Thursday, December 22, 2011

New Market Basket planned in Westford, half-mile from existing store

Market Basket plans to operate two stores in Westford, within a half mile of each other, once the Cornerstone Square development is built. RA Ventures, developer of the Cornerstone Square site, announced last week that DeMoulas Supermarkets Inc., commonly called Market Basket, has leased the 60,000-square-foot anchor building at the intersection of Route 110 and Boston Road, also known as Minot's Corner. DeMoulas Operations Manager David McLean said the plan is to continue to operate the store at Westford Valley Marketplace on Littleton Road when the Cornerstone site is complete, slated for next fall.. . . more

Shopping center planned for business park

A developer on Wednesday announced plans to construct a 170,000-square-foot shopping center at the William Stanley Business Park -- a retail complex that could bring 150 jobs to the city and invigorate the Morningside neighborhood. The complex would be anchored by a national retailer, which has yet to be identified. Waterstone Retail Development, based in Needham, is currently negotiating a lease with the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority, which is responsible for the development of the business park. . . more

.Walgreen Q1 profit falls 4.5%, misses Street

Walgreen Co. reported Wednesday that profit for the quarter ended Nov. 30 dropped 4.5% to $554 million, compared with $580 million in the year-ago period. The drugstore operator cited a slow flu season and the decision to leave Express Scripts pharmacy network among the reasons for the performance dip. . . more

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Retail sales jump with month on pace to top last year

Retailers are seeing green this holiday season.

Registers rang up a hefty 21.7 percent increase in receipts last week compared to the prior week, according to ShopperTrak. The sales represented a 1.3 percent increase from the same period last year, the Chicago retail tracking firm said.

Meanwhile sales on Super Saturday — the last full Saturday shopping day before Christmas — dropped slightly from 2010, falling 0.7 percent to $7.5 billion compared to $7.55 billion last year. . . more

Otherside Cafe to stay open in Back Bay, for now

A Minnesota-based furniture store chain, Room & Board Inc. .Room & Board Inc. Latest from The Business Journals White Provision stays true to area’s heritageRoom & Board coming to Culver City historic siteCrate & Barrel's CB2 scouts D.C. for new store Follow this company ., says they are still planning to open their first store in Massachusetts at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Newbury Street, in a historic building that now houses the Otherside Cafe, Sleep-a-Rama, and Island Hopper. . . more

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Yoga shop preps Newbury St. pose

Lululemon Athletica is anything but sour on Boston. The yoga-inspired clothing chain will open its second Hub shop on Newbury Street early next year, just two blocks away from its initial location that debuted at the Shops at Prudential Center in 2008. . . more

Talbots rejects buyout offer from Sycamore Partners

Talbots Inc. has rejected a buyout offer from private-equity firm Sycamore Partners its biggest shareholder, saying the bid “substantially” undervalues the company. The bid was valued at approximately at $205.2 million.

Sycamore is Talbots biggest shareholder, with a 9.9% in the company. In a statement, Talbots called the proposal inadequate and said it will explore its strategic options to help maximize value for its shareholders. The retailer did not set a deadline for when its review will end.. . . more

77% of Americans haven’t finished shopping

A new survey conducted this past weekend by Visa Inc. shows that 77% of consumers still need to buy holiday gifts this week. These last-minute shoppers will spend an average of $278 in the final days leading up to Christmas and Hanukkah.

Procrastination is running rampant this year, with 13% of consumers planning to purchase all of their gifts in this final week. The survey data also shows that 8% of shoppers will purchase three quarters of their gifts this week, while 16% will purchase half of the gifts on their list this week. And 51% of consumers will be purchasing a quarter of their gifts this week.. . . more

Toys ‘R’ Us stores to stay open round the clock til Christmas

Toys “R” Us said Monday it will keep stores nationwide open for the 112 hours before Christmas, with doors staying open from 6 a.m. Dec. 20, to 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

This is the second consecutive year that the retailer has remained open for 24-hour shopping in the days leading up to Christmas.. . . more

Whole Foods founder Mackey weighs in on grocer's resurgence, future

It's a good time to be Whole Foods.

 The natural foods grocer has roared back from the recession, rebounding in sales and profits and once again becoming a Wall Street darling. Analysts say the company accomplished a rare feat: cutting down on expenses while simultaneously becoming a better retailer.

And the company has throttled up on new stores, with 24 to 27 projected for fiscal year 2012, including two new Austin-area stores, at Shops at Arbor Trails on South MoPac Boulevard (Loop 1) and the Hill Country Galleria in Bee Cave.. . . more

Monday, December 19, 2011

D.C. cupcake shop coming to Newbury Street

Georgetown Cupcake, the Washington, D.C. bake shop that has lines for its $2.75 coconut, chocolate banana, toffee crunch and mocha treats, is coming to Boston. . . more

Dunkin' Donuts Celebrates the Opening of Its 10,000th Restaurant

Dunkin' Donuts opened its 10,000th restaurant. The landmark 10,000th new restaurant is located in Xi'An, China. Several other Dunkin' Donuts restaurants, which opened throughout the world over the past few days, vied for the honor of being the 10,000th location. These include three new locations in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, as well as new restaurants in Bogota, Colombia and Kingsland, Ga. . . more

Hub expected to outperform nation in CRE next year

Economic indicators suggest a minor improvement in the real estate market next year - with no foreseeable double dip - but Boston is poised to do better than the nation, according to Jones Lang Lasalle ’s 2012 National Commercial Real Estate Outlook.

Total investment transaction volume is expected to increase by 15 to 20 percent to $190 billion next year – a slower increase than the last two years, the survey said. Businesses will take real estate into greater consideration in 2012, focusing investments on efficiency and productivity. Additionally, businesses will consider corporate real estate as a greater contributor to corporate social responsibility initiatives in 2012, shifting investments from new construction toward retrofitting existing assets, according to the outlook. . . more

Illinois Governor signs tax breaks for Sears, cementing home in Chicago

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation Friday that grants hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks and incentives aimed at keeping Sears Holdings Corp., along with CME Group Inc., which operates the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, headquartered in Illinois.

Lawmakers approved the business tax breaks earlier this month, but Quinn had not yet signed the bill. Both companies had openly threatened to leave the state without some kind of significant aid package.. . . more

Bi-Lo acquires Winn-Dixie, takes chain private

Grocer Bi-Lo LLC said Monday that it has acquired southern supermarket chain Winn-Dixie, in a $560 million transaction that will take Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. private and create the largest grocery operator in the South.

The merger will combine Winn-Dixie’s 480 supermarkets in five southern states (Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia and Mississippi) with Bi-Lo’s 207 stores in the Carolinas, Georgia and Tennessee to create a company with 690 stores and 63,000 workers in eight states.. . . more

US online holiday sales climb 15 percent to $30.9B

U.S. online sales this holiday shopping season are up 15 percent compared to last year, after what may have been the busiest week of the season, said research firm comScore on Sunday.

Shoppers have spent $30.9 billion online from Nov. 1 through Dec. 16, up from $26.9 billion at the same point last year, said the Reston, Va., company, which tracks Web use.. . . more

The battle is on for toy supremacy

The toy wars are in full swing.

With one week left until Christmas, retailers, led by Wal-Mart, Toys 'R' Us, and Minneapolis-based Target Corp., are battling for sales through a flurry of last minute discounts and promotions.

At stake are not merely action figures, board games, and stuffed animals but rather overall holiday sales supremacy as retailers use toys to lure customers into the stores where they can also buy food, electronics, and clothing.. . . more

Friday, December 16, 2011

Supermarket a nonstarter for Greenway developer

North End and West End neighbors who say they’ve waited for more than a decade for an affordable supermarket are gearing up for a food fight.

Trinity Financial, the Boston developer of One Canal, a $175 million project that would include 320 apartments and ground floor retail on one of the last remaining parcels on the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, wants the city to remove the requirement to build a grocery store at the 1.5-acre site. . . . more

Small retailers feeling the redevelopment squeeze

Maryland's small businesses feel threatened by rising rents, other pressures of upscale redevelopment

Some five years ago, Amanda Sanchez moved her restaurant/bar from Silver Spring to Wheaton because her rent was rising and access problems arose from a redevelopment project.

Now the owner of Riverside Lounge is going through Act II of the same squeeze play. . . . more

Morton's steakhouse chain to be sold

Morton's Restaurant Group said Friday it has agreed to be acquired by an affiliate of Houston-based restaurant operator Landry's Inc. in a deal that values the storied Chicago steakhouse chain at about $116.6 million.

A wholly-owned company of Landry's Chief Executive Tilman Fertitta will pay $6.90 per share in cash for Morton's. This offer represents a premium of about 34 percent to Morton's closing price of $5.16 on Thursday.. . . more

Week ending Dec. 10 sales up 10.6%

A report released Tuesday by ShopperTrak revealed that December holiday sales remain flat year-over-year but are showing signs of growth in the days and weeks ahead. Double-digit increases in week-over-week sales show shoppers are spending this holiday season.

According to ShopperTrak, the week ending Dec. 10 saw a 10.6% increase in retail sales from the previous week, good tidings as retailers prepare for historically two of the highest GAFO sales weeks of the year for retailers. . . . more

Holiday forecast upgraded to 3.8% rise

The National Retail Federation said Thursday that it has upwardly revised its holiday forecast, now expecting holiday sales to rise 3.8% this year to a record $469.1 billion. 

NRF’s initial forecast, announced on October 6, called for anticipated sales growth of 2.8%. While a 3.8% sales increase is considerably above the 10-year average sales increase of 2.6%, it is still lower than the 5.2% increase the retail industry saw last year, said NRF.. . . more

2012 Review & Outlook

The notion “right product, right place, right time and right price” certainly has relevance, but it doesn’t recognize the essential role played by demand. You can push all you want, but if there is no pull the pipeline will eventually clog.
And that’s why retailing has become central to U.S. and world economies. Retailing is the demand industry. Retail adjusts to the gyrations of the economy faster than any other industry, which is why profits are up and cash balances are at record levels.

Now let’s hear from key industry insiders, a who’s who of top retail leaders who have their fingers on the pulse of the industry, and find out where they think 2012 is heading.. . . more

Supervalu has a tough time living up to its name

Every investor's portfolio has one: an established, even profitable company stuck in a state of permanent turnaround.

Or, as the corporate wordsmiths prefer to call it, "transformation."

Maybe a weak economy has exposed fundamental flaws in the business. Perhaps the company is losing customers to new or newly emboldened competitors, or trying to undo or recover from mistakes of its own making. . . more

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Market Basket to anchor Westford shopping center

Cornerstone Square, the region’s newest shopping center under construction in Westford, has signed a 60,000-square-foot lease with Market Basket to anchor the mall. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The privately-held grocer operates 64 stores in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

In addition to the supermarket, committed tenants at Cornerstone Square include Burton’s Grill, Panera Bread , Five Guys Burgers and Fries and Family Eye Care.. . . more

Amazon Price Check May Be Evil But It's the Future

Online retailer has stirred controversy with its new app, Price Check. The app allows consumers to scan bar codes in local stores and compare prices directly with Amazon. Many have argued that the app gives the online giant an unfair advantage over its smaller competitors.

Unlike brick-and-mortar shops, online retailers don’t pay sales tax unless they have a physical presence in a state, and they don’t have to staff an actual store either. The lower overhead allows them to undercut the competition.. . . more

E-Books, Shmee-Books: Readers Return to the Stores

Facing economic gloom and competition from cheap e-readers, brick-and-mortar booksellers entered this holiday season with the humblest of expectations.

But the initial weeks of Christmas shopping, a boom time for the book business, have yielded surprisingly strong sales for many bookstores, which report that they have been lifted by an unusually vibrant selection; customers who seem undeterred by pricier titles; and new business from people who used to shop at Borders, the chain that went out of business this year. . . . more

Retailers Cut Down on Store Opening Plans as Good Real Estate Becomes Harder to Find

U.S. retailers slowed down the pace of planned store openings in October, the most recent month for which data is available, because of difficulty finding the right locations.

The “November National Retailer Demand Monthly” report, published by RBC Capital Markets, found that the 2,000 retailers in its database planned to open 70,758 stores over the next 24 months. The figure was down 1,343 stores, or 1.9 percent, from September.. . . more

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Casino builder courts Foxborough

Gambling in Mass.Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn, in a letter sent over the weekend to Foxborough residents, is offering jobs and dangling the promise of free employee day care if residents will accept construction of a casino resort in their town.

The developer of some of the most prominent hotels and casinos on the Las Vegas strip also promised to “listen to your concerns carefully and address them individually,’’ in a soft-sell kickoff to the wooing of Foxborough.. . . more

Best Buy Q3 profit down 29%

Best Buy says its third-quarter net income fell 29% $154 million, from $217 million in the year-ago period, worse than analysts had expected.

Total company revenue rose 1.7% to $12.1. Same store sales rose 0.3%. . . . more

Retail sales edge up 0.2% in November, below forecasts

Retail sales rose 0.2% in November, following a 0.6% advance in October that was more than initially reported, according to figures released Tuesday by the Commerce Department in Washington. The November increase was the slightest gain in five months. Economists projected a 0.6% November increase, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey. Purchases excluding automobiles also rose 0.2%.

Seven of 13 major categories showed gains last month, led by a 2.1% jump at electronics and appliance stores. Sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores increased 0.5%. On the down side, sales at food and beverage stores fell 0.2% in November.. . . more

Leading Dollar Stores Predicted to Top $50B in Sales by 2015

Leading dollar stores practiced sound business strategies before the recession that put them in a position to do well, and now improvements in shopping experience, store operations and retail management fundamentals will likely make them viable even after the economy recovers, according to a new report by independent retail research and intelligence firm, myRetailPOV.

"Plenty of growth opportunities remain for the dollar store channel -- growth both in the store base and digital space," said Sandra J. Skrovan, founder of myRetailPOV and author of the report. "The six biggest dollar store/value chains will add about 6,500 stores between 2010 and 2015 -- that's almost twice as many as opened between 2005 and 2010.". . . more

Richmond-based RoomStore files for Chapter 11 protection

RoomStore, the last surviving business segment of the former Heilig-Meyers furniture store chain here, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today, with plans to reorganize around a smaller core of stores.

RoomStore said it will continue to operate its 63 stores while completing its restructuring, and will also retain its interest in Mattress Discounters.. . . more

Sears to spin off Orchard Supply Hardware this month

Sears Holding Corp. said Monday it will carry out its planned spin-off of Orchard Supply Hardware Stores later this month, with the hardware chain becoming a standalone public company.

Hoffman Estates-based Sears announced its spin-off plans in June. The board of directors has approved the transaction, the retailer said Monday, and the distribution of Orchard stock to Sears shareholders will be made on Dec. 30.. . . more

Monday, December 12, 2011

Big Y operates two Louis & Clark pharmacies

Big Y Foods here announced it has entered into an agreement to buy the assets of two pharmacy locations here and in Wilbraham, Mass., operated by Louis & Clark Drug Stores.

Big Y will begin operating the stores, rebranded Big Y's Louis & Clark Pharmacies, on Dec. 19, according to a company press release.. . . more

More than 40% of consumers will shop last-minute for gifts

Survey data from PriceGrabber, an Experian company, said that many consumers will continue to hit the stores through the final days leading up to Christmas.

Results from PriceGrabber's fourth winter holiday shopping survey found that 41% of consumers plan to shop between Dec. 21 and Dec. 24 for holiday gifts.. . . more

U.S. Online Holiday Spending Approaches $25 Billion for the Season, Up 15 Percent vs. Year Ago

 “Green Monday” (Dec. 12) to Contend with Cyber Monday for Heaviest Online Spending Day of the Year

comScore, a leader in measuring the digital world, today reported holiday season retail e-commerce spending for the first 39 days of the November – December 2011 holiday season. For the holiday season-to-date, $24.6 billion has been spent online, marking a 15-percent increase versus the corresponding days last year. The most recent week (week ending Dec. 9) reached $5.9 billion in spending, an increase of 15 percent versus the corresponding week last year, with 3 days surpassing $1 billion. For the holiday season-to-date, six individual days have surpassed the billion dollar threshold, led by Cyber Monday at $1.25 billion. . . . more

Friday, December 9, 2011

Foxborough board rebuffs casino zoning changes

In a surprise move, the Foxborough Planning Board voted last night not to support two key zoning changes sought by Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Las Vegas developer Steve Wynn to build a casino in the town.

The zoning changes would have accommodated an indoor-outdoor entertainment facility and multifamily dwellings and would have increased allowable building heights to as much as 300 feet. The zoning changes did not explicitly mention casinos.. . . more

Brio Tuscan Grille Opens at The Danbury Fair Mall

White tablecloths gleam in a classic Italian villa setting. Soaring ceilings, arched colonnades, Italian mosaics and dark wooden antique doors open up to the Brio Tuscan Grille which opened on Nov. 30 at the Danbury Fair Mall.

Brio joins The Cheesecake Factory, Dick's Sporting Goods, and Forever 21 in space formerly leased by Filene's, and those stores will be joined by L.L. Bean in April 2012... . . more

Costco profit rises slightly

Costco Wholesale Corp. sacrificed on profitability for the sake of popularity in its fiscal first quarter.

The wholesale club operator reported Thursday that its profit rose 2.6 percent for the period, despite significantly stronger revenue gains, as it kept prices low on gas, food and other products to gain market share at the sacrifice of its margins.. . . more

Wal-Mart's rebound puts holiday pressure on rivals

Wal-Mart Stores Inc is having a jolly holiday season, which means rival retailers might find lumps of coal in their stockings this Christmas.

This year, the revival taking place at thousands of Walmart U.S. stores is chipping away at the momentum its competitors gained over the past two holiday seasons, when the giant retailer lost its footing.. . . more

Talbots Last Best Hope Seen With Lowest-Valuation Sycamore Offer

Talbots Inc. may struggle to get a competing offer to beat the one it has sitting on the table right now from Sycamore Partners LP.

“Take the money and run,” Paul Lejuez, an analyst at Nomura Holdings Inc. in New York, said in a telephone interview. “That probably is the best way to sum up our view. The market doesn’t think that anybody else is going to step in.” . . . more

Retail sales flat first week of December

A report released Wednesday by ShopperTrak said that sales increased just 0.2% year-over-year for the week ending in Dec. 3, representing a 22.5% decline from the prior week, which held the largest Black Friday in history — both in terms of sales and traffic. 

According to ShopperTrak, this sharp decline in retail sales is typical of the week following Thanksgiving. Although shoppers have an initial burst of activity spurred on by Black Friday sales promotions, they often stay home during the following week. . . . more

Industry Pros Expect Stable, But Stagnant, Year For Retail Real Estate

Even with the positive mood at this year's ICSC New York Dealmaking Conference, seasoned retail real estate professionals expect only moderate growth for the sector in 2012.

“There is so much focus on capital markets and the election, next year is going to be stable, but not exciting,” says Michael P. Glimcher, CEO and chairman of the board with Glimcher Realty Trust, a Columbus, Ohio-based regional mall REIT. “For us, it’s going to be about the balance sheet and strengthening the quality of our tenants. Next year is not going to be very dynamic.”. . . more

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bernie & Phyl’s Furniture is coming to Natick

Bernie & Phyl's Furniture, a Norton-based chain of furniture stores, said it plans to open two stores in Natick next month.

The company said it has purchased two buildings at the former Lexington Furniture site – a 34,000 square foot building and a 5,000 square foot building. Plans call for the company to open a large Bernie & Phyl’s showroom along with an upscale “Metro Living” concept store in the smaller building. The Metro Living store will feature higher end contemporary leather and upholstery living-room furniture.. . . more

Palm Restaurant to close in Back Bay for reported Financial District move

The Palm Restaurant at Westin Copley Place in Boston will be closing at year’s end, officials there confirm. The restaurant is reportedly planning a move to Boston's Financial District.

The restaurant, a steakhouse specializing in northern Italian cuisine, was unable to renew its lease with the Back Bay hotel, according to Elizabeth Beutel, the eatery’s sales manager. Its address at the Westin Copley is 200 Dartmouth St.. . . more

PacSun to close up to 200 stores

Teen retailer Pacific Sunwear of California Inc., hoping for a financial turnaround after a three-year slump, said it plans to close as many as 200 of its weaker-performing stores around the country.

The stores targeted for closure had average sales of $600,000 in the last year, compared with stronger stores that had about $1.1 million in sales, the company said... . . more

A Container Store will open at Northshore Mall in Peabody next summer

A Container Store will open next summer in the Northshore Mall in Peabody, the mall’s operator, Simon Property Group, said.

The Container Store at Northshore Mall will occupy about 25,000 square feet of space. The space was previously occupied by a Bugaboo Creek Steakhouse, Simon Property Group said; this will be the chain’s third Container Store in Massachusetts.. . . more

Dollar store boom good for retail landlords

The combined store count of the four national dollar store (or extreme value) chains — Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar and 99 Cents Only — has now surpassed that of the three biggest national drugstore chains (Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid), according to a new report  by Colliers International, the third-largest commercial real estate services company in the world. The white paper, “Dollar Days: How Dollar Stores are Growing in a Weak Economy,” offers insights about the success of the dollar store market and its impact on commercial real estate.

The four chains now operate approximately 21,500 locations in the United States — more than the combined stores of the three biggest drugstore chains. Typical dollar stores occupy an average footprint of 7,000 to 10,000 sq. ft. although some newer prototypes exceed 20,000 sq. ft., according to the report.. . . more

Report finds retail in holding pattern, identifies major trends

The retail sector continues to edge tentatively toward recovery, buoyed by a strong start to the holiday shopping season, but several obstacles stand in the way of sustained progress in 2012, according to Jones Lang LaSalle’s North America Year-end Retail Outlook.

“Everyone, including consumers, is in a continued wait-and-see mode, delaying major buying and investment decisions until they see how several dynamics play out, including the elections next year," said Greg Maloney, CEO and president, Jones Lang LaSalle Retail. "Until we have some market certainty in the U.S. and overseas plus sustained high levels of consumer confidence driven by higher paychecks, a stronger stock market and an improved housing market, a robust recovery will elude the retail sector.". . . more

Wegmans plans to open Newton store

Wegmans Food Markets Inc.said Monday it plans to bring a smaller urban concept store to Newton, Mass.

The Rochester, N.Y. family-owned supermarket chain, which opened a full-scale store in Northborough in October, plans to build a 70,000-square-foot food store at the Chestnut Hill Square development on Route 9 (Boylston Street), directly across from The Mall at Chestnut Hill in Newton.. . . more

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

JC Penney Buys Stake in Martha Stewart

J.C. Penney Co Inc bought a 16.6 percent stake in Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc and will build mini-stores under that brand in a deal new Chief Executive Officer Ron Johnson called "a key centerpiece" in the company's transformation.

The department store chain, which bought the Liz Claiborne brand in October, said on Wednesday that it had paid $38.5 million for the stake.
. . . more

Retail rents fall 1.6% year over year, with national average at $14.65

Retail rents fell 1.6% year over year, and inched down 0.5% since the last quarter to the current national average of $14.65, according to Jones Lang LaSalle’s North America Year-end Retail Outlook. National retail vacancy levels posted a 0.1% quarter-over-quarter drop from 7.1% to 7.0%, with open-air centers at the high end with 10.9% vacancy, and general retail at the low end with 4.7%  vacancy.

New York and San Francisco continue to be the healthiest markets, with vacancy levels of 2.1% and 3.0%, respectively, the study found. Atlanta and Dallas show the largest vacancies at 10.2% and 9.1%, respectively.
. . . more

Kelly's Roast Beef shuttering in Allston

Kelly's Roast Beef is closing its Allston operation at 1245 Commonwealth Ave. after a little more than a year there.

“We are obviously very disappointed with the closing of Kelly’s. We had high hopes for their success,” said Carl Valeri, president and chief operating officer of  The Hamilton Company, which manages the building housing Kelly's in Allston.. . . more

U.S. Now Has More Dollar Stores Than Drugstores

 Dollar stores are taking over the nation.

According to a new report from real estate services company Colliers International, the four big national chains – Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar and 99 Cents Only stores  – currently operate approximately 21,500 locations in the U.S.

That combined total surpasses that of the nation’s three biggest drugstore chains Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid, who collectively operate 19,700 locations. . . . more

2012 Consumer Expected To Be At Standstill

In 2009 and 2010, restaurants experienced eight consecutive quarters of declining traffic, a trend unseen in a generation. While the numbers turned positive in early 2011, few industry veterans foresee a 2012 rush.

Chicago-based research firm Technomic, in its latest industry forecast for full-service restaurants, predicts 2.5 percent nominal growth and zero real growth in 2012. The NPD Group shares a similarly brooding forecast: Restaurant industry traffic will be positive, but still weak. NPD puts 2012 check growth at 1.4 percent and traffic growth at 0.7 percent.. . . more

Starbucks bringing beer and wine to Chicago

Starabucks Coffee Co. plans to open as many as seven stores that sell beer and wine in the Chicago area by the end of 2012.

The Seattle-based coffee giant has been testing a more community-oriented store concept to boost traffic in the evening for more than two years. These stores offer savory, high-quality, small-plate options like cured meats, and beer and wine, in addition to the usual coffee and tea. Starbucks has also been experimenting with live entertainment, including music, poetry readings or theater, depending on the neighborhood.. . . more

Friday, December 2, 2011

Original Dunkin’ Donuts in Quincy gets retro makeover

After a speedy renovation, the original Dunkin’ Donuts location looks a bit more like the shop that first welcomed customers in 1950 – but with a few modern twists.
The Southern Artery franchise reopened Nov. 18, capping an 11-day makeover that returned some classic touches to the space, including a seven-seat counter and an exterior sign with the 1950s-era Dunkin’ Donuts logo. . . more

As Illinois debates Sears tax break, Ohio ups the ante

Ohio is holding out $400 million in incentives to lure Sears’ corporate headquarters away from Illinois, far more than Illinois was preparing to offer to keep the retailer in Hoffman Estates, a spokeswoman for Illinois’ governor told an Ohio newspaper.

But Gov. Pat Quinn said he isn’t worried about getting into a bidding war to keep Sears Holdings Corp.

In the meantime, Illinois lawmakers are struggling to pass a major package of tax breaks that includes $15 million a year for the next decade for Sears.. . . more

Is Barnes & Noble in Trouble?

Borders, America's second biggest book store chain,died this summer, its red-trimmed outlets sinking inexorably into a savage sea of red ink. For Barnes & Noble, the most popular book chain, this could be interpreted as good news: its biggest competitor was gone. Or, bad news: book stores are a dying industry.

It's the same story as the newspaper industry: increased competition from online-only sites prompts legacy book stores to build up their own online revenue, which grows, but never fast enough to make up for the decline of the traditional business. . . . more

Talbots cuts more jobs at Hingham headquarters; halts ads

Troubled clothier Talbots Inc. is slashing another 100 jobs at its Hingham headquarters, abruptly suspending its national advertising campaign, and reportedly looking for new leadership after years of a failed turnaround.

The company, known for its classic, tailored looks, yesterday disclosed a new $50 million cost-cutting effort after reporting its third loss in the past four quarters. Third-quarter sales dropped 6.6 percent to $279.5 million, and the company lost $22 million between August and October.. . . more

Charming Shoppes to sell off Fashion Bug, add 125 Lane Bryant stores

Charming Shoppes reported Thursday that its loss in the 3Q narrowed to $13 million from a loss of $18.8 million a year earlier. Revenue in the quarter dropped to $429.7 million, from $463.6 million last year, and same-store sales decreased 4%.

The retailer said it is conducting a strategic review of its operations, which includes the divestiture of its Fashion Bug business and the expansion of its Lane Bryant brand.. . . more

First Data Black Friday report: Charged purchases increased 6.3% over last year

A report released Thursday by First Data Corp., which tracks same-store consumer spending via credit, signature debit, PIN debit and EBT cards at U.S. merchant locations, found that dollar volume for the Thursday-Friday shopping period grew 6.3% over last year, and transaction growth was 7.3%.

The First Data SpendTrend analysis showed that Electronic/Appliances, Clothing and Accessory Stores, and NonStore Retailers were some of the merchant categories that saw a boost in dollar volume growth this year.. . . more

Casino chief eyes Foxboro

With the ink barely dry on the state's new gaming law, a major casino developer already is sizing up a resort project near Gillette Stadium.

Steve Wynn, one of the most powerful movers in the Las Vegas resort casino industry, plans to roll into Foxboro Sunday to talk a little football as a guest of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft - and to gauge how firmly the town's leaders and residents want to shake his development hand.. . . more

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Predictions 2012

What's in store for retail in 2012

As we were putting the finishing touches on STORES’ annual predictions for the coming year there was a flurry of retail news, including holiday forecasts and third-quarter sales figures. There was also a handful of stories that leave one contemplating just how different the future of retail might be.

• Apple rolled out its EasyPay payment system. It’s basically an app that turns an iPhone into an iWallet by using the credit card associated with the user’s iTunes account.. . . more

Front Street Developer In Talks With Music Venue

The developers of downtown Hartford's Front Street may be close to signing a live music venue for the long-awaited but still empty entertainment and retail district across the street from the convention center.

Developer H. B. Nitkin Group is in serious discussions with the venue, according to a source familiar with the situation. The venue would be Front Street's second tenant and together with a planned movie theater could fill half of the 66,000-square-foot development.. . . more

NRA: Performance index flat in October

Despite a decline in sales and customer traffic, foodservice operators were upbeat about the direction their businesses were taking in October, leaving the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index relatively unchanged from the previous month.

The RPI, a monthly composite that tracks the health of and outlook for the restaurant industry, slipped slightly to 100.0 in October from September’s figure of 100.1.

A number above 100 reflects that key industry indicators are in a period of expansion, while anything below 100 indicates contraction.. . . more

November retail sales reports show mixed results

Major U.S. retailers showed a big rift between winners and losers in November, as a strong turnout on "Black Friday," the busiest shopping day of the year, encouraged some, while others did not experience the swell of buying they had hoped for.

Early sales and deep discounts gave a big lift-off to the holiday shopping season for chains such as Macy's Inc, while weak results at Target Corp and Gap Inc show that shoppers remained selective.. . . more

Lindt Factory Outlets opens seventh temp store at WS center

WS Development announced that chocolatier Lindt has increased its outlet presence by adding a seventh temporary store this holiday season at a WS shopping center.

Lindt Factory Outlets are located at the following WS Development centers: The Shoppes at Blackstone Valley/Millbury, Mass.; Seekonk Square/Seekonk, Mass.; Redstone Shopping Center/Stoneham, Mass.; Wareham Crossing/Wareham, Mass.; Meadow Brook Crossing/Amherst, N.H.; The Shoppes at Farmington Valley/Canton, Conn.; and The Crossing at Smithfield/Smithfield, R.I. . . . more reveals cities with most Black Friday shopping activity

The 15 cities with the most shopping activity on Black Friday 2011 were Manhattan, N.Y.; San Francisco; Los Angeles; Brooklyn, N.Y.; San Jose, Calif.; Seattle; Chicago; San Diego; Houston; Atlanta; Dallas; Saint Louis;  Portland, Ore.; Austin, Texas; and Minneapolis, according to, an online personal finance site.

The 10 national merchants with the most shopping activity on Black Friday, reported, were Apple, Best Buy, Nordstrom, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Target, Wal-Mart, Gap, Old Navy and Amazon.. . . more

Holiday sales to grow 3.3%

After a strong Black Friday and Cyber Monday, overall holiday spending is expected to increase 3.3% to $64.3 billion, according to the  industry research firm IBISWorld.

During the six-week period from Nov. 1 through Dec. 25, lingering unemployment will keep holiday retail sales from hitting pre-recessionary levels, despite the decline in aggregate household debt. However, retailers can still expect an uptick across all holiday categories, IBISWorld predicted. Leading categories for gifts will be jewelry, which is slated to grow 7.1% to $4.7 billion, and electronics, which is forecast to increase 6.8% to $7.0 billion.
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