Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Amazon breaks Prime Day records despite site crashes

Retail Dive
Amazon's first 10 hours of Prime Day outpaced the first 10 hours last year, with Prime members buying "millions" of Alexa devices, according to the e-tailer. More than three quarters (76%) of Prime Day prices beat Black Friday prices, according to an email from deals site BestBlackFriday emailed to Retail Dive. Sales will continue until 3 a.m. Eastern time.

The company acknowledged it had a rough start, with many shoppers unable to make purchases because of site problems, encountering error messages with cute puppies instead. . . . more

Awakening the Dream in the Meadowlands

New Jersey Monthly
For years, it hulked stagnant over the Meadowlands like a massive, forgotten Tinkertoy. But if you drive past it today on Route 3 or the New Jersey Turnpike, the mall once named Xanadu and now rechristened American Dream is rising anew.

But don’t call it a mall—not these days. Don Ghermezian, president of Edmonton, Canada-based Triple Five Worldwide, which took over development of the project in 2011, made that clear when he spoke to Bloomberg in late 2016. He refers to American Dream as “the center of the universe.”. . . more

Property Investors Scrounge Through Retail Ruins for Bargains

The Wall Street Journal
Many property investors these days recoil from owning retail-oriented real estate, worried that most shopping centers are on their way toward extinction.

Then there is Brian Kosoy.

The chief executive office of the Sterling Organization, a private-equity firm based in Palm Beach, Fla., said his firm is poised this month to close a nearly $500 million real-estate fund to invest in grocery-anchored shopping centers, street retail and other shopping centers across the U.S.
. . . more

Gap Sues Westfield Over Mall Expenses as Tensions Rise in Retail World

The Wall Street Journal
Gap Inc. is suing high-end-mall operator Westfield for allegedly overcharging the fashion retailer in an action that underscores the sometimes-tense relationship between landlords and tenants as e-commerce transforms the retail sector.

Other well-known U.S. retailers, such as Starbucks and Saks Fifth Avenue, have duked it out with landlords in court recently as they’ve sought to trim costs amidst a glut of shopping-center space. Mall vacancies in the U.S. recently hit a six-year high, with strip malls and neighborhood centers particularly hard-hit.. . . more

Alberstons narrows loss in Q1

Chain Store Age
Ahead of its planned acquisition of Rite Aid, Albertsons’ solid e-commerce and private label helped narrow its loss for the quarter.

For the period ended June 16, the Boise, Idaho-based company’s net loss was $17.7 million, down from 204.9 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2017.

Albertsons’ identical sales increased 0.2%, with a sales and other revenue increase of $18.7 billion, or roughly 1%, which it said was largely driven by a $154 million boost in fuel sales.. . . more

IHOP launches national delivery program through partnership with DoorDash

USA Today
Whether it's pancakes, burgers or something else, IHOP is launching a service to speed them to customers' doors.

The chain, once the International House of Pancakes before the name was shortened, announced a partnership Tuesday with food delivery service DoorDash.. . . more

Amazon’s Prime Day runs into early snags

Seattle Times
Amazon’s website ran into some early snags Monday on its much-hyped Prime Day, an embarrassment for the tech company on the shopping holiday it created.

Shoppers clicking on many Prime Day links after the 3 p.m. ET launch in the U.S. got only images of dogs — some quite abashed-looking — with the words, “Uh-oh. Something went wrong on our end.” People took to social media to complain that they couldn’t order items.. . . more

Monday, July 16, 2018

Grocery channel has private brand problem, study says

Supermarket News
Though 2017 was a comeback year for private label retail sales, grocery stores have seen some of that business siphoned away by other retailers, new research from the Food Marketing Institute and IRI reveals.

U.S. private-label sales rose 4.1% to $138 billion last year across multiple retail outlets, according to the FMI-IRI report “Power of Private Brands,” released this week. That compared with a 1.3% uptick to $929 billion for all brands.. . . more

Three weapons in the online grocery delivery war

Chain Store Age
The online grocery battle continues to heat up, and traditional supermarket operators are feeling the pressure.

Consumers expect faster, more convenient ways to shop for and receive their groceries. They want options that enable them to purchase weekly staples via laptop, mobile apps, or in some cases, by holding a conversation with a voice-enabled smart speaker. . . . more

Gymboree, a rare retailer to emerge from bankruptcy last year, launches its reboot on Amazon Prime Day

Monday, Gymboree is announcing its refreshed personality, product and digital presence. The retailer relaunched its websites and is debuting a new app this week with augmented reality features. In taking these steps, Gymboree hopes its makeover will fix some of the reasons it struggled: growing online competition, a debt-laden balance sheet and a need to woo shoppers with better value.

A quarter of Gymboree’s sales come from its websites, and the retailer is offering as much as 80 percent off on its three brands’ sites, coinciding with Amazon Prime Day. . . . more

Specialty retail vs Amazon: Is it the same old story?

Retail Dive
Specialty retailers might believe they’re superior fashion players, but they can’t ignore the apparel industry’s incoming Goliath. Amazon will soon dominate the $217 billion U.S. apparel market. Upending fashion conventions is one thing, volume and scale are another. Can specialty retailers survive Amazon’s rise in apparel?

Sometime this year, Amazon will become the biggest apparel retailer in the U.S. But when it comes to fashion, it’s just not a very good one. Neither is Walmart, by the way, which will be eclipsed by the e-commerce giant to claim the top spot. That’s the tough lesson for the apparel industry — Amazon doesn’t have to be better at fashion to upend the apparel world, it only needs to be 'just ok.'. . . more

Target going head-to-head with Amazon

Chain Store Age
Amazon isn’t the only retailer running big deals on Prime Day.

Add Target Corp. to the list of retailers who plan to give the online giant a run for its money with their own summer sales. Target’s one-day sales event, which is set to kick off on Tuesday, July 17, will run online, and no membership is required to shop. The sale will feature deals across most of its categories. Merchandise across private-label brands will also be included.. . . more

US bankers warn on commercial property risks

Boston Business Journal
US bankers have warned about mounting risks in commercial real estate, with figures showing they are putting the brakes on loans to buyers of office buildings, hotels and shopping malls.

Executives said they were refusing to sign off on as many property deals because they were worried about overheating, even as they extend more credit to much of the rest of corporate America.. . . more

US retail sales rise at a healthy 0.5 percent pace in June

Boston Herald
U.S. retail sales rose at a solid pace last month despite higher prices and modest wage gains, a sign of underlying consumer optimism.

The Commerce Department said Monday that sales at retailers and restaurants increased 0.5 percent in June, following a big 1.3 percent gain the previous month. May's figure was revised sharply higher from an initial estimate of 0.8 percent. . . . more

Friday, July 13, 2018

Newbury Street holds the retail throne

Boston Realty Advisors
You see it and hear it everywhere – retail is evolving. E-commerce giants have given consumers more convenient and affordable alternatives; but the reality is brick and mortar is keeping up. For evidence of this, you don’t need to look any further than Newbury Street, the epicenter of Boston’s retail.

Originally a residential neighborhood, Newbury has since pivoted into Boston’s quintessential shopping district, taking on a life and meaning far beyond its beginnings.. . . more

These are the retail brands that will be hurt most by Chinese tariffs

Among the retailers and brands that could be most impacted from the proposed 10% tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods are Best Buy Co. Inc., Michael Kors Holdings Ltd., and Coach parent Tapestry Inc., say analysts.

Raymond James analysts led by Dan Wewer think every company in its research universe will be hurt by the proposed tariffs, but say consumer electronics giant Best Buy and arts-and-crafts shop Michael Cos. Inc. are “the most vulnerable.”. . . more

Still Some Weeks To Go Before Retail Cannabis Sales In Mass. Begin

To date, the state Cannabis Control Commission has granted only five provisional licenses to two companies. Only one of those licenses is for a retail store. That license went to Cultivate Holdings in Leicester.

More are expected to come down the line, but the process has been slow, frustrating marijuana proponents, as well as one legislator who is a key author of the state’s marijuana law.. . . more

To gauge retail growth, follow the warehouses

Chain Store Age
Prime logistics rents — the top prices for quality warehouse and distribution center space — ratcheted up by 100 basis points in the year ending March 31. That’s a sure indicator of retail health, according to one of the world’s largest commercial real estate services firms.

A report from CBRE states that the 3.2% rent increase worldwide and the 4.8% rise in the United States resulted from strengthening economies and greater demand for goods — whether purchased online or in stores. . . . more

Soon there will be only one Blockbuster video store left in the US

USA Today
Two of the three remaining Blockbuster video locations in the U.S. will soon close, according to an announcement made Thursday.

Blockbuster Alaska announced the closure of its two Anchorage stores, saying inventory will be liquidated through the months of July and August.

The announcement, which came in a Thursday Facebook post, means there will be only one remaining location of the iconic franchise left in America: Bend, Oregon. . . . more

Investors Punish L Brands After Victoria Secret’s Weakness

The Wall Street Journal
Victoria's Secret, the flagship beauty and lingerie line for L Brands Inc., simply isn’t resonating with shoppers.

Revenue from Victoria's Secret products fell 1% for the five-week period ended July 7, compared with the same period last year, L Brands Chief Investor Relations Officer Amie Preston said in an audio message accompanying its latest sales report. Fewer customers visited stores for Victoria’s Secret’s semiannual sale, forcing the company to lengthen it by about two weeks and slash already reduced prices.. . . more

Activewear retailer Outdoor Voices opens in the Seaport

Boston Business Journal
Activewear retailer Outdoor Voices is opening a store in Boston's Seaport District on Friday, marking its first New England location and eighth in the U.S.

In an interview, Tyler Haney, CEO of the Austin, Texas-based company, said Outdoor Voices chooses new retail locations based a city's "recreational index" — an assessment of how active its residents are.. . . more

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Customer loyalty is key to driving holiday season sales

Chain Store Age
As retailers gear up for the biggest shopping seasons of the year, they are stepping up their customer loyalty game to encourage repeat traffic both in-store and online.

To earn customer loyalty, it’s critical for retailers to safeguard and protect personal information (76%); reward them with personalized discounts or special offers (73%); and interact with them through their preferred communication channel (55%), according to “Building Loyalty with Dynamic Shoppers,” a study from Valassis. . . . more

‘The retail-pocalypse is over’: Facebook unwraps holiday-ready AR, Instagram tools for merchants

The Drum
Facebook yesterday announced a group of new tools for retailers to cater to shoppers this holiday season.

In a blog post and accompanying presser at its NYC headquarters, the social platform gave brands a 123-day head start on reaching shoppers before, during, and after the holiday season. The Drum selected some of the highlights from Facebook’s new product offerings for retailers of all kinds.. . . more

Old Navy launches in-store pickup; rolls out new store experience

Chain Store Age
Gap’s value apparel brand is getting online orders into its shoppers’ hands faster. It’s also updating the look of its stores.

Old Navy has launched a buy online, pickup in-store service at all stores nationwide. After placing an order, customers have seven days to visit the store to pick up their purchase at a specially designated kiosk, according to a Gap Inc. blog.. . . more

J.C. Penney to expand in Big Apple

Chain Store Age
J.C. Penney is capitalizing on the growth of the New York City market.

The department store retailer announced the opening of a new location in Brooklyn, at Kings Plaza shopping center. The 75,000-sq.-ft. store, designed from the ground up for energy efficiency, will open on Aug. 10.. . . more

Target Drive Up service now offered in 25 states

Supermarket News
Target Corp. has rolled out its Drive Up curbside pickup service to 200 more stores in the Midwest.

With the expansion, more than 800 stores in 25 states now offer Drive Up service for online purchases of groceries, household essential items and other products. Target said it will launch curbside pickup in additional markets late next month.. . . more

The Net Lease Retail Market Is Showing a Shift, with Higher Cap Rates and More Listings

Cap rates for net lease retail properties have finally pushed upward.

The average retail cap rate for net lease properties during the second quarter of 2018 reached 6.2 percent, an increase of 10 basis points from first quarter, according to Second Quarter National Net Lease Report from the Boulder Group, a national net lease commercial real estate firm. The last time the rate increased that much was in the second quarter of 2011. . . . more

Sears laid off 200 more people at its corporate offices

More layoffs have taken place at the corporate offices of Sears Holdings in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.

According to a WARN notice filed in Illinois a few weeks ago that was obtained by CNBC, about 200 workers have been laid off from the department store chain, with about 150 of those working specifically at Sears’ Hoffman Estates support center. . . . more

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Nordstrom investors balk at 5-year plan

Retail Dive
Nordstrom has big ambitions for growth, but investors and analysts don't seem to be entirely convinced. The upscale department store retailer was downgraded by Cowen & Co. analysts early this month, citing pressures on full-line sales, store traffic and margins and a need to improve its off-price Rack division.

Executives on Tuesday acknowledged that women's apparel at Rack missed the mark in a big way and that they're attuned to what they need to do to execute better. Off-price comps grew just 0.4% in the first quarter of 2018, down from 4% growth in the fourth quarter of 2017. . . . more

Snapchat update reportedly hints at Amazon partnership

Chain Store Age
Snapchat could potentially make it easier for users to make a purchase from Amazon.

Code buried within the social media channel’s Android app update includes an unreleased “visual search” feature that connects users to Amazon’s product listings, according to TechCrunch.

Codenamed “Eagle,” the service encourages users to “press and hold” the camera feature to identify an object, song, or barcode. The data is then sent to Amazon, Shazam or other partners. Once an object’s data or barcode has been scanned, it is sent to Amazon. Users are then linked to the product on Amazon’s website, according to the report.. . . more

Oprah expands her food empire

Winfrey's latest investment is in True Food Kitchen, a healthy restaurant chain backed by celebrity doctor Andrew Weil. Specific terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but the Phoenix-based chain said she's also joining the restaurant's board of directors and will "collaborate and consult" with True Food Kitchen's leadership team.

True Food Kitchen has grown to 23 locations in 10 states since its founding in 2008. It plans to double its store count in the next three years with a focus on an East Coast expansion. . . . more

The end of Annie Sez: From off-price obsession to retail has-been

The Annie Sez slogan used to be "It's not just a store. It's an obsession." Soon, the New Jersey-based Annie Sez will no longer be a store and the brand will be a retail has-been.

The Canadian parent company of the brand is converting most of the Annie Sez stores to its sister chain, Mandee, and closing some stores as the leases expire.. . . more

Kate Hudson's Fabletics athleisure line plans to open 75 new stores in global push

As Fabletics celebrates five years as a fashion brand in the athleisure industry — athletic wear designed for working out or running errands — it's mapped out an aggressive growth strategy amid a competitive landscape that includes rivals Lululemon, Gap's Athleta, Nike and Tory Burch Sport.

The privately held retailer, owned by ShoeDazzle and JustFab parent company TechStyle Fashion Group, is planning to open 75 new stores across the U.S. and overseas, bringing its total to 100. . . . more

Walmart to open more convenience stores

The Dallas Morning News
Walmart has decided that it likes convenience stores and will be opening more of them in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Plano gets the next one. A 2,900 square-foot convenience store with eight fuel pumps will open at 6000 Coit Road in Plano on Wednesday.

Three more convenience stores are planned for Arlington, Lake Worth and Lewisville later this year, said Anne Hatfield, Walmart spokeswoman in Texas. . . . more

10 Up-and-Coming Retail Chains to Watch

There is no shortage of bad news when it comes to retail real estate. The sector is undergoing a lot of change, those in the industry admit. But behind the wave of store closures—there have been 4,146 major U.S. store closing announcements year-to-date in 2018, according to a recent tally from research firm’s CoreSight Research—there are many retailers that are growing their brick-and-mortar presence in the United States. Store opening announcements during the same time period totaled 2,042.

Here is a look at several up-and-coming and expanding retailers in the United States.. . . more

New Target store planned for Cape Cod

Boston Herald
The retail giant Target has announced plans on Tuesday to open a store in Hyannis' Cape Cod Mall in 2019.

The company has signed a lease with Simon Property Group for an 80,000-square-foot store.. . . more

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

U.S. retail CEOs expect M&A activity to drive bullish growth

Chain Store Age
The nation’s retail chief executives are bullish on growth.

That’s one of the findings of KPMG LLP’s 2018 U.S. CEO Outlook report, in which 83% of CEOs in the consumer and retail industry say they are very confident about the growth prospects of their companies during the next three years. Mergers and acquisitions were cited as the top (38%) growth driver, followed by third-party strategic alliances (23%). M&A activity is expected to transform retailers’ business models faster than organic growth, reduce costs, increase market share and on-board new technologies, according to KPMG.. . . more

Nordstrom expanding its inventory-free, small store concept

Chain Store Age
Nordstrom said it plans to open two more Nordstrom Local stores in Los Angeles, one downtown and one in the Brentwood section. (There are also plans to expand to Manhattan, according to reports.)

Nordstrom opened the first — and still only — Nordstrom Local in October, on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. The 3,000-sq.-ft. store is designed as a neighborhood hub that offers an array of services, including onsite tailoring and alterations, curbside pickup, and buy online pickup in store. . . . more

Iconic off-price fashion retailer highlights ‘best of best’ in new format

Chain Store Age
Century 21 has become the latest retailer to try on a smaller-sized concept.

The high-end, off-price fashion retailer, known for its discounted designer fashions, unveiled a small-store format, called Century 21 Edition, at Staten Island Mall, Staten Island, New York. It recently opened a second location, at Roosevelt Field Mall, Garden City, New York. . . . more

Shopping struggles: These 11 retailers may not survive 2018

USA Today
Many North American retailers were wiped out in the “retail apocalypse” which started in 2010. Amazon and Walmart’s growth, the rise of fast fashion retailers, reserved spending habits after the Great Recession, and dying malls crushed countless retailers.

Some retailers survived the downturn by closing stores and expanding their e-commerce presence, but others weren’t as lucky. Let’s examine eleven retailers which could struggle to remain relevant this year. . . . more

Four Words Missing in the New Tax Law Give Restaurants Heartburn

The Wall Street Journal
As intended, a new tax law would have let companies deduct their renovation costs immediately, rather than over many years, providing an incentive to do such work.

Instead, as written, companies must depreciate building-renovation costs over 39 years—a less favorable rule than existed before Congress changed the law.

The problem is the statute lacks the words “any qualified improvement property” in the correct place, which would have made these improvements eligible for the first-year write-offs that apply to equipment purchases and other items.. . . more

Dunkin’ defends franchise agreements in face of Healey probe

Boston Business Journal
Dunkin’ Brands and seven other restaurant chains face an investigation by state attorneys general, including Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, over limits they may place on workers switching from one franchisee to another.

Each of the companies that received a letter has a presence in Massachusetts. In addition to Dunkin’, the attorneys general sent letters to Panera Bread, Arby’s, Burger King, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Little Caesars, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen and Wendy’s.. . . more

The Fresh Market Closing 15 Stores In Nine States, including Bedford, NH

The Shelby Report
The Fresh Market Inc. announced that it plans to close 15 stores in Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin. This decision was made following the completion of an organizational analysis and careful consideration of the overall growth strategy and long-term financial performance of the company, the Greensboro, North Carolina-based specialty grocer said, adding, “We do not expect any further store closures in the foreseeable future.”

CEO Larry Appel noted that the company has been in the midst of a “turnaround plan” for the past eight months. . . . more

Monday, July 9, 2018

More Uncertainty for Barnes & Noble as Struggling Bookseller Fires CEO

Barnes & Noble is without a CEO once again.

The troubled big-box book chain terminated CEO Demos Parneros for “violations of the company’s policies,” according to a July 3 company press release. He was the company’s fourth CEO in the past five years.. . . more

Mall Makeovers, Big Box Availability Benefit Retail Growth

To glimpse the future of retail development for the second half of 2018, look no further than the Village at Totem Lake in Kirkland, Washington.
The 45-year-old shopping mall will soon boast 850 luxury apartments, plazas with fountains, a pool, a gourmet grocer and a high-end movie theater.

The development is at the forefront of mall makeovers picking up across the country, transforming large, drab slabs of concrete into community centers. The phenomenon joins two other trends that will shape the retail sector for the rest of 2018 and beyond: developers seizing costly opportunities presented by closing big-box stores and brick-and-mortar retailers adopting eye-catching technologies to engage shoppers. . . . more

Mall Tenants Had an Out When Giants Like Macy’s Left. Now Landlords Bar the Door

The only thing more dangerous for America’s malls than a string of apparel-chain bankruptcies is when the trouble hits department stores.

Retailers like J.C. Penney Co. and Macy’s Inc. are considered “anchors” that keep malls humming and foot traffic flowing. They’re so important to the ecosystem that smaller tenants may refuse to set up shop without a promise that the anchors will stick around: Many leases include so-called co-tenancy clauses that let them cut and run or pay less if those key tenants depart.. . . more

Retail industry loses jobs in June

Chain Store Age
Jobs in the retail industry are up over last year, but down from last month.

Retail industry employment in June increased by 50,200 jobs unadjusted over the same time last year despite a seasonally adjusted drop from May of 25,800, according to the National Retail Federation. (The NRF numbers exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants.) Overall, U.S. businesses added 213,000 jobs over May, the Labor Department said.. . . more

Trade War Already Threatens to Ruin Christmas for Retailers

It may only be July, but Christmas is fast-approaching for U.S. retailers -- and the threat of an escalating trade war with China has industries that have so far been spared increasingly worried their goods will be next on the naughty list.

President Donald Trump’s threat to slap tariffs on at least another $200 billion in goods from China -- on top of the $34 billion that went into effect on Friday -- are ramping up fears that the all-important holiday-shopping season will be a casualty in the battle with America’s largest trading partner.. . . more

Costco changes up food court menu, but the $1.50 hot dog deal remains

The Seattle Times
There is a significant contingent of people who track Costco’s bargain food court menu and revere the hot dog combo, sold for $1.50 with a soda since almost the beginning. For many, it’s the singular reason for countless trips to the warehouse retailer – incidental big-screen television purchases notwithstanding.

These people probably already knew the latest development: The Polish hot dog is going off the menu at many Costco stores around the Seattle area and beyond.. . . . more

Hobby Lobby, Burlington Expected to Move Into Empty Toys ‘R’ Us Stores

The Wall Street Journal
Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., Burlington Stores Inc. and TJX Cos. are among the retailers expected to fill the spaces vacated by defunct retailer Toys “R” Us Inc., according to one of the nation’s biggest owners of open-air shopping centers.

More than 700 Toys “R” Us stores in the U.S. closed their doors last week after the retailer abandoned its plan to reorganize in a chapter 11 bankruptcy case. Many retailers also bid on Toys “R” Us locations in bankruptcy court, including Big Lots Inc., Scandinavian Designs, Ashley Homestores Ltd. and Ollie’s Bargain Outlet Holdings Inc., a filing shows. . . . more

Friday, July 6, 2018

New Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works Open at University Mall, Vermont

KeyPoint Partners
KeyPoint Partners, LLC (KPP) announces the opening of the Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works stores at University Mall (UMall) in South Burlington, Vermont. KPP Vice President of Leasing Don Mace negotiated a lease with L Brands last year for an expansion and relocation of the long-time tenants.

The Victoria’s Secret expansion is one of several ongoing initiatives to re-merchandise the Mall and improve foot traffic, Mace says. KPP also negotiated leases with Target, H&M, and Shoe Dept. Encore to open stores at University Mall this year.. . . more

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

U.S. Retail Vacancies Marginally Rise in Second Quarter: Reis

US News and World Report
U.S. retail vacancies rose marginally to 10.2 percent in the second quarter, hurt by bankrupt toy retailer Toys "R" Us Inc's store closures, real estate research firm Reis Inc said in a report on Monday.

Toys "R" Us stores across the United States marked their final day in business on Friday.. . . more

CVS, Walgreens stand to lose the most from Amazon-PillPack deal

Chain Store Age
Amazon’s acquisition of PillPack is a warning shot in what is about to become a major battle within the pharmacy space. Not only has Amazon finally made a solid move into pharmacy, it has done so via an innovative supplier which helps patients manage and organize their prescription drugs.

In our view, this is only the first play in what will be an increasingly aggressive strategy by Amazon to develop a much more significant presence in the pharmacy market. This is incredibly bad news for traditional players, like Walgreens and CVS, who stand to lose the most from Amazon’s determination to grow its share.. . . more

1.5 million-sq.-ft. New Jersey mall to close

Chain Store Age
When its last surviving tenant, Sears, closes in September, so too will the Marketplace at Burlington in New Jersey.

Once a strong regional draw in this town located between Trenton and Philadelphia, the former Burlington Center Mall owned by Moonbeam Capital LLC flourished with 1.5 million sq. ft. of retail. Now local government officials are left to seek a new use for this huge tract in the middle of their community. . . . more

Sears adds more stores to closings list; 78 set to close in September

USA Today
Ten more Sears and Kmart stores have been added to the growing list of locations slated for closure, a move that represents another step in the diminishment of what were once two of the nation's most prominent shopping chains.

Sears Holdings, which owns both chains, said it informed employees Thursday that it would be shuttering nine Sears stores and one Kmart in late September. Liquidation is scheduled to begin as early as July 13, the company said in a statement.. . . more

Irish deep-discount clothing chain expands in U.S.

Boston Business Journal
Irish deep-discount fashion retailer Primark is expanding its presence in the U.S., opening a ninth U.S. store in Brooklyn.

The company opened its first U.S. store in Boston in 2015 and has locations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut and New York. The retailer plans to open two more U.S. stores this year, per Chain Store Age, including one in Florida. . . . more

Nordstrom shares tumble on analyst downgrade, concern about brick-and-mortar store sales

Shares of Nordstrom tumbled 3 percent in early morning trading Monday after the stock was downgraded as same-store sales at the upscale retailer's brick-and-mortar locations decline and its chain of discount stores, Nordstrom Rack, comes under pressure.

The company's off-price division, Rack, "remains a work in progress as digital strength has masked weak physical store comps," Cowen analyst Oliver Chen said in a research note Monday. He said same-store sales at Nordstrom Rack have declined for the past six quarters, underperforming other off-price rivals like Ross Stores and TJX. . . . more

Leicester startup first licensed pot seller

Boston Herald
Leicester-based Cultivate Holdings yesterday became the first startup in Massachusetts awarded a provisional license to sell adult-use recreational marijuana.

Sam Barber, 25, president of Cultivate, said he’s hoping for a September opening on the town’s Main Street to begin selling weed-laced edibles and potions seven days a week. But with no independent lab yet online to test his products, he’s got a few more hurdles to clear with the Cannabis Control Commission.. . . more

Monday, July 2, 2018

Simon Property Malls to Offer More Happy Returns Stores Now

Simon Property Group, Inc. announced that it will expand the Happy Returns services available at its malls to several other locations. This will enable an increasing number of customers to return purchases made online at malls where Simon Guest Services is available.

Notably, Happy Returns already has a significant presence in Simon's malls. The recent agreement will see the company expanding in additional 16 centers owned by Simon Property. . . . more

Brick-and-mortar retail's most important renovation: The workforce

Retail Dive
Want a look at the future of brick-and-mortar retail? Stop by your local REI store.

There you will find associates who are passionate about the outdoors, who have used the gear the store offers and can tell you exactly what you need for your next skiing holiday or camping trip and exactly how to use it. Their employer picks up the tab for field trips and supplemental training, treats associates with respect, and pays them a living wage that signals management’s high regard for its workers and what they have to offer. No wonder those associates are so excited to get to work in the morning. . . . more

Investors bullish on outlet centers

Chain Store Age
Commercial real estate investors have traditionally shied away from the outlet retail sector, but that’s beginning to change, according to two CBRE executives.

“An influx of new players is beginning to broaden the sector and spark conversations about its key attributes. I’ve seen multiple private equity groups and pension funds underwriting outlet offerings,” CBRE executive VP Richard Frolik told GlobeSt.com.. . . more

Target, Walmart Automate More Store Tasks

The Wall Street Journal
Target Corp. plans to add automatic cash-counting machines to its nearly 2,000 stores starting this summer, following other retailers who are automating more store jobs as labor costs rise.

The gray machines known as cash recyclers count bills and coins quickly, but they also allow stores to digitally bank their cash and predict how much money is needed for each cashier’s shift. Target will start adding the machines to 500 stores this August, then roll them out to all U.S. stores, a Target spokeswoman said.. . . more

WeWork debuts retail format

Chain Store Age
Office-sharing giant WeWork is expanding into retail—and it has a built-in audience.

The fast-growing co-working company, which is also moving into co-living, has launched a retail concept, called WeMrkt, with the first one at a WeWork location in downtown Manhattan. The small shop sells a curated selection of merchandise, from healthy snacks to office supplies to apparel, exclusively to the company’s members. The products are made by member companies. . . . more

Walgreens Q3 earnings top Street; same-store sales flat

Chain Store Age
Walgreens Boots Alliance topped analysts’ earnings expectations amid stock repurchases even as its same-store sales disappointed.

Sales rose 14% to $34.33 billion, also better than expected. In its U.S. retail pharmacy division, sales rose 15% to $25.9 billion. Same-store sales decreased 1.2%, compared with the same quarter a year ago. . . . more

First look at Topdrawer's newest Boston store

Boston Business Journal
Japanese-American retailer Topdrawer, which sells tools for creative professionals, has opened its second Boston store, and sixth in the U.S., in Coolidge Corner.

The retailer, a division of 114-year-old Japanese stationary store Itoya, is headquartered in Boston and has locations in both Japan and the U.S. Currently, Topdrawer has 50 employees in the U.S. Its revenue has grown by more than 50 percent over the past year.. . . more