Thursday, October 31, 2013

If Sears Went Away Would Anyone Care?

News from Sears Holdings on Tuesday that it was considering spinning off Lands' End and possibly selling its Sears Auto Centers suggests that CEO and hedge fund manager Eddie Lampert has more interest in taking the company apart than resurrecting it. If that is indeed the case, would consumers even care?

From the decline in mall shopping to the ramp-up in e-commerce and social media influence, there are profound shifts in the way that consumers, particularly the younger generation, use retail concepts and where they buy certain items. Sears, J.C. Penney and other big box retailers have been under attack.. . . more

Rite Aid Reports Same Store Sales for October

For the four weeks ended Oct. 26, 2013, Rite Aid same store sales increased 2.1 percent over the prior-year period. October front-end same store sales decreased 0.6 percent. Pharmacy same store sales, which included an approximate 85 basis points negative impact from new generic introductions, increased 3.4 percent. Prescription count at comparable stores increased 1.1 percent over the prior-year period.

Total drugstore sales for the four-week period increased 2.2 percent to $1.961 billion compared to $1.918 billion for the same period last year. Prescription sales accounted for 69.1 percent of drugstore sales, and third party prescription sales represented 97.0 percent of pharmacy sales.. . . more

Ron Johnson Speaks, Calls Reports On His J.C. Penney Tenure 'Largely Inaccurate And Surprisingly Uninformed'

JCPenneyHe’s retail’s persona non grata — but does he deserve to be?

After being in the news for 17 months straight on an almost daily basis, Ron Johnson, the much-maligned ex-CEO of J.C. Penney, hasn’t been heard from since his unceremonious ouster in April, until now — sort of.. . . more

Deloitte Forecasts Moderating Growth in 2014 Real Estate Market

Protracted economic growth, combined with uncertainty regarding pending regulations and fiscal policy issues, will likely moderate the pace of recovery in the commercial real estate industry in the near future, according to a report on the 2014 industry outlook from consulting firm Deloitte.

The anticipated moderation in 2014 would follow a year in which asset prices, transactions and capital availability all saw a continued recovery. So far in 2013, asset prices have moved close to their 2007 peaks in major metropolitan markets and transaction activity has improved in secondary markets, the Deloitte report state.. . . more

Starbucks Q4 profit up 34%; 1,500 net new stores on tap

Starbucks Coffee Company on Wednesday reported a better-then-expected 34% rise in its fiscal fourth-quarter. Global same-store sales increased 7%, driven by a 5% increase in traffic. Same-store sales were up 8% in the United States and the Americas and 8% in China/Asia Pacific region.

 Looking ahead, the company said it expects 1,500 net new stores in fiscal 2014, including some 600 in the Americas.. . . more

Suffolk Downs casino clears background check

State gaming regulators on Wednesday said that Suffolk Downs has passed a state background investigation for a casino, but added that the race track was "too trusting" of its former partner in the project.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted unanimously to find Suffolk was "suitable" to hold a casino license with certain conditions. The decision came about 10 days after the race track's former partner, Caesars Entertainment of Las Vegas, withdrew from the casino plan at Suffolk Downs, after it was flagged by investigators for the commission.. . . more

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Apple Retail Stores Post $4.5 Billion in Revenue in Q4 2013, 30 New Stores Coming in Fiscal 2014

During its financial results conference call for the third calendar and fourth fiscal quarter of 2013, Apple shared new numbers about its retail stores, announcing a total of $4.5 billion in revenue which is up 6% from the year-ago quarter. According to Apple, iPhone sales are up 36% per store per week, and the company opened 8 new stores in the quarter, bringing the total number of Apple Retail Stores to 416 total, with 162 located outside of the United States. 

Average revenue per store was at $10.9 million, down from $11.2 million last year. Apple saw 99 million visitors to an average of 411 Apple stores during the September quarter, equating to approximately 18,500 visitors per store per week. . . . more

Has US retail sales growth peaked?

retailsales icsc 102913The most recent retail sales report continues to show that, despite a short-lived burst in activity, retail sales peaked in 2011 and has been slowing since.  This is not uncommon given the length of the current economic recovery. 

With the new revelation that as many as 14 million healthcare plans will be cancelled; the number of individuals having to pay more for healthcare is increasing. What does this have to do with retail sales?  Just about everything.   . . . more

Men’s Wearhouse restates Jos A Bank bid opposition

US apparel retailer Men’s Wearhouse has reiterated its opposition to the US$2.3bn takeover bid tabled by Jos A Bank, issuing a 46-page investor presentation to set out its future strategy.

The company said the unsolicited bid from its smaller rival, valued at $48 per share, was “non-binding and highly conditional”, adding that it “fails to compensate Men’s Wearhouse for its strong prospects for growth and value creation, and is not in the best interest of Men’s Wearhouse shareholders”.. . . more

Container Store boosts IPO price range to $17-$18

Container Store Group Inc. has increased the expected price range for its initial public offering of 12.5 million shares, now projecting the shares to price between $17 and $18 a piece.

The retailer, which sells storage and organization products from hangers to hampers, expects to raise up to $258.8 million in its offering.. . . more

Americans pessimistic on economy

Looking ahead, there is a sense of pessimism on the economy in the next few months among U.S. consumers. In September 2013, Harris Poll results showed that almost half of U.S. adults (46%) said, in the coming year, that they expect the economy to stay the same, while less than one-quarter (22%) expected it to improve and one-third (32%) expected it to get worse.

In October 2013, new Harris Poll results of 2,638 U.S. adults indicate that while 22% still believe the economy will improve in the upcoming year, now four in 10 Americans (41%) believe the economy will get worse and 37% say it will stay the same.. . . more

Last four days before Christmas to be among 10 busiest

Four of the 10 busiest holiday shopping days will occur between Dec. 20 and Dec. 24, and retailers should prepare accordingly, according to ShopperTrak, a leading provider of shopper analytics. Additionally, with a shortened shopping season and only four weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas – down from five last year – retailers must be ready to capture holiday spending during a narrower window of time.

ShopperTrak expects consumers will make slightly fewer store visits in November and December this year (1.4% fewer than in 2012), but this trend will not translate into a decline in spending. The company predicts national retail sales this season will rise 2.4%, compared to the same holiday months last year.. . . more

Boston Properties seeks millions in tax relief for 'blighted' TD Garden site

Boston Properties seeks millions in tax relief for 'blighted' TD Garden siteThe Boston Redevelopment Authority is considering millions in tax concessions for the developers of the $1 billion mixed-use project slated to be built on a parking lot in front of the TD Garden.

Boston Properties and Delaware North Cos. have filed an application for a Chapter 121A agreement, a vestige of urban renewal from the 1950s that allows developers to pay reduced taxes in exchange for building on what is dubbed a blighted area. The state law defines blight as a place that is “detrimental to the safety, health, morals, welfare or sound growth of a community because it is unduly costly to develop...”. . . more

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Developer drills one in Fenway

The Boston-based Abbey Group broke ground on the $200 million Viridian mixed-use project on Boylston Street yesterday, just blocks from Fenway Park, with a projected completion date of spring 2015.

The $200 million project will 342 apartments, a community center, 10,000 square feet of retail space, 295 underground parking spaces, on-site bike spaces, 2,700 square feet of street level community space, along with a new coffee shop and sidewalk seating. . . . more

Retail sales get an iPhone kick, but overall demand weak

A gauge of U.S. consumer spending rose in September as Americans likely snapped up Apple's new iPhone and bought leisure goods, but falling sales of automobiles pointed to sluggish economic growth during the third quarter.
The Commerce Department said on Tuesday retail sales excluding automobiles, gasoline and building materials, increased 0.5 percent last month after a 0.2 percent gain in August. The so-called core sales correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product. Core sales last month were boosted by a 0.7 percent advance in receipts at electronics and appliance stores.. . . more

Health care tenants a perfect fit for some centers

Health care operators provide a rich pool of potential tenants for shopping centers. But only properties that offer visibility, traffic access and branding opportunities will reap the rewards of the impending expansion of the U.S. health care industry, which is being driven by the Affordable Care Act, hospital decentralization and improved technology, said participants in an SCTLive web seminar on Thursday titled “Health Care Tenants Heal Troubled Centers.”

“Health care systems are looking for access to new patient bases, and they want to locate in the areas where people gather,” said Bob Gilbert, president of Columbia, Md.–based MedStar Ambulatory Services. Gilbert emphasized that firms such as his are not necessarily seeking to open shop in areas populated heavily with baby boomers and older consumers, but rather to locate to where they can draw new, well-insured younger customers.. . . more