Monday, February 28, 2011

Sears New CEO: Not the Man for the Job, Poll Says

Sears' new CEO will be unable to revive the flailing department store, according to TheStreet readers.

The company, with billionaire investor Eddie Lampert at the helm, announced last week that after a three-year search it has named Lou D'Ambrosio as chief executive. He succeeds Bruce Johnson, who served as interim CEO since 2008. . . .more

Blackstone Buys Centro US Assets for $9.4B

Centro Properties Group is selling 588 of its US shopping centers to Blackstone for $9.4 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal. The sale would help Centro beat back a company-wide debt load of roughly $16 billion.

Blackstone reportedly beat out competitors Starwood Capital, Morgan Stanley Real Estate Fund VII and a joint venture of NRDC Equity Partners and AREA Property Partners for the pack.. . . more

Can Wal-Mart Find Its Way Back to Core Values?

Sometimes innovation can backfire.

Last week, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. posted its second consecutive year of declines in U.S. same-store sales. Analysts say the Bentonville retailer made a series of mistakes in an attempt to attract higher-income customers, sending its core shoppers to an even less expensive category of retailers known as dollar stores.. . . more

J. Crew Said to Push Investors, Weigh Raised Bid to Win Vote

J.Crew Group Inc. is concerned that shareholders may reject its $3 billion buyout and is holding last-minute meetings to convince large, institutional investors to vote in favor of the deal tomorrow, said three people familiar with the matter.

TPG Capital and Leonard Green & Partners LP, the private- equity firms trying to acquire J. Crew, were advised by a special committee of the clothing retailer’s board of directors to sweeten their $43.50 a share offer to sway skeptical shareholders, said two of the people, who declined to be identified because the matter is private.. . . more

Toys R Us mulls $800 million IPO for April

Toys R Us Inc TOY.UL is looking to raise around $800 million in an initial public offering in April, though a final decision has not been reached, the New York Post said on Saturday.

The New Jersey-based retailer, which operates stores under its namesake brand and the Babies R Us and FAO Schwarz labels, had put off plans for an IPO in 2010.. . . more

Sunday, February 27, 2011

One store moving, one store closing

Walmart going across town; Borders leaving

The moves of two national retailers are shaking up both sides of town.

Early this month, Borders Group Inc. announced it will close its bookstore in Wareham Crossing on Route 28 in West Wareham, leaving a 25,000-square-foot vacancy in a shopping plaza that opened less than four years ago.. . .more

Friday, February 25, 2011

Talbots tests new store format

Talbots Inc., the Hingham retailer known for its classically styled women's clothes, said it has open a new "design concept store" at a New Jersey mall that, according to one company executive, is "modeled after a woman’s dream closet."

talbots.jpgTalbots has been struggling to remain fashion relevant. The new store at the Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, N.J., the company said, represents "a significant step in continuing to push the Talbots brand forward and offering a premium customer experience.". . . more

Dunkin’ goes full steam into India

India will soon run on Dunkin’. The Canton-based coffee and doughnut chain announced an agreement yesterday to open more than 500 restaurants in India over the next 15 years, starting in early 2012. Dunkin’s deal — dubbed its “largest-ever international store-development commitment” — comes a month after rival Starbucks made a deal with conglomerate Tata Group to enter the largely untapped Indian market, where tea drinkers dominate. . . more

BUBBA burger to Open Original BUBBA burger Grill Restaurants

BUBBA burger, the number one selling branded burger in America, is announcing the development of its Original BUBBA burger Grill restaurants. The announcement was made by Billy Morris, President and CEO. . . more

Au Bon Pain trying out a new recipe for its stores

It’s lunchtime at the remodeled Au Bon Pain on Boylston Street in the Back Bay, where the staff is taking orders with iPads, serving free samples of bruschetta, and cooking a new line of toasted sandwiches for crowds of customers. . . more

Jennifer Convertibles emerges from Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Jennifer Convertibles has emerged from a Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, controlled by its largest supplier and with a new CEO replacing former chief Harley Greenfield. Chinese supplier and creditor Haining Mengnu Group received about 90% of Jennifer Convertibles' new stock. The rest will be distributed to certain other former creditors, the company said in a press release. The new management team is be led by CEO Gebing (Morris) Zou and President Rami Abada, who was president of the company before the July 18 filing. . . more

Tim Hortons makes headway in established U.S. stores

 Tim Hortons Inc (THI.TO: Quote), Canada's biggest restaurant chain, on Wednesday posted strong quarterly sales growth in stores opened at least a year, especially in the U.S. market, sending its shares higher.

The sales performance may have helped investors look past a quarterly profit that was little changed from a year earlier and came up short of analysts' average forecast. The company issued a full-year forecast that was in line with market expectations. . . more

Checkers Kicks Off 2011 With 12 New Restaurants Planned for Development

Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc. announced today it has signed agreements with four franchisees to develop 12 new restaurants in the West Bronx, New York City, Detroit, Philadelphia and Baltimore over the next several years. Checkers' development in these major metropolitan cities is part of a strategic growth strategy to expand the brand's presence in existing markets, as well as in new regions across the country. . . more

Expansion in Yogurtland

Yogurtland, a customer-created frozen yogurt chain with almost 120 locations in nine states (as well as stores in Japan and Mexico), plans to have 75 additional locations open or in development by the end of 2011. By 2015, the chain will have more than 550 total locations. . . more

Sears CEO pick leaves more questions than answers

Sears Holdings Corp.'s appointment of a new CEO rich in technology expertise but short on retail experience is leaving many wondering what direction the owner of the struggling Sears and Kmart stores is heading.

The appointment of Lou D'Ambrosio came just hours before Sears reported another weak quarter, even though results from competitors Target Corp., Kohls Corp. and Home Depot this week show shoppers are spending more.. . . more

Family Dollar Takeover Doomed With Shares Below Bid

Family Dollar Inc., which billionaire investor Nelson Peltz offered to buy for $7.7 billion, is the most likely to fail among 2011 deals, according to traders who profit from mergers and acquisitions.

The stock is now $9.96 below the proposed bid of as much as $60 a share from Peltz’s Trian Fund Management LP, representing a premium of 20 percent if the deal were to close, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.. . . more

Kohl's Corp.'s 2011 outlook cautious

Just as department stores are bouncing back from the recession, they are beginning to worry that sharply higher costs for cotton, fuel and other commodities could hobble their recovery.

Kohl's Corp. said Thursday that its fourth-quarter net income that its fourth-quarter net income increased 14 percent as shoppers bought more shoes and men's clothing. But the mid-price chain also said its customers will remain cautious in 2011 — and that could make coping with higher commodity prices more challenging for the company. . . . more

Retail investors to move beyond prime assets in 2011, report says

The U.S. retail real estate sector has turned a corner and will continue to improve, according to Marcus & Millichap. “The drop-off in store closures, the virtual standstill of new speculative construction, and expansion by stronger tenants were welcome developments last year,” said Hessam Nadji, managing director of research and advisory services at Marcus & Millichap. “Core retail sales in the U.S. exceeded their 2007 peak levels several months ago, which set the stage for occupancy improvements nationwide, especially in primary markets. However, the improvement in the retail real estate market will be very bifurcated, with newer developments in outlying areas showing much higher vacancy rates than in-fill, established markets.”
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Target says it's ready to go back on offense

With its sights set on Canada and an upbeat outlook on its domestic operations, Target Corp. on Thursday projected that annual sales could exceed $100 billion in the next six to seven years, about a 52 percent increase from its current level.

After several years of retrenching and reacting to a meltdown in the financial markets and a shaken consumer, the Minneapolis-based retailer is again striving to gain market share.. . . more

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Kohl’s will open Hudson, NY store

Kohl’s will open a store in Hudson, New York, on March 9.

The store, located at 488 Fairview Ave., is the 49th Kohl’s store in New York, and one of nine opening this spring nationally. . . . more

Sears Names CEO, Profit Tops Estimates

Sears Holdings, the U.S. retailer, named Lou D'Ambrosio as CEO and president, and said profit in the fourth quarter topped analysts' estimates despite a drop in domestic same-store sales.

"From the beginning of our CEO search, we were determined to find a leader with information and technology experience who could catalyze the transformation of our portfolio of businesses in the context of the evolution of the retail industry that is occurring more broadly," said Chairman Edward Lampert. . . . more

TJX reports slowing sales growth

More people shopped at TJMaxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods discount stores in the fourth quarter, but their parent company said its net income fell 15 percent, dragged down by costs to close its A.J. Wright stores.

The company said sales growth is slowing by comparison with a year ago. Revenue at stores open at least a year rose 2 percent in the latest quarter compared with a 12 percent gain a year earlier. . . . more

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Best Buy to open 150 mobile stores in fiscal 2012

Best Buy said in fiscal 2012 it will concentrate on growing its smaller-format mobile chain and restructure parts of its supply chain processes to cut costs and improve efficiency. The retailer plans to open about 150 Best Buy Mobile stand-alone-stores in the United States, for a total of some 325 locations by year-end. . . more

Watertown Mall earns credit upgrade

The Watertown Mall’s strong rent roles and operating income have triggered a credit upgrade on its $20 million mortgage.

Built in 1975, the 231,200-square-foot mall has been at full occupancy for two years and is generating operating income and cash flow that are more than four-times its monthly debt service, according to Bloomberg data. Moody’s Investors Services cited those factors for its recent upgrade to The Watertown Mall’s credit rating. The rating was lifted to Baa2 from Baa3 at its last review in late 2009 . . . more

Are You Listening?

My significant other would tell you that I sometimes have a problem with listening. I’m ashamed to say she may be right. I try to pay attention; after all, what she has to say is generally important, sometimes crucial, and always at least of interest to me. But despite my efforts, now and then...well, I just miss something. This pains me because when it happens, I’m missing not only information about day-to-day concerns, but also emotional clues to larger issues. If I’m not paying attention to what she says, I may be missing how she is.

I mention all this because the concept of listening - of communication - has been on my mind a great deal lately. A quick online search turns up these definitions of “listening”: To make an effort to hear something; to pay close attention with the purpose of hearing; to yield to advice.

And this one of “communication”: A process whereby meaning is defined and shared. Communication requires a sender, a message, and an intended recipient. The communication process is complete once the receiver has understood the sender.

Note the underlined words and phrases. Communication involves making an effort, yielding to advice, sharing meaning, and understanding. There are many forms of communication. However, all real communication requires active, involved listening. Of course listening is of the utmost importance in a personal relationship, but its importance in the business world, no matter what your business is, is absolutely vital.. . . more

Dollar Stores Set for More Growth

A $7.6 billion buyout offer for Family Dollar Stores Inc. is just the latest sign that this once-maligned corner of the retail world continues to gain respectability.

Dollar store sales have outperformed many other retail segments in recent years and the major players in the space continue to expand at a brisk pace. Moreover, some dollar store chains are expanding grocery offerings and experimenting with grocery-only concepts, which will make them even greater competitors with traditional supermarkets.. . . more

Shaw's seeks tenant for shuttered New Bedford store

Nearly a month after Shaw's shuttered its store in the city's North End, the fallout from the closing remains unresolved.

The supermarket chain is looking to sublease the 68,000-square-foot space, one of the anchor locations in the Fieldstone Marketplace shopping plaza off Kings Highway. And some of the approximately 100 full-time and part-time workers at the closed store have been transferred to other Shaw's locations, though the workers' union says more has to be done.. . . more

Lowe’s disappoints versus Home Depot

No. 2 U.S. home improvement chain Lowe’s Cos Inc reported weaker same-store sales versus larger rival Home Depot, and issued a lackluster earnings forecast after losing market share in the appliances segment.

The forecast overshadowed higher-than-expected fourth- quarter results at Lowe’s and came a day after larger rival Home Depot Inc reported strong quarterly results and raised its profit forecast for the year.. . . more

Barnes & Noble CFO discusses Borders

Barnes & Noble Inc. reported Tuesday its third-quarter revenue rose, but its net income fell 25 percent as it continued to invest in its online operations and Nook e-readers.

Here CFO Joseph Lombardi discusses how Borders Group Inc.'s plan during bankruptcy reorganization to close 200 stores will affect Barnes & Noble.. . . more

Blockbuster Auction Could Prolong Lease Review

Blockbuster Inc.’s request to conduct an auction for its assets, coupled with its agreement to sell those same assets for $290 million to a “stalking horse” bidder if no other buyers offer a higher price, could prolong the lease review process, according to a legal expert familiar with the company’s bankruptcy.

That means landlords will be in the dark as to whether Blockbuster will continue as a tenant in their centers or vacate that space. The upside is that landlords will have more time to either work with Blockbuster or find another tenant to backfill the space.. . . more

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Blockbuster Agrees to $290M “Stalking Horse” Bid

As part of its bankruptcy process, Blockbuster Inc. has agreed to be acquired by a “stalking horse” bidder for $290 million.

The stalking horse bidder is Cobalt Video Holdco, LLC, a company formed by funds managed by Monarch Alternative Capital LP, Owl Creek Asset Management LP, Stonehill Capital Management LLC and Värde Partners Inc.. . . more

Consumer confidence spikes to three-year high

Consumer confidence surpassed expectations and hit a three-year high in February, in the latest ray of hope for an economic recovery, a business research group said Tuesday.

The Conference Board said its Consumer Confidence Index jumped to 70.4 in February from 64.8 in January. That was far ahead of expectations of a economists' consensus of a 67 reading. . . . more

Blockbuster initiates process to sell company

Blockbuster Inc., a leading global provider of rental and retail movie and game entertainment, today announced that it has initiated a process to sell the Company, which it believes represents the best means of maximizing value for Blockbuster’s stakeholders.

In conjunction with this process, Blockbuster has entered into an asset purchase agreement with a “stalking horse” bidder, Cobalt Video Holdco, LLC, a limited liability company formed by funds managed by Monarch Alternative Capital LP, Owl Creek Asset Management LP, Stonehill Capital Management LLC and Värde Partners, Inc., each of which is a secured noteholder of the Company.. . . more

US Casual-Dining Companies Explore Smaller-Format Restaurants

Casual-dining companies, such as Cheesecake Factory Inc. and Texas Roadhouse Inc., are experimenting with smaller restaurant prototypes as a way to improve margins coming out of the recession.

Cheesecake Factory is working on a new 8,000-square-foot model, which it expects to generate similar cash flow margins as its typical 10,000-square-foot locations. The cash investment required for the smaller-format restaurants is reduced by more than 20%, allowing the restaurant to reach peak margin levels with lower sales. With the new model, Cheesecake Factory said it can exceed 20% return on investment with sales volumes of just over $8 million.. . . more

Chick-fil-A aims to open 90 restaurants this year

Chick-fil-A plans to open more restaurants than usual this year, following last year's sales.

The Atlanta-based company's sales hit $3.58 billion in 2010, an increase of more than 11 percent and a record.

At restaurants open at least a year, sales rose almost 6 percent. Chick-fil-A's sales have increased every year since its inception in 1967.. . . more

Number of outlet centers on the rise

Forty-one outlet centers are planned to open between 2011 and 2013 across the nation, and seven of those are expected to open this year, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. It had been common for two or three centers to open per year.

A 2010 report prepared by Credit Suisse suggested that “excluding e-commerce, outlet malls are the most profitable and fastest growing channel in retail.”. . . more

Wal-Mart lost shoppers during the holidays

Despite aggressive price-slashing, free shipping and other gimmicks, Wal-Mart lost shoppers during the critical Christmas shopping period, resulting in a same-store sales decline in its fourth quarter.

Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, reported an overall 1.1% decline in its same-store sales -- it's seventh straight decline in the quarterly measure, this time in the period that includes the key November-December gift-buying months. . . . more

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Life isn’t a blast for mall neighbors

More frequent, smaller blasts could echo around Merrimack Premium Outlets under a new plan proposed this week by the project developer that’s aimed at getting construction back on line.

With work suspended because of a fourth blasting violation in three months, developers of the controversial mall have proposed to conduct more blasts at a lesser depth than the explosions conducted since blasting began in November.. . . more

Friday, February 18, 2011

Two Hub A.J. Wrights will become HomeGoods

HomeGoods, the home fashion chain operated by TJX Cos., said it will open two new Boston stores sometime in May in locations that had previously been A.J. Wright stores.

One HomeGoods store is planned for the Allston Marketplace at North Beacon and Everett streets in Boston's Allston neighborhood, and the other is located at the Fields Corner Shopping Center, at Geneva Avenue and Park Street, in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood, HomeGoods said.. . . more

Borders expects stores to close by end of April

Borders Group won approval from U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York on Thursday to close about 200 stores in a deal that may bring in $148 million to creditors.

Liquidation sales at many of the stores will begin this weekend and will be overseen by Hilco Merchant Resources, SB Capital Group, Tiger Group and Gordon Brothers Group.. . . more

Consumer Prices Rise More Than Forecast

Rising global demand for food and fuel pushed up the U.S. cost of living more than forecast in January, a sign the risk of a damaging drop in prices is ebbing.

The consumer-price index advanced 0.4 percent for a second month, led by the biggest increase in food costs in more than two years, according to figures today from the Labor Department in Washington. Other reports showed manufacturing is bolstering the expansion, and consumer confidence is being buffeted by rising household expenses. . . . more

Spending habits: Back to old ways?

Among all consumers, 52% say the recession has "forever changed" the way they spend and save, according to a recent survey by Citigroup. But that's down from 63% when the same survey was conducted a year ago.

"I look at all this talk as New Year's resolutions, nice sentiments but not likely to be implemented with any degree of consistency," said Robert Brusca, chief economist at Fact and Opinion Economics. "Once we get into a better a recovery period then we will know whether this new consumer pledge really means anything or not.". . . more

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Judge OKs Borders financing, gift card program

A judge has granted Borders Group approval on an interim basis to use $400 million of the $505 million in financing it has been offered to pay its vendors back and keep its business going, including honoring its loyalty program and gift cards.

The decision late Wednesday is the start of a lengthy and difficult process for Borders, which filed for bankruptcy protection on Wednesday. The No. 2 U.S. bookseller is attempting to successfully reorganize so it can emerge from bankruptcy protection a smaller and profitable company.. . . more

Concerns about inflation gaining momentum

Steady improvement in the economy may soon come at a price - faster inflation.

Shoes, clothes, tires, plastics and other products all cost more at the wholesale level last month, putting pressure on businesses to pass the increases along to their customers.
. . . more

Borders decline means big changes for industry

Whether or not Borders survives closing some 200 stores, the "superstore" boom of the past two decades has busted, authors and publishers face a market minus millions of square feet of physical shelf space and communities once crowded with booksellers may find themselves with none.

"I think Borders' fall will cause a lot of publishers to realize they can't just count on a few giant entities to sell their products," said Simba Information senior trade analyst Michael Norris.. . . more

Group Sees 2011 Retail Sales Up 4 Pct

More Sales Promising, But Not Indicative Of True Recovery

The nation's largest retail trade group says it expects retail sales to rise 4 percent this year, the biggest increase since 2006, but shoppers are likely to remain cautious as they cope with slow job growth and rising prices.

The National Retail Federation said Thursday that it expects retail sales to reach $2.47 trillion in 2011, up from $2.37 trillion in 2010, excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants.. . . more

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A&P to Close 32 Stores

A&P here on Tuesday said it would ask U.S. Bankruptcy Court for permission to close 32 stores as part of its restructuring plan....more

Technology’s place at the table

Restaurants embrace text-based systems for ordering, marketing
You probably text your friends and co-workers, so why not do the same with a waiter or waitress when you’re dining out? That’s the concept behind several Boston area companies that now offer ordering and seating systems based on text messaging.. . . more

Activist investor shopping for Family Dollar

A New York-based hedge fund that has urged Family Dollar to expand more aggressively said late Tuesday in and SEC filing that it is making an offer to buy the Matthews-based discount retailer.

Trian Fund Management and Chief Executive Officer Nelson Peltz said Tuesday that his fund is offering between $55 and $60 a share to buy Family Dollar. . . . more

Don Shula Announces New Concept; Jumps Into the Hot Burger Market

Shula Burger franchises will be available by territory

Don Shula announced today a new quick casual burger concept called SHULA BURGER. The concept will include gourmet burgers as well as a build-your own burger menu. SHULA BURGER will also feature salads, chicken sandwiches and Veggie Burgers.

SHULA BURGER will be franchising immediately in Florida, the southeast and northeast. Territories will be sold and demand is expected to be very strong. Shula's is expecting to have over 100 locations under development across the nation within five years.. . . more

Borders in bankruptcy, will close about 200 stores

Borders Group has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and plans to close about 200 of its stores and reduce its staff, the nation's second-largest book retailer said Wednesday.

"It has become increasingly clear that in light of the environment of curtailed customer spending, our ongoing discussions with publishers and other vendor related parties, and the company's lack of liquidity, Borders Group does not have the capital resources it needs to be a viable competitor," the company said in a statement.. . . more

The American mall: Back from the dead

It has gotten progressively less cool to meet at the mall since the heyday of the mega shopping center in the 1980s. But starting in the 90s, a downward trend found "anchor" department stores in malls steadily losing their grip on young shoppers, and with them, retail market share. That is, until this year.

The swing hasn't been huge, but it's significant. Department stores anchored to malls actually gained market share over off-mall retailers for the first time since the 1980s. In 2009, the market share of mall-bound department stores had fallen to 2.4%, according to a report by consulting firm Customer Growth Partners. But in 2010, it started to creep up to 2.5%.. . . more

Construction work suspended again at Merrimack outlet mall

A blasting violation, recorded late last week, has forced work to stop once again at Merrimack Premium Outlets, the controversial outlet mall under construction in South Merrimack.

Work crews, which started blasting this fall at the construction site off Exit 10 of the F.E. Everett Turnpike, exceeded the permitted decibel levels with an explosion Friday afternoon, violating the town’s development agreement and causing houses to rattle throughout the area, according to neighbors’ complaints.. . . more

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Target to open 'CityTarget' on Chicago's State Street

Target Corp. is opening a store along Chicago's State Street, in the historic former Carson Pirie Scott & Co. building.

The 125,000-square-foot store, set to open in 2012, will be located amid the city's upscale retail center — the busy neighborhood is where Chicago stores decorate windows for the holiday season.

Target is calling the store a CityTarget — a brand that, Crain's reports, the Minneapolis-based retailer will use on other small-format stores in urban centers. . . . more

Big Y Takes Over Vacated ShopRite Location

Big Y Foods Inc. said Tuesday it will take over a vacated ShopRite in Meriden. The grocery chain plans to open a Big Y at the site of the former ShopRite store in the Townline Square shopping center at the intersection of North Colony Road amd South Broad Street.

The 55,000-square-foot supermarket was vacated by ShopRite last year when it relocated to Wallingford.
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Barnes & Noble Picks at Borders’ Bones — and It’s Not Even Dead Yet

Barnes & Noble’s chairman Len Riggio and his executive team are shrewdly taking advantage of two things that could earn them a bigger slice of the book selling market. With Borders on the brink of declaring bankruptcy and Amazon’s threat to drop affiliate sellers, B&N is poised to pounce and grab both bricks and clicks.

According to B&N's "open letter," is threatening to terminate its affiliate program in states that may enact an e-fairness legislation. That would require Amazon to collect sales tax due on purchases by residents in those states.. . . more

Whole Foods deal near Nationals Park would require $8 million in tax breaks

Whole Foods Market and a D.C. real estate firm are interested in building a new store in Southeast Washington near Nationals Park, but the developer says that luring the grocer would require $8 million in tax breaks.

William C. Smith & Co. is proposing a 39,000-square-foot Whole Foods for 800 New Jersey Ave. SE as part of a building that would include 375 apartments. . . . more

Sales at U.S. retailers rise 0.3% in January

Sales at U.S. retail stores rose in January for the seventh straight month, but the increase was the lowest since last summer, government data showed Tuesday.

Retailers’ sales rose 0.3% last month as consumers spent more on gasoline, autos and online goods, the Commerce Department reported. It was the smallest increase since last July, however. . . . more

A.C. Moore exploring sale

Retailer A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts Inc. said Tuesday it is exploring the potential sale of the company.

The Berlin Township, N.J.-based retailer said a sale was among “strategic alternatives” it is exploring to enhance stockholder value. It has hired Janney Montgomery Scott LLC as financial adviser in the process. . . . more

Monday, February 14, 2011

Urban Outfitters Among Four New Stores To Open At Westfarms Mall

Four new stores will open at Westfarms Mall in Farmington this year, including Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie. Another Urban Outfitters will open in Greenwich in April. Currently, the state's only Urban Outfitters store is in New Haven.

Other stores opening at the mall this year are True Religion and Free People.. . . more

Canada’s Golf Town picks Mass. for 1st US stores

Golf Town Inc., a Canadian big-box retailer based in Markham, Ontario, will establish a group of golf superstores in Massachusetts this year as it expands into the United States for the first time. The company said it is making a $25 million investment and creating 200 jobs in the Boston area, with five stores opening next month and one more in the fall.. . . more

KeyPoint Partners Brings New Tenants, Other Updates to Keene, NH Shopping Centers

Two major retail centers in Keene, New Hampshire - Colony Mills Marketplace and Center at Keene - have taken a step forward since Burlington, MA commercial real estate service firm KeyPoint Partners, LLC took over property management and leasing for the properties last September.

Colony Mill Marketplace is an 1800’s mill converted to lifestyle quality retail and office units. The Center at Keene, a converted railroad station with a unique roundhouse, houses national and regional retailers on the first floor, with offices on the second floor. . . . more

Assembly Square station gets go-ahead

The Orange Line is on its way to getting a 20th station, without getting longer. The MBTA board last week approved an agreement with developer Federal Realty Investment Trust that will enable construction of a station at Somerville’s Assembly Square, roughly halfway between existing stops at Sullivan Square in Charlestown and Wellington in Medford.

The agreement gives the state the real estate rights to build the station and entrances and realign track. The project is expected to cost $53.7 million, with the T hoping to advertise for construction bids this spring and complete it within three years.. . . more

Unions squeeze Walmart partners

Retailer's foes target potential developers for political payback.

Opponents of Walmart plan to ratchet up the pressure on heavyweight developer The Related Companies this week, in a concerted campaign to show the city's real estate community that there's a potential cost to doing business with the nation's biggest retailer.

Related has had contact with Walmart about leasing a site at its 650,000-square-foot Gateway II shopping center in East New York, Brooklyn, that already received the City Council's approval, enraging those unions, small storeowners and council members that oppose the retailer's entry into the city. . . . more

Borders bankruptcy filing likely this week

Borders Group may file for bankruptcy reorganization as early as Monday or Tuesday, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

The No. 2 traditional bookstore in the U.S. also plans to close about 200 of its 674 stores and cut thousands of jobs, the newspaper reported, citing sources it did not name.. . . more

Clothing Prices to Rise 10 Percent Starting in Spring

The era of falling clothing prices is ending.

Clothing prices have dropped for a decade as tame inflation and cheap overseas labor helped hold down costs. Retailers and clothing makers cut frills and experimented with fabric blends to cut prices during the recession.

But as the world economy recovers and demand for goods rises, a surge in labor and raw materials costs is squeezing retailers and manufacturers who have run out of ways to pare costs.. . . more

American Eagle Shares Surge as Speculation Mounts Over Retail Takeover

American Eagle Outfitters Inc. surged the most in almost two years in New York trading on speculation the Pittsburgh-based teen-clothing retailer may be a takeover target.

“It’s the takeover rumors starting up again,” said Brian Sozzi, an analyst for Wall Street Strategies Inc. in New York. A deal would make sense for private equity because American Eagle has “a good brand and generates lots of cash,” he said. . . . more

Wireless Zone heads for national expansion

After hitting high marks expanding south and east, Middletown franchiser Wireless Zone wants to take its brand national, especially as its products gain further recognition.

Founded in 1988 as the Car Phone Store in Wethersfield, the franchise has grown by leaps and bounds over the past three years while exclusively selling Verizon products. While not the only seller of Verizon products, Wireless Zone has nonetheless benefitted from the expansion and popularity of that brand. . . . more

Friday, February 11, 2011

New ideas like bridal line have helped Urban Outfitters grow

Urban Outfitters' plans for growth over the next three years will go beyond its well-known flagship and Anthropologie stores — and will include a new bridal line.

The Philadelphia-based retailer owns 370 stores, including Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie and Free People sites. Its offerings include trendy apparel, fashion accessories and home decor. Last year, the company had $1.9 billion in sales. . . . more

Key Talbots exec leaving; search is under way

Women's clothing chain Talbots Inc. said today that a key executive, chief stores officer John Fiske, is leaving the company, which is struggling to turn itself around.

Fiske, 46, was named the chief stores officer of the retailer in March 2009 after serving as a human resources executive. He was part of a management team that was put in place to improve business results. . . . more

Wal-Mart's push into US cities

Both sides of the debate made their voices heard at a recent city council meeting in New York.

The world's largest retailer has long struggled to find a footing in America's urban centres, with their powerful unions and strong support for small business owners. But an economic recession finds cities struggling to create jobs and a fierce debate over Wal-Mart's potential presence is taking hold of city councils nationwide.. . . more

Blockbuster eyes sale

First, Blockbuster was busted. Now, it's on the block.

The embattled video-rental chain, which filed for bankruptcy last September, is preparing to put itself up for sale, sources told The Post.

A court-administered auction of the company, which could fetch more than $300 million, is Blockbuster's latest desperate move after billionaire Carl Icahn and other squabbling creditors failed to agree on a plan to help the chain exit Chapter 11. . . . more

Longtime Cambridge stationer to close shop

Bob Slate’s Stationer, a Harvard Square staple for more than 75 years, said it will close its three Cambridge stores by the end of March after a lengthy search for a new owner failed to yield a suitable buyer.

The stores sell rubber stamps, boxed cards, custom stationery, journals, art supplies, among other office products. . . . more

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Filene's Basement staying put in Newton

In a nod to its future as a going concern, Filene's Basement has extended its lease for its existing store on Needham Street in Newton.

The deal formally commenced this month after the clothing retailer’s existing 30,000-square-foot lease with property owner Paragon Properties of Needham was set to expire. Filene’s Basement, which filed for and emerged from bankruptcy protection in 2009, occupies around 87 percent of the building at 215-227 Needham Street. . . . more