Thursday, August 21, 2014

Dollar Tree's Sales Top Expectations But Profit, Margins Slip

Dollar Tree Inc. said its fiscal second-quarter sales increased more than expected, though its profit declined as margins slipped, and the company reaffirmed its commitment to buy Family Dollar Stores Inc.

"I am very pleased with our second-quarter results," Chief Executive Bob Sasser said in news release Thursday, adding the company posted its strongest quarterly same-store sales growth in two years.. . . more

First N.H. Whole Foods includes pub restaurant

A new Whole Foods Market store located in Nashua, N.H. — the retailer’s first in the state — also features its first in-store restaurant in the North Atlantic region.

J.Bartlett’s Public House is a pub-style restaurant with a menu that includes pizza, salads and sushi, as well as 32 beers on tap and wine by the glass. The restaurant seats 50.. . . more

Could PetSmart get a new owner? The company considers selling itself

PetSmart said Tuesday it is weighing "strategic alternatives" after a months-long review by the company's board of directors. The Phoenix company also faces pressure from shareholders who have been pushing for a sale.

Investment firm Longview Asset Management and hedge fund Jana Partners have both called on PetSmart to sell itself, a move they say would benefit shareholders. Longview has about a 9 percent stake in PetSmart, while Jana holds nearly 10 percent, according to FactSet.. . . more

Target Q2 profit drops 61.7%; cuts full-year forecast

Target Corp. on Wednesday reported a 61.7% drop in Q2 earnings. The chain also lowered slashed its annual profit outlook as it continues to deal with weak results in Canada, sluggish U.S. sales and the lingering effects of its data breach.   
 Target earned $234 million in the quarter ended Aug. 2, down from $611 million in the year-ago period.
Revenue rose 1.7% to $17.4 billion, slightly above the $17.38 billion analysts had expected.

Same-store sales were flat in the United States, but down 11% in Canada, which the chain attributed to “grand opening” sales surges of its Canadian locations that inflated 2013′s results.. . . more

Family Dollar rebuffs Dollar General takeover bid

Family Dollar said it favors a smaller deal with potential buyer Dollar Tree, and firmly rejected an offer for takeover by larger competitor Dollar General.

Following an $8.5 billion offer last week by Dollar Tree, Dollar General offered a $9 billion, all-cash deal.. . . more

Sears Q2 loss widens, more store closings on tap

Sears Holdings Corp. on Thursday reported a bigger-than-expected loss in its second quarter – the retailer’s ninth consecutive quarterly loss – amid weak sales. The retailer also announced it may close additional stores on top of the 130 closures already underway this year.

Revenue slid 10% to $8 billion, due in part to its spinoff of the Lands’ End business.
Same-store sales fell 0.8%, comprised of a 1.7% drop at Kmart stores and offset by a .1% increase at Sears stores.. . . more

Analysts see steep cost to Market Basket debt

A debt-financed acquisition of ailing Market Basket chain by ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas could end up driving up the revived chain’s signature low prices — and drive off its loyal customers — according to experts who say the celebrated grocery titan will be newly beholden to creditors expecting immediate returns regardless of what it takes to nurse the company back to health.

“You spend cash on making­ sure that you get the ratios set and the loans repaid, and that’s cash that is simply not available to be flexible enough to address the competition from Shaw’s down the road, who will smell blood in the water,” said Bob Reynolds, a former executive at the Safeway grocery chain and a consultant who advises companies on acquisitions.. . . more

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Staples to Shut 140 Stores This Year as Sales Decline

Staples Inc. will shut about 140 locations this year, part of a store-closing plan announced earlier, as the world’s largest office-supply chain responds to online competition.

Staples shut 80 outlets in North America in the fiscal second quarter. Net income in the three months ended Aug. 2 dropped 20 percent to $82 million as $101 million was spent on closing locations.. . . more

Net Lease Investors Devour Restaurant Assets

Investor demand for net leased restaurant properties is heating up, sparked by confidence in the restaurant sector and a dearth of new construction in other retail sectors. The activity isn’t limited to one category within the restaurant sector either. Investors are hungry for quick service restaurants (QSR) like McDonald’s, as well as casual dining properties like Red Lobster.

“Although drug stores continue to be the number one net lease asset in terms of comfort and confidence, restaurants are gaining,” says Randy Blankstein, president of The Boulder Group, a boutique investment real estate services firm specializing in net lease sales.. . . more

Wal-Mart’s low price fixation leads to new private label

Wal-Mart Stores, a self-proclaimed low cost retailer, is investing in a new private label brand aimed at wooing bottom-dollar customers from ALDI and Dollar General.

Price First is a new opening price point product line that the retail giant has tested in selected markets since the fall of 2013. Products include pasta, peanut butter, baking mixes, mustard and other condiments totaling about 50 items including paper and other consumables. Wal-Mart is nationally debuting the new private-label product line in more than 2,500 stores over the next few months, according to Danit Marquardt, Wal-Mart corporate spokeswoman.. . . more

The American consumer is back, with an asterisk

Written off in the aftermath of the Great Recession, the U.S. consumer is back. Not quite with a vengeance, but definitely back.

Read more here:

Spending by the rich never tailed off, and it accelerated alongside the soaring stock market gains of recent years. On the bottom economic rungs, the poor still struggle. So much so that Dollar Tree and Family Dollar recently announced plans to merge to compete against Wal-Mart for what Family Dollar CEO Howard Levine called “a more financially constrained consumer.”

But across the broad middle of the income spectrum, a bevy of indicators shows that ordinary Americans feel better about the economy and are loosening the purse strings. The most obvious example is car sales, on pace to exceed 16.3 million this year.. . . more

Read more here:

Dick’s Sporting Goods Q2 profit slides due to weak golf sales

Dick’s Sporting Goods reported second quarter net income of $69.5 million, below expectations, compared to $84.2 million the prior year. Its results included a $20.4 million charge related to restructuring of the company’s golf business,

The retailer reported $1.7 billion in revenue, up 10.3% from the same period last year and in line with estimates. E-commerce sales increased to 6.3% of sales, from 5.6% of sales the prior year.

Same-store sales increased 3.2%, better than expected, with sales up 4.1% at Dicks and down 9.3% at Golf Galaxy.. . . more

TJX Q2 profit up; raises outlook

TJX Cos. said Tuesday that its second-quarter net income increased a better-than-expected 8% on strong sales in the United States and abroad. The retailer also lifted its full-year earnings forecast.

Revenue rose 7% to $6.92 billion from $6.44 billion. Same-store sales rose 3%. In the U.S., same-store sales increased 2% at T.J. Maxx and Marshalls stores and 5% for HomeGoods locations.. . . more

Family Dollar store closures in the wings

As analysts begin to speculate about the acquisition scenarios for Family Dollar – whether by Dollar Tree or Dollar General – one thing is clear: some store closures will occur.

According to a report by Wall Street Journal Online, a Dollar General takeover would close more stores than if Dollar Tree wins the bid. Dollar General said it is prepared to divest up to 700 of the combined company’s approximate 19,600 stores to satisfy antitrust regulators.. . . more

Loan repayment is key to Market Basket sale

Talks to sell the beleaguered Market Basket grocery chain to Arthur T. Demoulas are not about sale price, but a key factor that has emerged is how much the ousted CEO would pay upfront for the family business, according to sources briefed on the negotiations.

The down payment is one of myriad complex deal points still to be hashed out by a self-imposed Friday deadline, but the final figure could affect many other factors, including the schedule on which future payments would be made, the sources said.. . . more

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Home construction rebounded sharply in July

U.S. home construction jumped a better-than-expected 16% in July, reaching a nine-month high and indicating home builders are betting on strengthening demand as the U.S. economy expands and adds more jobs.

Housing starts increased to nearly 1.1 million on a seasonally adjusted annual rate, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. The strong figures were due to growth in housing starts for single-family and multi-family homes, and follows disappointing data for May and June.. . . more

Preview: KeyPoint Report for Southern New Hampshire

While the 2014 KeyPoint Report for Southern New Hampshire, based on our proprietary GRIID™ retail database, is in production, we will again share some of the early results:

Vacancy Rate: The region continued its upward trend in retail inventory, reaching a level of 30.0 million square feet by the end of the year. This represents a gain of 283,500 square feet, or 1.0%, thanks in large part to Seabrook Commons, DDR’s first ground up development in New England. This 380,000-square-foot power center saw its initial tenant openings in June, highlighted by a new 189,567 square foot Walmart Supercenter (a relocation of its traditional format store in Seabrook).. . . more

Board blames Market Basket workers as vendor splits

Market Basket officials, fighting heavy public relations fire after a major vendor cut ties and publicly slammed their management yesterday, laid the blame at the feet of protesting workers, adding to tensions in the ongoing dispute that’s threatening to take the company under.

The latest turn in the Demoulas family saga came as the supermarket chain’s board met in Boston, but offered no updates after Gov. Deval Patrick and New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan brought feuding cousins Arthur T. Demoulas and Arthur S. Demoulas to the 
bargaining table Sunday night in 
the hopes of brokering an agreement.. . . more

Uno Restaurants launch 'suburban' fast casual pizza concept

Uno Restaurant Holdings Corp. recently launched its own fast casual concept, UNO fresco.

UNO fresco emerged out of the same companies that brought Uno Pizzeria and Grill and Uno Dué Go. Chris Westcott, vice president of Uno Dué Go, said that UNO fresco was designed to offer the same quality of food in a faster environment at an affordable price. The company plans to open seven more locations through 2015.
. . . more