Friday, August 30, 2013

RadioShack Is Cleaning Up Its Stores in Bid to Revive Sales

CEO Joseph Magnacca faces the challenge of figuring out how the money-losing electronics retailer can coexist with big-box stores and online rivals. RadioShack’s $96 million in red ink during the first half of 2013 was more than triple the prior-year period’s loss. The chain’s stock market capitalization is 2 percent of what it was 14 years ago.

Magnacca’s solution is “Let’s Play!” a business plan designed to make the retailer “a neighborhood technology playground.” Prototype stores have a cleaner look, a change from the tangled collection of cables, cords, adapters, and batteries that most customers associate with RadioShack.. . . more

Consumer Spending in U.S. Rises Below Forecast on Incomes

Consumer spending in the U.S. rose less than forecast in July as income growth slowed, indicating further job gains are needed to sustain household purchases.

Consumer purchases, which account for about 70 percent of the economy, rose 0.1 percent after a revised 0.6 percent increase the prior month that was larger than previously estimated, the Commerce Department reported today in Washington.. . . more

Francesca’s Besting Lululemon Seen Luring Bids

Francesca’s Holdings Corp., the women’s boutique operator that boasts the retail industry’s fastest growth rate, may also command the most expensive price tag in a U.S. takeover.

Francesca’s is projected by analysts to boost sales by 80 percent during the next three years, faster than any other apparel chain including Lululemon Athletica Inc., according to data compiled by Bloomberg.. . . more

Modell’s Sporting Goods expands New York footprint with two new stores

Modell’s Sporting Goods will celebrate the grand opening of two of its newest locations on Aug. 30, giving it a total of 155 storefronts.

The new stores are located in Huntington Shopping Center, Huntington Station, N.Y., and in Fivetowns Shopping Center, Rosedale, N.Y. Both locations are on Long Island.. . . more

Williams-Sonoma Q2 tops Street; expanding global footprint

Williams-Sonoma on Wednesday reported better-than-expected second-quarter profit amid same-strong sales. The retailer raised its full-year forecast, but its profit outlook still fell short of market expectations.

Total revenue increased 12.3% to $982 million from $874 million. Same-store sales rose 8.4%. The chain’s revenue from its direct-to-consumer business increased by 15.3% to $477.7 million.. . . more

Mohegan Sun inks Western Mass. casino agreement

A rendering of Mohegan Sun's proposed design for a Western Massachusetts casino in Palmer. The developer and the town have reached an agreement, announced Thursday.The long-awaited host community agreement between the town of Palmer, Mass., and Mohegan Sun for a resort casino features $15.2 million in annual mitigation payments, along with an additional $2.94 million up-front payment.

Town manager Charles T. Blanchard said the annual mitigation payment will total approximately $18 million, including revenue sharing. He said the total first payment will be $20 million.. . . more

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Is Barnes & Noble Heading the Way of Borders?

Recent announcement by Barnes & Noble founder Leonard Riggio that he no longer plans to buy the retail portion of the business has industry pros concerned. While the country’s last remaining big-box bookseller is nowhere near its final days, many in the retail industry were hoping the buyout would disentangle Barnes & Noble’s core business from its money-bleeding Nook venture and allow the company to find a winning formula for its stores with help from private money.

Now that Riggio withdrew his plans, Barnes & Noble’s management remains stuck with the Nook, reversing its earlier decision to discontinue the development and production of new Nook tablets in-house.. . . more

How Kroger uses Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+

The Kroger Company is the second largest retailer in the US behind Walmart, though it owns a number of subsidiary chains as well as its Kroger-branded stores.

But as we shall see, its huge profit margins don’t necessarily translate into success in social.. . . more

DSW looking at smaller stores as it continues expansion march

DSW Inc. may get bigger by being smaller.

The Columbus-based shoe retailer this fall plans to test a store format that is roughly half the size of the DSW you’re used to shopping. The test stores will be around 10,000 square feet; the average DSW is 22,000 square feet.. . . more

Retailers tap software to pick best locations for new stores

This Woburn Dunkin’ Donuts moved to the other end of its complex, installed a drive-through, and watched sales jump.
A Dunkin’ Donuts store on Woburn’s Main Street relocated less than 100 yards — from one end of a tiny strip mall to another — and added a drive-through last year. Sales soared more than 50 percent.

The reason seems simple: Drive-throughs attract more on-the-go coffee drinkers. But the move was guided by a software program that aggregated data on demographics, competition, and traffic, leading Dunkin’ to conclude the store’s sales would explode with the change.. . . more

Fast-Food Strikes Expand Across U.S. to 50 Cities

McDonald’s to Yum Urged to Raise Wages in U.S. ProtestsFast-food workers in 50 U.S. cities plan to walk off the job today in an attempt to ratchet up pressure on McDonald’s Corp. and Wendy’s Co. to raise wages.

Protests that began in New York last year are spreading to cities including Boston, Chicago, Denver, San Diego and Indianapolis, according to the Service Employees International Union, which is advising the strikers.. . . more

H&M to open its largest store to date, in New York’s Herald Square

Swedish fast-fashion giant H&M will open its largest location to date, a 63,000-sq.-ft. flagship in New York City’s bustling Herald Square. Scheduled to open in fall 2014, the four-level store will be located in Herald Center.

Herald Center is a 250,000-sq.-ft. retail and office building located on the corner of 34th Street and Broadway. It is due to begin a major renovation and repositioning, with an expected completion date of late next summer.. . . more

Express in fast lane as net income rises 7%; to launch outlet business

Express Inc. reported a profitable second quarter of fiscal 2013, with year-over-year increases in net income, net sales and same-store sales. Net income rose 7% to $16.8 million from $15.9 million. The retailer raised its full-year guidance and also announced plans to launch its outlet business in the second quarter of next year

Same-store sales increased 6%, following a 1% hike in the second quarter if last year. This includes e-commerce sales, which increased 27% to $59.9 million. In last year's second quarter, e-commerce sales grew 24% to $47.2 million. . . . more

Pols seeking Wynn-fall

A Herald survey of the mayoral candidates finds broad backing for Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s stance that Boston should get lucrative “host community” status for the proposed Everett casino — a powerful designation that could allow the city to profit from or kill the $1.3 billion Wynn casino rivaling the Hub’s Suffolk Downs resort proposal.

“(Boston) should be a host city,” said state Rep. Martin J. Walsh, who believes Menino and Wynn should work out an agreement. “Ultimately, if Wynn refuses to negotiate the city as a host community, then I think the Gaming Commission should step in.”. . . more

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Bed, Bath & Beyond Trumps Amazon! The Revenge of Old School Retail

Bed, Bath & Beyond doesn't market itself as a low price leader. The company is known mostly for its clean, traditional "big box" stores and ubiquitous mailed coupons offering 20% discounts on individual items. That reputation is why it came as such a surprise last week when a research report claimed Bed, Bath & Beyond prices are much lower than those found at

BB&T analyst Anthony Chukumba gathered pricing data on several items from glassware to cookware and small appliances at both Amazon and Bed, Bath & Beyond. On a basket of 30 such items Bed, Bath & Beyond's prices were 6.5% lower even without the 20% off coupons.. . . more

Web Sales Remain Small for Many Retailers

Nearly two decades after the Web revolutionized shopping, many big retailers are still struggling to turn the Internet into a big part of their business.

Their progress is on display in new correspondence between the Securities and Exchange Commission and a bevy of chains, including Target Corp., Wal-Mart Stores Inc., and PetSmart Inc. . . . more

Modest recovery seen in southern N.H. retail market

While the announced closure of 12 supermarkets around the state has been one of the biggest real estate stories in southern New Hampshire in 2013, the biggest retail story of 2012 was no doubt the opening of the Merrimack Premium Outlets, according to a report released this month by a Massachusetts-based commercial real estate firm.

East Boston casino would pay minimum $32M a year, guarantee 4,000 jobs

A rendering of the proposed Suffolk Downs casino in East Boston. Mayor Thomas Menino announced a deal with the casino developers stipulating annual payments worth an estimated $52 million to the city. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino's office announced a deal with Caesars Entertainment and Suffolk Downs that would bring a $1 billion resort casino to East Boston and a projected $52 million in annual payments to the city.

The deal is to be put to a public referendum in East Boston in 60 to 90 days, according to state law. A host agreement with neighboring Revere, Mass., is expected to be announced in a matter of days.. . . more

Massachusetts consumer confidence drops sharply

The Massachusetts Consumer Confidence Index posted a reading of 80 in July, down from an April reading of 87, as consumers fretted about rising mortgage rates, an increase in the state’s unemployment rate, and ongoing reports of a weak economic recovery, Mass Insight said Tuesday.
Massachusetts consumer confidence was in line national consumer confidence, which was pegged at 80 points in July, added Mass Insight, a Boston-based firm that organizes public-private initiatives on competitive issues affecting Massachusetts.
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The Massachusetts Consumer Confidence Index posted a reading of 80 in July, down from an April reading of 87, as consumers fretted about rising mortgage rates, an increase in the state’s unemployment rate, and ongoing reports of a weak economic recovery, Mass Insight said Tuesday.

Massachusetts consumer confidence was in line with national consumer confidence, which was pegged at 80 points in July, added Mass Insight, a Boston-based firm that organizes public-private initiatives on competitive issues affecting Massachusetts.. . . more