Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ferry lot may be shared by big store

The developer of the Hingham Shipyard wants to lease part of the MBTA-owned commuter boat parking lot so it can build a large retail store nearby on Route 3A - a prospect that worries some ferry users but excites town officials eager to see more tax revenue from the site.

The cash-strapped transit agency would also benefit, taking in about $240,000 annually in rental payments, according to MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo. The MBTA also would save on maintenance costs, since the developer would assume that responsibility for the entire 12.5-acre lot under the proposed 30-year lease, he said.. . . more

Restoration Newbury Street

Toney hardware chain sizes up ex-LouisBoston site

Restoration Hardware is eyeing a return to the Back Bay at the former LouisBoston location, three years after the purveyor of high-end home goods pulled out of a Boylston Street spot, the Herald has learned.

The three-story brick building at Newbury and Berkeley streets — built in 1863 and once home to the New England Museum of Natural History — has been empty since Louis owner Debi Greenberg left the space she rented for two decades and moved into a temporary store at Fan Pier last year.. . . more

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

NC grocery chain to enter Pittsburgh

(photographed by Dave Hong)Bottom Dollar Food, a discount grocer out of Salisbury, N.C., has been quietly choosing store sites around the region for the past several months.

Now, the grocer is officially confirming its plans to set up shop here, starting with 14 stores in the greater Pittsburgh and Youngstown, Ohio, markets. Most of the stores are expected to open in early 2012, according to the company.. . . more

Friday, July 22, 2011

Back-to-school sales expected to be flat

Back-to-school sales are expected to be flat this coming season, according to the 2011 Back-to-School survey, issued Thursday by the National Retail Federation and conducted by BIGresearch. The study showed that families with children in grades K-12 will spend an average of $603.63 on apparel, school supplies and electronics, a few dollars short of last year’s $606.40 average. . . . more

Borders liquidation approved by bankruptcy judge

Borders Group Inc, won bankruptcy court approval on Thursday to liquidate its 40-year-old business, effectively spelling the end for the second-largest U.S. book retailer.

As many as 35 of the company's stores could continue to operate as bookstores in some form if a last-minute agreement with Books-A-Million Inc, the nation's third-biggest bookstore chain, can be reached.. . . more

Wal-Mart to enter local grocery wars

Mid-size market set for Somerville

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is opening its first Market grocery store in the Northeast in Somerville, becoming the latest - and biggest - new competitor to try to shake up the once-staid supermarket scene in New England.

The Arkansas retail giant expects to soon sign a lease for the former Circuit City store on Mystic Avenue at the edge of the Assembly Square shopping district, and company spokesman Steven Restivo said the grocery should be open within a year.. . . more

Blockbuster keeps 1,500 stores open

If your neighborhood Blockbuster store is open, it’s cleared a hurdle with new owners Dish Network Corp.

Dish, the No. 2 satellite TV provider, told the bankruptcy court Thursday that it plans to assume about 1,500 Blockbuster leases, wrapping up a bankruptcy that was filled with cliffhangers.. . . more

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Boston ICSC & the Decline of the Document

Here’s a question for you: what is a document? What, in these digital days, constitutes that item we refer to as a document: a letter, a brochure, a contract, a lease exhibit, a newsletter? For example, this newsletter: you received it, and are likely reading it, online. When I started at KeyPoint Partners, this newsletter was largely faxed or mailed. It was designed and laid out according to the traditional parameters of printed pages. Now it’s entirely digital; we print a few hard copies to display in our lobby, but the printed version is modified from the digital version, not vice versa. This is an important difference: we’re no longer delivering a printed piece that has been modified so it can be read online; we’re delivering an online piece that could, if necessary, be printed. . . more

Whole Foods not coming to Latham Circle Mall, broker says

There are no negotiations to bring near Albany, New York, despite a site plan posted online that identifies the store as a tenant, according to a real estate broker.

Rob Robledo, vice president of retail tenant services for CBREin Boston, said the proposed site plan was posted on the website of SN Consulting Group, an architecture and engineering firm, to illustrate the type of services it provides.

“We’re not negotiating a deal with them,” Robledo said.. . . more

Costco Pulls Expansion Application in Brookfield, CT, Expected to Resubmit Soon

Costco, one of the town's biggest taxpayers, has withdrawn its application to renovate and expand its current wholesale location at 200 Federal Road  by 15,186 square feet and is expected to submit a different site plan soon to the Zoning Commission.

The proposed expansion apparently would address the competition that will result from the BJs Wholesale Club, which plans to build a 124,560-square-foot commercial center in the north section of the Kohl's Shopping Center, down the road from Costco.. . . more

Borders liquidation another blow to retail real estate

Borders Group Inc.’s proposed liquidation will increase available U.S. retail space by about 6.3 million square feet as the industry struggles with near-record vacancy rates and stagnant rents.

DJM Realty LLC plans to auction 259 Borders leases in two separate sales, likely in August and September, said Andy Graiser, co-president of the Melville, N.Y.-based property- consulting firm. That’s on top of about 225 stores the book retailer began closing after its February bankruptcy.. . . more

Can J.C. Penney's New CEO Reinvent the Department Store?

As engineer of Apple's winning retail strategy, Ron Johnson created a juggernaut that reaped both profits and positive buzz. But can he do the same with the department store, a retail format that many feel is becoming antiquated? As the newly named CEO of J.C. Penney, Johnson will be tasked with crafting a new niche for an American institution.

The Plano, Texas-based department store chain named Johnson, chief of Apple's retail stores, as its new CEO on June 14. Johnson will take the helm on November 1 and, for the time being, report to J.C. Penney's executive chairman and outgoing CEO, Myron E. Ullman III, who has held the top job since 2004 and will step down on February 1, 2012.. . . more

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hyatt in Braintree takes first construction steps

The development of the 10-acre parcel, located just off I-93 and Route 3, will include the renovation of the existing 374-room hotel into a 204-room Hyatt Place, with planned renovations to all guest room interiors as well as public spaces.

Part of the area will also be transformed into a 32,000 square foot retail building, complete with an 8,200 square feet renovated restaurant and 6,000 square feet of retail space for a new tenant in the area currently under lease with Jared, The Galleria of Jewelry.
. . . more

Walmart may be eyeing Rite Aid

Rumors have been circulating that Walmart may be out to buy Rite Aid, though nothing has been confirmed yet, according to published reports.

Crain’s New York Business reported Sunday that the rumors surfaced because many thought the idea would make sense, considering Walmart’s ambitions to enter the New York market have been dashed by local labor unions, while Rite Aid continues to have issues with debt and store closings.. . . more

Borders Liquidates; DJM Realty to dispose of remaining real estate in US

Borders Group Inc. announced late Monday, July 18, that it would liquidate after failing to receive any offers to keep the business going. The company, which employs nearly 11,000 people, is foregoing today’s scheduled bankruptcy-court auction. Borders said liquidation of its remaining 399 stores could start as soon as Friday, and it is expected to go out of business for good by the end of September.

Post-liquidation, DJM Realty, a Gordon Brothers Group company, has been retained to exclusively manage the disposition of all remaining Borders Group and Waldenbooks real estate in the United States. . . . more

Vacancies Again Rise at Malls, Strip Centers

Vacancy rates at shopping centers and regional malls both jumped again in the second quarter, according to real estate research firm Reis Inc.’s latest report.

The vacancy rate at malls jumped to 9.3 percent—the highest level since Reis began tracking the sector in 2000. At shopping centers, meanwhile, the rate rose to 11.0 percent after remaining stable at 10.9 percent during the four previous quarters. The vacancy rate is not just 10 basis points away from the all-time peak of 11.1 percent that Reis measured in 1990. . . . more

Borders Liquidation Will Hit Power and Strip Center Landlords

Though a Borders liquidation isn’t welcome news for retail landlords, many of whom are still dealing with wobbling fundamentals, it won’t have nearly the same impact as the liquidations of Mervyn’s, Linens ‘n Things and Circuit City a few years earlier. Many of Borders’ landlords are already having conversations with alternate retailers to backfill its stores.

Borders owns some prime real estate and the last of its stores represent the best of its portfolio: locations in big markets, with good demographics and steady shopper traffic.  . . . more

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Trinity Financial secures right to purchase downtown block for redevelopment

Trinity Financial has hit a major milestone in its proposed redevelopment of a key downtown block in Brockton.
The two-phase project would turn the downtown block bordered by Main Street, Petronelli Way, Montello and Centre streets into a mixed-use development with 215 apartments, and thousands of square feet of retail and commercial space. . . . more

Monday, July 18, 2011

Borders' seeks approval to liquidate

Borders Group is seeking court approval to liquidate its 399 stores after it failed to receive any bids that would keep the 40-year-old chain in operation and canceled an auction process.
Liquidation sales could start as soon as Friday. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court of the Southern District of New York is set to approve the move on Thursday. . . more

Storefronts filling up in Eastern Massachusetts.

Storefronts are gradually starting to fill up in eastern Massachusetts after vacancies hit their highest levels in more than a decade in 2010. Expansions by discount chains such as BJ’s Wholesale Club, Target and Ocean State Job Lot have helped the retail real estate market rebound from a six-year slump that saw vacancy rates approach 10 percent. That growth has offset retreats by retailers such as A.J. Wright, Blockbuster Video and Borders.
“The more value-oriented retailers generally came through the recession better than luxury stores,” said Robert Sheehan, director of research for KeyPoint Partners in Burlington. “Value had a pretty smooth ride because a lot of shoppers started trading down.”. . . more

Sticking to its roots, Demoulas chain grows amid industry struggles

Most regional supermarket chains are riding out the recession. But Tewksbury-based Demoulas Super Markets Inc. is enjoying a retail renaissance with an aggressive building and renovation initiative that's sending shockwaves across the industry.

For a 19,000-employee company that shuns publicity, its business blueprint is triggering plenty. For instance, Demoulas recently caught the attention of Supermarket News, a national weekly. In March, SN, as it's known in the industry, published a complimentary article on the Demoulas chain, which was founded in Lowell before World War I. . . more

Microsoft to open 75 stores in next two to three years

In an address Wednesday at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference in Los Angeles, COO Kevin Turner said that Microsoft hopes to open 75 freestanding Microsoft stores within the next two to three years. . . more

Boston Market CEO on chain’s growth strategy

Boston Market is looking to expand its customer base to include more travelers and students with a licensing push into non-traditional locations such as airports, freeway travel centers and college campuses. . . more

Popeyes® Louisiana Kitchen Opens 2000th Restaurant Globally

From New Orleans to Istanbul, food lovers across the globe love the unique, authentic taste of Popeyes® Louisiana Kitchen—the world’s second largest quick-serve chicken concept based on number of units—and on July 16, 2011, Popeyes will celebrate the opening of its 2,000th restaurant. The landmark opening, located in Memphis, Tenn., marks a major growth milestone for Popeyes and highlights the success of the company’s development strategy. . . more

Ross shows discounter dominance with 1,000th Dress for Less store

Ross Stores will celebrate on July 16 the opening of its 1,000th Dress for Less store in North Pleasant Hill, Calif. Ross Stores' announcement of its 1,000th Dress for Less store follows strong monthly and quarterly sales and earnings, as the company continues to thrive in the down economy. . . more

Salem Five to take over Stoneham Savings

Salem Five Cents Savings Bank, one of the most prominent community banks on the North Shore, has struck a deal to take over Stoneham Savings Bank, which has been struggling to rebuild its capital after losing millions of dollars in construction loans. The deal gives Salem Five the chance to expand its base north of Boston, while allowing Stoneham Savings the opportunity to preserve operations and retain employees. . . more

New stores coming to Burlington Mall

Burlington Mall, a shopping center anchored by Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor, Macy’s, and Sears, announced some new editions to its store line-up. Now open is LittleMissMatched, a store specializing in women’s clothing and accessories. Set to open this month is Swim ‘N Sport, a retailer focused on designer swimwear for women. It might be tough to squeeze into a monokini from Swim ‘N Sport after chowing down at Spike’s Junkyard Dogs and Stack-a-Burger. . . more

Tech Superpowers opens new store

Tech Superpowers, a computer retailer and Apple specialist, has opened its new store at Patriot Place in Foxborough. It's an addition to the company's original headquarters on Boylston Street in Boston, where the country's biggest Apple store opened in 2008.
. . . more

Mayor Menino: N.Y. developer ‘scurrilous’

Fed-up mayor says Vornado’s not fit to be in real estate business

Hub Mayor Thomas M. Menino yesterday launched his fiercest attack yet on the failed New York developers of the former Filene’s site in Downtown Crossing.

“They are a scurrilous group that should not be in the real estate business,” said Menino, referring to Vornado Realty Trust, which halted construction at the former Washington Street landmark in 2008. “They want $165 million for that location when the market says it’s not worth it. They’re trying to play Russian roulette with us, we don’t play Russian roulette.”. . . more

Tuesday auction looms for bankrupt Borders

The second largest bookstore chain in America, Borders Group Inc., is closer to liquidation this morning after the bidding deadline on Sunday passed without any offers for the bankrupt company, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The deadline for offers was 5 p.m. Sunday and the paper reported that Borders likely will entertain offers right up until the scheduled bankruptcy auction scheduled for Tuesday.. . . more

Borders liquidation threatens 23 Mass. stores

Borders Group Inc. is scheduled to liquidate its network of 399 stores this week unless a potential white knight steps forward to acquire the company.

New York Bankruptcy Court Judge Martin Glenn on Thursday gave the green light for Borders to sell its assets and shutter its operations after a bid to buy the company fell through.. . . more

Bugaboo Creek Steak House is under New Ownership

Bugaboo Creek Steak House, the casual steak house restaurant known for its family-friendly mountain lodge atmosphere, is pleased to announce that it is now under new ownership by Capitol BC Restaurants LLC, and open for business at 12 locations throughout the Eastern Corridor. . . . more

Friday, July 15, 2011

Cool your palates: Pinkberry coming to Wellesley

Pinkberry will bring its tart frozen yogurt and array of toppings to Wellesley next month when it opens a store in Linden Square.

“We have received such a great reception from the Greater Boston Area,” Pinkberry CEO Ron Graves said in a release. “So we are thrilled to expand with the opening of the Wellesley location,” he adds.. . . more

Shabby chic: It's called 'Natick Mall' again

The undulating architecture outside Neiman Marcus is still there, and so is the fake birch forest and the wing devoted to luxury stores like Tiffany and Louis Vuitton and Burberry. But the Natick Collection is no more.

The company that owns the retail complex, General Growth Properties, quietly decided this spring to retire the center’s swank name, more reminiscent of objects of art than stores selling shoes and clothes and contact lenses. The new name is actually the old name: the Natick Mall.. . . more

Borders' Fate Hangs in Balance

The fate of Borders Group Inc. hangs in the balance this weekend, with a Sunday deadline looming for the bookstore chain to either find a buyer or face liquidation.

A judge on Thursday said Borders could auction itself off with an opening bid from a group of liquidators, less than 24 hours after the bookseller's negotiations to sell itself to private-equity investor Jahm Najafi collapsed.
. . . more

June retail sales mark 12 consecutive months of growth

Warm weather, lower gas costs and strong Father’s Day promotions put consumers in a spending mood in June, boosting retail sales for the 12th consecutive month and surpassing many analysts’ expectations. According to the National Retail Federation, retail industry sales (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) in June increased 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted from May and 5.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

“A solid year of growth in sales provides further evidence that retailers continue to lead the charge in the economic recovery,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “While spending continues to surpass expectations, sustained growth in the retail sector depends on a strong labor market.”. . . more

Aldi looking to open discount grocery near Westgate Mall

Another discount grocery store could be coming to the Westgate Mall area.

The grocery chain Aldi filed plans in the past week with the Brockton Planning Department to build a nearly 18,000 square-foot grocery store – slightly bigger than a CVS – at the southwest corner of Reynolds Memorial Highway and Pleasant Street, across from Westgate Mall where Central Music stands now.. . . more

Monday, July 11, 2011

Toys R Us IPO now expected in 2012

The initial public offering of Toys R Us, the world's largest toy retailer, is now expected in 2012, two sources told Reuters.

The company filed for an IPO of up to $800 million in May 2010. It had contemplated coming public in the first half of 2011, but delayed its IPO after lackluster holiday sales. It later contemplated a July IPO.. . . more

Next in big-box era: downsizing

When it comes to retailing, big is not so beautiful anymore.

Weak sales, online competition and changing consumer habits have big-box chains looking to downsize. Best Buy is the latest merchant shedding space, in an initiative that stands out in both size and scope.

The giant retailer, with 1,300 stores nationwide, is launching plans to wall off parts of its cavernous stores and sublease the space to smaller retailers, such as grocers, beauty supply stores, home furnishing outlets and others.. . . more

Aeropostale: Between a Rock and a Hard Place

If you wear Aeropostale  clothing, that’s a personal style choice. But from an investment perspective, the company’s glory days look numbered. We give the firm credit for taking advantage of the last global downturn by offering appealing, low-cost alternatives to quasi-brand-conscious teens who were strapped for cash. Kids traded down to Aeropostale and sales for the firm went up. But now the consumer apocalypse is over. In our view, this means a bumpy road ahead with little hope of continued success.

The competition is heating up as buyers trade back up in a slowly improving economy and new competitors play the same cost game as Aeropostale. . . . more

Friday, July 8, 2011

Fenway facelift continues

The sub shops, fast food outlets, and gas stations that used to dominate the outer stretch of Boylston Street around Fenway Park have given way to sleek buildings, stylish restaurants, and a lively club scene.

And now a new addition to the neighborhood: Boston developer the Abbey Group yesterday proposed construction of a mixed-use complex that would replace a former McDonald’s with 210 apartments, offices, and retail stores.. . . more

BJ’s New Owners Seek to Grow Chain Despite Tough Competition

If the acquisition of BJ’s Wholesale Club’s by two private equity firms works out as planned, the discount chain will be a much bigger player in a market currently dominated by Costco and Sam’s Club. The challenge, will be achieving that growth in the face of that tough competition.

Last week, private equity firms Leonard Green & Partners and CVC Capital Partners, entered into a definitive agreement to purchase BJ’s for $2.8 billion, or $51.25 per share plus about $1.5 billion in debt. The transaction comes after a long negotiating process, which officially began in February, when BJ’s announced it was putting itself on the block. Even before then, however, rumors had swirled for months that BJ’s was looking for a buyer.. . . more

Friday, July 1, 2011

Media distributor Direct Brands opens bids to buy Borders

Borders Group Inc. named Direct Brands, the owner of the Book-of-the-Month Club, as the stalking horse bidder to begin negotiations for a sale of the bankrupt bookseller.
The opening bid from Direct Brands, a portfolio company of Phoenix-based private equity firm Najafi Cos., entails a $215.1 million purchase of nearly all Borders' assets and the assumption of about $220 million in liabilities. . . . more

Consumer Confidence in U.S. at 10-Week High on Fuel

Consumer confidence rose to the highest level in 10 weeks as falling gasoline prices provided relief to Americans contending with 9.1 percent joblessness.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index increased to minus 43.9 for the period ended June 26 after dropping to minus 44.9 the prior week. The change in the comfort gauge last week was within the survey’s margin of error of 3 points. The measure among those with a college degree or more was the least negative in more than two years. . . . more

Top 100 Retailers

These are the times that test retailers’ mettle. The recession is over — and has been for nearly two years — but high unemployment and under-employment and persistent problems in the housing market continue to keep consumer spending in check.

The nation’s economy, as measured by gross national product (GNP), grew at a modest 1.8 percent pace in the first quarter of 2011, a sharp drop-off from the 3.1 percent rate in the final three months of last year, and nearly all the companies at the top of STORES’ annual Top 100 Retailers list are calling for tempered expectations about results for the remainder of this year.. . . more

Walmart headed to Saugus

Curious residents now have an answer to what’s going next to the McDonalds on Route 1 North in Saugus —Walmart.

Town Manager Andrew Bisignani met with Walmart representatives last Wednesday to iron out the details of a proposed 114,000-square-foot, two-story store at 770 Broadwa.. . . more