Thursday, January 31, 2013

Amazon’s Growth Looks Like Walmart in the 1990s — But Even Better

Amazon SalesAmazon doesn’t make a lot of money in the profit sense, which is typically the only sense that matters. But the investors who sent Amazon’s stock soaring after-hours last night were likely looking at a different set of numbers.

For the fourth quarter, which includes the holiday season, Amazon reported $21.27 billion in sales. Sounds like a lot of money, but compared to what? How about 2008, when Amazon sold less than that ($19.17 billion) for the whole year.. . . more

Wal-Mart: The $200 billion grocer

When you think "locally sourced," Wal-Mart probably isn't the first store that comes to mind. And yet the retailer recently announced that two-thirds of its products are made here in the United States.

So what gives? The answer lies in groceries.

Ten years ago, groceries made up a little more than 20% of Wal-Mart's net sales, or about $48 billion. In 2012, groceries accounted for 55%, or roughly $244 billion. And most of your groceries -- from produce, to pancake mix, to paper towels -- are made right here in the U.S.. . . more

Retail and consumer M&A volume jumped in 2012

A report released Thursday by PwC found that U.S. retail and consumer merger & acquisition activity in 2012 drove both deal volume and value up from the prior year as the number of larger deals over $1 billion almost doubled.

According to PwC’s U.S. retail and consumer M&A insights “2012 Year in Review and 2013 Outlook” report, private equity activity in the retail sector comprised nearly 40% of deal volume and 55% of deal value, and IPO volume increased 38%.. . . more

Somerville's Rosebud diner could get new style

397650 MA_Som rosebud 013113.jpg After 40 years, an iconic Somerville diner and the adjoining bar behind it is changing hands.

The Somerville Licensing Commission last week approved a license transfer for Rosebud from longtime owner Evangelos Nichols to restaurateur Martin Bloom. The matter goes to the state for approval and it might be a few months before Bloom actually takes over.. . . more

Linear Retail purchases Salem, N.H., strip mall for $8M

Linear Retail Properties paid $8 million for Salem Park Plaza in New Hampshire.

Linear Retail Properties has purchased Salem Park Plaza in Salem Park Plaza in Salem, N.H., for $8 million.

The 37,933-square-foot strip mall has a 100 percent occupancy rate and is anchored by Barnes & Noble and Pier 1 Imports, according to the broker.. . . more

Aldi jumps on the organic bandwagon

One of the last supermarket holdouts is holding back on organics no longer.

No-frills grocery chain Aldi has added certified organic produce in five divisions across the country.

The launch comes at a time when supermarkets have seen organic sales rise faster than the general food market. In 2011, organic food sales grew 9.4 percent to $31.5 billion, while the total U.S. food market grew 4.7 percent to $703.4 billion, according to the Organic Trade Association.. . . more

Apple granted U.S. trademark for its retail store design

Apple Store trademarkApple's retail store design has been granted a trademark from the U.S. government, giving the company some protection from copycat retailers.

The Cupertino, Calif., company's "clear glass storefront" design, complete with "large, rectangular horizontal panels over the top of the glass front," received trademark status last week from the U.S Patent and Trademark office. . . . more

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Consumer confidence in January falls to 14-month low

A report released Tuesday by The Conference Board showed that confidence among U.S. consumers fell in January to its lowest point since November 2011.

The Conference Board’s index decreased to 58.6, down from a revised 66.7 in December. The figure was lower than forecast; Bloomberg predicted a median of 64.. . . more

Subway and Amazon top list of brands with the biggest buzz

For the third consecutive year,  Subway came out on top on BrandIndex’s annual ranking of the most buzzed about U.S. brands. The BrandIndex Buzz Rankings compares “Buzz” scores for nearly 1,100 brands across 41 categories  to reveal the brands with the most positive Buzz in 2012.  

Subway had a Buzz score of 40.3. Online giant  Amazon came in at number two for the second year in a row, with a score of  36.8  Lowe’s was fifth, with a score of 32.7.. . . more

Filene's project construction start date possibly April

Rendering of Millennium's plan for a tower over the former Filene's buildingA planned high-rise could begin to go up over the former Filene's department store building in Boston's Downtown Crossing as early as April, if the developer secures a lease with a key tenant.

The Boston Redevelopment Authority approved Millennium's plan for a 625-foot tower, in September. In addition to office space, the developer plans 231,000 square feet of retail and 600 condos and apartments.. . . more

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Johnny Rockets opens in Acton

Hip burger joint Johnny Rockets has opened its first restaurant in Acton, bringing its total tally in the Bay State to five locations. The new Johnny Rockets Acton restaurant is located at 371 Massachusetts Ave., near T.J. Maxx and Roche Bros.

The restaurant, known for its hamburgers, fries, shakes and classic sandwiches, is also located at the Burlington Mall, Boston Logan Airport, Six Flags New England and the South Shore Plaza.. . . more

Bee's knees aims to be honey of grocery store

Jason Owens is striving to make Bee’s Knees Supply Co. live up to its name as a high-quality gourmet market for South Boston’s Fort Point neighborhood.

The 5,000-square-foot Farnsworth Street grocery, slated to open next month, will boast house-made charcuterie, pickles and prepared food, the city’s largest selection of cheese, ice cream from Jamaica Plain’s Batch and on-site chocolatier Blue Tierra.. . . more

Bob Evans to sell off 145-unit Mimi's Café for $50 million

Bob Evans Farms said Tuesday it will divest its Mimi’s Café restaurant chain, selling it to LeDuff America – owner of Bruegger’s Bagels – for $50 million.

LeDuff America, a subsidiary of French bakery conglomerate Groupe LeDuff SA, will add the 145 Mimi’s units to its current portfolio of café-bakeries and coffee shops, including La Madeleine Country French Cafe, Brioche Doree, Bruegger's Bagels, Timothy's Coffee and Michel's Baguette.. . . more

Google most likely to win mobile wallet war

Google is poised to win the “mobile wallet war” according to a survey of attendees at the National Retail Federation’s annual 2013 convention in New York. The survey was conducted by ACI Worldwide, a leading international provider of payment systems. 

Over half (52%) of respondents said they believe Google would come out on top when it comes to mobile payment systems. An additional 25% believe PayPal will come out on top, while nearly one in five respondents (19%) believes a new market entrant could gain traction in this emerging segment.. . . more

Monday, January 28, 2013

Starbucks targeting drive-thru format for growth in U.S.

Starbucks Corp. is expanding its drive-thru format, the chain said in its first-quarter earnings call. According to company officials, more than half of the approximate 1,500 new locations it plans to open in the United States during the next five years will be drive-thrus.

Starbucks plans to remodel about 1,400 U.S. locations in 2013. Roughly 500 of those locations will receive a major overhaul.. . . more

Retail sales to grow 3.4% in 2013

Retail industry sales (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) will increase 3.4%, down slightly from 4.2% in 2012 and 5.8% in 2011, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2013 economic forecast.

The lukewarm forecast, released Monday, comes on the heels of a holiday season that went head-to-head with Washington’s political wrangling over fiscal concerns, shifting consumers’ spending plans downward. In the end, holiday sales in 2012 grew 3.0%.. . . more

Barnes & Noble to trim store count over next decade

Barnes & Noble is planning to shutter approximately one-third of its stores during the next 10 years, CEO Mitchell Klipper said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. As of Jan. 23, the company operated 689 stores. (The company also operates a separate division of 674 college book stores.)

“In 10 years we'll have 450 to 500 stores,” said Klipper in the interview, who noted that, even with the reduced store count, “it’s a good business model.”. . . more

Startup Craft Liquors vies with bigger liquor stores for first Needham licenses

Edward Spivak is hoping that the previously dry town of Needham will soon grant him one of six liquor licenses that are up for grabs there.

Spivak, 27, is hoping that his 30-page business plan for his proposed Needham liquor store — Craft Liquors of Needham — as well as his detailed renderings and the fact that his shop will sell meats and cheeses, will wow town officials and convince them that he's serious about building a positive addition for the town center.. . . more

They're back: J. C. Penney adds sales

J.C. Penney is bringing back sales.

The struggling department store chain this week will begin adding some of the hundreds of sales it ditched last year in hopes of luring back shoppers who were turned off when the discounts disappeared.. . . more

Ground Round pursues aggressive growth, overhaul

A new sports-themed concept, restaurant redesign, upgraded menu and plan to boost unit count are in the works

Nearly 10 years after being purchased out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy by its franchisees, casual-dining chain Ground Round once again is plotting a growth trajectory that could boost its unit count by almost 50 percent over the next several years.. . . more

Weed-themed sub shop chain hungry for Massachusetts locations

"Cheba Hut," a sub shop chain with a stoner theme, would like to grow in Massachusetts, the Boston Herald reports. The Tempe, Ariz.-based chain is talking to an area developer about franchises in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New York and Vermont, lured by the high concentration of college campuses here, according to the Herald.. . . more

Auntie Anne's projects 100 new U.S. stores in 2013

Auntie Anne's turns 25 on Feb. 2. To celebrate, the company is reporting milestones reached in 2012, including 202 new stores, of which 117 were in the U.S. Additionally last year, Auntie Anne's entered six new countries and opened its 300th international location.

Auntie Anne's 25th birthday also comes on the heels of the chain's 1,000th domestic opening, which occurred in Elizabethtown, Ky. on Dec. 24, 2012. That unit is owned and operated by first-time Auntie Anne's franchise partner and military veteran, Dwayne Mollison.

Auntie Anne's 1,000th domestic opening concluded a year in which the system earned its 23rd year of positive sales growth.. . . more

Friendly's restaurant chain reinvents itself

The Friendly's restaurant chain is emerging from a rough period in company history with a new image, a revamped menu and a new attitude. Friendly Ice Cream LLC CEO John Maguire says the Wilbraham-based company is in the process of renovating many of its 114 company and 247 franchised restaurants.. . . more

Friday, January 25, 2013

Penney’s pinching vendors on pricing

Fake prices are coming back at JCPenney, and this time they’ll be more fake than ever.

In a fresh bid to highlight Penney’s prices as low, CEO Ron Johnson is pushing some manufacturers to concoct phony suggested retail markups for their clothing, sources told The Post.

The plan, insiders say, includes erecting signs and fixtures that will display the sometimes made-up retail prices, while tagging the clothes and accessories themselves with Penney’s own lower prices.. . . more

Starbucks profit up 12%; 1,300 stores on tap for 2013

Starbucks Corp. said its profit rose in its first quarter as customers spent more at its stores in the United States and Asia.

Starbucks also reaffirmed its fiscal 2013 targets, which include the opening of approximately 1,300 net new stores globally, representing 22% growth over fiscal 2012. Approximately 600 of the new stores will be located in the Americas, with the majority in the United States. Of the approximately 600 stores, approximately half of the additions will be licensed stores.. . . more

Five Below to open 60 stores in 2013

Teen and tween retailer Five Below will open 60 stores this year, including its first-ever locations in Texas.

With the addition of the 60 planned stores for 2013, Five Below will operate approximately 300 locations in 19 states, from New Hampshire to Georgia along the East Coast to Illinois and Missouri in the Midwest. . . . more

Shaw’s struggles against lower-priced competition

Elizabeth D’Oliveira was a loyal Shaw’s supermarket shopper until last year, when she began checking prices at other local grocers. The Charlestown mother of two says she never recovered from the sticker shock.

On all the basics — eggs, milk, bread, pasta, and juice — Shaw’s had the highest prices, according to D’Oliveira. “It just blew me away. Shaw’s was more expensive than everyone else, except for maybe Whole Foods,” she said.. . . more

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Regal Cinema, Harris Teeter coming to Towne Centre at Laurel

Only three tenants may have been announced so far, but Laurel residents and area officials are already optimistic about the future for the Towne Centre at Laurel.

The Towne Centre is being built at the site of the former Laurel Mall, which is currently being demolished. The mall closed in May after 33 years of operation, but had been in decline since the 1990s. . . more

New Panera cafe has a pay-what-you-can ethos

 It’s OK if you don’t have the bread

 Despite frostbitten toes, Wayne Gilchrist made the trip to Boston yesterday for the opening of the “pay-what-you-can” Panera Cares Community Cafe.

A self-described homeless man who lives under a bridge in Somerville, Gilchrist heard about the nonprofit cafe from workers at the Panera Bread in Porter Square who often feed him when he can’t pay.. . . more

Jobless Claims in U.S. Decrease, Prolonging Seasonal Swings

Claims for jobless benefits in the U.S. unexpectedly dropped last week to a five-year low, highlighting the challenges in adjusting the data for swings at the start of a year.

Applications for unemployment insurance payments decreased by 5,000 to 330,000 in the week ended Jan. 19, the fewest since the same week in 2008, the Labor Department reported today in Washington. Economists forecast 355,000 claims, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey. . . . more

Safeway rises on speculation of buyout interest

Shares of Safeway Inc. shares rose as much as 9% on Wednesday on rumors of increased buyout interest for its Canada operations by Canadian grocer Metro Inc. and Loblaw Companies Ltd.

On Tuesday, Metro announced it was selling off nearly half its stake in Couche-Tard Inc. for $482 million.. . . more

Potential new owner of former Ikea parcel seeks zoning change

Federal Realty Investment Trust wants a zoning change at the former Ikea property at Assembly Square in Somerville to make way for a mega supermarket.  

Federal Realty Investment Trust is seeking a zoning change on the former Ikea property at Assembly Row in Somerville, Mass.

Last month, Federal signed a purchase and sale agreement to acquire the 12-acre site from the Swedish furniture giant which shelved plans for a 350,000-square-foot store on the property. The sale is contingent on getting the zoning change for a giant supermarket. A public hearing will be held by the Board of Aldermen’s Land Use committee on Thursday night.. . . more

Massachusetts housing market has ‘turned the corner’

In another sign that the housing market may be on the mend, the median sale price of single-family homes in Massachusetts rose more than 12 percent in December to $300,000, the first time since August that median home prices have broken the $300,000 mark, the Warren Group said Thursday.

Looking at the entire year, the Warren Group added that single-family home sales in Massachusetts rose 18 percent in 2012, marking 12 consecutive months of year-over-year sales gains and the best year on record since 2006.. . . more

Sternlicht Takes LNR in $1B Acquisition

Barry Sternlicht’s Starwoood Property Trust and Starwood Capital Group, headquartered here, will pay a total of $1.05 billion to acquire LNR Property LLC, the companies announced Thursday. Founded in 1969, LNR is currently owned by a group that includes Aozora Bank Ltd, Cerberus Capital Management LP, iStar Financial, Oaktree Capital Management LP and Vornado Realty Trust.

Starwood Property is acquiring Miami-based LNR’s US and European primary and special servicing, mortgage and capital businesses as well as 50% of for $856 million. The remaining ownership of, as well as LNR’s Commercial Property Group, is going to Starwood Capital in a $197-million deal.. . . more

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Store Opening Plans Reach Five-Year High, Report Claims

In an encouraging sign for the retail sector, store openings plans in the U.S. continue to climb up. According to the just released National Retailer Demand Monthly report from RBC Capital Markets, store opening plans reported during 2012 reached a five-year high. In December alone, the more than 2,000 retailers included in the RBC survey increased their opening projections by 886 stores. Overall, as of January 2013, those retailers plan on opening 81,990 new stores during the next two years—an increase of 1.1 percent compared to December 2012. . . . more

Best Buy Super Bowl branding spot will focus on humor, enlists Amy Poehler

Best Buy Co. has enlisted actress and comedian Amy Poehler to get its brand message across in a humor-focused spot during the Super Bowl XLVII.

The ad will convey a branding message and comes as the electronics retailer works on a turnaround plan to combat tough competition from online retailers and discounters. The spot will be supported by a social media component, and a second ad will air after the game detailing several special offers.. . . more

Lowe’s to increase hiring with housing market rebound

Lowe’s announced that it plans to hire 45,000 seasonal workers at its U.S. stores, 13% more than a year earlier, and add 9,000 permanent part-time employees as the housing rebound spurs remodeling.

Sales of existing homes are expected to rise about 7.2% to 4.98 million this year, the highest since 2007, according to the median estimate of economists and housing analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.. . . more

Dollar General to open 635 stores in 2013

Find Dollar General Jobs Dollar General Corp. will open 635 new stores in 2013, creating some 6,000 jobs. The chain will also relocate 550 stores this year.

With the addition of these jobs in 2013, Dollar General said it will have created approximately 30,000 jobs in the last six years.. . . more

Janie and Jack to open in Mall at Chestnut Hill

Janie and Jack, the children’s clothing store, is moving to the Mall at Chestnut Hill in Newton, Mass. from the former Atrium Mall.

Janie and Jack, the children’s clothing store, is the latest retailer to vacate the former Atrium Mall and move across the street to the Mall at Chestnut Hill in Newton, Mass.

The shop offers clothing and accessories for little ones. The 1,446-square-foot store will be located on the second level and will open at the end of January.. . . more

Legal Sea Foods at South Shore Plaza moving to Hyatt Place

The Legal Sea Foods at Braintree’s South Shore Plaza is moving across the street to the Hyatt Place hotel.

“It’s going to be a fun place,” said Roger Berkowitz, Legal’s president and CEO. “We’re moving to the best location on the South Shore and certainly in the Braintree area and those opportunities do not come up very often. We’re moving for visibility reasons since we are on the back end of the South Shore Plaza.”. . . more

Bobby Flay’s burger joint juices up Burlington

When Bobby’s Burger Palace opens at the Burlington Mall on Sunday evening, expect to see celebrity chef Bobby Flay on hand.

The 72-seat Bobby’s Burger Palace is Flay’s first Bay State restaurant and the 13th location for the chain. The menu sports 10 regionally inspired burgers from Flay’s U.S. travels — including the signature Crunchburger with double American cheese and potato chips — that range from $6.75 to $7.75. . . . more

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

US home sales rose to 5-year high in 2012

U.S. sales of previously occupied homes rose in 2012 to their highest level in five years, spurred higher by record-low mortgage rates and steady hiring.

The National Association of Realtors said Tuesday that sales reached 4.65 million last year. That's up 9.2 percent from 2011 and the most since 2007. Sales are still below the roughly 5.5 million that are consistent with a healthy market.. . . more

Williams-Sonoma profits up 12.6% as sales climb 8.9%

Driven by its Pottery Barn, West Elm and Pottery Barn Kids brands, retailer Williams-Sonoma said profits rose 12.6% in the quarter ended Oct. 28 on an 8.9% jump in sales.

The company said all three recorded double-digit growth in comparable brand revenue, with e-commerce revenues leading the way.

Comparable brand revenue growth was up 8.5% across all five major Williams-Sonoma brands, but West Elm paced the growth with a 13% jump. That was followed by Pottery Barn at 11.1% and Pottery Barn Kids at 10.1%. . . more

Pier 1 Imports reports 8.2% comp store gain in December

Pier 1 Imports said its comparable store sales in the five weeks ended Dec. 29 were up 8.2% from a year earlier.

The gain was on top of an 11.3% increase in the five weeks ended Dec. 31, 2011, and capped a three-year cumulative comp store sales gain of 29.8%, the Fort Worth-based retailer said.. . . more

Dish to close 300 Blockbuster stores

Dish Network Corp. will shutter about 300 Blockbuster stores in the coming weeks, resulting in a loss of about 3,000 employees, Dish spokesman John Hall said Monday.

The closures, which cover underperforming outlets or those that are nearing the end of their leases, will leave 500 Blockbuster stores in the U.S.. . . more

Sales in warehouse club stores to outpace other channels

Consumer products executives expect their highest growth to come from the warehouse club channel compared with any other retail sales channel over the next three years, including mass merchandise, grocery, and e-commerce, according to new research from Deloitte.

Nine-out-of-10 (89%) of consumer package goods (CPG) executives Deloitte surveyed expect their company's sales through the warehouse club channel to increase during that time. This channel is outpacing grocery in CPG companies' focus, as less than half (49%) expect grocery sales to increase during that three-year period, while one in six (18%) expect sales in the grocery channel to decline.. . . more

New coffee shop coming to North End

The shuttered Hot Tomatoes restaurant on Hanover Street is expected to be replaced with  the Cobblestone Cafe. 

Hanover Street in Boston’s North End is about to get another coffee shop.

Cobblestone Cafe is hoping to open at the former Hot Tomatoes location at 227-237 Hanover St.

Owner Carla Gomes, who operates three restaurants on Salem Street including Terramia, Antico Forno and Cafe Lil Italy, won the unanimous approval North End/Waterfront Neighborhood Council this week for the 10-seat, 500-square-foot cafe.. . . more

Friday, January 18, 2013

Magruder’s Stores Closing

Magruder’s Supermarkets, which has operated food retail stores in the Washington, D.C., area for more than 130 years, will be closing some or all of its five stores shortly, various sources told SN Tuesday. Magruder’s officials were not available to confirm the closings. But workers at its stores in Vienna, Va.; Gaithersburg, Md.; and Rockville, Md., told SN Tuesday that the stores were to be closed, but no dates had been set. A person who answered the phone at Magruder’s store in Alexandria, Va., said the store was not closing but “there is something in the works.” Additional questions were referred to Magruder’s Rockville offices. A worker at its Chevy Chase store in Washington referred questions to the corporate office...more

Ackman Needs a Real Estate Recovery

Not every hedge fund star is bullish on real estate or retail; Bill Ackman of Pershing Square has backed away from his efforts to force ailing mall operator General Growth Properties to sell out. Reuters reported that Ackman lost his interest in General Growth after its competitor, Simon Property Group, showed no interest in buying the mall company.

Ackman had been working to get Simon to buy General in an attempt to boost its share value. Pershing Square reportedly owns 8 percent of General Growth. Instead of totally bowing out, Ackman is retaining the majority of his position which will enable him to profit if retail real estate recovers.. . . more

Mistral owner to open Fort Point restaurant in Sept.

Mistral restaurant front doorRestaurateur Seth Greenberg, the owner of Mistral in Boston's Back Bay, has been talking for some time about opening a "moderately priced French bistro" in the Fort Point section of Boston's Seaport. Now it has a name, an address and an opening date.

On Thursday, Grub Street reported the new, 240-seat, 8,500-square-foot restaurant will be called Bastille Kitchen, and it will open in September. The address is 49 Melcher St.. . . more

Linear Retail buys Salem Park Plaza in NH for $8m

Linear Retail Properties LLC, a Burlington-based company that owns and operates retail properties in New England, said it has purchased of Salem Park Plaza in Salem, N.H., for $8 million.

Salem Park Plaza is a 37,933 square foot shopping center anchored by Barnes & Noble. Other tenants include Pier 1 Imports, Jos. A. Bank, T-Mobile, Findeisen’s Ice Cream, and an enclosed Bank of America ATM.. . . more

Tax cut scores with retailers

Retailers and restaurateurs embraced Gov. Deval Patrick’s proposal to lower Massachusetts’ sales tax as a way to keep more consumers from hitting the Internet or heading out of state for their shopping.

Circle Furniture’s six stores include one in Danvers, where customers frequently bring up New Hampshire’s tax-free status, according to president Harold Tubman. “It’s good for the Massachusetts economy in general to have a lower state sales tax to put us in a more competitive place with neighboring states,” he said.. . . more

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Delhaize’s Sweetbay to close 33 stores

Delhaize Group announced that it would close 33 under-performing Sweetbay stores in Florida by mid-February. The shutterings, which are part of a broader reorganization plan, amount to about one-third of the chain.

The closures comes on the heels of a senior management restructuring Last week, Delhaize America cut 25% of its executive ranks and internally unveiled a new structure that includes about 50 officers. . . more

Missing the Bull’s Eye: Holiday Sales Forecasts

Retail sales forecasts have long been a standard tool in the industry, and while many unforeseeable factors effect a retailer’s sales year-over-year, in general they’re a useful guide.  The research analysts with whom I’ve been associated over the years have done a pretty good job with such forecasts. Of course, the standard joke has always been that research guys don’t actually forecast sales - they just use a dart board. . . . more

Is Cerberus’ Supervalu Acquisition a Pure Real Estate Play?

With news emerging last week that Cerberus Capital Management would be buying five Supervalu supermarket brands for $3.3 billion, there is speculation that a sizeable portion of the purchased stores is likely to be shut down and put on the market. Supervalu has been underperforming its rivals for some time now, market observers say, and it’s hard to imagine that Cerberus and its real estate-focused partners would be willing to pour money into each one of the nearly 900 stores in order to turn them around.

Cerberus’s partners on the acquisition include shopping center REIT Kimco Realty Corp., Klaff Realty, Lubert-Adler Partners and Schottenstein Real Estate Group. These are the same firms who bought and broke up Albertson’s Inc. in 2006. . . . more

Ahold U.S. Sales Gain After Shoppers Stocked Up for Sandy

Royal Ahold NV, the Dutch owner of the Stop & Shop chain, reported stronger U.S. sales than some analysts anticipated as American shoppers stocked up with provisions ahead of superstorm Sandy in October.

So-called identical sales in the country gained 1.4 percent, excluding gasoline, in the fourth quarter, Amsterdam- based Ahold said today. . . . more

Barnes & Noble, the Last Big Bookseller Standing: But for How Long?

Article ImageBarnes & Noble had a rough holiday season: Same-store sales fell compared to a year ago and revenue from sales of the Nook tablet stalled. Despite a heavy investment in the Nook business, Barnes & Noble is expected to have a three-year cumulative loss of more than $700 million, according to Barclays Capital -- an indication that the bookstore's multi-front war with online retailer doesn't seem to be working.. . . more

Walmart to open second campus location

Walmart will open a mini-store on the campus of Georgia Tech. The 2,500-sq.-ft. convenience-store styled location, expected to open this spring, will be the retailer’s smallest unit in the country.

In addition to the limited mix of goods that will be available at the store, Wal-mart will also offer check cashing and bill paying services.. . . more

Dunkin’ Donuts to open 330 to 360 stores in 2013

Dunkin’ Donuts announced that in 2013 it plans to open 330 to 360 net new restaurants in the United States with growth coming from both new and existing markets, for an increase of 4.5% to 5%. The company also announced that it is expanding to Southern California as part of its long-term goal of having more than 15,000 Dunkin' Donuts restaurants in the United States alone. 

Dunkin' Donuts opened 291 net new locations in the United States in 2012, a net new unit growth rate of 4%. . . . more