Monday, August 29, 2016

J.C. Penney aims to be king of the mall as Macy's, Sears retreat

Image result for jcpenneyJ.C. Penney Co. is in a surprising position more than four years after it was almost run aground by a former chief executive officer: It could be the last department store standing at your local mall.

As rivals retrench, J.C. Penney is adding new merchandise, exclusive partnerships and services to draw shoppers to its more than 1,000 stores. Sears has closed stores amid $9 billion in losses in recent years and Macy's said this month it would shutter 100 in as-yet unidentified locations -- an act likely to leave J.C. Penney as the main anchor in some malls.. . . more

Why Sears Had to Borrow Another $300 Million From Its CEO

Here comes Eddie Lampert to Sears Holdings’ rescue again.

The hedge fund manager will provide additional debt financing of $300 million to the beleaguered retail company he now heads and created in 2005 by combining Sears department stores and Kmart.

News of the latest helping hand from Lampert, who controls just under half of Sears’ shares, comes amid yet another awful quarter: Comparable sales in the second quarter fell 3.3% at Kmart and 7% at Sears. The company blamed the poor showing on “a challenging competitive environment,” which is difficult to accept given how much better rivals Walmart  and J.C. Penney fared. . . . more

Apple’s Retail Stores Are Undergoing a Dramatic Makeover

Image result for apple union square storeApple  is thinking different—again. This time, the tech giant wants to revolutionize the havens where it hawks its wares by making them destinations for far more than just gadgetry.

Since 2014, retail chief Angela Ahrendts and design chief Jony Ive have been collaborating to revamp the wildly lucrative Apple Store, its glassy temple for iPhones, iPads, Macs, and Watches.. . . more

This Retail Business Is Crushing It and No One Is Talking About It

This Retail Business Is Crushing It and No One Is Talking About ItThere's a retail business with 700 stores nationwide that has 22 straight quarters of positive comparable sales growth and 11 straight quarters with comps up 5% or more. It's notKroger or Costco, but a division of Wal-Mart that has been quietly crushing the competition -- the Neighborhood Market.

Wal-Mart launched its first Neighborhood Market in 1998, but it began aggressively expanding the concept a few years ago, more than doubling the number of stores between fiscal 2013 and fiscal 2015. The pace of expansion peaked in fiscal 2015 with 235 Neighborhood Markets opened, but the company plans to open about 90 stores this year, bringing the total to around 750 stores, about as many as Costco. . . . more

New rules on small drones kick in today: What you need to know

Small droneFor companies that want to use small drones, a new era began Monday.

That’s when rules kicked in that free them from having to request special permission from the federal government for any commercial drone endeavor — a waiver process that often took months.

Although industry experts say the Federal Aviation Administration’s new rules on commercial drones largely make it easier for companies to use the unmanned aerial vehicles, there are still a lot of constraints.

Here’s what you need to know.. . . more

US consumer spending posts slower growth in July

American consumers boosted spending at a slower pace in July, while their incomes accelerated slightly.

Spending grew 0.3 percent in July following a 0.5 percent increase in June, the Commerce Department reported Monday. The slowdown had been expected given an earlier report that retail sales were flat in July. Incomes grew 0.4 percent in July, up from a 0.3 percent increase in June.

Economists are counting on solid gains in consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of economic activity, to power overall growth in the second half of the year.. . . more

Buffalo Wild Wings Coming to Nashua

Image result for buffalo wild wingsBuffalo Wild Wings is opening its fifth New Hampshire store in Nashua next month. The beer and chicken wings sports bar is building at the Pheasant Lane Mall; the location is expected to open sometime in September.

Buffalo Wild Wings currently operates locations in Manchester, Concord, Rochester, and Portsmouth.. . . more

Friday, August 26, 2016

New online tax legislation proposed

Various forms of online sales tax legislation have been introduced in Congress over the past 15 years but none have won passage. And now there is a new proposal.

The new draft online sales tax legislation was released Thursday by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte. His proposal, The Online Sales Tax Simplification Act of 2016, is aimed at addressing disparity in sales tax collection obligations between Main Street retailers and online-only retailers. It would allow states that take certain steps to require online sellers to collect sales tax. . . . more

Kohl’s bets big on beauty

Beauty and skin-care figure prominently in Kohl’s multi-year turnaround plan.

The retailer recently finished adding beauty departments to all its stores, the Dallas Morning News reported, and even managed to do it couple years ahead of schedule.. . . more

Ulta beats Street — again; Q2 sales jump 30%

Ulta Beauty on Thursday posted another spectacular quarter amid surging sales. It was the ninth consecutive quarter that the beauty retailer topped expectations.

Ulta reported net income for the quarter, ended July 30, rose 21.3% to $90.0 million compared to $74.2 million in the year ago period.

Net sales increased 21.9% to $1.07 billion from $877.0 million in the year-ago quarter.. . . more

Specialty menswear retailer swings to profit in Q2

Destination XL Group Inc. reported a profit in its second quarter amid the ongoing strength of its DXL larger store format.

The retailer of big and tall apparel for men posted net income for the second quarter of $0.2 million, compared with a net loss of $1.0 million in the year ago period.

Total sales rose 3.3% to $117.9 million from $114.1 million last year. The increase of $3.8 million in total sales was primarily driven by a same-store sales increase of $2.6 million, or 4.6%, from the chain’s DXL stores.. . . more

West Elm in two new store openings

West Elm doesn’t believe in cookie-cutter stores. The home furnishings retailer will open its location in the state of Rhode Island, in Providence’s Wayland Square neighborhood on Sept. 1. The 11,473-sq.-ft. store will incorporate unique design elements that pay homage to Rhode Island’s history and coastal proximity.

The space has an overall coastal theme, with vintage fishing buoys sourced from the Brimfield Flea Market strung on ropes on the back of the customer checkout. The front of the counter is crafted from reclaimed tin ceiling panels in a unique scalloped pattern.. . . more

Dollar Tree Q2 sales disappoint

A little over one year since it acquired rival Family Dollar, Dollar Tree reported revenue that missed Wall Street expectations amid lower customer traffic.

Dollar Tree and other discounters are also feeling the impact of a recent change by some states regarding the criteria for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which has made thousands of households ineligible for benefits.. . . more

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Cramer: We've got retail all wrong — time to bury the 'death of the mall' story

Jim Cramer says the theory that brick-and-mortar retail are losers that cannot overthrow Amazon is completely wrong.

"The conventional wisdom about shopping has been totally wrong … This past quarter put the lie to that supposition in so many ways," the "Mad Money" host said.

Amazon's $50 billion in domestic sales in the past year was an indicator to Cramer that there is market share for everyone, as the U.S. had $4.71 trillion in retail sales during the same time period.

Brick-and-mortars, which once seemed like zombies, once again have a pulse.. . . more

Express tumbles in Q2

Express Inc. cut its annual profit forecast as the chain struggled with declining sales and weak store traffic in its second quarter.

The retailer reported net income of $10.1 million for the quarter ended July 30, short of Wall Street expectations, down from $21 million, in the year-ago period.. . . more

Abercrombie & Fitch expanding global footprint through wholesale deal

Shoppers in select foreign markets have a new way to purchase goods from Abercrombie & Fitch.

The retailer on Wednesday announced a wholesale agreement with Zalando SE, a Germany-based online retailer that carries more than 150,000 styles from some 1,500 brands for women, men and kids and counts more than 18 million active customers. Beginning this week, Zalando will start selling Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister and abercrombie kids products through its online stores in the 15 European markets it serves.. . . more

Williams-Sonoma not feeling too bullish

Williams-Sonoma Inc. reported mixed results for the second quarter, and issued a weak outlook for the current quarter amid "a more cautious consumer.”

The retailer reported net earnings of $51.8 million for the quarter ended July 31, compared with $53.7 million in the year-ago period.

Net revenues increased 2.1% to $1.16 billion, short of expectations, up from $1.13 billion last year. . . . more

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Macy's is closing 100 stores — here's where they will likely shut down

Macy'sThe business analytics firm 1010data identified the most at-risk areas based on a review of consumer spending data that showed where Macy's is losing the most market share to competitors including Dillard's, Nordstrom, and Lord and Taylor.

Here are the top 10 cities where Macy's lost the most market share between 2014 and 2015— and where the company is most likely to close stores as a result, according to 1010 data.. . . more

Are we really on the brink of a 'restaurant recession?

In the past several weeks, the picture we've gotten of the restaurant industry hasn't exactly been a promising one. Dunkin' Donuts saw traffic slip at its U.S. locations in the latest quarter. Potbelly Sandwich Works said it expects to be challenged by a "more cautious consumer" in the near future. And McDonald's said its sales were hampered by a broad-based retreat from dining out.

Talk of a "restaurant recession" has been percolating on the internet after an investment bank analyst used the provocative phrase in a research note to describe where the dining industry -- and the overall economy -- might be headed. So, what's going on here? Here, we break down a few popular theories.. . . more

Kohl's wants your beauty bucks, and here's why

Kohl's just finished adding beauty departments to all its 1,100 stores a couple years ahead of schedule.

Getting into the beauty business with top prestige brands of Lorac, Pür, Bliss and theBalm, is a key part of Kohl's multi-year turnaround plan. Overall, sales have stalled in recent years following a long run as one of the nation's fastest growing retailers. Now, as one of the mature chains, it's looking for sales gains from its existing stores. . . . more

Forest City to consider disposing of retail assets

Forest City Realty Trust may be on its way to having a greatly reduced investment in the mall industry and a bigger one in apartments and office assets.
The Cleveland-based firm announced it is reviewing strategic alternatives for its retail portfolio. Forest City holds ownership stakes in 14 regional malls across the country and 19 specialty retail centers, mostly in New York City. The East River Plaza, which fronts the FDR Drive in Manhattan at 116th Street, is a Forest City property.. . . more

Sears moves to elevate apparel offerings with fashion-forward, in-store concept

In an unusual move for a retailer that has not invested much in the way of its physical assets recently, Sears is launching an in-store shop concept, called Showcase at Sears, which will feature some 10 European and Latin America apparel brands – most available for the first time in the United States. The shops will feature men’s, women's and children’s apparel, along with women's shoes, intimates and handbags. Apparel styles will range from fast fashions to fitness to professional looks, with prices ranging from $10 to $175.
The concept will initially launch in five New York-area stores this fall, including The Galleria at White Plains (White Plains, N.Y.), Green Acres Mall (Valley Stream, N.Y.) and Newport Centre Mall (Jersey City, N.J.). Sears is building 10,000 to 15,000-sq-ft. Showcase boutiques within the existing apparel footprint of each location that will be staffed by dedicated associates.. . . more

Retailer in store expansion push

Not all retailers are reducing their store portfolios. 
DSW Inc. announced it will open 21 stores nationwide between August and October. The footwear and accessories retailer currently operates 482 stores in 42 states.  
The new store locations will span from California to Connecticut. . . . more

Sporting goods retailer expands New York footprint

Modell’s Sporting Goods will open two stores in the New York metro area on August 25, bringing its total store count to 156 locations.  

The openings include Modell’s 11th location in Brooklyn, and a store in in Mount Kisco.. . . more

HoJo eateries near extinction

The closing of one of the last two Howard Johnson restaurants in a couple of weeks will mark the end of its fried clam strips, ice cream and other menu staples that nourished baby boomers and leave the once-proud restaurant chain teetering on the brink of extinction.

The slice of roadside Americana will no longer be served up in Bangor after Sept. 6.. . . more