Monday, June 30, 2014

Sales flat, average transaction value up on Father’s Day

Despite an 8.1% year-over-year drop in traffic and decline of one full conversion point, sales on Father’s Day (June 16) remained essentially flat. According to data from in-store analytics provider RetailNext, a 15.4% increase in average transaction value (ATV) helped sales grow 0.1%.

For the week leading up to Father’s Day, sales declined every day compared to the equivalent day a year earlier. Daily decreases ranged from a high of 10.3% on June 13 to a low of 4% on June 9.

 Source: CSA

Blank Label opens Boston store; plans six new locations

logoSpecialty men’s apparel retailer Blank Label opens its second store in the Downtown Crossing neighborhood of Boston on June 30. According to CNBC, Blank Label, which opened as an online-only retailer in 2009 and opened its first store in Boston in 2013, plans to open six more new physical stores on the East Coast by 2016.

Blank Label provides custom-made menswear and utilizes physical stores as showrooms, with no inventory.. . . more

Bebe to close 2b stores and website

Bebe Stores Inc. will exit its 2b business by July 5, which is the end of the company’s fiscal 2014. The retailer says this will allow it to increase its focus on the core Bebe brand’s retail and outlet stores, e-commerce and international licensing business.

The 16 2b mall-based stores, including e-commerce business are expected to generate pre-tax losses of approximately $5 million-$6 million in fiscal 2014, excluding impairment charges. . . . more

Chicago developer chosen by Somerville for $1 billion Union Square development

0627 SomervilleThe Somerville Redevelopment Authority selected Magellan Development Group for the $1 billion redevelopment of Union Square.

Last year, Somerville issued an RFP seeking a master developer to facilitate 2.3 million square feet of new development along seven blocks in Union Square. After more than 20 developers expressed interest, 10 firms applied to become the master developer. The list was narrowed to four.. . . more

Mega nightclub eyeing Downtown Crossing

0627 Latitude360 AlbanyA Florida-based nightclub operator has its eye on a 63,000-square-foot space at the Lafayette City Center in Boston’s Downtown Crossing.

Latitude 360, a combination restaurant and entertainment venue with bowling lanes, bar, dance floor, HD sports theater, a dine-in movie theater, high-tech game room and live music, has signed a letter of intent with the Abbey Group, owner of the 615,000-square-foot office and retail building at Washington Street and Avenue De Lafayette, the Boston Business has learned.. . . more

The country's two largest froyo chains are expanding in the Boston area

storefront mansfield[1]There’s not yet a yogurt shop on every corner in Greater Boston. But it’s sure starting to seem like there is.

The fight over frozen desserts is heating up here as the country’s two biggest frozen yogurt chains — Menchie’s and Yogurtland — enter and expand in the market. The third and fourth biggest chains — Pinkberry and Orange Leaf — arrived here a few years ago amid major expansion pushes. Now, it’s their two bigger rivals’ turn.. . . more

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Big moves continue at Big Lots

David Campisi joined Big Lots a little more than a year ago as president and CEO and with sales and profits gathering momentum the nation’s leading off-price retailer has decided to begin paying a hefty dividend.

The operator of roughly 1,500 stores nationwide said it would begin paying a quarterly dividend of 17 cents a share as part of a more balanced approach to returning cash to shareholders and as a reflection of confidence in the company’s strategy and favorable long-term prospects.. . . more

Transforming Tired into Inspired Retail

As place-making has become an increasingly important element in creating value in today’s retail environment, are older shopping centers really able to compete? The answer is absolutely, as outdated shopping centers from coast to coast have been reborn through updated graphics, lighting, signage, landscaping improvements, and minor architectural updates. Such improvements have not only increased consumer traffic, but helped to sway shoppers to stay longer and spend more.. . . more

Consumer Spending in May Was Disappointingly Weak

U.S. consumers boosted their spending only modestly in May, a disappointment to economists who said the weaker-than-expected gain will likely mean a lesser economic rebound in the April-June quarter than many had envisioned.

Spending rose just 0.2 percent last month after no gain in April, the Commerce Department said Thursday. The two months followed a robust spending surge of 0.8 percent in March.. . . more

Michaels IPO may offer frame of reference for other retailers

Michaels' initial public offering of stock is scheduled for Friday, when it plans to raise $500 million issuing 27.8 million shares at a price range of $17 to $19 a share.

Not many retail chains have gone public in recent months, so Michaels’ experience Friday will be closely scrutinized. The Container Store’s stock price is off its initial highs since the Coppell-based retailer went public in November.. . . more

Price Chopper cuts 80 jobs at corporate headquarters

Price Chopper has laid off 80 employees at its corporate headquarters, the chain announced Wednesday.

"Today is a very challenging day for all of us, as the current business climate has led us to eliminate approximately 80 positions in the company — some through attrition and some with incumbents," said Price Chopper CEO Jerry Golub in a statement. Golub cited a number of causes for the decision, including increased competition, rising costs and a reduction in federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program aid to low-income people that has reduced revenues.. . . more

Gambling foes court donors

Gaming foes biding their time until the state’s high court cleared a casino repeal ballot question are now being courted to put their money where their mouths are as potentially millions of dollars in advertising money could flow onto Bay State airwaves ahead of a November vote.

“There were people who said, ‘When you’re able to get on the ballot, we’ll step up and help fund your campaign,’” said Darek Barcikowski, campaign manager for the group Repeal the Casino Deal, after the Supreme Judicial Court sided with them Tuesday, giving voters a say on whether to keep the state’s 3-year-old expanded gaming law.. . . more

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Now That Barnes & Noble Ditched the Nook, Will It Sell Itself?

The Nook e-reader was once seen as Barnes & Noble’s savior. Now it’s a castoff.

The book retailer said on Wednesday it would spin off the digital unit into a separate company after a prolonged sales decline during which Apple and Amazon demolished the company’s digital efforts. The move had long been expected, but investors cheered anyway, with Barnes & Noble shares surging 14 percent.. . . more

FAA could restrict commercial use of drones

13 reasons to be glad the FAA won't allow delivery by droneAmazon's plans may be hampered by a recent FAA memo banning drone delivery, but you might not want to receive these embarrassing deliveries from the sky, anyway.Related: Amazon's delivery drones - an idea that may not fly Photo: AmazonCompanies that hope to deliver goods by drone - like Amazon - may be in trouble after a Federal Aviation Administration memo said such devices can't be used to conduct business.

Model aircraft are restricted from flying over populated areas, flying above 400 feet, or flying within 5 miles of airports. A model aircraft weighs 55 pounds or less and, according to the FAA, is flown for hobby or recreational purposes. It must be visible to its operator during flight. The FAA reviewed those restrictions and sought comment.. . . more

Is Market Basket fight over? Don't count on it, analysts say

Market Basket employees and others who've been loyal to now-ousted President and CEO Arthur T. Demoulas have had nearly a year to ponder what the grocery chain would be like without their popular leader.

Demoulas was fired Monday by the chain's board of directors, but exactly what it means for the Tewksbury-based grocer isn't easy to pin down, analysts said Tuesday. Even though directors battled with Demoulas, what the company was doing was working, with happy employees, profitable stores and a growing number of locations and sales.. . . more