a whole.

The area, which will be known as Pickett Plaza, will include retail opportunities and a water element that will recreate and interpret the historic Blackstone Canal, according to City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr.. . . more

Frictionless retail can help Ahold Delhaize USA go where it hasn’t gone before

Supermarket News
Since a late 2019 U.S. pilot of its “lunchbox” frictionless retail concept, Ahold Delhaize USA sees possibilities for the technology that stretch beyond its own stores, facilities and geographic market to other venues and users.

Paul Scorza, executive vice president for IT and CIO at Retail Business Services (RBS), Ahold Delhaize USA’s services arm, discussed the cashierless store format Tuesday with Supermarket News at the NRF 2020 Retail’s Big Show conference in New York.. . . more

CVS Health to convert ‘hundreds’ of stores in 2020 to new concept

Chain Store Age
CVS Health is moving full steam ahead with updating stores to its new health-focused store format.

The company, which introduced the format at the end of 2018 in Houston, plans to update hundreds of its stores to the new format this year, according to CNBC. Currently, CVS has 50 HealthHUB locations. . . . more

Holiday sales may have been better-than-expected, up nearly 5%, Bank of America economists say

Retail sales were strong in December, and for the holiday shopping period they could be up close to 5%, slightly better than other industry forecasts, according to Bank of America economists.

Using BofA aggregated credit and debit card data, BofA Securities economists said December sales increased 0.3% over the month earlier and 3.2% year-over-year. The economists expect to see a similar 0.3% gain in Census Bureau retail sales, when they are reported Thursday.. . . more

Target's holiday sales were worse than expected

Target, one of the best performers in retail in the last year, brought in lower-than-expected sales in November and December, the latest sign that the holiday season turned out to be a lackluster one.

The Minneapolis-based retailer said this morning that its comparable holiday sales rose 1.4%, well below the 3% to 4% the company had forecast.. . . more

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Five Below ramps up store growth in 2020, revises Q4 outlook

Chain Store Age
New store openings will remain a priority for Five Below this year.

The tween and teen value retailer reported Monday that it will open 180 new stores in 2020. This equates to 20% unit growth for the fiscal year, according to the company.. . . more

E-commerce companies eye physical retail

Retail Dive
By day two of the National Retail Federation's Big Show, it was not only clear that retailers of all stripes have a newfound appreciation for the value of their physical stores, but also that many are grappling with the limits of the online channel.

Those limits were underscored last week by documents provided to regulators by Casper in preparation for an initial public offering. The mattress company reported $312.3 million in revenue for the nine months ending September 2019, up 20% from the year ago period, and $67.4 million in losses, a 4.9% increase from the previous year. Additionally, the company spent $423 million on marketing expenses from 2016 through 2019. Online sales dominate: the company does run 60 of its own stores and sells through other retailers, but says it's planning "more than" 200 locations in North America. ​ . . . more

Kronos survey finds many stores were understaffed for holiday season

Chain Store Age
Only one in three stores were fully prepared in terms of holiday staffing.

Only 33% of retail hiring managers claim they had adequate headcount to consistently meet shopper demand, according to the “2019 Retail Holiday Hiring Pulse Survey" commissioned by Kronos Inc. and conducted by The Harris Poll. The study was conducted among 300 U.S. retail hiring managers, with 94% saying their company faced hiring challenges around the 2019 holiday season.. . . more

GameStop holiday sales plummet; lowers forecast

The holiday season brought no cheer to GameStop.

The beleaguered retailer reported that its total global sales plunged 27.5% to $1.83 billion for the nine-week holiday period ended January 4, 2020. Same-store sales fell 24.7%. GameStop said its holiday results were indicative of overall industry trends impacting the video game industry and driven by an accelerated decline in new hardware and software sales, particularly in the month of December. . . more

General merchandise holiday sales fall flat

Chain Store Age
Holiday sales for key general merchandise categories were disappointing despite a strong last-minute push.

That’s according to The NPD Group, which reported that general merchandise sales rose only 0.2% throughout the holiday season 2019 compared to 2018. Although the final holiday shopping week, which included Christmas and Hanukkah, showed robust growth and sales volumes across the apparel, toys, technology, small appliance, athletic footwear and prestige beauty industries, overall season results were still flat.. . . more

Former Apple store chief Ron Johnson: Amazon is in trouble

Yahoo Finance
Ron Johnson has been around the block a few times in retail. He has notched some wins (successful stint as Apple store chief working alongside Steve Jobs), and gotten a few black eyes (unsuccessful time as J.C. Penney’s CEO).

But he knows more than enough about the retail industry at this point in his long career to spot inflection points. Johnson says Amazon is pulling up to a crossroads after dominating retail this past decade.. . . more

Albertsons Prepares for an IPO, Again

The Wall Street Journal
Albertsons Cos. is once again preparing to go public, said people familiar with the matter, as the grocery giant’s backers look to tap into a strong stock market to cash out of an investment that dates back nearly 15 years.

The company, which also owns the Safeway and Jewel-Osco chains, expects to decide in coming weeks whether to proceed with an initial public offering that could value it around $19 billion, one of the people said. Albertsons has been updating IPO documents that have been filed confidentially with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the people said.. . . more

Monday, January 13, 2020

Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass: ‘Amazon is working’

Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass says the retailer’s partnership with Amazon is going well, despite Kohl’s reporting dismal holiday sales that cast doubt on the strategy.

“I get this question, ‘Is Amazon working?’” Gass said Sunday at the National Retail Federation’s annual Big Show in New York, in an interview with CNBC’s Courtney Reagan. “Amazon is working. This returns program is working. We’re seeing the traffic. We’re getting new customers.” . . . more

Pier 1 downgraded by Moody's

Retail Dive
Moody's lowered its outlook for Pier 1 to negative from stable, reflecting the rating firm's expectations for near-term default, according to a Thursday release.

In additionally downgrading Pier 1's senior secured term loan, analysts pointed to "the erosion in its expected recovery, given the higher than originally expected level of EBITDA losses," which they noted reached roughly $230 million for the 12 months ending Nov. 30.. . . more

Casper files for IPO

Retail Dive
Mattress company Casper on Friday filed a document with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol CSPR.

The price range of the initial public offering price has yet to be determined, according to the filing. . . . more

The comeback of the brick-and-mortar store

Retail Dive
Retail may be on a store closure tear — more than 9,000 announced last year, with another 757 already this year— but it's clear from several analysts and executives speaking at the National Retail Federation Big Show that the key to the industry's future success is found in brick and mortar.

That notion is coming from the founders and leaders of cutting-edge retail concepts like Showfields, Area15, Enjoy and Neighborhood Goods as well as from the likes of Nordstrom, which opened a flagship department store and two merchandise-free Local stores, all in New York, in just the last few months.. . . more

A timeline of two years in athletics retail

Retail Dive
A rollercoaster year in athletics retail was capped off this fall with the departures of Nike CEO Mark Parker and Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank. Paired with another executive change at Adidas as Eric Liedtke, head of global brands, stepped down, the moves amount to “seismic changes” in the category, according to NPD Vice President and Senior Industry Advisor of Sports Matt Powell.

The announcements were defining moments for athletics retail in 2019, but the past two years have also scripted a longer story based on a few key themes. One can be found lurking in ad campaigns and between the lines of a few lower-profile executive departures.. . . more

Fast-growing home decor chain raises earnings, sales outlook

Chain Store Age
At Home expects to end its fiscal year on a high note.

The home decor retailer on Monday increased its fourth-quarter earnings and sales outlook. For the quarter, ending Jan. 25, the company expects its net sales to land on the high end of its $385.0 million to $393.0 million estimation.

For the year, At Home expects same-store sales to hit the high end of its previously provided outlook of $1.35 billion to $1.36 billion. . . . more

America's new favorite restaurants are Wawa, Sheetz and 7-Eleven

CNN Business
In "Vacation," National Lampoon's 1980s classic, Chevy Chase jokes, "I'm so hungry. I could eat a sandwich from a gas station."

But the convenience stores and gas stations that dot America's retail landscape have worked to improve their dinners-to-go and coffee. Today, chains like Sheetz, Wawa and Kwik Trip offer meal kits, salads, keto snacks, Kombucha and espressos.. . . more

Friday, January 10, 2020

Will ‘five pillars’ provide the foundation Bed Bath & Beyond needs to succeed?

Mark Tritton, president and CEO of Bed Bath & Beyond, called the company’s Q3 results “unsatisfactory” and pledged to “move quickly to course-correct and drive the business forward.”

On the company’s earnings call with analysts yesterday, Mr. Tritton outlined a preliminary plan to create “a modern, durable model” for the business.

The good news, he said, is that consumer research shows that 79 percent of customers have a favorable view of BBBY. The chain faces challenges, however, connecting with Gen-Z and Millennial consumers.. . . more

Survey reveals how to keep shoppers returning

Chain Store Age
Several specific technologies can help keep customers coming back to your stores.

According to results of the 2020 State of Mobility in Retail Report from mobile/IoT management solutions provider SOTI, 31% of U.S. respondents are more likely to shop again in a store that offers a better technology experience. Twenty-two percent are likely to stay in the store longer, while 19% are likely to spend more money and 10% will trust the brand more.. . . more

Walmart's Alphabot grocery picker goes fully operational in first store

Walmart has been investing heavily in robots and grocery deliveries, with tests for driverless grocery deliveries and an automated grocery order selection process rolling out recently, not to mention the direct-to-fridge delivery service it has been trialing. The automated grocery selection robots have now moved beyond testing and into the real world, where they're working alongside staff in a warehouse behind the Salem, NH superstore.

The Alphabot enables order picking within the warehouse using autonomous carts to pick refrigerated and frozen items as well as groceries stored at room temperature. The system locates an item, picks it and brings it to a workstation to be checked and bagged by a staff member.. . . more

By the numbers: The 2019 holiday sales roundup

Retail Dive
Analysts across the board predicted retail sales to rise during the holiday period. But so far, the gains have not been shared by all.

Profligate discounting could make 2019 the most promotional holiday season since the recession, according to one analyst. And hardest hit by price wars may be department stores, some of the largest of which have reported comparable sales declines for the all-important sales period. . . . more

L Brands lowers guidance as Victoria’s Secret drags down holiday performance

Chain Store Age
L Brands’ sales fell in the crucial holiday shopping season amid the ongoing decline of its signature Victoria’s Secret brand.

The company reported net sales of $3.9 billion for the nine weeks ended Jan. 4, 2020, compared to net sales of approximately $4.1 billion in the year-ago period. Total same-store sales decreased 3% compared to a 4% increase last year. . . . more

US mall retailers hit by declining holiday sales

Boston Business Journal
The persistent difficulties facing America’s mall-based retailers were demonstrated on Thursday when several of the biggest names in the sector reported falling sales over the crucial holiday trading period.

Like-for-like sales at JCPenney, which operates 850 stores and is an anchor tenant at shopping malls across the country, dropped 7.5 per cent year-on-year over the nine-week period to the start of January.. . . more

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Aroma Joe’s Continued Steady Growth in 2019
Aroma Joe’s, one of the nation’s leading handcrafted beverage chains, continued its steady growth throughout 2019.

Snapshot of Aroma Joe’s 2019 accomplishments:
  • Aroma Joe’s opened five new coffee shops in three states (Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire).
  • The brand signed 12 development deals totaling 12 coffee shops, all of which are expected to open over the next several years.. . . more

Forever 21 Accused by Creditor of Inflating Sales Projections

Forever 21 Inc. can add a lawsuit to the hurdles it’s trying to overcome as it works to woo investors in time to finance its exit from bankruptcy.

An Alabama mall owner is suing Forever 21, saying it lost millions of dollars leasing space to the retailer based on misleading sales targets.. . . more

Six Predictions for the Retail Sector in 2020

It was a brutal year for the U.S. retail sector, despite a robust economy and healthy consumer spending. Massive store closures, retailers’ right-sizing, changing consumer behaviors, new delivery models and the upheaval of e-commerce competition impacted the sector.

However, there’s also opportunity. Traditional retailers are rethinking their physical location strategies and beefing up their online presence, while clicks-to-brick retailers are expanding their physical footprints.. . . more

JC Penney says holiday same-store sales fell 7.5%, reaffirms outlook for the year

J.C. Penney wasn’t able to buck the trend of declining sales at U.S. department store chains this holiday season. But despite a steep sales decline, it reaffirmed its financial outlook for the year.

The company said its same-store sales over a nine-week period that ended on Jan. 4 dropped 7.5%. . . . more

H-E-B is No. 1 U.S. grocery chain, new data study says

On Wednesday, national data science firm dunnhumby ranked Texas-based H-E-B as the number 1 grocer in the U.S. for the first time.

According to dunnhumby, H-E-B topped its list which ranked the grocers based on the annual Retailer Preference Index, or RPI. The index evaluates retailers based on several factors, including price, quality, convenience and speed. . . . more

Kohl’s shares tank on dismal holiday sales results, lowered outlook

Kohl’s said same-store sales during November and December fell 0.2% due to weakness in its core women’s apparel business, leading it to lower the bar for its full-year outlook.

Kohl’s has been expected by analysts to deliver same-store sales growth during the fourth quarter, which includes the holiday season, of 0.4%. . . . more