Monday, August 31, 2009
The rebates, expected to be available in November, are part of the Obama administration's stimulus program and are designed to boost sales of more energy-efficient home appliances. . . . more
The recession and declining mall sales have spurred a historical change in fashion-oriented shopping centers.
Mall owners are being forced to think outside the big box as retail tenants dry up because of bankruptcies and closures, and are now focusing on nontraditional businesses to fill their growing vacancies, at 7.5 percent industrywide. . . . more
Some specialty apparel stores stores are showing signs of life, but commercial real estate still has a long way to go, he noted. With some $300 billion to $400 billion of debt to be financed, with no liquidity in sight, he said, the hole is still pretty deep.. . . more
The now-ended Cash for Clunkers program helped lift consumer spending last month and is expected to deliver a bigger boost in August. But any economic rebound likely would falter if shoppers lack the income to spend more in the long run.. . . more
It would require widening Route 28 from two lanes to five. A public hearing is scheduled for tomorrow night. The Town Council might create a tax increment finance district in the area that would help fund infrastructure improvements. Councilors are expected to vote on the TIF Sept. 15.. . . more
The struggling luxury chain attracted industry criticism last October when -- only weeks after the Wall Street crisis peaked -- it slashed prices 40 percent across its stores. Holiday markdowns grew to more than 80 percent, spurring speculation that Saks might not survive 2009. . . . more
Friday, August 28, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
The Quincy-based chain added in a press release that is also "introducing new shelf tags and in-store signage, along with a redesigned loyalty card.". . . more
Looking back, retail sales trends in selected categories began showing signs that American consumers may have overextended themselves as early as fall of 2006. In October of that year, the Building Materials, Garden Equipment and Supply category experienced its first monthly decline in total sales since March 2001. Since the fall of 2006, spurred on by the housing crisis and declining home purchases, Building Materials sales have experienced only two positive months, and none since November 2007.
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Hong Kong Supermarkets officials declined to disclose the sale price because it had not been finalized, but Hong Kong Supermarkets’ comptroller Richard Tang said the news would be official any day now.
“It’s coming soon,’’ Tang said of the new ownership. “Hopefully by this weekend you’ll see posters’’ announcing the change.. . . more
Toys “R” Us, the U.S.-based specialty toy retailer, announced a national plan that lets consumers trade in their used cribs, car seats and other baby-related items in exchange for a 20-percent discount to buy a new product in the same categories and by specific manufacturers.. . . more
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
The positive investor response came despite a double-digit slide in Casual Male’s sales for the quarter ended Aug. 1. The company’s top line totaled $98.3 million, off 13.4 percent from the $113.5 million in sales posted a year earlier. Among stores that have been open for at least a year, Casual Male’s year-over-year sales slide was 13.9 percent.. . . more
“The impact from lower energy prices on grocery store prices has largely been played out, and so we’re now looking at grocery store prices to rise modestly through the end of the year,” said Mark Vitner, a managing director and senior economist at Wells Fargo. . . . more
According to a new report from Reapoint LLC, the delinquent unpaid balance for CMBS decreased in July for the first time since August 2008—snapping a string of 10 straight monthly increases. The balance fell to $25.68 billion from $28.65 billion a month prior. However, the good news may prove to be short-lived.
The decline came after nearly $4.8 billion of General Growth-sponsored loans were returned to current payment status following a 30-day delinquent status in June. . . . more
As many as 10,000 retail stores will close nationwide this year, led by clothing stores, electronics and food-and-beverage stores, and department stores, in that order, a study released Tuesday shows.
If the forecast holds, the store closings this year will be nearly double that of last year, when store closings stood at 5,100, said Sandra Reese, a principal at Grant Thornton LLP's offices in Chicago. Last year, the biggest store closings occurred in electronics, followed by home improvement-furnishings stores and in third place, apparel stores.. . . more
Massachusetts’ highest court has ruled the state cannot collect sales taxes from a New Hampshire retail store that sold tires to Bay State customers, ending a case some tax specialists saw as an effort to dramatically expand the state’s taxing authority.
The unanimous ruling by the Supreme Judicial Court found that the Department of Revenue, which initiated the case in 2003 while Mitt Romney was governor, overreached in its interpretation of state law, and failed to prove it had the right to collect taxes on tires sold by Connecticut-based Town Fair Tire Centers.. . . more
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
In the midst of the real estate boom, the answer would have been a resounding ``No.'' But times have changed. Bankruptcy has left a trail of retail vacancies including Circuit City, Linens 'N Things and Sound Advice. Plus many national retailers are putting the brakes on expansion plans. That's forced some South Florida landlords to get creative in order to fill space. . . . more
It's the first time since December 2008 that home sales have increased year over year.
The Warren Group, a Boston-based publisher of real estate data, on Tuesday credited the 11.8 percent jump to low interest rates, reduced prices, first-time homebuyer tax credits and improved consumer confidence.. . . more
Advent International Corp. agreed to pay $17.50 a share in cash to take over the San Diego chain, which announced in March that it was formally putting itself up for sale after a difficult holiday season.. . . more
The second-largest U.S. brick-and-mortar book retailer, behind Barnes & Noble Inc , posted a net loss of $45.6 million, or 76 cents per share, in the second quarter ended August 1, compared with a loss of $11.3 million, or 19 cents per share, a year earlier.. . . more
“We are pleased that even during these challenging times we continue to move our business forward in both domestic and international markets,” said Farooq Kathwari, Chairman, President and CEO of Ethan Allen. . . . more
Monday, August 24, 2009
A hotel is listed as the second phase of the Market Basket project in an application submitted to the Hooksett Planning Department.
The proposed supermarket location is on Route 3A, directly next to the southbound side of Interstate 93 at Exit 10. The supermarket property would be connected to Central Park Drive and is only two property lots away from the Walmart SuperCenter that had its grand opening Wednesday. Town officials announced Aug. 11 that a Market Basket is planned for the location.. . . more
But neither critics of the project, or the city's courtship of it, should see that as any reason to begin writing the development off before it even opens.
Last week's word that Staples, the office supply giant, will not be among the three anchor stores that Boston developer Sam Park had hoped would be in place when the commercial, retail and housing complex opens this later this month and next off the Route 128 extension just above Blackburn Circle, may, for some dampen what should be an exciting time for all connected with this project, and local consumers.. . . more
Plans are still in the works to operate 800 Dick's stores throughout the country, up from its current 409, said Edward Stack, the retailer's chairman and chief executive officer, during his company's second-quarter earnings call. "We're not changing our store count right now," he said.
But many of those stores could go into existing spaces since developers are having trouble coming up with capital to build new projects. "We think the new development piece is going to be difficult," Stack said. . . . more
Alex Carleton will take L.L. Bean’s classic style elements and give them a modern look that’s meant to be slimmer, hipper, and more urban but not a radical departure from L.L. Bean’s traditional tartan plaid shirts, thick sweaters, and rubber-soled hunting boots.. . . more
Lisa O'Brien, owner of Underwired vintage clothing store in downtown Bethlehem, is focusing on keeping her prices reasonable and getting to know her customers by name as she tries to make it a personal experience in her shop.
Urszula Abolik, owner of Amber Connection fashion boutique on Hamilton Boulevard in Allentown, hosts events such as belly dancing demonstrations and recitals to draw a crowd with the hope they return to purchase some of her store's goods.. . . more
The company appears to be zeroing in on land along Howard Road Southeast, next to Poplar Point. Developer Jeff Epperson, president of Urban-City Ventures LLC, said he is in ongoing discussions with the chain about opening its first D.C. store there.. . . more
"This month is not unexpectedly bad news like the two previous months," Neal Elkin, president of REAL, in a release accompanying the newest Moody's/REAL National All Property Type Aggregate Index. "It could signal the beginning of a gradual tapering of the decline, the beginning of the final stage of the price correction from the lofty bubble of two years ago." . . . more
Dollar General, which is owned by the private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, filed on Thursday with regulators for an initial public offering, seeking to raise as much as $750 million. Since the filing is preliminary, it's not entirely clear how the proceeds will be spent, but some of the money will go to pay down the retailer's sizeable debt.. . . more
Advent International will pay $17.50 per Charlotte share in a tender offer, representing a premium of 27 percent to the stock's Friday's close.. . . more
Friday, August 21, 2009
Dollar General said in its filing that it was seeking to raise $750 million, which would make it one of the bigger initial offerings this year. Kohlberg Kravis will help underwrite the sale.
As the stock markets have posted gains this year, private equity firms — which typically hold onto companies for several years — have indicated that they will seek to cash out by taking their acquisitions public.
Dollar General said in its filing that it would pay a special $200 million dividend to its existing investors. Kohlberg Kravis acquired the retailer for $7.2 billion in 2007. . . . more
In reporting stellar quarterly results, The Buckle Inc. and Aéropostale Inc. pulled well ahead of the pack — and marginally above analysts’ consensus expectations — at a time when, confronted by weak mall traffic and indifferent consumers, most youth-focused chains would be content to simply tread water.
If there are questions about the two specialty retailers among investors, they stem from their ability to sustain such strong performances. . . . more
Thursday, August 20, 2009
President and COO of BJ's, Laura Sen, explained that the wholesale club was planning a few smaller-sized stores with a footprint of around 85,000 square feet. The notion, Sen said, was to find a model that worked for a middle-sized market more efficiently than a larger club. The smaller-box offers BJ's some flexibility in space, as well as an ability to push into a dense market, which they could not entertain with their full-box. "Certainly, we have the flexibility to run clubs like this and we know that they can produce some very attractive ROIs, so we are going to be able to slip into some marketplaces that we know competition could not go and within our current geography," Sen said. . . . more
It's a stark harbinger of what looms ahead for recession-battered retail real estate. A growing number of vacant branches being dumped on the market due to mergers and Chapter 11 filings are poised to push vacancy rates higher and exacerbate weak property values.
During boom times, WaMu opened about 170 branches in the Chicago area. The growth spurt underscored the Seattle company's ambition to be the Wal-Mart of retail banking. WaMu attempted to build a presence in "Chicagoland" from the ground up by opening brand new branches to attract customers. It was a nontraditional strategy given that banks usually purchase an existing bank or branch network to expand into new regions.
As WaMu struggled, it shuttered about 60 branches in Chicagoland before it went bankrupt and was acquired by JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) earlier this year. Subsequently, JPMorgan Chase closed about 70 more branches in the area, leaving only 40 of the original WaMu branches open, a company spokesman confirmed. Nationwide, Chase has closed nearly 400 one-time WaMu branches. . . . more
The success of the chain’s tie-ins with last year’s vampire-centric Twilight film and more than 6,000 individual in-store music performances have helped tenant/developer, and even tenant/tenant relations, as the promotions draw young shoppers, says Betsy McLaughlin, CEO.
“Developers are happy with us,” McLaughlin says. “They’ve gone from being suspicious of us to asking how they can help us. Many other retailers have been helpful because they seeing us driving traffic to the mall.” . . . more
Even sexy isn't selling in this lengthy recession.
Limited Brands, the owner of the Victoria's Secret chain, posted quarterly profits on Wednesday night that beat expectations - but only by trimming expenses and luring customers with discounts.
The company, which also owns Bath & Body Works, said profits tumbled 27% to $74.3 million from $102 million a year ago.
Sales fell 13% to $2.3 billion, and sales at stores open at least a year, a key gauge of a retailer's health, were down 9%.
Nonetheless, Limited boosted its yearly outlook last night, and its shares rose more than 2% in after-hours trading. The stock, which gained 61 cents to $14.58 in regular trading, has surged 45% this year. . . . more
The weak housing market cost it sales in home-improvement and appliance categories at Sears department stores, and clothing sales were weak at both Sears and its Kmart discount chain.
Shares fell $9.26, or 12.6 percent, to $64.50 in premarket trading.
The retailer lost $94 million, or 79 cents per share, for the period ended Aug. 1. That compares with a profit of $65 million, or 50 cents per share, a year ago. It was the company's third loss in the past six quarters. . . . more
Seventy percent of industry executives expect business to improve next year, with about two-thirds predicting stronger revenue (68 percent) and greater profitability (66 percent).
Executives said they expect the retail job market to improve (84 percent), with 32 percent believing conditions will be better than in 2009. More than half (52 percent) of executives polled said they are confident that stability is on the way. Only 14 percent of respondents reported possible further headcount reductions.
“The KPMG survey findings reflected an expression of guarded optimism among retail executives, given the industry’s challenges as demand for goods continued to plummet during the recession,” said Mark Larson, KPMG global retail sector chair. “Their optimism is in sharp contrast even with the latest report from the Commerce Department, which revealed last week that retail sales dropped in July, despite evidence that the economy has stopped contracting and that economists were forecasting a gain in sales.”. . . more
A 4-percent increase in comparable store sales helped to drive sales to the $4.7 billion mark for the quarter and $9.1 billion for the first half of the company’s 2010 fiscal year. Despite the adverse impact of foreign exchange rates, that volume delivered a quarterly profit of $262 million, a 27-percent increase over the previous year. Carol Meyrowitz, TJX president and ceo, credited the company’s “extreme values on exciting brands and fashions” for “extraordinary increases” in consumer traffic counts. . . . more
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Last Thursday, the world’s largest retailer, Walmart (WMT), reported a surprising 1.5% drop in same store sales at U.S. Walmart stores. That is only the second drop (the other was -0.1%) I see in my data going back almost 10 years.
What does it mean? I think there are two interpretations of this. It can be argued that the drop in sales at Walmart is a result of an improving economy. As the stock, real estate and job markets improve, consumers are feeling better and have more money in their pockets. As a result, they are trading up, shopping at more expensive retailers instead of trading down to Walmart as they were in the depths of the recession. The other interpretation is that consumers are under so much pressure that they are cutting back even at discount stores like Walmart.
There is an obvious way to decide between these two interpretations. How are sales at other, higher-end, retailers?
This morning, Target (TGT) reported their second quarter earnings. Same store sales dropped a staggering 6.2% from the year ago period. Earnings held up pretty well as a result of lower costs of goods. During the boom years, there was a notable shift among consumers away from Walmart and towards Target. A classic Wall Street Journal article documented this trend: “Walmart Era Wanes Amid Big Shifts In Retail”, The Wall Street Journal, October 3, 2007, A1. But that trend has reversed during the great recession and the resulting “Walmart Economy”. . . . more
Home Depot Chief Financial Officer Carol Tome said tough industry conditions mean additional opportunities for market-share gains by the world's largest home-improvement retailer by sales.
"The good news is there's a lot of market share to go get," Tome said in an interview Tuesday.
Like smaller rival Lowe's Cos. (LOW), Home Depot believes it is taking market share from smaller dealers, including lumber and building material suppliers and specialty stores, Tome said.
"We're at 20% [market share], [Lowe's is] at 15%, so we're at 35% together," Tome said. "There's a lot of market share to get."
Earlier, Home Depot said that its market share increased from a year earlier in 6 of 13 consumer-oriented departments, including appliances, paint, hardware and lawn and garden. . . . more
* Q2 sales fall 5.2 pct
* Raises full-year profit outlook
BANGALORE, Aug 19 (Reuters) - BJ's Wholesale Club (BJ.N) reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday on improved margins, and the warehouse club operator raised its profit outlook for the year.
BJ's profit for the second quarter that ended Aug. 1, was $35.1 million, or 64 cents per share, compared with $36.5 million, or 61 cents per share, a year earlier.
Analysts, on average, had been expecting earnings of 62 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates.
BJ's previously announced its second-quarter sales fell 5.2 percent to $2.5 billion, while sales at its clubs open at least a year, or same-store sales, dropped 7.7 percent.
As the recession pressures household budgets, warehouse clubs such as Costco Wholesale Corp (COST.O), Wal-Mart Stores Inc's (WMT.N) Sam's Club and BJ's Wholesale are attracting shoppers seeking low prices on staple items, like bread and paper towels.
People pay an annual fee to shop in the clubs and get discounts on everything from cartons of fresh fruit to flat panel TVs and gasoline for their cars.
But the clubs are facing greater challenges compared with a year ago when high gas prices and food inflation spurred their sales.
For the full year, the company expects earnings of $2.46 to $2.56 a share, up from its prior outlook of about $2.44 to $2.54 a share.
Plans call for opening three to five new Off Fifth stores a year across the United States in a combination of outlet malls and strip centers, said Stephen I. Sadove, chairman and CEO.
“Growing OFF 5TH makes even more sense in this environment, as customers focus on value,” Sadove said. “There is less than 10% overlap between Saks Fifth Avenue and Off Fifth customers, so we are essentially reaching an entirely different customer base with these stores.”
The company has letters of intent for Saks stores in Westchester County, NY, and San Juan, Puerto Rico, but those appear to be less certain. . . . more
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
The Miami man accused of masterminding the theft of more than 40 million credit card numbers from TJX Cos. of Framingham, BJ’s Wholesale Club of Natick, and other stores four years ago was charged yesterday with a new crime, said to be the largest data theft in US history.
Federal prosecutors yesterday charged Albert Gonzalez, 28, and two unnamed conspirators with breaking into the computer networks of several major financial institutions and retailers around the country and stealing data from more than 130 million credit and debit cards. . . more
Monday, August 17, 2009
Five Below's real estate requirements call for a 6,500 to 8,500-square-foot store with at least 55 feet of frontage located in a mall, lifestyle center, power center or outlet center. The company prefers a population of at least 125,000 with at least 13% age 0 - 9 and 30% college graduates and a median household income of at least $50,000 in the trade area. The company has targeted PA, Washington D.C., Baltimore, New England, NJ, DE, and New York City for expansion.
The lack of financing has been a chief cause of falling values on office, retail and apartment buildings since 2007, forcing sales at depressed prices. To avoid that, lenders have been busy extending or renegotiating loans, aiming to mitigate investor losses.
Tight credit has exacerbated the effect of the U.S. recession, which has increased vacancies and reduced rents to a point where revenue is falling short of debt payments. . . . more
School is coming, but that doesn't mean parents are spending on anything but their children's basic needs. Notebooks, pencils and calculators? Sure. The latest in cool shirts, pants and shoes? Forget it.
Consumers surveyed by the NPD Group, a market research firm specializing in retail, are showing even more resistance toward laying out cash for back-to-school shopping than they did last year. With the new school year just around the corner, 44% of respondents told NPD Group they plan to spend less on back-to-school shopping than they did last year. That's up 9% from the same point in 2008. Only 23% said they plan to spend more, eight points down from last year. About 32% will spend the same as last year.
"Parents are taking back control of the purchasing decisions from their kids this year," says Britt Beemer, who runs America's Research Group, which tracks consumer spending habits. Beemer predicts back-to-school sales will drop by a whopping 8.5% to 12% this year, by far the biggest decline in the 12 years he's been tracking the season. It would also mark the first time back-to-school sales decline two years in a row. . . . more
The company also plans to scale back store openings in its next fiscal year in response to the poor economy and consumer pullback.
"Wavering consumer confidence, unseasonable weather in core markets, and restrained customer spending compared to last year's fiscal stimulus-aided results led to lower than expected sales in the second quarter," said Robert Niblock, Lowe's chairman and CEO. . . . more
The offering will help Brookfield, which owns commercial properties in the United States and Canada, and especially New York City, deal with its debt load. Roughly $3.5 billion of that debt, for instance, is due in 2011.
The company is hardly alone in turning to investors for a cash infusion. According to the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, there have been more than 50 common stock offerings in the first half of 2009 that have fetched the REIT industry a considerable $15 billion for its trouble. . . . more
“There is a wide and still growing price differential between the two,” McDowell said during the New York City-based REIT’s recent second quarter earnings call. He likewise said that cap rates have not risen nearly as much for net lease properties with in-place financing and high-quality tenants as they have for other assets. . . . more
Friday, August 14, 2009
But it is surprising that the two brands would consider co-existing in U.S. stores.. . . more
In one of the biggest single transactions locally, the Florida-based developer paid $68.5 million to buy back Boulevard Consumer Square on Niagara Falls Boulevard in Amherst. . . .more
The market-research firm Hartman Group, in Bellevue, takes a longer view, saying a radical transformation was happening before the recession hit.. . . more
This is a Wal-Mart?
That's the reaction the world's biggest retailer wants you to have shopping, and it knows that's not always the case. So Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is launching an immense renovation of U.S. stores to a new, cleaner, brighter, happier design.. . . more