Friday, September 28, 2012

Macy's to open 450 Finish Line shops-in-shops

Macy's Inc said on Friday that Finish Line Inc would be its exclusive athletic footwear partner, opening shops in more than 450 of the company's department stores.

The deal comes as department store chains race one another to build out "shops-in-shops," which offer more elaborate presentations of top brands and turn each store into something of a mall.. . . more

Dollar General Unveils Toy Discount Ahead of Holiday Season

Dollar General Corp.unveiled a 10% discount on toy purchases of $75 or more ahead of the holidays, as the company looks to boost sales during the critical season for retailers.

The discount chain also added more licensed and name-brand items to its holiday toy line-up, including toys from Mattel Inc., Walt Disney Co. and Hasbro Inc. Many toys offered by Dollar General are priced between $ 3 and $20.. . . more Planning Online Wine Sales Inc. is planning an online marketplace for wine sales directly to consumers, said executives for several California wineries, marking the Seattle Web giant's second foray into the business in three years.

At the event, Amazon said the marketplace would begin in the coming weeks and the online retailer will charge wineries a 15% commission of the sale price, as well as a monthly fee of about $40, according to people familiar with the workshop. . . . more

The End of the Cash Register? Urban Outfitters Will Ring You Up With iPads

Urban Outfitters
In a presentation on its first-ever annual analyst day today, Urban Outfitters announcement: The chain, CIO Calvin Hollinger said, will switch from cash registers to Apple products.

"Sales people will have iPod touches," Joe Weistenthal reports, "and cash registers are being phased out in favor of iPads on a swivel.". . . more

Build-A-Bear Workshop unveils new, interactive store design

Build-A-Bear Workshop has unveiled its new store design, at West County Center in St. Louis. The store is one of six locations that the company will open this year in select U.S. markets. The interactive design merges the retailer’s signature hands-on bear-making experience with innovative technology.

The new design features an interactive storefront that will change with the seasons, holidays, or other special events. It uses Microsoft’s Kinect technology and interactive touch elements, allowing shoppers  engage and play with the signage at the front of the store.. . . more

Flour to open at former Hard Rock Cafe in Back Bay

Flour, the bakery/sandwich shop where patrons wait in long lunch lines to pay for $8 sandwiches, is planning to open in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood.

Joanne Chang, the Flour’s owner, who has locations in the South End, Fort Point, and Cambridge’s Central Square tweeted on Thursday: “Finally ready to sign lease for Flour4! We hope to open by end of year…SO EXCITED. GULP.”. . . more

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Popular bootmaker Frye Company taking over former Charley’s spot on Newbury Street

The Frye Company, a popular bootmaker, plans to open a three-story flagship store on Newbury Street next spring in the space formerly occupied by Charley’s restaurant. Frye’s will take over 11,000 square feet at the corner of Newbury and Gloucester Streets. The new store -- only Frye’s second US location -- will feature the brand’s leather footwear and handbags, along with a lounge for special events and vintage trunk shows. It also will provide private fit specialists and services for boot personalization.

Charley’s closed Sunday after its was unable to negotiate a new lease for the space.. . . more

GDP report: Economic growth revised lower

The U.S. economy grew even slower than initially reported in the second quarter, as both consumers and businesses spent less than originally thought, and the drought in the Midwest limited agricultural production.

Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of the nation's economic health, grew at an annual rate of 1.3% from April to June, the Commerce Department said Thursday, slower than the 1.7% rate the government last reported in August.. . . more

Analyst says Costco should be able to grow through a small market strategy

Deborah Weinswig of Citi Investment Research said in a client note that an analysis done with Fox Real Estate Advisory shows that the wholesale club operator could open 100 to 150 new clubs in the U.S. through 2020. The Issaquah, Wash., company currently has 439 U.S. clubs.

Weinswig says that with large market opportunities shrinking, heading into small markets is the right move for Costco to continue growing, as it currently only runs in 40 percent of the 136 U.S. small metro markets.. . . more

Schulze's potential buyout group starts to take shape

As the clock ticks away on Best Buy founder Richard Schulze’s 60-day deadline to propose an offer to buy back the company, the debate rages on whether the billionaire can actually finance the deal.

In August, Schulze struck a confidentiality agreement with Best Buy that will allow “six equity financing sources” to view the company’s financial information. That doesn't’ mean six firms will actually fund the estimated $10 billion price tag, just that Schulze needs back up sources of money should one or more parties drop out.. . . more

Goodbye, Supercenters: Retail Will Get Focused, Adaptable

Retail is going postmodern. No, you won't be seeing installation art at Walmart any time soon. In fact, you won't be seeing Walmart itself for long -- at least not as a generic supercenter-type mega-box. A tech-driven, global and intensely competitive retail world is spinning toward a more focused, smaller, tech-savvy universe.

It's a place where, in less than a decade, retailers (who survive) will be all over digital retail and mobile technology, and store footprints will shift from gigantic outlets that sell everything to smaller stores focused on specific consumers and their needs. The retail world may, in other words, look more and more like a high-tech version of a street market in Casablanca.  . . . more

Deloitte forecasts ‘modest’ 3.5% to 4% increase in holiday sales; non-store sales to rise 15% to 17%

Total holiday sales are expected to climb to between $920 and $925 billion, representing a modest 3.5% to 4% increase in November through January holiday sales (excluding motor vehicles and gasoline) over last season, according to Deloitte’s holiday forecast. The forecast is below last year's 5.9% gain.

"Economic headwinds nagging consumers this fall include stubbornly high gasoline prices that continue to creep up and soft housing and job markets," said Carl Steidtmann, Deloitte's chief economist. "While consumers turned out in the summer to give retailers solid gains for a few months, that pace may be difficult to sustain through the end of the year. Consumers and businesses alike may pause in advance of the election; however, retailers may benefit from a post-election consumer spending boost.". . . more

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Kohl's opens 12 new stores

Kohl's Corp.  is opening 12 new stores in 10 states this week, bringing its total to 1,146, it said Wednesday in a news release.

The stores are opening in Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington. Eleven of the 12 stores are small-format stores with 64,000 square feet or less of retail space. Kohl’s also is remodeling about 50 stores this year.

New store locations opening September 26, 2012 include:
Berlin, Conn.
Killingly, Conn.
New Milford, Conn.
Savannah, Ga.
Ottumwa, Iowa
Hutchinson, Kan.
Aspen Hill, Md.
Worcester, Mass.
Jacksonville, N.C.
Greenwood, S.C.
Haymarket, Va.
Gig Harbor, Wash.

 . . . more

RadioShack CEO Gooch steps down

RadioShack CEO James Gooch has agreed to step down immediately and is leaving its board of directors, the struggling consumer electronics company said Wednesday.

Chief Financial Officer Dorvin Lively will serve as its interim CEO while it looks for a permanent replacement, the company said.. . . more

Home improvement sales going through the roof

As the housing market climbs out of the cellar, home improvement sales are through the roof.
Online purchases of home-related goods took priority over back-to-school-spending for families this summer, according to a study released Tuesday from IBM Smarter Commerce.

It's a trend that's also driving sales in brick-and-mortar home improvement stores from mom-and-pop hardware shops to Home Depot, which hammered out its highest quarterly earnings report last month in five years at $1.5 billion.. . . more

Japan’s Uniqlo looks to conquer N.J., then U.S.

For Uniqlo, stateside expansion comes at a time when growth in its home market has cooled. While Uniqlo sales in Japan were forecast to have edged 3.6% higher in the year through August, the international division’s sales surged 68%, while its operating profit jumped 79%, according to company data.

Its U.S. growth plan: Open 200 locations and generate sales of $10 billion by 2020. That’s part of an ambitious goal of ringing up $50 billion in sales globally by 2020 vs. $13 billion today, said Shin Odake, chief executive of Uniqlo USA.. . . more

ICSC: Holiday chain store sales to rise 3%

A holiday preview report released Tuesday by the International Council of Shopping Centers said that sales are forecasted to rise 3% during the traditional November-December 2012 holiday period.

Additionally, ICSC said it anticipates that the other two measures of U.S. industry holiday sales – shopping-center sales and GAFO-store sales – will increase slightly as well.  . . . more

State gaming commission expects to issue first casino licenses by 2014

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission says it will award a license for the state’s first casino by Feb. 26, 2014, at the latest.

The commission made that announcement at a meeting today. The commission said it was hoping that it could reach that goal earlier.. . . more

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Staples to speed up closure of 15 stores in US

Staples is speeding up the closure of about 15 of its U.S. stores and plans to close 45 stores and some delivery businesses in Europe.

The office products company also says it will invest more in its online and mobile efforts and will expand the product assortment that it offers to its business customers.. . . more

Supermarkets aim to win back health-food shoppers

Traditional supermarkets are investing more in the healthy food fad, trying to win back customers from the increasingly popular Whole Foods Markets Inc. and farmers markets.
In recent years, mainstream supermarkets have been losing their hold on the grocery business to a myriad of competitors infringing on the territory. Meanwhile, food cost inflation and budget-minded consumers are making it tougher for them to turn a profit.. . . more

Consumer confidence rises, boosted by jobs optimism

Consumer confidence rose in September, as renewed optimism about the job market gave the economic indicator a boost.

The closely-watched index, which measures how Americans feel about the the economy, edged higher to 70.3 from an upwardly revised 61.3 in August, according to The Conference Board, a business research firm. Confidence had declined in August.. . . more

Retail health clinics, urgent care centers a $10B market and growing

The retail health clinic and urgent care center market currently is worth about $10 billion and is poised for strong growth in the coming years as the shortage of primary care physicians and crowded emergency rooms increasingly move patients to retail sites, according to new data by Marketdata Enterprises, an independent market research publisher.

Marketdata Enterprises has released the new 132-page report entitled, “The Market For Retail Health Clinics & Urgent Care Centers.” The study explores the nature of the business; industry size and growth; demand factors; patient demographics; effects of the recession and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; operating ratios; major competitors and more.. . . more

Harvard Square mixed-use building for sale

The retail health clinic and urgent care center market currently is worth about $10 billion and is poised for strong growth in the coming years as the shortage of primary care physicians and crowded emergency rooms increasingly move patients to retail sites, according to new data by Marketdata Enterprises, an independent market research publisher.

Marketdata Enterprises has released the new 132-page report entitled, “The Market For Retail Health Clinics & Urgent Care Centers.” The study explores the nature of the business; industry size and growth; demand factors; patient demographics; effects of the recession and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; operating ratios; major competitors and more.. . . more

Newbury Street going retro with shop inspired by ’50s pinup model

The Bettie Page clothing boutique — the nation’s 10th and the second on the East Coast — will offer a contemporary take on women’s dresses, skirts and other items that recall the heyday of the late Playboy Playmate known as the “tease from Tennessee” when it opens on Newbury St. next month.

The retailer is shooting for a mid-October opening of the 1,700-square-foot store at 32 Newbury St., which will be outfitted in pink and black with leopard touches and images of Page.. . . more

Monday, September 24, 2012

New L.L. Bean Outlet Opens in North Hampton

L.L. Bean's new North Hampton outlet held its grand opening on Saturday, with a visit from the Bootmobile, free ice cream and more.

L.L. Bean has 32 stores and outlets in Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The other New Hampshire locations include a retail store in West Lebanon and outlet stores in Concord, Manchester, Nashua and North Conway.. . . more

Apple Gave Few Phones to Other Retailers

Apple Inc.'s new iPhone 5 remained a hot item following the sales kickoff Friday, with customers flocking to stores to buy the new handset. But they seemed to have little luck finding the gadget at the Silicon Valley company's retail partners.

While Apple's own stores appeared to be selling the new device in large numbers, other retail chains that offered the device had limited quantities from the outset, according to sales staff in stores and other people familiar with the situation.. . . more

Costco and Macy’s take home World Retail Awards

Two U.S. retailers took home top honors at the 2012 World Retail Awards in London, with Costco Wholesale Club named “Retailer of the Year,” and Macy’s recognized as “Multichannel Retailer of the Year.” The awards were announced as part of the 2012 World Retail Congress.. . . more

Supermarkets grow smaller

Is smaller better?

Supermarkets think so and the suburban supersized markets that carry everything from books to lawn chairs are becoming a thing of the past.

Reversing decades of opening giant stores, many grocers are focusing on smaller stores in Boston’s urban neighborhoods.. . . more

Friday, September 21, 2012

Hiring survey indicates best holiday job market in five years

An annual seasonal hiring survey released Thursday by Snagajob indicates that more holiday jobs will be available this year than have been expected in any previous season in the study’s five-year history.  

The survey of more than 1,000 hourly hiring managers with responsibility for seasonal hiring, conducted by IPSOS Public Affairs for Snagajob, included the following highlights:. . . more

Todd English sued for back rent at his Olives restaurant in Charlestown

Olives reopened in April after an extended closure because of a grease fire. Todd English is facing another lawsuit accusing­ the celebrity chef of failing to pay rent at one of his restaurants — this time at the flagship Olives in Charlestown.

English owes about $723,000 in back rent to the landlords, Carey Realty and City Square Holdings, according to a claim filed this month in Suffolk Superior Court.. . . more

Shake Shack CEO indicates multiple Boston locations in the works

The Shake Shack, a popular New York burger chain, is coming to Chestnut Hill, set to open mid-next year in the Chestnut Hill Shopping Center.

Now, Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti tells Boston College student newspaper The Heights the chain is looking to other sites in the Hub.. . . more

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mobile Dials It Up

That the mobile industry is exploding may be an understatement. The phenomenal recent growth in this category comes predominantly from the proliferation of smartphones and tablets. With the development of 4G LTE, which is capable of download speeds as fast as a home-based broadband connection, many see these devices as viable alternatives to traditional laptops.

Business Insider indicates that last year more smartphones were sold than laptops, and in two to three years, tablets are expected to outsell PCs. Smartphone users now represent 42% of all mobile subscribers in the US, according to a recent report from comScore. Will the smart phone craze be leveling off any time soon? Not likely - today there are 835 million smartphone users, compared to 5.6 million non-smart phone users. That’s a whole lot of potential converts, I’d say. . . more

Rite Aid loss narrows, sees weaker 2013 sales than planned

Rite Aid Corp reported a narrower net loss in the latest quarter than a year earlier as the drugstore chain's sales were crimped by store closures and as cheaper generic drugs hurt sales but helped pharmacy gross margins.

Rite Aid forecast sales of $25.1 billion to $25.4 billion in 2013, with same-store sales in a range of down 1 percent to up 0.25 percent. In June, it had called for sales of $25.3 billion to $25.7 billion, and same-store sales in a range of down 0.5 to up 1 percent. . . . more

Ron Johnson's plan to ditch J.C. Penney’s ‘old lady’ store perception

Roughly 300 analysts and investors descended upon J.C. Penney’s secret prototype store in Dallas Wednesday as CEO Ron Johnson continued to reveal his plan to transform the department store chain.

They were there to see a 30,000-square-foot mock up of what a J.C. Penney store will look like with unique branded shops. While Johnson obviously isn’t the president, his plans for J.C. Penney, mainly to have 100 branded shops by 2015, are being watched closely.. . . more

Bed Bath & Beyond reports healthy Q2 sales gain

Bed Bath & Beyond's top line augmented almost 12.1% to $2,593.0 million in the second quarter from $2,314.1 million in the year-ago quarter. The rise in sales was primarily driven by the recently completed acquisitions as well as the increase in comparable-store sales and new store openings.This includes the performances of the newly acquired World Market (Cost Plus Inc.) and Linen Holdings from their respective dates of acquisition.

The company has been witnessing incremental trends in comparable-store sales for the past several quarters, with the last notable downside in comps dating back to the second quarter of fiscal 2009. . . . more

Retailers stay static on mobile

Retailers Stay Static on MobileOnly half of retailers planned to spend in excess of $100,000 on mobile commerce in 2012, and 14% will spend nothing at all, according to a recent study by Forrester Research. This at a time when the company predicts that business done via smartphones will hit $12 billion this year.

It's not that retailers are behind the times, says Forrester analyst Sulchurita Mulpuru, it's that that mobile marketing currently offers merchants little in the way of revenue and much in the way of headaches. “There are a lot of good reasons to not over-invest in mobile if you're a retailer, because the results they're seeing are the same whether they're spending millions or nothing,” she says.. . . more

Panera Bread to open at Westport Plaza

Charter Realty & Development said that it has arranged a 4,800-sq.-ft. lease for Panera Bread located in the Westport Plaza in Westport, Conn.  

In order to make room for Panera, Stride Rite and a nail salon will be relocated.. . . more

Six new tenants to open at White City Shopping Center

Charter Realty & Development said it has arranged six leases, totaling 33,191 sq. ft., in the White City Shopping Center located in Shrewsbury, Mass.

White City Shopping Center is a supermarket-anchored retail center tenanted by Shaw’s, Dress Barn and Austin Liquors. A complete renovation of the center is underway.. . . more

Shopping trends for 2012 holiday season

Emerging consumer buying trends will have significant implications for retailers this holiday season, according to a new survey from Booz & Co.

In its 1,600-person survey — which polled consumers, retail store staff and retail executives to determine buying habits and potential trends for this holiday season — Booz & Co. found that in-store competitive browsing, heavy online shopping and downloaded gifts top the new shopper behaviors expected this holiday season.  The company  specifically called attention to multichannel shopping, which it said will be a core part of how consumers shop: 40% of surveyed consumers describe "showcasing" as their new shopping strategy: browsing in-store before buying online, which creates a major challenge for brick-and-mortar retailers.. . . more

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Target to Hire Fewer Seasonal Workers as Key Season Nears

Target Corp. said it plans to hire 80,000 to 90,000 seasonal employees this holiday season, down from the 92,000 added last year, as retailers approach this critical period with caution.

Overall, retail executives are projecting a holiday sales season similar to last year and therefore appear generally poised to hire at comparable levels to help with sales.. . . more

Discount Birthday: Walmart, Kmart, Target Hit 50

Discounting wasn't invented in 1962, but it might as well have been. That was when Walmart, Target and Kmart were born, each with their distinctive style of low-price retailing. As the three celebrate their 50th anniversaries this year, they can take credit for much of the way bargain-obsessed America now shops. Retailers of every stripe have followed their lead, making shopping the equivalent of "Blue Light Specials" all the time.

There were plenty of stand-alone or regional "five-and-ten" or "dime stores" back then, including Woolworth's, Ben Franklin and W.T. Grant. Kmart, Walmart and Target built on the concept and brought self-service, low-price shopping to the masses.. . . more

Macy's NYC flagship getting $400M 'Apple' makeover

A $400 million makeover is giving New York's iconic Macy's store a sleek, new 21st-century style.

Macy's reconstruction, to be completed in 2015, will add 100,000 square feet to the 1.1 million square feet of existing retail space. Floor-to-ceiling fabric shrouds areas under renovation. But some sections already have been finished, including the world's largest women's shoe department, which offers 280,000 pairs of shoes -- several thousand displayed in white settings.  . . . more

Retail CFOs forecast 4.5% increase in total 2012 sales

A study released on Tuesday by BDO USA found that retailers are generally confident that year-end sales will top last year’s. According to the sixth-annual BDO Retail Compass Survey of CFOs, which examined the opinions of 100 leading retail CFOs nationwide, retailers are expecting a 4.5% increase in total 2012 sales.

While the forecast shows improving confidence when compared with sales projections for 2011 (+3%) and 2010 (+2%), retailers have been relatively guarded in year-end expectations. In 2011, total retail sales exceeded expectations and increased 7.3%.. . . more

The Container Store hunting for a South Shore location

e Container Store is still putting the finishing touches on its new Massachusetts shop on the North Shore, but company execs are already on the hunt for a suitable follow-up location on the South Shore.

The Texas-based chain plans to open its next store in Peabody at the Northshore Mall, at the site of a former Bugaboo Creek restaurant, in October.. . . more

Disney to open children's shops in J.C. Penney stores next fall

Women’s Wear Daily got a jump on the story and reported this morning that at least 520 Penney stores will be getting Disney shops in time for next year’s back-to-school season.

While Penney and other major retailers including Wal-Mart, Macy’s and Kohl’s sell Disney licensed products, the goods stocked in Penney’s Disney shops will be made by Disney Consumer Products exclusively for Penney and its own Disney stores and theme parks.. . . more

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Publix Stores Answer ‘See For Yourself’ Ads

 Publix Super Markets is fighting fire with fire when it comes to Wal-Mart’s item-price comparison ads.

The retailer has begun its own “See for Yourself” campaign, calling out the differences between sale-price items and retail prices for the same items at Wal-Mart.. . . more

Square Raises $200 Million

Mobole-Payments-A2Mobile payments startup Square continues to surge ahead. The mobile payments startups today announced closing a fourth-round financing for a reported $200 million at a $3.25 billion valuation. First rumored over the summer, the latest funding comes from Citi Ventures, Rizvi Traverse Management and Starbucks.

The coffee chain announced its $25 million investment in Square in August as part of its wider partnership with the company to power m-payments and credit card transactions in stores. Square also said it’s now processing $8 billion in transactions on an annualized basis, up from $1 billion a year ago.. . . more

Got $30M? Boston's Apple Store is for sale

Some think $30 is a lot to pay for an adapter to the iPhone 5. The Boston Apple Store itself could fetch $30 million. That's $1,150 a square foot to be Apple's landlord – a distinction that's likely to appeal to deep-pocketed institutions and foreign investors.

Apple Inc. has 15 years remaining on its lease at the 26,000-square-foot Boston Apple Store at 815 Boylston St., Real Estate Alert  reports. An unidentified family has owned the property for decades, and is selling it through Eastdil Secured. The $30 million price would mean a capitalization rate of around 4 percent.. . . more

Kohl’s to ramp up holiday hiring by 10%

Kohl’s Corp. said Tuesday it plans to hire more than 52,700 associates this holiday season, about a 10% increase over last year’s holiday hiring numbers.

Kohl’s said it anticipates hiring an average of 41 associates per store, a 4% increase over 2011, as well as 5,700 seasonal DC positions and more than 30 seasonal credit operations positions.. . . more

Walmart blocked from entering New York City

Despite its interest in making a New York City debut in a new Brooklyn neighborhood shopping center, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said Friday it was unable to agree to economic terms for a new store. Instead, developer Related Cos. struck a deal with ShopRite to open a new grocery store at the 630,000-sq.-ft. Gateway II shopping center planned for Brooklyn.

According to Steven Restivo, senior director of community affairs for Wal-Mart, however, the retailer is still interested in breaking into New York despite stiff and heated opposition from unions and politicians who have worked hard to block non-union Walmart stores from entering the market.. . . more

Monday, September 17, 2012

Noche, Boston South End restaurant, has closed

Noche, a Latin American restaurant on Appleton Street in Boston's South End, reportedly closed its doors this weekend.

The restaurant, which opened in June 2010, announced on its Facebook page that it would shut down after business hours on Saturday.. . . more

Schulze tries to rally lenders for Best Buy deal

Best Buy Co. Inc. founder Richard Shultze, who is trying to muster support to buy the electronics retailer, met last week with lenders who would have to issue as much as $7 billion in debt financing for the deal.
The New York Post reports that lenders are interested, but the story cites an unnamed source who said the deal is "clearly not baked" yet.. . . more

Specialty Apparel Retailers to Remain Cautious On Store Growth

The retail industry isn’t likely to see any apparel chain announce that it will be closing half of its store fleet in the coming months, according to Jaime Katz, an analyst who follows the sector for Chicago-based research firm Morningstar.. Even if Abercrombie & Fitch ends up being a takeover target or closes one of its smaller divisions, it has already revealed the bulk of its upcoming closings, she says.

But there will continue to be moderate portfolio right-sizing among apparel sellers, while at the same time those retailers will likely remain very cautious on new store growth.. . . more

Lowe's withdraws C$1.8 bln proposal to buy Rona

Lowe's Cos Inc said on Monday it had withdrawn its C$1.8 billion ($1.86 billion) proposal to buy Rona Inc in the face of stiff opposition to the unsolicited bid for the Canadian home improvement retailer.

Quebec-based Rona, Canada's home-grown answer to Lowe's and Home Depot Inc, had rejected the C$14.50-per-share offer, saying it was not the best deal for its stockholders.. . . more

Best Buy Moves 2,000 Loss-Prevention Workers to Sales

Best Buy, trying to reverse slumping store sales, is reassigning about 2,000 loss-prevention employees in its U.S. locations to focus on selling customers more merchandise.

Employees who greeted shoppers entering Best Buy’s big-box stores and checked receipts when they left will join the ranks of the company’s blue-shirted sales force, Kelly Groehler, a spokeswoman for the Richfield, Minnesota-based company, said yesterday. No workers are being fired, she said.. . . more

Walgreens to close 76 USA Drug-affiliated stores

Walgreens announced plans to close more than half of the stores it is acquiring in its deal with USA Drug.

The company — which said in July it would purchase the mid-South drug store chain for approximately $438 million — confirmed it would close approximately 76 stores across the region. USA Drug operates 144 stores under the USA Drug, Super D Drug, May's Drug, Med-X and Drug Warehouse banners.. . . more

Friday, September 14, 2012

Embrace the Internet, Summit told

Online sales will grow by $257 billion between now and 2016, according to Daniel Latev, head of global retailing research at Euromonitor International, London. But a significant proportion of transactions involving the Internet will include a visit to the store, he and other observers said. Successful retailers are increasingly harnessing the Internet and other digital technology in their brick-and-mortar shops.

Retailers who run out of an item in a particular store are using the Internet to locate it at another store and deliver it to the customer, noted Brad Hutensky, president and principal of Hutensky Capital Partners, based in Hartford, Conn. Hutensky is chairman of ICSC. Best Buy is using the Internet to show customers what prices its competitors are charging, he added.. . . more

Future of shopping? A brave new world

The way Blake Nordstrom sees it, fashion has always been about change -- "creating a reason for the customer to buy something new" -- and the next three decades will bring more of it.

The next 30 years of retailing will be all about the customer's interests. And it will be up to merchants to keep up with or anticipate their every desire, says Nordstrom, president of one of the country's oldest department stores and great-grandson of founder John W. Nordstrom.. . . more

Reversing the trend: From digital to physical stores

In the age of Amazon and Etsy, it's easy to discount the importance of physical stores. And all anyone in the retail world seems to be talking about these days is e-commerce, mobile shopping, points and clicks.

Still, a small but growing number of online-only retailers are beginning to open actual stores. Gap has opened about two dozen Athleta stores for its yoga and outdoor apparel brand that was previously only sold online. Last week, it also opened its first store for Piperlime, the shoes and accessories website, in New York.. . . more

Rue 21 names team to lead 12-store expansion program on Long Island

Rue 21 Inc. said Thursday it has appointed Sabre Real Estate Group as its exclusive broker for Long Island, N.Y., and charged the company with opening more than a dozen Rue 21 stores in the area.

Rue 21 recently announced plans to open 120 stores this year in spaces that range from 4,000 sq. ft. to 5,000 sq. ft. . . . more

Rising gas prices boost inflation, retail sales

Rising gas prices pushed both inflation and retail sales higher in August, two government reports showed Friday.

The Consumer Price Index, which measures a broad basket of consumer goods, showed prices rose 0.6% in August. It marks the sharpest one month rise in inflation since June 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.. . . more

Could Staples go private?

Several private equity firms are considering a buyout offer for Staples Inc., Fortune has learned. Among them is Bain Capital, which famously helped launch the office superstore 26 years ago.

Discussions have been preliminary thus far, with sources saying the earliest an actual offer could come would be late this year. . . . more