Friday, May 30, 2014

Census Bureau: Online shopping and mail-order businesses jump 27%

Online shopping is showing rapid growth compared to the rest of the retail trade sector, with the number of establishments growing 27.4% between 2011 and 2012, according to new U.S. Census Bureau statistics released today. Drawn from County Business Patterns: 2012, the new data provides the only detailed annual information on the number of establishments, employees and payroll for nearly 1,200 industries at the national, state and county levels.

The number of electronic shopping and mail-order houses establishments grew from 23,697 to 30,185 between 2011 and 2012.. . . more

Express to close some stores after poor quarter

Express will close about 50 of its more than 600 stores as part of an effort to rebound from a poor first-quarter earnings report.

In an attempt to reduce costs, Express will close the roughly 50 stores over the next three years, most of them as leases end. The store closings are expected to save $5 million to $8 million. Locations were not identified.. . . more

Signet completes acquisition of Zale Corp., creating jewelry Goliath in malls

It’s official: Signet Jewelers Ltd. has completed its acquisition of Zale Corporation for $21 per share in cash and a total consideration of $1.46 billion. Zale shareholders approved the acquisition by its longtime rival on May 29.

With the deal completed, Signet now operates over 3,600 locations under the retail banners of Kay, Jared, and Zales in the United States; H.Samuel and Ernest Jones in the United Kingdom; and People's in Canada. Signet also now operates kiosks in the United States under the Piercing Pagoda banner.. . . more

Acton’s Willow Books and Cafe listed for sale

0529 willow booksWillow Books and Cafe in Acton is on the market. Established in 1996, the 10,000-square-foot store is located at 279 Great Road.

 The sale does not include the real estate. Willow Books and CafĂ© is represented by Ridge Hill Partners of Needham who has brokered other Greater Boston independent book stores, including Harvard Book Store, Porter Square Books, Wellesley Booksmith and New England Mobile Book Fair.. . . more

Gap filled in downtown

Gap Inc. is seeking workers for a new Gap Outlet that will open in Downtown Crossing — the latest evidence of a looming revival for the Boston shopping district.

The Gap is in talks to open the outlet on Washington Street, across from the Millennium Tower site, in the space previously occupied by the F.Y.E music and video store.. . . more

Consumer Spending in U.S. Unexpectedly Declines

Consumer spending unexpectedly fell in April after the biggest surge in almost five years as incomes slowed, a sign the largest part of the U.S. economy will take time to accelerate.

Household purchases, which account for about 70 percent of the economy, dropped 0.1 percent, the first decrease in a year, after a revised 1 percent gain the prior month that was the strongest reading since August 2009, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington.. . . more

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Buying Vs. Building -- What's Driving Retail M&A?

Photo credit: WikipediaAnyone paying attention to the retail industry lately has been seeing the constant stream of merger and acquisition news, and it’s only expected to increase. In fact, nearly all retail CFOs (96 percent) expect M&A activity to accelerate or remain the same in 2014 compared to 2013’s very strong year for deals, according to a recent BDO USA, LLP survey.

Some of the deals we’re seeing are the typical combination of two retailers in similar markets such as Signet’s acquisition of Zale Corporation, Men’s Wearhouse’s acquisition of Jos. A. Bank and Office Depot’s merger with Office Max, to name a few.. . . more

L.L. Bean scheduled to open its first-ever store in Vermont

Outdoor retailer L.L.Bean, best known for its iconic Maine-made Bean Boot and 100% satisfaction guarantee is set to expand its retail operation with the opening of its Burlington, Vermont store. The new L.L.Bean store will be located in the popular Burlington Town Center. The 18,290 square-foot store will employ approximately 100 people and will feature two levels showcasing an assortment of active and casual apparel and footwear, outdoor gear including hiking, fly-fishing, kayaking, and camping products. This will be L.L.Bean’s 20th retail store outside of Maine and its first store in Vermont.. . . more

Galaxy Development acquires former Grossman's Bargain Outlet property in Framingham

Rendering of new retail building - Framingham, MAGalaxy Development has acquired the former Grossman's Bargain Outlet property at the intersection of Blandin and Beaver Sts.

The project has been fully permitted for a new 20,000 s/f two tenant retail building. A lease has been executed with Dollar Tree for half of the space. Dollar Tree was represented by John Wise and John Phelan of SRA represented Galaxy.. . . more

Is Sears Real Estate Really Losing its Value?

Former Sears Holdings’ exec Steven Dennis caused a stir earlier this month when he suggested in his blog that every day Sears chooses not to liquidate the company loses a bit of value on its real estate, arguably one of its most prized assets. Yet retail real estate insiders claim this may be a chicken-and-egg issue, given that Sears’ stores at bottom-tier malls may not be worth much to begin with. In the meantime, Sears’ holdings at the nation’s top retail centers will continue to attract investor interest and holding a liquidation sale may inspire potential buyers to under-bid.. . . more

Target aims to test same-day shipping in Boston

Target Corp. has announced plans to test same-day delivery in three markets: Minneapolis, Boston and Miami.

The rush delivery service will allow consumers to order products as late as 1:30 p.m. and receive those orders between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. The delivery charge will be $10 and the trial is expected to start in June,

Target executives told analysts last week in a call to discuss financial results.. . . more

DDR launches effort to recapture anchor stores

Shopping center operator DDR Corp. is commencing a multi-year proactive lease termination initiative aimed at recapturing high-quality anchor store locations across its portfolio. Through this initiative, DDR is collaborating with retailers in the books, electronics, toys, office and traditional department store categories to right-size their real estate footprints by regaining control of locations in advance of natural lease expiration.

DDR seeks to remerchandise its prime assets with market-share-winning tenants while realizing mark-to-market rental upside of 30-40%.. . . more

Vacant property in Bay Village to be demolished

0529 JAESNearly a decade after Jae’s restaurant in Boston’s Bay Village neighborhood closed, the former eatery's long-vacant home is about to come down.

The Bay Village Neighborhood Association said the 10,000-square-foot brick building at 212 Stuart St. will be demolished, beginning today.

The development ends a years-long saga that began in 2006 when the Boston Redevelopment Authority approved an eight-story building with 18 condominiums and 33,500 square feet of ground-floor retail space for the site.. . . more

Proposal to lift liquor license caps could be divisive for the restaurant industry

Gov. Deval Patrick’s plan to lift the state’s strict controls on liquor licenses is shaping up to be a potentially divisive issue for the restaurant industry.

On one side, you have the entrepreneurs who would welcome an easier path toward opening their own restaurants.

On the other side, you’ve got experienced operators whose liquor licenses often represent their biggest investment.. . . more

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

DSW reports declining sales and store traffic

DSW, the popular discount shoe retailer that allows customers to browse through thousands of shoes warehouse style, is having anything but a Cinderella moment.

The footwear and accessories retailer dropped a bomb on investors on Wednesday, revealing shrinking sales and a diminished outlook for the rest of the year. DSW blamed the bad news on severe weather, tumbling women's shoe sales and slower store traffic.. . . more

Chipotle Goes Beyond Burritos: Adds Asian, Pizza Outlets

Chipotle Mexican Grill has ambitions beyond burritos.

This summer, the company is growing two new fast-food chains for Chipotle loyalists hungry for more variety. ShopHouse serves Southeast Asian-style rice bowls and Pizzeria Locale serves gourmet pizza. Like the 1,600 eateries in the Chipotle chain, the newcomers offer counter service that enables diners to customize meals made from fresh, local, mostly organic ingredients and naturally raised meats.

ShopHouse, which is wholly owned by Chipotle, quietly launched a single test restaurant in Washington, D.C., in 2011. By the end of this year, it will have 10-12 outlets in D.C. and Los Angeles. Shop house is the Asian name for buildings where families live upstairs and operate restaurants or markets on the ground floor.. . . more

Wet Seal swings to a loss in Q1

Fashion retailer Wet Seal Inc. swung to a loss in its  first quarter amid declining sales. The company reported a loss of $21.8 million, compared with a year-earlier profit of $3.1 million.

Sales fell 17% to $116.7 million. Total same-store sales, including e-commerce, fell 16.9%.. . . more

Target to offer e-books through partnership

Target wants to help host your book club — online.

As the retailer works to build a more competitive e-commerce experience, it's partnering with a startup e-book subscription service called Librify to give customers an online platform for buying, sharing, and discussing their favorite books.

The official launch is still several months off.. . . more