Monday, January 31, 2011

Costco May Expand Businesses

Costco Warehouse Corp. here told shareholders Thursday it hopes to expand its members-only business stores and its car-wash test, according to local reports.

The company operates eight free-standing Costco Business stores, which sell office supplies and restaurant equipment to members. It also operates six car washes and is considering expanding that business if the first six do well, executives said. . . . more

U.S. Consumer Spending, Incomes Probably Increased in December

Consumer spending in the U.S. probably accelerated in December, capping its strongest quarter in more than four years, economists said before a report today.

Purchases, which account for about 70 percent of the economy, rose 0.5 percent after a 0.4 percent gain in November, according to the median estimate of 58 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Incomes grew for a third month, and inflation remained below the Federal Reserve's long-term forecast.. . . more

Borders to delay paying some bills to remain liquid

Troubled Borders Group said Sunday that payment of some bills due at the end of January is being delayed to help the Ann Arbor company "maintain liquidity" while trying to complete a restructuring of its debt.

Last week, the company received a commitment for $550 million in financing from General Electric Capital, subject to conditions that include securing $175 million from other lenders and continuing to close stores.. . . more
Gap looks like it has expansion plans for its 1969 premium denim collection.

Crain's New York Business reports that the San Francisco-based specialty retailer has signed its first new Manhattan lease in many years, and Gap Inc. plans to open its third outpost of its Gap 1969 concept there. It is a 2,800 square foot space at 513 Broadway in Soho.

Other Gap 1969 denim boutiques are in Los Angeles and Chicago. . . . more

Aldi planing to add up to 100 new stores around country

Germany, intends to open 80 to 100 new stores this year, company officials say, taking advantage of shoppers’ increased hunger for cut rate grocers.

Company spokeswoman Julie Ketay said Aldi currently has more than 1,135 stores in more than 30 states.. . . more

Friday, January 28, 2011

Mass. economy slows in fourth quarter

The Massachusetts economy slowed significantly in the fourth quarter of 2010, the first time in a year that the US economy grew faster than the state's.

Gross state product in Massachusetts grew at an estimated annual rate of 1.8 percent in the fourth quarter, according to a report published today by the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

The US Department of Commerce said the nation's gross domestic product increased 3.2 percent during the same quarter.. . . more

Wal-Mart seeks opening

Labor activists are lining up against Wal-Mart’s plans to move into Boston, as the retail behemoth tries to get ahead of critics by quietly chatting up city officials and scouting neighborhoods for the best store locations. The world’s biggest discount chain started laying the groundwork for a market-shifting move last fall. Boston City Councilor Michael Ross said he’s met with Wal-Mart executives who are hoping to open one or more of its smaller-size stores in the city. . . more

Branded Retailers Look to Real Estate for 2011 Growth

In 2011, value-driven chain Rue 21 Inc. plans to build 110 more stores.

And Rue 21 is not alone in its ambitious expansion plans. The Wet Seal Inc., Joe’s Jeans Inc., True Religion Inc. and Guess? Inc. all announced retail expansion plans at the conference, where retailers and retail analysts discussed coming opportunities and challenges against a backdrop of a breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean. . . . more

Borders must close some stores as part of $550M boost

Borders Group has received financing for $550 million from GE Capital, but it includes several conditions including store closures.
In a statement Thursday, the Ann Arbor-based bookseller did not rule out bankruptcy.. . . more

Business as usual at Ultimate Electronics despite bankruptcy filing

For customers, it will be business as usual at one metro-east electronics store after filing for bankruptcy.

Ultimate Electronics Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Thursday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del. The Thornton, Colo.-based electronics and home entertainment retailer has 46 stores across the nation. . . . more

Consumer spending and trade buoy economy

The U.S. economy gathered speed in the fourth quarter, though a touch below expectations, with the biggest gain in consumer spending in more than four years and strong exports offering the clearest signals yet that a sustainable recovery is under way.

Even with growth quickening, however, progress reducing unemployment has been painfully slow, and the report on U.S. gross domestic product on Friday is little comfort for millions of unemployed Americans or the Federal Reserve officials on a jobs-creation vigil.. . . more

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Curious Case of Vanishing Retail Properties

More than 7 million sq. ft. of retail projects slated for completion in 2010 were delayed or cancelled. This pullback in construction led to only 4.1 million sq. ft. of retail space coming on line. The recovery prospects for the retail sector will depend critically on whether these properties are delivered in 2011, or have been cancelled altogether.

From 2004 to 2008, an average of 26.2 million sq. ft. of new strip mall space opened for business annually. It was only in 2009 when deliveries slowed to a trickle in response to challenging economic conditions that completions fell below 13 million sq. ft. . . . more

Stone Flower dresses for Hub success

A New York company specializing in one-size party dresses will be the newest retailer targeting teens and young women at Boston’s Faneuil Hall Marketplace.

Stone Flower, which caters to 16- to 25-year-olds, also sells tops and skirts under its own label, and jewelry and accessories.. . . more

Rite Aid's same-store sales get a boost

Rite Aid on Thursday morning posted a same-store sales increase of 1.1% for the four weeks ended Jan. 22, including a 2.2% lift across the front-end and growth of 0.6% in pharmacy comparable sales.

Prescription count at comparable stores was flat compared with the prior-year period.. . . more

Customer Growth Partners projects 5.1% retail growth in 2011

The retail industry will grow by 5.1% in 2011, the strongest growth in four years, according to Customer Growth Partners’ 2011 Forecast and Outlook. The New Canaan, Conn.-based consulting and research firm projects that the industry will create over half a million new jobs in 2010, the most of any employment sector, and that retail sales will reach a record level of almost $2.9 trillion. . . . more

Stocking up on Supervalu

It's hard being a grocer these days. With consumers pinching pennies and Wal-Mart poaching customers, all the major chains have been squeezed -- none more than Supervalu. Sales at the country's third-largest grocery company -- which owns Shaws, Albertsons, Jewel, among other chains -- fell by 6% to $8.7 billion in its last quarter. Profits dropped 54%. And its shares have tumbled 52% over the past year.

The problem is that as grocers fight each other with price cuts, Supervalu  has tried a Goldilocks approach: trim prices enough to attract shoppers, but not too much that profits get squeezed. It hasn't worked. . . . more

Burlington Mall snags stores

The Burlington Mall will open a handful of new stores this spring including a restaurant that boasts the world’s best hot dogs, a Chinese eatery, a shop that offers the latest styles for women and a designer swimwear boutique.

Mall shoppers can expect a Spike’s Junkyard Dogs, Juicy Couture, Swim N’ Sport and China Max in the coming months, according to Simon Malls, owner of the Burlington Mall.. . . more

Walmart Supercenter's Environmental Impact Report is approved

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. cleared one of its biggest hurdles in the permitting process to build a 157,000-square-foot Walmart Supercenter on Curran Memorial Highway (Route 8)  in North Adams, MA when the state approved its Environmental Impact Report.

In a certificate of compliance released on Friday, state Secretary of Environmental Affairs Richard K. Sullivan Jr. signed the final Environmental Impact Report, noting that the "project proposed for North Adams represents a significant improvement in Wal-Mart’s commitment to energy efficiency."
. . . more

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Needham-based company aims to bring retail center to West Bridgewater

A Needham-based company is seeking to build a 77,000-square-foot “lifestyle” shopping center off Route 24 in West Bridgewater, the building inspector said this week.

Waterstone Retail Development is seeking permits from various town boards to build the complex on a nine-acre property at 352 West Center St., which is Route 106, Building Inspector Steven Solari said.. . . more

Confidence Increases More Than Forecast

Confidence among U.S. consumers rose more than forecast in January, reaching an eight-month high, as the outlook for jobs brightened.

The Conference Board’s sentiment index increased to 60.6 from 53.3 the prior month, figures from the New York-based private research group showed today. . . . more

Subway Ramps Up Expansion Plans

Milford, Conn.-based Subway plans to add between 800 and 1,000 more U.S. locations to its portfolio in 2011. In 2010, the sandwich giant opened approximately 1,000 new restaurants across the nation.

Over the next five years, the restaurant chain hopes to open a significant number of stores in low-density markets, such as Philadelphia, Boston, Southern California and the outer boroughs of New York. The new restaurants will average between 1,200 sq. ft. and 1,800 sq. ft. in size.. . . more

Rugged Bear files for Chapter 11

The Rugged Bear Co. filed Tuesday for protection under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code.

The Norwood, Mass., purveyor of children's clothing listed assets and liabilities both in the range of $10 million to $50 million. . . . more

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cumberland Farms testing drive-thru grocery store

Americans are accustomed to fulfilling their fast-food fixes at drive-thrus, and now Cumberland Farms customers can get their daily newspaper, bread or gallon of milk without leaving their cars.

The convenience store chain is testing the first drive-thru of its kind for New England at its Kingston store with plans to add a few more by summer. . . more

Monday, January 24, 2011

Delhaize to spend on new stores

Delhaize Group said late Thursday it plans to spend €900 million ($1.21 billion) opening new stores and remodelling existing outlets, despite a tough retail environment which saw its same-store sales decline 0.8% in the fourth quarter.. . . more

Maine-based sports chain keeps growing

An off-the-beaten-path town straddling the Canadian border might not seem the best place to open a retail sports store. After all, Derby, Vt., has just 5,000 residents and is hours by car to the nearest big city, Montreal. But for Olympia Sports, a 185-store chain based in Westbrook, towns like Derby are keys to success.

Olympia, which was founded by Portland resident Edward Manganello 35 years ago, has expanded across New England and grown into a major player in the retail sports industry, thanks in part to a strategy of selling family sports equipment in towns lacking a large retail presence. . . more

Urban malls on the rebound

At the Westfield Culver City mall, crowds of lunchtime diners fill scores of booths and tables while others line up to order meals at one of the many counters.

You can still find the mall culinary standard Hot Dog on a Stick tucked discreetly off to one side. But more urbane fare such as sushi, Vietnamese noodles and Korean chicken is the norm in the area once known as the food court. . . more

J.C. Penney to close stores as part of restructuring; names Ackman to board

J.C. Penney on Monday unveiled a restructuring plan, which includes close five department stores and one home store, because they are no longer profitable enough. The retailer named William Ackman to its board after the activist investor became its biggest shareholder

As part of the restructuring, J.C. Penney will wind down its catalog business by shutting 19 outlet stores in the course of 2011 and 2012. The retailer will streamline its call center operations and custom decorating business, closing its call center facilities in Grand Rapids, Mich., and Albuquerque, N.M. J.C. Penney will consolidate all activity supporting its department store and online customers into three existing facilities in Columbus, Ohio, Pittsburgh and Milwaukee. . . more

TCBY in long-term deal with Lone Star Yogurt to open 200 stores

On the heels of a new self-serve prototype, TCBY, announced an agreement with Lone Star Yogurt to open 200 stores over the next 10 years with area developer.

Lone Star Yogurt plans to open its first TCBY self-serve store in January in Lone Star’s hometown of Tyler, Texas. It has committed to open another 24 TCBY self-serve stores in East Texas, Dallas, Ft. Worth and Houston in the next 18 months. . . more

A.J. Wright layoffs begin

Most of the 800 workers at the A.J. Wright distribution center in Fall River were dismissed last week as the facility gets set to close for good, the Herald News reports . . . more

A retail revival in eastern Massachusetts

Retail vacancy rates are falling across eastern Massachusetts and boosting prospects for new shopping plazas planned for towns such as Pembroke and Sharon. Retail vacancies in the region peaked at 9.8 percent last March but have since fallen below 9 percent, said Robert Sheehan, director of research for KeyPoint Partners, a commercial real estate company in Burlington.

“That’s a pretty dramatic drop and a lot of that is because the vacant (big) boxes have been absorbed, which eats up the vacant square-footage in a hurry,” Sheehan said. . . more

Friday, January 21, 2011

Whole Foods’ foes gear up for battle over site

A day after Whole Foods announced it would replace a long-time Latino grocery store with affordable prices in Jamaica Plain, neighborhood groups are rallying the troops to ensure community concerns are heard.

And the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council is none too pleased that it was snubbed by the upscale natural and organic grocery chain and only learned it would take the place of Hi-Lo Foods from a press report. . . . more

Hooters chain sold to Charlotte firm

It appears a Charlotte-based private equity firm has won the right to purchase the Hooters restaurant chain from the estate of the late Myrtle Beach businessman Robert Brooks.

Chanticleer Holdings LLC of Charlotte had the right of first refusal to buy the chain and court documents indicate Brooks' estate is prepared to sell its holdings to Chanticleer.. . . more

Retailers Say Store Expansion High on Agenda for 2011

Retailers in 2011 will be intent on actively growing their businesses and improving customer insight capabilities, in addition to continuing efforts begun during the economic downturn to stabilize operating costs and focus on financial discipline, according to a report from the National Retail Federation’s research and education arm, the NRF Foundation, and KPMG LLP, the U.S. audit, tax and advisory firm.

In surveying 318 retail executives for the ninth annual Retail Horizons: Benchmarks for 2010, Forecasts for 2011 report, 41 percent said that their companies intend to increase domestic store expansions in 2011, up from 25 percent in 2010.. . . more

Arby's Put on Auction Block

Wendy's/Arby's Group Inc. plans to slice away the Arby's sandwich chain by putting it up for sale.

The move represents a concession by activist investor Nelson Peltz that Arby's, known for its roast beef sandwiches, is having trouble competing in an industry where the only viable ways to grow are to steal market share from rivals or expand overseas—two things Wendy's is better positioned than Arby's to accomplish.. . . more

Subway Moves Fast as Opportunities for Expansion Grow

Subway, the ubiquitous sandwich shop that has grown to have more U.S. locations than even fast food giant McDonald’s, still sees room for expansion in the United States.

The Milford, Conn.-based chain operates 23,833 locations throughout U.S., and opened roughly 1,000 new restaurants nationally last year. In 2011, it has its sights on adding between 800 and 1,000 more U.S. locations. . . . more

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Whole Foods to open in Jamaica Plain

Whole Foods Market will open a new location in Jamaica Plain, taking over Latin American grocery store Hi-Lo Foods on Centre Street.

When the new store opens after several months of renovations, it will employ about 100 workers, according to the Austin-based natural and organic supermarket chain.

It will be the fourth Boston location for Whole Foods, which also has stores at Charles River Plaza, on Westland Avenue near Symphony Hall and on Washington Street in Brighton.. . . more

The Curious Case of the Vanishing Retail Properties

More than 7 million sq. ft. of retail projects slated for completion in 2010 were delayed or cancelled. This pullback in construction led to only 4.1 million sq. ft. of retail space coming on line, the lowest figure for annual deliveries in the 30-year history of Reis. The recovery prospects for the retail sector will depend critically on whether these properties are delivered in 2011, or have been cancelled altogether. . . more

Moe's restaurant chain expanding in area

Moe's Southwest Grill is planning a major expansion for the Baltimore area. The chain, which serves made-to-order burritos, quesadillas and other tex-mex food, hopes to open 17 new franchise restaurants in the next few years. Moe's currently has three Baltimore-area locations, including one at Arundel Mills Mall. The Baltimore expansion is part of a plan by Moe's to double the size of the business to 800 locations around the country by 2015. . . more

Movie rental kiosks more popular than retail stores

According to a new study from the NPD Group, the marketshare for standalone movie rental kiosks surpassed that of traditional retail store rentals in the U.S. last year. . . more

Mass. unemployment rate is unchanged at 8.2%

The Massachusetts economy, which expanded rapidly in the in beginning of last year, slowed in December as employers cut jobs and the state’s unemployment rate remained unchanged, the state Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reported today.

Massachusetts companies last month cut more than 2,000 jobs across most sectors, led by leisure and hospitality, a seasonally-sensitive industry that includes restaurants and hotels. The state unemployment rate held at 8.2 percent.. . . more

7-Eleven Plans to Come Again—and Again—to New York

These days the last thing the city needs is more slush. But the arrival of several new 7-Elevens promises to bring that and many other dubious delights to the borough.

The store that offers convenience and not much more will open on the corner of East 48th Street and Second Avenue, across from the United Nations.. . . more

Home sales rise in December and jobless claims resume their decline

The economic recovery showed signs that it had staying power as the new year began, with home sales surging as 2010 ended and weekly jobless claims posting the biggest decline in almost a year.

Sales of previously owned homes jumped to the fastest pace in seven months in December, even though fewer people bought existing homes last year than in any year since 1997.. . . more

Dillard's to Set Up Real Estate Investment Trust

Dillard's Inc. of Little Rock said late Wednesday that it intends to form a wholly owned subsidiary that will operate as a real estate investment trust, or REIT.

The publicly traded department store chainsaid in filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it believes the REIT might "enhance its ability to access debt or preferred stock and thereby enhance its liquidity.". . . more

rich-vs.-poor spending gap mar recovery?

Rich shoppers are driving an increase in consumer spending, bolstering a recovery that masks reluctance among less affluent Americans to join in.

Sales are up at Tiffany & Co. and Coach Inc., buoyed by demand for $6,000 diamond pendants and $1,200 leather handbags as a stock-market surge pads the wallets of the wealthy.. . . more

The Borders Story: Is This the Final Chapter?

Borders' story reads like an epic saga -- one in which our tragically flawed hero seems destined for certain failure.

As the book-selling giant seeks a new credit facility to stave off a bankruptcy filing, the question of whether or not this is the final chapter for Borders has attained new currency. But if the history of Borders is any foreshadowing, dark days would appear to be awaiting the company, whether this week, next week, or further along in its narrative.. . . more

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Yum Brands will sell A&W, Long John Silver's

Yum Brands, which operates KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, plans to sell two of its other chains — Long John Silver's and A&W.

The company, based in Louisville, Kentucky, said Tuesday that it wants to focus on its Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC businesses in the U.S. and abroad. Long John Silver's and A&W All-American Food restaurants don't fit its long-term strategy.. . . more

CVS resumes search for new retail president

CVS Caremark Corp. said Tuesday it is resuming its search for a new president of its pharmacy operations in view of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s lawsuit to block its previous choice.
In December, CVS said it would hire Hank Mullany, the former head of Walmart's Northern U.S. business. Wal-Mart sued CVS and Mullany, saying Mullany's contract barred him from working for a competitor for two years after he left Wal-Mart. A judge granted an injunction and stopped Mullany from joining CVS until after a trial, which was scheduled to begin in early March.. . . more

Borders hires bankruptcy lawyers

Shares in Borders dropped 16% Tuesday after reports that the Ann Arbor-based retailer has hired bankruptcy and restructuring lawyers. The Wall Street Journal reported late Friday that Borders has hired law firm Kasowitz, Beson, Torres & Friedman.

Hhgregg plans to open 35 to 40 stores in next fiscal year

Some dark spots on the area's retail landscape will see the lights flicker on again soon, as an Indianapolis-based electronics and appliances chain begins its move into the region.

The retailer known as hhgregg expects to enter the Pittsburgh market by spring, Dennis May, president and CEO, told analysts at an investment conference in California last week. The chain plans to be in Miami by summer and Chicago in the fall.. . . more

Climate Improves for Potential Retail REIT IPOs

After a challenging start in 2010, this year is looking to be a better bet for REIT initial public offerings.

Today, many firms are looking at increasing the pace of their acquisitions, as the investment sales market showed renewed vitality. To finance those transactions, some would like to tap public equity and debt. Many firms had a similar thought last year and planned IPOs, but had to back off after getting chilly receptions from investors concerned about retail real estate’s outlook. But things are looking up in 2011, which could translate into more retail REIT IPOs.. . . more

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Brookfield Ups GGP Investment by $1.7B

Brookfield Asset Management Inc., based here, is increasing its stake in General Growth Properties Inc. from 27% to 38%, with a $1.7 billion investment. The company is taking over Providence, RI-basedFairholme Fund’s entire common share holding in GGP, though Fairholme still has warrants to acquire more shares in the mall REIT.

Brookfield will acquire 113.3 million GGP shares from Fairholme, in return for 27.5 million Class A shares valued at $907 million, and $804 million in cash. After the transaction, Fairholme will own a 4.5% equity interest in Brookfield, according to a Brookfield statement.. . . more

Bass Pro, GE looked at Albany Int’l site

General Electric Co., a shopping mall giant and a health insurance company could have written a different ending to Monday’s news that  FedEx bought land in East Greenbush.

In all, quite a few suitors checked out the 73 acres of prime real estate just off Interstate 90. . . . more

Borders stumbles as web selling, publishing race ahead

It wasn't all that long ago that the name Borders meant "wow."
But as 2010 ended, news emerged showing that the onetime envy of behemoth bookselling has fallen hard.

Battered by the radical shift of consumers to purchasing and reading digital books over the Internet, the Michigan-based corporation that owns Borders said it had halted payments to some vendors while trying to renegotiate debt terms with lenders, all to avoid potentially running out of cash.. . . more

Rich Raise Consumer Spending With Little Help From Middle Class

Rich shoppers are driving an increase in consumer spending, bolstering a recovery that masks reluctance among less affluent Americans to join in.

Sales are up at Tiffany & Co. and Coach Inc., buoyed by demand for $6,000 diamond pendants and $1,200 leather handbags as a stock-market surge pads the wallets of the wealthy.. . . more

Friday, January 14, 2011

Genghis Grill To Open 15 Locations In The Washington, D.C. Market

Genghis Grill – The Mongolian Stir Fry has signed on franchisee, Carlos Politano, to lead the Washington, D.C. market. Politano and his team has secured two Genghis Grill locations in the Alexandria and Chantilly areas of Washington, D.C. Alexandria, will open in mid-March and Chantilly will open later this spring. . . more

A Duane Reade in Brooklyn With a Beer Bar

When Duane Reade opened a new store a few months ago in Brooklyn, it faced opposition from residents loyal to a local pharmacy. So it decided to include something in the store that the neighborhood did not have: a bar that specializes in beer.
One corner of the Duane Reade store on Bedford Avenue in the Williamsburg neighborhood has Fire Island Lighthouse Ale and eight other beers on tap, with growlers — refillable glass bottles — lining the walls. . . . more

Consumer price index jumps on costlier gas

Consumer prices rose last month as the cost of gas increased by the largest amount since June 2009. But outside of energy costs, there was little sign of widespread inflation.

The Labor Department said Friday the Consumer Price Index rose 0.5 percent in December, the largest increase in 18 months. About 80 percent of the increase was due to an 8.5 percent rise in the gasoline index, also the sharpest increase in 18 months. Food prices ticked up 0.1 percent in December.. . . more

Retail sales increase 0.6% in December

Sales at U.S. retail stores rose in December for the sixth straight month, putting the finishing touches on the biggest annual gain since 1999.

Retail sales expanded 0.6% last month, the Commerce Department reported Friday, as consumers bought more goods from online retailers, drug stores and building-supply companies. Sales were up 0.5% excluding the volatile automotive sector.. . . more

Westwood Station deal implodes

Disputed parcels undermine purchase of long-awaited project

The deal to transfer ownership in the troubled Westwood Station project has fallen apart over an apparent grudge match concerning several key land parcels that remain in the hands of Commonfund Realty Investors, one of the development’s original backers.. . . more

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Gap gets active in young market with Athleta store

Gap Inc's Athleta brand of athletic wear for women will open a flagship store on Thursday in San Francisco to connect with brick-and-mortar shoppers after booking double-digit sales growth through its catalogs and website.

The new store, in the city's tony Pacific Heights neighborhood, will allow the brand's affluent female target audience to discover the line, while the company decides whether to open more stores.. . . more

Consumer Spending Boosting Recovery

The world’s largest economy will expand in 2011 at the fastest pace in six years as American consumers boost spending, said John Hermann, a senior fixed- income strategist at State Street Global Markets LLC.

Herrmann, whose forecasts for gross domestic product were the most accurate over the past year according to data compiled by Bloomberg News, estimates the amount of all goods and services produced will grow 3 percent this year, the most since 2005. He said household purchases will also climb 3 percent after rising 1.8 percent in 2010, the first gain in three years. . . . more

Target plots 200-store push into Canada

Target Corp. was the hot topic at a Toronto shopping centre trade show Tuesday as representatives of the cheap-chic Wal-Mart rival held meetings with developers to discuss its store rollout plan for Canada, with an eye to opening up to 200 stores.
The second-largest mass merchant in the United States behind Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is looking to open six to 10 stores in late 2014 or 2015, said Fred Waks, chief operating officer with RioCan, the largest public real estate developer in Canada.. . . more

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Restaurant sales growth could hit 4-year high

2011 predictions include the best nominal and real percent change since 2008
The year ahead could be a true turning point for the restaurant industry should expectations from research firm Technomic Inc. play out as expected.

The Chicago-based research firm expects total U.S. foodservice sales to increase 1.7 percent from 2010 on a nominal basis, and dip just 0.3 percent on a real basis, when factoring out menu price inflation. Nominal growth assumes a menu price inflation rate of 1.5 percent for 2010 and 2 percent for 2011.. . . more

Struggling Supervalu confronts rising prices

Inflation looks to be the biggest challenge for Supervalu as it tries to bring prices back down in line with competitors to win customers back.
"With all of our major vendors announcing their intentions to pass along rising costs, we expect store prices to rise throughout the calendar year," anywhere from 3 percent to 14 percent, Chief Executive Craig Herkert said during an earnings conference call Tuesday.

"We are passing these on to our customers," Herkert added. "But where possible, we'll leverage our scale to mitigate increases." . . . more

Shopping Center and Mall Fundamentals Stable, But Challenges Remain

Real estate research firm Reis Inc.’s preliminary data for the fourth quarter of 2010 shows that fundamentals continue to stabilize at neighborhood and community centers and regional malls.

Vacancies at malls declined and at shopping centers remained flat from the third quarter. For shopping centers, it is the second straight quarter where vacancies have been stable and the second straight quarter of improvement for malls. . . . more

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Retail plans could include new clink

David E. Ross Associates Inc. of Ayer is looking to add nearly 7,566 square feet of retail space in Ayer, as well as a 6,760-square-foot office building that could potentially become a new police station for the town, the Sentinel & Enterprise reports . . . more

Timberland booting up for Newbury Street store opening

A dozen years after Timberland Co. closed its flagship store in Boston, the boot maker is taking a step back into the city. The New Hampshire-based company will open a store this year at 201 Newbury St., the former Prince School building that features loft-style condominiums with ground-floor retail, according to a city building permit. . . more

Macy’s exit puts focus on malls

Long known for drawing exclusive name brands like Barneys New York and Tiffany and Co. to Boston’s suburbs, the Chestnut Hill shopping area is having a bit of an identity crisis that could redefine the upscale destination.

The Route 9 neighborhood, which has seen a number of retailers depart in recent months, was dealt another blow last week when Macy’s announced it would be closing its store in the Chestnut Hill Shopping Center.
. . . more

Consumers confident worst is over

Spending may prime economy’s pump

Ninety percent of the work force has a job, the same as a year ago. But last year, people were still worried about getting laid off. Today, they aren’t.

The result is a renewed confidence that’s boosted retail sales — just what’s needed to spark what economists call a “virtuous cycle”: Higher consumer spending raises company profits, which spurs hiring, which fuels more spending and growth. . . . more

Talbots cuts outlook again

The Talbots Inc. on Tuesday lowered its guidance for the fourth quarter and fiscal year after a weak holiday season.

The cut is the latest sign that Talbots' plan to regain customers it lost during the recession _ by revamping merchandise and investing in advertising _ is failing to take hold. Talbots and other "missy" retailers _ clothing sellers that target women around their 40s _ were among the hardest hit during the recession.. . . more

Supervalu loses money in Q3, cuts outlook for year

Supervalu Inc. lost money in its fiscal third quarter as the grocer dealt with hefty charges and promotions that were less effective than it hoped. The operator of Albertsons, Jewel-Osco and other chains also cut its full-year earnings outlook.
Revenue at stores open at least a year dropped 4.9 percent in the quarter. This figure is a key gauge of a retailer's health because it measures results at existing stores rather than newly opened ones. The company blamed the weaker-than-expected performance on increased competition and challenging economic conditions.. . . more

Cupcake Bakery to Go Public in Merger

Crumbs Bake Shop, the country’s largest cupcake chain, will go public through a $66 million merger with an investment company, the 57th Street General Acquisition Corporation.

The deal, which is expected to be announced on Monday, gives Crumbs the money to execute its ambitious expansion plans.. . . more

Demoulas cancels plans for Market Basket North store in Seabrook

Citing excessive permitting costs, Demoulas Super Markets has withdrawn its application to redevelop its Market Basket North/Seabrook Plaza project.

The plans now are not to change the aging grocery store on Route 1, or the liquor store and gas station, at the Seabrook Plaza shopping center.. . . more

Monday, January 10, 2011

Is The U.S. Economy Finally Headed For Sustained Growth?

A steady decline in layoffs is giving the vast majority of adults who have jobs the confidence to spend more freely and help energize the economy. They no longer worry so much about losing their jobs.

Their renewed confidence has boosted retail sales - just what's needed to spark what economists call a "virtuous cycle": Higher consumer spending raises company profits, which spurs hiring, which fuels more spending and growth.
. . . more

Red Wing Shoes to open 125 stores in next 5 years

After years of holding the line, Red Wing Shoe Co. is kicking up some dust, with plans to open 125 stores in the next five years.

The stores, all independently owned, will open mostly in the Northeast, in cities such as Philadelphia, where the Minnesota retailer doesn't have a strong presence, said spokesman Peter Engel. Stores typically are located in metropolitan areas with populations of 100,000 or more.. . . more

Target Corp. to expand its grocery offerings

Minneapolis-based Target Corp. plans to remodel about 400 of its general merchandise stores across the nation in 2011, building upon the discounter’s latest strategy to bulk up its grocery offerings.

That’s on top of the 350 general merchandise stores in the nation that Target remodeled last year in rolling out its “P Fresh” concept, which typically increased its grocery offerings by 40 percent.. . . more

Supervalu names new merchandising exec

Supervalu Inc. said Friday that Janel Haugarth is its new executive vice president of merchandising and logistics.

Haugarth, 55, was an executive vice president and president and chief operating officer of the of the grocery store operator's supply chain services.

She replaces Steve Jungmann, who is leaving the company, effective immediately.. . . more

7-Eleven launches major assault on Manhattan

7-Eleven is taking Manhattan by storm. The Dallas-based convenience store operator recently opened two outposts in Murray Hill and has signed leases for another two locations elsewhere in the borough.

“We are actively looking,” said Margaret Chabris, public relations director for 83-year-old 7-Eleven Inc., noting that New York is a key growth market. . . . more

Friday, January 7, 2011

Five more hhgregg stores to open

Indianapolis-based electronics and appliance retailer hhgregg continues its South Florida lease-signing blitz.

Stores in Pinecrest, Fort Lauderdale, Plantation, West Palm Beach and Wellington are the latest sites to surface . . . more

Anchor Blue: The First Teen Retail Casualty of 2011

All 120 Anchor Blue stores—the California-based teen retailer—will close, reports WWD. Fans of the chain may have noticed the steep discounts and promotions the company has been running since June 2009, when they first declared bankruptcy. . . more

Lifestyle centers becoming more about lifestyle less about retail

They sit dripping with sweat in workout clothes -- legs crossed and eyes shut -- as the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping goes on all around them. It's a yoga studio plopped in the middle of lifestyle shopping center Clay Terrace in Carmel and it's not the only nontraditional tenant to have filled an empty space.

There is an eye doctor, a martial arts studio, Charles Schwab, a community theater group, an insurance office and Whole Foods grocery store. It sounds like the lineup for a neighborhood strip mall, but diversity is the latest trend for lifestyle centers. Originally built as an upscale mix of shopping, dining and entertainment, lifestyle centers are reinventing themselves to remain vibrant. . . more

Five Below to open 50 stores and enter Chicago market in 2011

Five Below will open 50 stores in 2011, including its first-ever locations in the Chicago market. The extreme-value teen retailer said it has signed 12 store leases in the Chicago area. The new stores, scheduled to open in spring, are the first of up to 20 locations that Five Below plans to open in the Chicago market this year. Over the next three to five years, the chain anticipates expanding its foothold in Chicagoland to as many as 60 locations. . . more