Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Burger King goes for new look, menu

Burger King’s cartoonish King mascot will no longer be popping up everywhere. Forget about the steady stream of $1 value menu promotions. A new look is in store for advertising, the menu and even the restaurants themselves. Changes are slowly showing up at select locations, although the dramatic chain-wide makeover will take time. . . more

Subway Café provides a different franchising option

As Subway Restaurants moved past McDonald's this year to take over the global unit count top spot, a much smaller concept under the brand's umbrella has continued to grow at a much slower pace. Subway Café, the brainchild of franchisee Larry Feldman, who has one of the most extensive portfolios in the industry, first opened in 2008 in Alexandria, Va. . . more

AAMCO to open additional auto service centers

The trend of drivers holding onto their vehicles longer is prompting AAMCO to expand locally and nationally. The Horsham, Pa.-based franchiser of automotive service centers wants to open five more AAMCO centers in this region over the next year to 18 months . . . more

A&P sells 12 Superfresh stores, to close 13 others

The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, which is working its way through Chapter 11, will close 13 Suprefresh stores in the Baltimore area in  July because it can't find anyone to buy the properties, The Baltimore Sun reported.

A&P announced in April that it was looking trying to sell 25 Superfresh stores, mostly in the Baltimore area.  . . . more

Mom’s Organic Market opens in Baltimore area

Mom’s Organic Market has opened its seventh store, in Timonium, Md. Along with featuring 100%-certified organic produce, and organic and natural grocery products, the new Mom’s was built with the environment in mind.

"We believe that we are the most environmentally-responsible grocery chain in the country," said Scott Nash, who founded Mom's in 1987 with a $100 investment, in a report in The Gourmet Retailer.. . . more

ALDI food store being built on Leominster site

Discount grocer ALDI is building its newest store on Route 117in Leominster, next to Walmart.

Construction is under way, and the store will open this fall, according to Nicole Serr, a public relations representative for the company. A specific date has not been set. . . . more

Private labels are back in fashion

Retailers protect margins with in-house brands.

As they face unprecedented pressure from rising costs for raw materials, competition from online discounters and shoppers still reluctant to spend, more and more department stores are turning to a money-saving solution: private-label and exclusive apparel lines.

Midrange chains such as Macy's and Kohl's, as well as upscale stores, including Bloomingdale's and Saks Fifth Avenue, have recently added more private labels.. . . more

Debenhams in talks to open branches in US Sears stores

Debenhams, the department store retailer, could soon enter the US retail market by opening space in Sears stores.

The two retailers are understood to be in early discussions about Debenhams opening concession or franchise areas in Sears outlets across the US. The UK department store retailer currently has around 60 franchised stores around the world and has a plan to increase this number to 100 as it looks to expand beyond its domestic market. . . . more

Walmart tries small on for size

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., best known for its football-field-size Supercenters, plans to roll out dozens of small stores in cities in the next five years. The expansion is part of an effort to combat an unprecedented two-year decline in U.S. comparable-store sales by infiltrating the dense urban markets where Wal-Mart has little or no presence.

The small stores, operating under the banners Walmart Market and Walmart Express, are new to most of the country.. . . more

Friday, May 27, 2011

Macy’s: Two new stores in the works

Macy’s Inc. said it will open two new stores near Chicago and Milwaukee, including its first-ever location in an outlet mall. . . more

The Great Retail Shrinkage: Will Smaller Stores = Higher Profits?

You can supersize soft drinks, French fries and giant rolls of paper towels, but the era of supersized stores may be coming to an end.
Indeed, after decades of big-box stores that housed everything from food to clothing and appliances, retailers are realizing bigger might not be better.

Looking for ways to cut costs amid the recession, retailers have tightened inventory levels, slashed jobs and shuttered stores. Now as the consumer slowly returns, the sector continues to seek ways to squeeze the most profits out of its business. . . . more

HHGregg 4Q profit surges 46%, slows new store growth

Electronics and appliances retailer hhgregg Inc. said Thursday that its profit leaped 46% in its fiscal 4Q, to $14.6 million from $10 million in the year-ago period. However, same-store sales tumbled nearly 11% in the company, and the company said it will slow the pace at which it opens new stores in the next fiscal year. Previously, it expected to open 35 to 45 stores in the next year, but now cut the upper range to 40 stores.

Revenue for the quarter climbed 22% to $507 million, helped by the addition of 42 new stores over the past 12 months.. . . more

Luxe chains see room for many more outlet stores

U.S. luxury department stores plan to keep opening more lower-price outlets without fear of hurting their high-end prestige, retail executives said this week.

Outlets, where luxury chains sell more affordable merchandise and items left over from earlier seasons, have lifted retailers' sales during and since the recession, reaching so-called "aspirational" shoppers with limited budgets who covet top name brands.. . . more

Syms Surges Most Since 2009 After Reporting Possible Sale

Syms Corp., a New Jersey-based discount retailer, surged the most in almost two and a half years after saying it will explore strategic alternatives including a possible sale of the company.

Syms retained Rothschild Inc. as its exclusive financial adviser, the Secaucus, New Jersey-based retailer said today in a statement. There is no timeline for the review process, the company said. . . . more

April consumer spending shows weak gain

Consumers spent more in April but much of the increase was eaten up by higher food and energy prices. After discounting for the jump in prices, spending barely budged and after-tax incomes were flat for a second straight month.

Consumer spending rose 0.4 percent, reflecting a surge in the category that covers food and gasoline, areas which showed big price gains last month, the Commerce Department reported Friday. Excluding price changes, spending rose a much smaller 0.1 percent.. . . more

Dollar Store Nation

What the success of the dollar store says about the American economy

In 1868, a new kind of store opened at 669 Broadway in New York City and immediately captured the city’s attention. Immense, staffed with attractive young women, it featured silver-plated cake baskets, heavy-plated tablespoons, silk parasols, solid black walnut hat racks, pearl-handled knives—“pretty much everything,” the New York Sun marveled at the time, and yet whatever one ended up choosing from this great cavalcade of merchandise always cost the same. The enterprise’s name doubled as its universal price tag: It was called The Dollar Store.. . . more

Thursday, May 26, 2011

RECon 2011: Retail Real Estate’s Big Show, once again

Final attendance numbers aren’t available yet, and while RECon 2011 may not have been the really, really big show it was in 2007, the International Council of Shopping Centers’ annual Las Vegas convention was clearly a big event.

Pre-recession, the show attracted in excess of 50,000 retailers, retail service providers and shopping center executives to view the latest and greatest projects coming out of the ground. This year’s May 23 to 25 iteration didn’t pull 50k, but best guesses put attendance at over 30,000. . . . more

How America's Building the 21st-Century Mall

Here's a conundrum for the American capitalist: How can malls, those decades-old bastions of shoppers everywhere, compete with the shopping technology and up-to-the-minute gratification of the Internet?

The simple answer is that they can't—yet. But our nation's malls are undergoing a revolution, with new investment, energy, and innovation. Retailers such as Disney have begun adding interactive elements, Reuters reports, so that the stores resemble entertainment centers. . . . more

Monkey Sports buys Norwood Property

Monkey Sports recently purchased 921 Providence Highway in Norwood, a 9.9 acre site improved with 2 newly constructed buildings consisting of 22,340 square feet and 34,200 square feet. Monkey Sports will occupy approximately 25,000 square feet of retailspace with an anticipated opening in the Fall of 2011.
The store will be the largest Monkey Sports store to date and will include large sections of hockey, goalie, lacrosse and baseball equipment. . . . more

D.C. mayor to Wal-Mart: Open store at Skyland or forget your other four

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray delivered an ultimatum in a face-to-face meeting with Wal-Mart officials at a real estate convention here Monday: If the chain wants to enter the District at all, it had better commit to opening at Skyland Shopping Center, the long-delayed redevelopment project in Gray’s home ward that he considers the most important development project in the city.

Wal-Mart has announced four sites in D.C. where it would like to open stores and has been meeting with residents, community groups and members of the D.C. Council to build support. The sites are on Georgia and New Jersey avenues in Northwest, New York Avenue NE and East Capitol Street, areas that have few shopping options and have not seen significant development in recent years. . . . more

Ackman Buys ‘Passive’ Family Dollar Stake as Retailer May Be LBO Candidate

Bill Ackman, the founder of Pershing Square Capital Management known for investing in companies to press for changes, said he invested in Family Dollar Stores Inc. because it’s “very reasonably priced” and may be acquired.

Ackman said it’s a “passive” stake, meaning he’s not going to pressure management. “It’s a good business, it’s done very well for a long time,” he said. “It’s an attractive LBO transaction,” he added. . . . more

Golden Gate buying Calif. Pizza Kitchen for $470M

Private equity firm Golden Gate Capital is buying California Pizza Kitchen Inc. for about $470 million, three months after the restaurant chain put itself up for sale.

California Pizza Kitchen, which got its start in 1985, serves pizzas, pastas, soups, sandwiches and other food items. It has 265 restaurants, with 205 company-run and 60 under franchise or license agreements.. . . more

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Spirits Are High as RECon 2011 Begins

Bolstered by improving sales, falling cap rates and increased inquiries from retailers looking for space, the Las Vegas Convention Center was filled with optimism as ICSC’s 2011 RECon show got underway.

“It’s early still, but so far I’d say things are looking good,” said Joseph F. Coradino, president of PREIT Services LLC. “After a few years of the business just being about keeping the lights on, this year the focus is more on finding new 'first to the market' tenants. We really pushed to have meetings with new retailers.”

The mood so far jibes with what many firms were expecting heading into the show. Developers and brokers reported that they would have more meetings and were sending more people than in recent years.
Overall, ICSC said that advance registrations are up 900 over last year. This year, the association received 29,600 advance registrations, up from 28,700 last year. (It will report on-site registrations numbers later.). . . more

Starbucks CEO Advocates Staying True to Customers

Starbucks Coffee Co. Chairman, President and CEO Howard Schultz told a crowd of a few thousand retail executives here Tuesday that when the time came for his firm to shut down hundreds of stores and revamp the business in 2008, he did so because he realized the chain had lost sight of its customer service ideals. . . more

Krispy Kreme profit doubles in 1Q

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc. said its profit more than doubled in the first quarter on positive sales trends and lower expenses. For the May 1-ended quarter, Krispy Kreme’s net income totaled $9.2 million, or 13 cents per share, which the company described as its best quarterly profit since 2004. The company earned $4.5 million, or 6 cents per share, in last year’s first quarter, when it booked higher impairment charges and interest expense. . . more

Smashburger Continues to Fuel Growth with Franchise Agreements for 63 New Restaurants

Smashburger, the nation's fastest growing "better burger" concept, today announced it has added five new franchise partners to its rapidly growing family of franchisees, totaling a combined commitment for 63 new franchise units across the country. These most recent franchise agreements bring Smashburger's total franchise pipeline to 463 locations, which are expected to open over the course of the next several years. These new commitments will also allow Smashburger to make its debut in four new markets, further expanding its growing national footprint. . . more

AutoZone continues driving profitable results

Strong third quarter results at AutoZone caused shares to surge on Tuesday and pushed the company’s stock toward the $300 mark. Earnings per share at the company increased 28.5% to $5.29, besting analysts’ consensus estimate of $4.98, marking the 10th consecutive quarter in which earnings per share growth surpassed 20%. Sales increased 8.6% to $2 billion and same-store sales increased 5.3%. . . more

Disney Store celebrates 25 years with new and remodeled stores

Disney Store plans to open its interactive concept stores in more than 40 locations in 2011 the company announced today at the Global Retail Real Estate Convention in Las Vegas.  The company said that by the end of 2011, it will have 60 new concept stores in 16 major markets in North America and eight countries. . . more

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Modell's Sporting Goods closes in South Attleboro

A Route 1 sporting goods store has closed less than five years after it opened. Modell's, next to the Stop & Shop in South Attleboro Square, has shut its doors. A sign on the door says customers should visit the Modell's in Warwick, R.I. No information was available on the company website, although the South Attleboro location has been removed from its list of stores. A company spokesman could not be reached for comment. . . more

Panera also rises ... in Hub

The battle for Bostonians’ cafe cash is heating up. Panera Bread Co. is expanding its reach into Boston today just as Starbucks perks up with a third shop in Harvard Square that features a second level offering sandwiches, salads and live music. . . more

Swansea Target to open July 20 — with a Starbucks

When the new and much-anticipated Target store opens at RK Swansea Place on Route 6, it will feature a Starbucks coffee shop inside — the only one in this area. The new Target will also offer a Pizza Hut Express, an expanded grocery selection, and a pharmacy, said Sarah VanNevel, a spokeswoman for the retail chain. The store will open July 20, a Wednesday, with grand opening festivities set for July 24 . . more

Six Questions for StreetWorks’ Richard Heapes

Prompted by a 2004 consolidation inquiry, Stop n’ Shop--headquartered in Quincy, MA--called on a longtime relationship with StreetWorks to evaluate the situation. StreetWorks saw an opportunity to do a full redevelopment of Quincy’s entire Downtown and devised an innovative public-private partnership with the city of Quincy to create a 50-acre, $1.6-billion Quincy Center Project.  After culling together 30 pieces of land from 30 separate owners, the gears are in motion to break ground as soon as possible. StreetWorks’ Richard Heapes sat down with GlobeSt.com to answer six questions on the project and why their PPP may be a new model for future infrastructure and development plans. . . more

Malls, Capital, Retail Growth – it’s All Good

The innovations and perseverance of retailers, and the landlords that love (rent to) them, were part of the reason the economy has turned around from the economic struggle, said outgoing ICSC Chairman William Taubman during his last public address Monday during RECon 2011 here. The COO of Bloomfield Hills, MI-based Taubman Centers told a crowd of thousands that the retail industry “weathered the storm, and provided the momentum that opened the clouds of the Great Recession” during Monday’s luncheon. . . more

Monday, May 23, 2011

How Apple Stores rewrote the rules of retailing

The retail industry has a hard case of Apple envy. For good reason. The maker of fashionable gadgets today celebrates 10 years since the launch of its first Apple Stores, marking a record run of sales and a new world order in retailing. . . more

Borders wants to pour its own coffee

U.S. retailer Borders Group Inc. said it asked a bankruptcy court for permission to break away from a licensing agreement with Seattle's Best Coffee LLC. Seattle's Best, a unit of Starbucks Corp., had licensing rights for 225 Borders' bookstores that closed when the retailer filed for bankruptcy in February, The Detroit News reported Friday. . . more

Syms urged by shareholder to stem retail losses, sell real estate

Discount retailer Syms Corp. was urged by a shareholder to stem losses in its clothing business and sell some of the real estate holdings accumulated by late founder Sy Syms. . . more

Subway to open 2,000 North American locations in 2011

Subway Restaurants said Friday that more than 2,000 franchisees are actively searching for locations slated for 2011 openings. In order to reach its development goals, the chain said that a contingent of Subway representatives will be manning the brand’s booth at the International Council of Shopping Centers’ RECon convention, May 23 to 25, in Las Vegas. . . more

Friday, May 20, 2011

Liberty Media makes $1 billion bid for Barnes & Noble

Liberty Media Corp. has offered to buy Barnes & Noble in a deal valued at about $1 billion, which represents a 20% premium over the bookseller’s market value Thursday. Barnes & Noble said Thursday that the cash offer, which the Wall Street Journal called a “stunner,” is worth $17 a share. The companies have yet to sign an agreement. . . more

Wal-Mart tests selling GE appliances in Texas

Wal-Mart Stores Inc is testing sales of General Electric Co household appliances again as it tries to offer a wider variety of products and financing options to appeal to its shoppers, especially those on tight budgets.

The pilot program, which began this week in Texas, pits Wal-Mart against chains such as Sears Holdings Corp, Home Depot Inc and Lowe's Cos Inc, which already sell everything from refrigerators to washers and dryers in thousands of stores across the United States.. . . more

BJ’s Q1 Exceeds Expectations

BJ’s Wholesale Club, Inc. posted net income of $33.7 million for the first quarter ended April 30. Results for quarter exceeded the company’s guidance for net income in the range of $29.5 million to $31.5 million.

“BJ’s is off to a great start in 2011,” noted Laura Sen, president and CEO of the Westborough, Mass.-based warehouse club retailer, which operates 190 clubs in 15 states. “Our stronger than expected performance for the first three months of 2011 reflects net sales above plan, continued margin expansion and excellent cost control.”. . . more

KeyPoints Eastern Massachusetts Report Preview

The KeyPoint Report on retail real estate in Eastern Massachusetts/Greater Boston will be available soon at KeyPointPartners.com. Here are just a few highlights from the findings in this year's report:

Market Overview & Vacancy:
The Eastern Massachusetts region increased in total retail footprint by 2.6 million square feet, or 1.4%. As of March 1, 2011, retail real estate inventory in Eastern Massachusetts totaled 189.3 million square feet. After two years in which we saw retail vacancy rise by an astounding 43.3%, topping out at 18.0 million square feet, vacancy finally began to subside, dropping to approximately 17.0 million square feet, reducing unoccupied space by just over 1.0 million square feet This equates to a 9.0% vacancy rate within the region, a significant drop from last year's 9.7% vacancy level and the first decline in vacancy since 2005. . . more

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Financial woes dog firm seeking lease of Faneuil Hall shops

The New York real estate firm set to take over Faneuil Hall Marketplace in the next few months has faced financial troubles in the past year that led its lenders to repossess two shopping centers, in Florida and Wisconsin, issues that are now raising concerns about the future of the historic Boston property.

The Tampa Port Authority filed a lawsuit last year against Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. that accused it of owing more than $300,000 in back rent and failing to adequately maintain the shopping center it leased, Channelside Bay Plaza. Ashkenazy lost control of Channelside last fall, and this spring, the company also had to give up its stake in the Shops of Grand Avenue in Milwaukee after defaulting on a loan. . . more

Casual Male misses Street expectations, blames poor weather for sluggish Northeast sales

Casual Male Retail Group Inc. saw sales for the first quarter of 2011 increase slightly to $95.8 million — missing Wall Street’s expectations of $97.4 million, according to a Reuters report . . . more

Stop & Shop Finalizes Acquisition of Five Norkus Foodtown Supermarkets

The Stop & Shop Supermarket Company LLC has finalized its acquisition of five New Jersey Shore-area Foodtown supermarkets previously owned by Norkus Enterprises Inc. The transaction involves stores in Freehold Township, Manalapan, Neptune City, Point Pleasant Beach and Long Branch. Stop &Shop currently operates 10 stores in Monmouth and Ocean counties.

"Stop & Shop is always looking for opportunities and convenient locations to better serve our customers," said Ron Onorato, Division President of Stop & Shop's NY Metro Division. . . . more

Sears posts 1Q loss; Kmart, Sears sales weak

Sears Holding Corp. may need to go back to the drawing board. The company's dependence on appliances and what seemed to be growing strength at its Kmart stores failed it in the first quarter, as the retailer reported a bigger-than-expected loss in contrast to a profit a year ago.

The company led by billionaire Edward Lampert has long seen customers drawn to the value of its appliances, under brands such as Kenmore. But the absence of a government appliance rebate program took a bite out of its performance.. . . more

State unemployment rate falls to 7.8% in April

The state unemployment rate in April fell to 7.8 percent, down from 8 percent in March, which was then the lowest point in nearly two years, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development said this morning.

The executive office's preliminary job estimates indicate that the state's economy added 19,500 jobs last month. The private sector added 20,500 jobs while government lost 1,000 jobs.. . . more

Troubled by the past

Financial woes dog firm seeking lease of Faneuil Hall shops

The New York real estate firm set to take over Faneuil Hall Marketplace in the next few months has faced financial troubles in the past year that led its lenders to repossess two shopping centers, in Florida and Wisconsin, issues that are now raising concerns about the future of the historic Boston property.

Merchants at Faneuil Hall Marketplace are urging city officials to more closely scrutinize Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. and consider other potential buyers for the retail and restaurant complex.  . . . more

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Edible Arrangements to open 150 locations in 2011

Edible Arrangements announced on Tuesday aggressive expansion plans, with the goal of opening 150 new locations in 2011, and 200 additional locations in 2012.

During the next several weeks, 19 stores are scheduled to open in 10 states and two Canadian Provinces. . . . more

Discounters Rev Up Retail

With retail bankruptcies continuing to mount — Blockbuster and Borders Group are the latest, leaving hundreds of storefronts vacant — new development has retreated into an eerie calm. It’s the rare shopping center being planned anywhere today.

Some merchandising experts predict it could be years before the U.S. marketplace requires new sales space. With $5 a gallon gasoline a new reality in some locales amid sharply higher prices at grocery stores, many observers fear that consumer spending for apparel and electronics might soon evaporate.. . . more

Staples cuts outlook, 1Q results disappoint

Weaker-than-expected sales weighed on Staples Inc. in the first quarter, prompting the nation's biggest office supply retailer to cut its full-year earnings guidance. The Framingham, Mass., company's quarterly earnings and revenue did climb, but fell short of Wall Street's expectations. Those misses, combined with disappointing full-year and second-quarter outlooks, pushed Staples' stock to a 52-week low Wednesday. . . more

Home improvement retailers changing with the times

Home improvement retailers are evolving to meet the needs of budget-conscious consumers stuck in homes they can't sell.

Home Depot Inc. is focusing more on affordable products and projects and Lowe's Cos. on improving customer services such as outdoor equipment repair — changes dictated by the companies' first-quarter results, which show customers holding onto their cash until it's the right time to spend.. . . more

Panera, Chipotle, fast-casual cousins, are restaurant bright spots

Grabbing more meals at Panera, Five Guys, and Chipotle? Blaming the decision on your battered wallet and the lousy economy? You’re not alone.

The fast casual restaurant category “outpaced the restaurant industry as a whole in 2010, with the Top 100 fast-casual chains growing 6 percent to nearly $18.9 billion, a faster rate than in 2009,” say number crunchers at Technomic, the Chicago-based restaurant consultants.
. . . more

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

49 Social to open downtown where Ivy failed to root

Less than a year after the Ivy Restaurant on Temple Place closed and filed for bankruptcy, a new restaurant is set to open in the same Downtown Crossing location later this month. Talal Zaiter, 51, and his nephew Samir Zaiter, 32, are planning to launch 49 Social, a 150-seat restaurant and bar on three levels that will feature contemporary American cuisine. . . more

Kohl’s focusing on smaller stores, looking at all options for new headquarters

Kohl’s Corp. is looking to focus on smaller stores as it continues to expand across the country, chairman and CEO Kevin Mansell said in remarks following the company's annual meeting Thursday, according to The Business Journal.. . . more

Nordstrom to roll out mobile checkout devices company-wide

Nordstrom is taking its vaunted customer service to the next level: The company will roll out mobile checkout devices to its stores nationwide by the start of its anniversary sale in July, Nordstrom president Blake Nordstrom told shareholders Wednesday at the company's annual meeting in Seattle. The retailer, which has tried a variety of different devices, is currently testing the iPod Touch in its downtown Seattle and Bellevue Square stores. . . more

Jersey Mike’s inks new expansion deals

Jersey Mike's Subs is set to expand in several new markets with the addition of new franchise partners. With these new partners, the company is set to grow in Texas, Colorado, Los Angeles, Chicago, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Delaware/Maryland. Also, existing operators plan to expand in 14 other territories. . . more

Dick's Sporting Goods targets Hanover Mall

The Hanover Mall management is considering demolishing the vacant Circuit City building and replacing it with a sporting goods store that would be twice as big, according to the mall’s general manager.

Though no formal plans have been filed, general manager Ed Callahan told Hanover’s planning board last night that the mall is negotiating a lease with Dick’s Sporting Goods for a 50,000-square-foot store that would replace the Circuit City building, which has been vacant since the company went out of business in March 2009. If all goes according to plan, the new Dick’s could be open in time for Christmas 2012.. . . more

Whole Foods: Nashua store is coming (but no details)

Whole Foods is once again setting its sights on Nashua.

Nashua is listed as a site for an upcoming store on the Web site of the Austin, Texas-based natural foods supermarket

“Yes, we have indeed announced that a store is coming to Nashua,” said Heather McCready, public relations manager for the chain’s North Atlantic region. McCready, however, she said she didn’t have any further details, such as square-footage or the number of employees for the proposed store.. . . more

JCPenney hones cost-cutting ax

JCPenney CEO Mike Ullman is finally swinging the ax.

Under pressure from hedge-fund tycoon Bill Ackman and real-estate mogul Steve Roth, the department-store honcho has been closing stores, trimming inventory, slashing marketing expenses and scrapping the retailer's 100-year-old catalog. . . . more

Home Depot ups forecast despite weak spring sales

Top home improvement chain Home Depot Inc backed its sales outlook and raised its profit forecast for the year despite a slow start to the key spring selling season, sending its shares up.

The results came a day after smaller rival Lowe's Cos cut its forecast for the year after missing both sales and earnings estimates in the first quarter.. . . more

TJX 1Q net income slips on A.J. Wright closings

The closing of A.J. Wright stores and reopening many as TJMaxx, Marshalls or HomeGoods stores pulled TJX Cos.' first-quarter net income down 20 percent, but customer traffic improved at the company's remaining chains as shoppers still sought bargains.

The off-price retailer said today that it earned $266 million for the period that ended April 30. That's down from $331.4 million a year earlier. . . . more

Wal-Mart 1Q earnings rise 3 pct; US still slumping

Growing overseas business and strict cost controls helped Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s net income rise 3 percent in the first quarter, beating Wall Street expectations.
But business at home is still soft for the world's largest retailer. U.S. Walmart stores posted their eighth straight quarter of revenue declines at stores open at least a year.. . . more

Monday, May 16, 2011

New England Development Newburyport plan advances

New England Development appears to be advancing its long-stalled plan to convert swaths of waterfront parcels in Newburyport into a possible mixed-use community.

According to a Friday report by the Daily News of Newburyport, New England Development CEO Stephen Karp has approached town officials to potentially review his project proposal. The meeting would not be open to the public, according to sources cited by the newspaper. . . . more

Borders lacks bidder for chain

Borders Group, the bookstore operator looking to reorganize in bankruptcy, has so far failed to find a bidder for the entire chain, according to four people familiar with the matter.

Barnes & Noble, Borders' larger rival, offered to buy about 10 stores, said two of the people, who declined to be identified because the process isn't public. Other parties also bid for parts of the business, the people said.. . . more