Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The Future Of America's Malls

A view of the Cherry Hill Mall in Cherry Hill, New Jersey from Macy'sIn February, 2017, Macy’s contracted CBRE Inc. Real Estate to sell 32 locations in 20 states, many of which were in shopping malls. Toys R Us and JCPenney are among other brick and mortar retail chains struggling to survive, this all according to

In the past, malls relied on these so-called anchor stores. Now that they are closing their doors, the American shopping mall is in jeopardy.. . . more

The Most Expensive Takeover in Retail Is Drowning in Debt

Image result for petsmartPetSmart’s owners thought embracing e-commerce would keep it competitive in the age of Amazon.

Two chief executives and $3 billion later, they’re discovering it takes a lot more than web smarts to outrun an avalanche of debt.. . . more

Mother’s Day spending to reach $23.1 billion

Image result for mothers day spendingMother’s Day spending is expected to total a near-record $23.1 billion this year, according to the annual survey released today by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. A total 86 percent of Americans will celebrate Mother’s Day and spend an average of $180 per person.

The expected spending would be second only to last year’s $23.6 billion, the highest in the 15-year history of the survey at an average $186 per person.. . . more

French sporting goods giant unveils North American locations

Decathlon has dropped anchor in San Francisco and Canada — but don’t expect Nike or any other familiar global brands.

The value-priced French sporting goods retailer, which operates nearly 1,500 locations across some 40 countries, recently opened an 8,313-sq.-ft. “lab” store on Market Street in San Francisco. Decathlon said it chose to focus on San Francisco to allow the brand to become familiar with the practices of local sports fans before a possible expansion throughout the United States. It also is selling online — but only to residents of California.. . . more

Reality Sets In at Lampert's Sears, With Another $1 Billion Due

Kenmore Few people on Wall Street believe in Eddie Lampert like Eddie Lampert.

Thirteen years after merging Sears, one of America’s most iconic retailers, with the budget Kmart chain, the hedge-fund billionaire is moving -- again -- to salvage what he can.

His latest plan, announced Monday, would have his ESL Investments Inc. buy Kenmore, Sears’s well-known appliance brand, as well as several other businesses. In other words, Lampert, also chief executive officer of Sears Holdings Corp., wants to sell what is perhaps Sears’s last jewel to his own hedge fund -- at least if other bidders don’t emerge.. . . more

Wynn CEO indicates firm could sell Everett casino to protect bottom line

Image result for wynn casino in everettIn response to an analyst question about strategy for Wynn Boston Harbor, CEO Matt Maddox echoed his previous statements regarding the future of the under-construction facility in Everett. Maddox said that, while Wynn Resorts likes the Greater Boston market, the company could be willing to sell the project should it pose a risk to the company’s bottom line.

“We’re a $30 billion company, and if there was ever any risk, due to heightened rhetoric, that there would be any contagion from Massachusetts into (the company), we will have to take a hard look at what is best to protect our shareholders and our value,” Maddox said on the company’s first-quarter earnings call Tuesday. “We love the market. We’re going to continue to actively cooperate with the regulator there and move forward. But at the same time, we will always be protecting our shareholders and our employees.” . . . more

Big Ys In Milford And Easton, Massachusetts, Are Reborn

Big Y, Milford, Easton, Mass.Big Y Foods has completed renovations to its Milford and Easton, Massachusetts, stores. Construction began in Milford in February and cost $1.9 million, while construction in Easton began last October and cost $1.6 million. The company said it spent a total of more than $5.4 million on the renovations.

Springfield, Massachusetts-based Big Y said the upgrades included major renovations in many areas of each store and new additions in response to changing customer needs.. . . more

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Is Guitar Center Hanging By A String?

Centre of TallahasseeThe S&P recently reduced the Guitar Center's corporate credit rating further into junk status. S&P does not see the retailer — with more than 250 stores across the U.S. — improving its credit metrics given high leverage and weak cash flow, especially as more than $600M in notes mature in April of next year, according to MarketWatch.

Guitar Center remains in operation, just on a watch list with a host of other retailers in precarious positions. That means the retailer is susceptible to any shocks, including a recession or a sharper drop in guitar sales, Digital Music News reports. Lower guitar sales are also the source of guitar-maker Gibson's tribulations. Gibson is saddled with more than $500M in debt coming due this summer.. . . more

Westfield’s $300M PropTech Spinoff Wants To Give Physical Retail More Power And Data Than Amazon

Westfield LondonThere is an overlooked aspect of Unibail Rodamco’s $16B purchase of Westfield that may be the most interesting part of the deal. As part of the transaction, the PropTech division set up by Westfield in 2012 will be spun off into a separate listed company with a value of about $305 million.

Previously called Westfield Labs and now rechristened OneMarket, it will be the first publicly listed PropTech company — and its ambitions are huge. It is not just developing an individual PropTech product or series of products — it is looking to create a network of every retail scheme and physical retailer in the U.S. and Europe, connecting them and helping them share data and information.. . . more

Q1 Report: Decline in completions fuels rise in retail rents

Image result for retail constructionRetail real estate completions came in just under 8 million sq. ft. in the first quarter of 2018, a 23% decline from Q1 2017. That plus a falloff in the number of store closures helped continue an ongoing trend toward an increase in net absorption and higher rents, according to CBRE Research.

Overall net absorption was positive at 14.2 million sq. ft. and up significantly from a record-low level of 811,000 sq. ft. in Q1 2017. Fewer closings had the biggest impact on this measure, which was also driven by gains in the high street, freestanding properties category (6.6 million sq. ft. absorbed) and the neighborhood, community & strip centers segment (5.6 million sq. ft. absorbed), according to CBRE analysts.. . . more

Gap ramping up Old Navy store expansion, remodels

Gap Inc. is putting its muscle behind Old Navy, counting on the value apparel brand to drive its growth.
The retailer will open 60 Old Navy stores across the nation this year, reported CNBC, giving it a total of more than 1,000. In addition, some 150 Old Navy stores will be remodeled during the next few months with such features as upgraded fitting rooms, restrooms and checkout areas and more modern fixtures, the report said. About 10% of the 150 stores will receive a full makeover, according to the report.. . . more

Toys ‘R’ Us seeks approval to sell Canadian division

Image result for toys r us canadaIt appears likely Toys “R” Us’ operations in Canada will live to see another day.

The bankrupt retailer cancelled an auction for its assets in Canada and will seek approval from the court on Tuesday to sell them to Toronto-based Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. The investment firm had submitted a $236.8 million “stalking-horse” bid (C$300) to buy Toys “R” Us’ Canadian operations, which includes 82 stores.. . . more

Get Into My Car ... Amazon begins delivery to vehicles

FILE- In this May 9, 2017, file photo, a package from Amazon Prime is loaded for delivery in New York. Last year, the online retailer introduced a system for letting people delivering packages into customers’ homes. Now, it’s their cars. GM says more than 7 million owners of Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles are eligible for Amazon’s new Amazon Key In-car delivery service. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
            Amazon's latest perk ... free delivery to your car.

The Seattle company on Tuesday began offering delivery in 37 cities to Amazon Prime members who own newer General Motors or Volvo vehicles.

The in-car delivery service is available to members of Amazon Prime whose cars are parked in publicly accessible areas, such as on the street in front of an apartment building, at a workplace parking lot, or in a driveway. . . . more

Monday, April 23, 2018

This brewery is slated to open next to TD Garden later this year

A Night Shift Brewing truck in Boston's Downtown Crossing.Night Shift Brewing is opening a 12,000-square-foot brewery and restaurant near Boston's North Station.

The Everett-based brewery said it has signed a lease at Lovejoy Wharf next to TD Garden, though it can’t yet disclose the exact location. The brewery is currently going through the licensing process, and hopes to open later this year.. . . more

Amazon Has a Top-Secret Plan to Build Home Robots

Image result for amazon home robotTen years ago, Amazon introduced the Kindle and established the appeal of reading on a digital device. Four years ago, Jeff Bezos and company rolled out the Echo, prompting millions of people to start talking to a computer.

Now Inc. is working on another big bet: robots for the home.
The retail and cloud computing giant has embarked on an ambitious, top-secret plan to build a domestic robot, according to people familiar with the plans. . . . more

Main Insights from ULI’s Semi-Annual CRE Forecast

chart-improvingReal estate economists and analysts see strength in the U.S. economy over the next few years, which should translate into strong—albeit moderating—results for the commercial property sector.

The Urban Land Institute (ULI) presented the findings of its semi-annual economic forecast on Wednesday. The forecast was based on a survey of industry professionals, who were questioned on 27 economic and real estate indicators and represented 36 firms. It took place in March.. . . more

Experts Talk RECon; Retailer Expansion Plans And New Store Openings Abound

There is a great deal of new and existing retailers executing aggressive “new store openings” nationwide. That is according to Brandon Duff, regional director at Stan Johnson Co., one of the many we spoke with recently about the upcoming ICSC RECon event, held in Las Vegas.

Duff says that in recent years, most investors assumed a continued low interest rate environment for the foreseeable future. “But now that rates are seemingly on the rise, I anticipate more discussions centered around the capital markets environment and how it might impact investment strategies going forward.”

Naveen Jaggi, president of retail at JLL, tells that there is still likely to be a high level of overall activity, but it is vastly different than 12 months ago the last time the industry convened in Las Vegas. “I think we will see a lot of re-tenanting or re-working of existing pads as the recent rash of bankruptcies will likely cast somewhat of a pall on the conference this year.”. . . more

Marijuana goes upscale in Big Apple with high-design store

A rising marijuana retailer has opened a stylish-looking store in a pricey real estate district.

MedMen has made its Manhattan debut, opening a medical marijuana dispensary on Fifth Avenue, across the street from Lord & Taylor. The 2,000-sq.-ft. shop has a sleek, upscale design with an overall aesthetic that recalls an Apple Store, reported CNBC, complete with red-clad “geniuses” and iPads.. . . more

Toy mogul plans new deal to save U.S. Toys 'R' Us

Toy mogul plans new deal to buy U.S. Toys 'R' Us storesThe CEO of Bratz doll manufacturer MGA Entertainment Inc. says he will formulate a new deal to buy more than 200 U.S. stores from bankrupt retailer Toys 'R' Us after a Toronto company reached a tentative agreemet to buy the retailer’s Canadian stores for $237 million.

Los Angeles toy mogul Isaac Larian and an investor group submitted a $675-million bid for 274 Toys 'R' Us locations in the United States and $215 million for stores in Canada, but the bid was rejected as inadequate, per The Los Angeles Times.. . . more

Eddie Lampert's firm offers to buy Kenmore from Sears

FILE - In this July 20, 2017, file photo, the Kenmore Elite Smart French Door Refrigerator appears on display at a Sears store in West Jordan, Utah. Private equity firm ESL Investments is offering to buy struggling Sear’s Kenmore brand and home improvement unit. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
            Lampert's hedge fund, Sears' biggest shareholder, has asked the struggling retailer to sell the Kenmore brand and the chain's home improvement business.

The private equity firm ESL Investments said that it might buy the assets if the company is willing to sell, sending shares of Sears Holding Corp. jumping 8 percent at the opening bell.. . . more

From new tenant mixes to new store concepts, NH retailers getting creative

"Retail has to get creative," said Nancy Kyle, president and CEO of the New Hampshire Retail Association, which represents retailers big and small. "Anything to get people in the door."

Bob Sheehan, whose Massachusetts firm, KeyPoint Partners, does an annual report on the retail health of southern New Hampshire, said the off-price retail segment has been a successful format as shoppers look for bargains for name brands.. . . more

Friday, April 20, 2018

Pier 1 prepares for ‘urgent change’ after dismal Q4

On the heels of a disappointing fourth quarter, Pier 1 Imports unveiled a three-year plan to improve its business in the long-term. It also said it is ceasing its dividend payments.

The plan, called “Pier 1 2021: A New Day,” features a number of initiatives and organizational changes to drive growth, including targeting niche groups of consumers, refining the merchandise mix, and new marketing strategies. Pier I said it will reimagine the shopping experience, leveraging and strengthening its omnichannel platform.. . . more

Bon-Ton Stores begin going-out-of-business sales

The Bon-Ton Stores will be dark by fall.

The embattled department store retailer announced that going-out-of- business sales will begin Friday, April 20, in its 212 stores and e-commerce websites. The liquidation sales are expected to run for approximately 10 to 12 weeks.

Bon-Ton currently has 250 locations, 38 of which are already in liquidation from a previously announced store closure process.. . . more

The top apparel retailer for 2018 will be…

Amazon is on pace to make a big name for itself across the apparel industry this year.

According to Morgan Stanley, the online giant is poised to become the number one player in the U.S. apparel industry in 2018, reported CNBC. . . . more

Group predicts boom times for local toy stores

The departure of Toys “R” Us from the retail landscape will give a boost to neighborhood toy shops.

That’s according to the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association, which predicted that 2018 will be the best year yet for neighborhood toy stores nationwide as consumers flock to these stores in the wake of the closure of Toys “R” Us.. . . more

What Shopping in the Future Will Look Like

Image result for online world is interacting with brick-and-mortar storesThe online world is interacting with brick-and-mortar stores in radically new ways, fueling a revolution in how people shop, said Connie Chan, a partner at the Silicon Valley venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

Ms. Chan said retailers are scooping up more data about shoppers and their habits than ever before, in both online and real-world settings, helping them fine-tune the ways they match buyers with products.

“The offline world is being optimized by the online world,” Ms. Chan said at The Wall Street Journal’s D.Live conference in Hong Kong on Friday.. . . more

Victoria’s Secret has a brand image problem

Image result for victoria's secret storeVictoria’s Secret has a #MeToo problem.

The lingerie giant’s sales have been sinking for more than a year as its pricey push-up bras and other fashions fall out of favor — but the #MeToo movement is also taking a toll on its brand, according to a YouGov poll.

Among 18-to-49-year-old women, the brand’s buzz score — whether consumers are hearing positive or negative things about a brand — dropped more than 3 points over the past six months, to 23.
In 2016, the company’s buzz score was 31. By comparison, Amazon was the No. 1 brand in 2016, with a buzz score of 36.. . . more

As Bon-Ton’s Fortunes Shift, Investors Brace for Liquidation

Bon-TonAbout one week ago Bon-Ton Stores appeared to have escaped the spiral of bankruptcy and liquidation that haunts so many retailers these days, after it got an offer from a group of investors including REIT Washington Prime Group, fund manager DW Partners and Namdar Realty to buy the company.

By Monday evening, however, the Milwaukee-based department store operator’s fortune shifted dramatically after reports emerged that only a couple of bidders turned up at its liquidation auction, according to industry observers. Instead of a buyout, the discussion has now turned to liquidating Bon-Ton Stores for good.. . . more

Thursday, April 19, 2018

CARSTAR Opens More than 30 New Stores in First Quarter

CARSTAR is continuing to expand its footprint in the United States and Canada with more than 30 new store openings so far in 2018.

CARSTAR facilities feature state-of-the-art repair equipment, expert painting, towing assistance, vehicle pickup and delivery, and a nationwide warranty, according to the company. . . . more

This is the one retail category that doesn’t have too many stores

The number of home improvement retail locations actually fell 1.1% year-over-year, according to UBS analysts, serving as one of the few examples of retailers who have a good handle on supply and demand when it comes to their fleet of stores.

Home Depot Inc. and Lowe’s Cos. Inc. account for about 45% of the subsector’s sales, with both expected to continue to show strength in the topline.

Analysts say that auto parts retailers like Advance Auto Parts Inc. and AutoZone Inc. are close to “saturation.”. . . more

Bon-Ton Stores headed for liquidation

The end is in sight for The Bon-Ton Stores.

The bankrupt, 160-year-old department store chain is headed to liquidation after it received a winning bid from a joint venture, including Great American Group and Tiger Capital Group, to acquire its inventory and certain other assets. The winning bid by the liquidators was estimated to be worth $775.5 million, according to Reuters. It is subject to approval by U.S. Bankruptcy Court.. . . more

Toys ‘R’ Us rejects bid from toy mogul

A last-minute bid by a billionaire toy tycoon to keep some Toys “R” Us stores up and running has fallen flat.

The retailer rejected an offer from Isaac Larian, founder and CEO of toy maker MGA Entertainment Inc., to buy 274 U.S. Toys “R” Us stores, reported CNN Money. The $675 million bid reportedly was too low.

The funds to purchase the stores would have come from Larian’s own coffers, additional investors and bank financing, the privately held MGA stated.. . . more

Physical Retail Isn’t Dead: It’s Working With Tech to Be More Human-Focused

Image result for bricks and clicks
The retail industry conflict is too often framed as physical retail versus online retail. Statistical analyses of the growth of ecommerce almost always get coupled with a story surrounding the decline of physical retail, with a heavy focus on the closure of malls. These two things are undoubtedly linked, but experts often communicate this as a zero-sum game. This ignores a fundamental human truth: People now and into the future will continue to leave the house and shop in physical retail. In fact, over 75–80 percent of purchases made today are still through physical retail channels.

Then why are people panicking?. . . more