Monday, September 30, 2013

Fast-food drive-thrus are getting slower

As if the fast-food industry doesn't have enough headaches, now it's got a new one: It's getting too slow.

Never mind that its first name is "fast." The amount of time that consumers are spending waiting in lines at fast-food drive-thru windows is getting longer, not shorter, mostly due to the growing complexity of new products that the major fast-food chains are selling.. . . more

Fresh & Easy Eyes Bankruptcy to Exit Leases

Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market here has reportedly been negotiating with landlords to reach settlements with as many as possible prior to filing for bankruptcy protection this coming week, possibly as early as Monday.

The chain, the U.S.-based division of Tescomore, Cheshunt, England, announced earlier this month it intends to sell most of its 200 stores in California, Arizona and Nevada to Yucaipa Cos., the locally based investment firm.. . .more

Foxwoods plans retail center

Foxwoods Resort Casino is reportedly building a 300,000-sq.-ft. retail center that will house outlet shops. Foxwoods is partnering with Tanger Factory Outlet Centers Inc. to create a Tanger Outlets complex that will feature more than 80 retailers, including American Eagle Outfitters, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Calvin Klein and Nike.

The retail center will reportedly cost $115 million to develop and is expected to open in late 2014 or early 2015, depending on weather.. . . more

Macy’s plans 4% boost in holiday hiring

Macy’s, Inc. plans to hire seasonal associates for approximately 83,000 positions at its Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores, call centers, distribution centers and online fulfillment centers nationwide for the 2013 holiday season. The company’s 2013 seasonal hiring plan will bring on approximately 4% more temporary workers than the 80,000 holiday employees it hired in 2012.. . . more

Interest lags for southeast casino in Mass.

Only one developer has filed an application for the Southeastern Massachusetts casino license ahead of Monday’s deadline, leaving state gambling regulators unsure if the region will attract enough bidders for a healthy competition.

KG Urban, which wants to build a casino in New Bedford, submitted the non-refundable $400,000 application fee on Friday, according to a company spokesman.. . . more

Hardee's plans return to Northeast

Fast food burger chain Hardee's, parent company CKE Restaurants Holdings Inc. and franchisee Bhupen "Bob" Patel plan to open 200 Hardee's restaurants in the Northeast region in the next five years – the first for the fast-food burger chain since Hardee's shut down and retreated from the region in the 1990s.

New restaurants are expected to open in New Jersey and New York within the next 12 to 18 months, followed by Connecticut and Massachusetts. Each will be a stand-alone location averaging between 2,500 and 2,750 square feet.. . . more

Friday, September 27, 2013

Trader Joe’s to open store in Hingham, Mass., in October

Trader Joe’s will reportedly open a new store in the Hingham Shipyard complex in Hingham, Mass., on Oct. 4.

According to the Hingham Journal, Trader Joe’s signed a lease with Samuels & Associates in winter 2012 to open a 12,000-sq.-ft. store in the Launch portion of the Shipyard complex.. . . more

Kohl's Opens Three New Stores

Kohl's Department Stores announces the grand opening of three new locations, creating approximately 375 jobs nationwide and bringing the company's store count to 1,158 stores across 49 states. Stores opening today include Hyannis, Mass., Keene, N.H. and Michigan City, Ind. With these new locations, Kohl's has opened a total of 12 new stores in 2013.

This fall, Kohl's opens three new locations, creating approximately 375 jobs nationwide and bringing the company's store count to 1,158 stores across 49 states.. . . more

Wal-Mart Supplier Li & Fung Says No Order Cutbacks in U.S.

Li & Fung Ltd., the world’s largest supplier of clothes and toys to retailers, said U.S. orders are solid and it hasn’t seen reductions from Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

“There hasn’t been any cutbacks from Wal-Mart orders,” Bruce Rockowitz, chief executive officer of the Hong Kong-based company, said today. “When you look across the orders that come from the United States, they are very solid for Wal-Mart.”. . . more

Bi-Lo, Winn-Dixie parent files for IPO

The parent company of Bi-Lo and Winn-Dixie supermarkets, Southeaster Grocers, has filed for an initial public offering.  

The shares are expected to be offered by Southeastern Grocers, and the number of shares to be offered and the price range for the offering have not yet been determined.. . . more

J.C. Penney responds to critics

J.C. Penney on Thursday shot back at reports that its sales were weak in the late August and early September back-to-school season and said it was pleased with the progress of its turnaround efforts.

The company said it still expected positive comparable-store sales trends coming out of the third quarter and throughout the fourth, adding that its online sales continue to rise in double-digits over last year.

Source: Chain Store Age

Hotel, retail plans emerge for Weylu's site

The former Weylu’s in Saugus sat dormant for years but has been purchased as part of a 45-acre commercial development.
The buyers who paid $4 million for the shuttered Weylu’s, the palatial hilltop restaurant atop Route 1 in Saugus, are planning to use the site as part of a 45-acre commercial development. Revere Mayor Daniel Rizzo, who has met with the new owner of Weylu’s, Joseph DiNanno, said the buyer is planning to add the 9-acre restaurant site to an adjacent 36-acre parcel that the company owns on Revere line to build a collection of large retail stores and possibly a hotel.. . . more

US consumers spent 0.3 percent more in August

U.S. consumers increased their spending slightly last month as their income grew at the fastest pace in six months.

The Commerce Department says consumer spending rose 0.3 percent in August. That’s up from a 0.2 percent gain in July.. . . more

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Wal-Mart Cutting Orders as Unsold Merchandise Piles Up

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is cutting orders it places with suppliers this quarter and next to address rising inventory the company flagged in last month’s earnings report.

U.S. inventory growth at Wal-Mart outstripped sales gains in the second quarter at a faster rate than at the retailer’s biggest rivals. Merchandise has been piling up because consumers have been spending less freely than Wal-Mart projected, and the company has forfeited some sales because it doesn’t have enough workers in stores to keep shelves adequately stocked. . . . more

New grocery store to sell foods beyond their expiration dates

via Would you be willing to buy deeply discounted food, even if it’s passed its suggested expiration date?

Doug Rauch, the former president of the grocery store chain Trader Joe’s, hopes that’s the case. He is now in the process of launching ”The Daily Table Project,” a hybrid restaurant-market will sell goods that are just past their suggested expiration date but still healthy to consume at a discount.. . . more

J.C. Penney seeks up to $1 billion in equity

J.C. Penney is looking to raise as much as $750 million to $1 billion in new equity to build up its cash reserves as the holiday season approaches, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.

Penney, whose shares have fallen 49 percent so far this year, has a market value of $2.6 billion. The U.S. department store chain is leaning toward issuing new shares, the sources said, although other methods of raising capital are also on the table.. . . more

iParty stores in Massachusetts shift to Party City

iParty's 28 stores in Massachusetts have officially transitioned to the Party City brand name and will offer a larger selection of party supplies, decorations and costumes. The retailer says it timed the transition for the upcoming Halloween holiday.

"As North America's largest party supply retailer, Party City makes it easy and fun to celebrate special times with family and friends," said Gregg Melnick, president of Party City. "We are thrilled to bring Party City's huge product assortment and spirit of celebration to customers throughout New England.. . . more

Bed, Bath & Beyond boosts Q2 earnings, sales

Bed, Bath & Beyond, Inc. reported year-over-year increases in net income, net sales and same-store sales during the second quarter of fiscal 2013. Net income grew about 18%, to $249.3 million from $224.3 million.

Meanwhile, net sales increased about 9%, to $2.82 million, from $2.59 million. Same-store sales grew about 3.7%. The addition of revenue from World Market and Linen Holdings, an increase in same-store sales driven by an increase in transaction count and average transaction amount, and the opening of new stores were all key factors in Bed, Bath & Beyond’s net sales growth.. . . more

Casino foes mobilize as council rejects a citywide vote on deal

Anti-casino forces say they are girding for a final battle at the polls Nov. 5 after the City Council moved yesterday to hold an East Boston-only vote on the host agreement filed by the Suffolk Downs gambling group.

Voters will be deciding whether to approve or reject the host community agreement struck between Suffolk Downs and Mayor Thomas M. Menino, which would pay the city as much as $52 million a year in casino cash. . . . more

Staples tries get itself back on track

Staples, once a darling of the retail world, needs to get back on track soon. Though the company still sells more than $20 billion of office supplies each year and remains comfortably profitable, it faces unprecedented challenges from competitors and changing technology.

Intensifying online competition is putting pressure on sales and profit margins. Meanwhile, demand for many key products like paper, ink, and toner is waning, further squeezing profits at the company that invented the office supply superstore. Even, the second largest e-commerce site in the world, is feeling the heat.. . . more

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Is the end near for J.C. Penney?

J.C. Penney's stock hit a 13-year low Wednesday as investors grow increasingly concerned about the future of the iconic American retailer.

Shares plunged more than 15% at one point and briefly dipped below $10 a share -- a level they have not been at since November 2000.. . . more

Retailers Cut Back on Store Opening Plans

Spooked by lackluster forecasts for holiday sales growth, U.S. retailers cut one- and two-year store opening plans in August, according to the National Retailer Demand Monthly report produced by RBC Capital Markets. The change involved less than 300 planned stores on a national basis.

RBC analysts Rich Moore, Wes Golladay, Michael Carroll and Mike Salinsky report that as of last month, the retailers in their database reported plans to open a total of 42,943 new stores within the next year, and 83,078 new stores within the next two years. . . . more

Has Sears Holdings Reached The Tipping Point?

Since 2005, when Edward Lampert combined K-Mart and Sears, Roebuck and Co. into Sears Holdings Corporation, observers have predicted that he would turn this holding company into a diversified investment vehicle like Berkshire Hathaway

Now many investors and former investors are frustrated and fatigued with what appears - on the surface at least - as Lampert's insistence on attempting to run his retail empire into the ground; refusing to reinvest in the business, but also refusing to dramatically reduce the size of the money losing behemoth... . . more

Leominster approves casino project

The Cordish Companies won approval with Leominster voters, Tuesday, for a proposed $200 million slots-only casino project in the Central Massachusetts town.

The Massachusetts Live! Casino project is located on Jungle Road off I-190 and Route 117. It would include 1,250 slot machines and electronic table games, restaurants and a live entertainment venue.. . . more

Two Hanover restaurants to close

The last two Massachusetts locations in the restaurant empire built by Boston’s Charlie Sarkis will close in December.

Ann Marie Escobar, a senior vice president at Sarkis Restaurant Group – formerly Back Bay Restaurant Group – confirmed that Joe’s American Bar and Grill and Papa Razzi in Hanover will close when the company’s lease on the property expires Dec. 6.. . . more

Holiday hiring set to slip

This holiday season may not be as cheerful for seasonal employment.

Retailers are expected to hire fewer temporary workers from October through December after hitting a 12-year high of 751,800 holiday employees nationally in 2012, according to Chicago outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.. . . more