Friday, October 31, 2014

RadioShack lender seeks deal that could allow more store closings

RadioShack earnings A key RadioShack lender is attempting to amass a bigger piece of the electronic retailer’s debt in exchange for agreeing to back the company’s store-closing plan, according to two people with knowledge of the discussions.

Salus Capital Partners is seeking to buy as much as $465 million of the $585 million of loans arranged for affiliates of RadioShack’s largest shareholder, Standard General, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private. Those loans were bought from General Electric’s finance arm earlier this month in a deal that helped the retailer stave off bankruptcy.. . . more

With $12 million land sale, a hardball dispute in Dorchester appears to end

10 28 14 WEB kanman 08A hardball fight between the owners of an Asian market in Dorchester and the owners of a neighboring shopping center came to its likely end this week with a $12 million property sale and other, non-public payments.

For years, a parcel next to the South Bay Center off of Massachusetts Avenue was home to Asian grocery stores. First it was the Super 88 Market. When that operator ran into financial troubles several years ago, the Kam Man market stepped in and took over. The store remained a place to buy goods like Korean pancake mix or Blooming Jasmine Rice — food that can be hard to find at major chain supermarkets.. . . more

Wal-Mart Ups Ante on Holiday Shopping

In this Dec. 4, 2013 photo, April Taylor of Upper Marlboro, Md., right, buys items with her son Jarhon Taylor, left, on the opening day of a new Wal-Mart in Washington. For the first time, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is offering free shipping on what it considers the season's top 100 hottest gifts, from board games to items related to Disney's hit film "Frozen" items, starting Saturday. The move comes as rival Target Corp. began offering free shipping on all items, a program that started late October and will last through Dec. 20.

Wal-Mart is also planning to offer discounts, or what it refers to as "rollbacks," on more than 20,000 items on a broad range of products, from groceries to TVs, starting Saturday.. . . more

New GNC CEO Archbold scraps ad campaign, cuts production

In his first quarterly earnings call as the CEO of GNC Holdings Inc., Mike Archbold sought to make a clean break with the downtown-based nutritional supplements retailer's recently slumping past.

While the company reported another down quarter, Archbold announced the retailer has canceled an unsuccessful advertising campaign and has reduced production at its manufacturing plant as he continues a strategic review of company's operations and culture.. . . more

Rite Aid same-store sales grow 5.5% in Oct.

Same-store sales increased 5.5% in Oct. 2014 at Rite Aid Corp. compared to the same month in the prior year. Total drugstore sales rose 5% to $2.06 billion compared to $1.96 billion.
October front-end same store-sales increased 2%. Pharmacy same-store sales, which included a negative impact from new generic introductions, increased 7.1%.

Source: Chain Store Age

Online grocery sales to near $100 billion by 2019

Online grocery shopping sales will grow roughly fourfold from about $23 billion in 2014 (accounting for 3.5% of total online and offline grocery spending) to approach $100 billion by 2019 (capturing 12% of total grocery spending). Market research publisher Packaged Facts forecasts that online grocery service providers will develop models that solve logistics problems while being profitable for the operators. 
As this happens, online services will become more widely available throughout the country and consumers will become more confident in shopping for food and beverages online.. . . more

UPS expects six days busier than peak of 2013 holiday season

United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) is reportedly forecasting that six days in the upcoming holiday season will be busier for shipping packages than its busiest day in the 2013 holiday season. According to Bloomberg, UPS predicts it will deliver 585 million packages in December, an 11% year-over-year increase.
UPS expects Monday, Dec. 22 to be its peak shipment day, with more than 34 million packages delivered. The company set its current one-day delivery record of 31 million packages in December 2013. UPS is making preparation including hiring 95,000 temporary workers, compared to 55,000 in 2013, and establishing 15 “mobile delivery villages” with temporary buildings that can dispatch 60-90 vehicles.. . . more

Holiday spending to increase 1.9%

Holiday spending among U.S. consumers is expected to rise 1.9% in 2014 compared to the prior year. According to the 2014 Nielsen Holiday Retail Sales Forecast, which surveyed more than 25,000 demographically representative American households in September, 25% of respondents had already started holiday shopping in September.
Women seem to be leading the early shopping trend, as 27% of female survey respondents compared to 12% of males already started holiday shopping this year.. . . more

Starbucks swings to profit in Q4, plans 1,650 new stores

Starbucks Corp. topped off a generally successful fourth quarter of fiscal 2014 by swinging to net income of $587.9 million from net loss of $1.23 billion the fourth quarter of the prior fiscal year. The removal of a one-time arbitration charge of $2.8 billion helped bring Starbucks into the black.
Consolidated net revenues were $4.2 billion, an increase of 10% from $3.8 billion, driven primarily by 5% growth in global same-store store sales and incremental revenues from 1,599 net new store openings in the past 12 months.
In 2015, Starbucks plans 1,650 net new store openings.. . . more

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Kohls Shakes Up Marketing With New Segmentation, Loyalty Tools

Kohl’s Corp. has been stumbling for the last few years, but says changes in its marketing mindset are already paying off. It’s got a brand-new way to segment customers, and is shifting to more personalized and targeted messages, with a renewed emphasis on loyalty. And it’s also vowing to shift its focus to the national brands that are the primary reasons shoppers come to Kohl’s — from Disney to Keurig to Juicy Couture — and away from private labels.

In a day-long presentation to investors — the first the chain has hosted in seven years — executives of the Menomonee Falls, Wisc.-based retailer laid out growth plans, promising a “a new Kohl’s.” But the company, which has seen sales fall in five of the last six quarters, also warned that its comparable stores would likely be lower again — down 1.4% — when it announces its third quarter results.. . . more

Wal-Mart Weighs Matching Online Prices

Wal-Mart is testing a program to match online prices. Above, a Wal-Mart employee makes price changes at a store.Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is testing a program to match online prices from rivals like Inc. this holiday season, a move that could make the discounter more competitive but cut into profits.

Wal-Mart executives are discussing whether to go ahead with the price-matching program that would expand its current one for local brick-and-mortar competitors, according to a company spokeswoman Deisha Barnett. Under consideration is how much Wal-Mart might lose if the program were to go nationwide, according to people familiar with the matter.. . . more

US economy chugging along at 3.5% growth

chart gdp 103014 v2 Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic activity, increased 3.5% between July and September over the same period last year, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. It exceeded analysts' expectations and offered more proof of an economy gaining momentum.

The GDP news comes on the heels of the Federal Reserve's announcement Wednesday to end its bond-buying stimulus program now that the economy is improving. Economists viewed the Fed's decision as a mostly positive sign that growth is picking up, even in the job market.. . . more

RadioShack offers Fix It Here at 31 Boston stores

RadioShack's Fix It Here same-day mobile repair service is now available in 31 stores in the Boston area. Fix It Here is available in more than 550 RadioShack stores in key markets across the nation, and RadioShack plans to rollout Fix It Here to 750 locations by the end of the year.  

Smartphone and tablet owners can have common issues such as cracked screens, broken buttons and damaged charging ports repaired. Fix It Here offers, in most cases, same-day repairs, typically in less than two hours, for the most popular smartphones and tablets on the market.. . . more

Nordstrom--online and in-store--top luxury retailer

Nordstrom came out on top in a ranking of luxury retailers by the Luxury Institute.
According to the group's 2014 Luxury Multichannel Engagement Index, Nordstrom had the highest incidence of customers spending online (26%) and in-store (45%). It also led in its share of total fashion spend (17%). . . more

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Route 1 widening in Seabrook dependent on purchase of private land

The state is negotiating the purchase of portions of 12 parcels of private land along Route 1 in order to begin the long awaited widening of the road.

The concept behind the project was to ease an increase in traffic congestion caused by the opening of Seabrook Commons, a 380,000 square-foot shopping center located just north of the Route 1-Route 107 intersection in an area that has four travel lanes. . . moreThe state is negotiating the purchase of portions of 12 parcels of private land along Route 1 in order to begin the long awaited widening of the road. . . .more

RadioShack names Treasury vet as revitalization officer

Harry J. Wilson, founder and CEO of The MAEVA Group, will serve as the chief revitalization officer of RadioShack, reporting to RadioShack CEO Joe Magnacca and the RadioShack board. The MAEVA Group, a specialist in corporate restructurings, will provide advisory services to RadioShack's board of directors and management as the company moves forward with its operational and financial turnaround efforts.

Prior to founding MAEVA, Mr. Wilson served as a senior advisor in the U.S. Department of the Treasury and was a senior member of the Auto Task Force, which was responsible for the Treasury's role in the restructuring of General Motors and Chrysler.. . . more

Retailers Forecast More Holiday Spending This Year

RT black friday shoppers lpl 131129 16x9 608 Retailers Forecast More Holiday Spending This YearMany retailers are planning for a merry Christmas. The National Retail Federation is forecasting a stronger gain for holiday spending than last year. The annual survey by the global consulting firm Deloitte is even more optimistic – forecasting a 9 percent rise in spending on gifts. A rise in consumer confidence and falling gasoline prices may lead to more spending at stores. Online shopping is also having a growing impact on the retail industry. Consumers who shop across store, mobile and online channels are expected to spend 66 percent more on gifts than those shopping stores only, says the survey. “Despite concerns about the security of personal information, shoppers also appear resilient to reported data breaches and desire to still shop with affected retailers,” says Alison Paul, vice chairman and retail sector leader of Deloitte.
. . . more

TBC predicts 1,400 Midas locations by 2018

TBC Corp. says its Midas International Corp. subsidiary is on pace to open 25 locations in 2014 and has had 13 consecutive months of same-store sales increases and 4.6% year-to-date sales growth.

TBC’s President and CEO Erik Olsen discussed the company’s commitment to growing Midas’ retail footprint. The brand, which has 1,300 locations in 50 states and nine Canadian provinces, is on pace to open 25 service centers during 2014. TBC says the growth is part of a plan to have 1,400 locations throughout North America by 2018.. . . more

Tesco’s Downfall Is a Warning to Data-Driven Retailers

20141029_2Tesco’s chairman has resigned in disgrace. The company’s market value has more than halved to an 11-year low as it acknowledged overstating profits by hundreds of millions of dollars.

 Britain’s biggest supermarket chain has not only seen its fortunes erode but its reputation for competitiveness, creativity and integrity collapse. Even before its accounting travails, a former chairman had sharply criticized former CEO Sir Terry Leahy, who had led Tesco to market dominance and worldwide admiration, for leaving a shambles of a legacy. Leahy’s immediate successor resigned in July; his successor from Unilever now confronts more of a turnaround than he had ever expected.

What the heck happened to Tesco?. . . more

Consumer confidence surges in October

Consumer confidence surged to a seven-year high in October despite the volatile stock market and global economic weakness, providing further support for U.S. growth.

A closely watched index of consumers' outlook rose to 94.5 from 89 in September, the Conference Board said Tuesday, beating economists' predictions.. . . more

Brixmor upgrades shopping center portfolio

Image descriptionBrixmor Property Group Inc. has provided an update on its ongoing program to maximize value in its shopping center portfolio. These initiatives involve upgrading its centers' merchandise mix with strong, best-in-class anchors to drive higher sales, traffic and small shop leasing, while elevating center appeal to improve rent levels and shopping center net operating income.

Since July 2011 and continuing through its initial public offering in late 2013 to today, Brixmor has intensified its focus on enhancing the quality of its assets and improving the customer experience through a unified organizational effort known as "Raising the Bar." . . . more

Gap Raises the Bar on Digital Revolution with New CEO Appointment

The appointments of new chief executives of major brands always cause a stir, but Gap Inc.’s recent announcement that Art Peck would succeed Glenn Murphy hit Wall Street like a truck. Why? Because the investment community wanted a more predictable, standing CEO—it likes stability. But the truth is, this is a positive and revolutionary change.

Peck has successfully run Gap’s digital presence, which is not only the most important ingredient for the position, but, in this case, the prerequisite for success. Peck represents a critical shift. He is the first digital-pedigreed CEO to lead a sizable, branded specialty retail business. Stop squirming and raise a glass, folks, the digital revolution has hit the corner office.. . . more

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Some of Your Favorite Retailers Will Take Aim at Apple Pay Next Year

PHOTO: A customer signs her name on a credit card machine while checking out at a BJs Wholesale Club Inc. store in Falls Church, Virginia, March 27, 2012. Some of the country's biggest retailers are testing a mobile wallet product that could compete with Apple Pay as soon as next year.

As Apple Pay was rolled out at more than 220,000 stores earlier this month, retailers such as Walmart, Best Buy and 7-Eleven were among those that were noticeably absent from Apple's list of big name partners.

The group is part of a joint venture called the Merchant Customer Exchange, which announced last month it is working on CurrentC, a mobile payments solution that is currently being tested and is expected to roll out to 110,000 stores in 2015.. . . more

Family Dollar shareholders to vote Dec. 11 on $8.5B merger with Dollar Tree

FAMILY DOLLAR EARNSFamily Dollar Stores Inc. shareholders will vote Dec. 11 on the discount retailer's planned $8.5 billion merger with Dollar Tree Inc., according to a Dollar Tree filing with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission.

Matthews, N.C.-based Family Dollar announced in late July that it would be acquired by Dollar Tree in a cash-and-stock transaction valued at $74.50 per share. That breaks down to $59.60 in cash and Dollar Tree stock valued at $14.90 per share.. . . more

Lowe's debuts customer service robots in store

Lowe’s is testing whether robots can improve its customer service, like helping a shopper find a match for something as simple as a nail.

The robots dubbed OSHbots look like white columns with two large black screens on either side of them, and wheels to help them move. They are equipped with 3D cameras so they can scan and identify items. And customers can research items they want to buy on their screen. Then the robot can lead them to the aisle where an item is located.. . . more

Kohl's warns on earnings, sees softer sales

A Kohl’s department store in Jersey City, N.J., is shown in this April 2, 2014 photo. Department store Kohl's warned investors on Tuesday that it expects its earnings this year to come in at the low end of its prior guidance.

The retailer forecast that comparable sales would drop 1.4 percent during the third quarter. Its sales this month have been softer than the rest of the quarter.. . . more

Discount-Hunting Shoppers Threaten Stores’ Holiday Cheer

TargetThough holiday spending is forecast to rise 4.1 percent this season, more of those dollars are shifting online and shoppers are demanding additional perks from brick-and-mortar chains. The trends -- years in the making -- have made it harder for retailers such as Target Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to shake off a sales slump.

Consumers frequently look for deep discounts before making a purchase, and they already know what they want ahead of time. That means they’re not as easily swayed by time-honored retailer tactics, such as luring customers with store displays and encouraging impulse buys. . . . more

DDR CEO Daniel Hurwitz to exit, company launches search for new chief

DDR Corp. DDR Corp. announced that CEO Daniel B. Hurwitz will be leaving the company next year, as he and the board agreed not to renew his employment agreement, which expires December 31, 2015.

According to DDR, Hurwitz is expected to remain CEO through 2015 to facilitate a smooth leadership transition.

Hurwitz was named CEO on January 1, 2010, after serving as the company’s president and COO for two years prior. He has worked for DDR in various senior executive capacities since June 1999.. . . more

Lowe’s to enter Manhattan with smaller-store format

 Lowe's announced that it will enter its first two stores in Manhattan. The home improvement giant has two locations slated to open in the second half of 2015, one at 2008 Broadway at West 68th Street, and a second at 635 6th Avenue at West 19th Street.

Both stores will be approximately 30,000 sq.ft. and offer products and services that are locally relevant to customers, including appliances in a variety of sizes, home organization and storage products to maximize space, and home decor and accessories. Most items will be in stock and many will be delivered from Lowe's New York area stores. . . . more

Monday, October 27, 2014

Wal-Mart global operations are a testing lab for Walmart U.S. stores

Wal-Mart Stores’ more than 11,000 retail locations across 27 countries provides the Walmart U.S. division a testing lab stretching across five continents, according to Walmart International CEO David Cheesewright.

Cheesewright said several ideas tested in U.S. stores now were first tried in the retailer’s international segment, something he expects will continue. He said the lessons from trying ideas not only include formats and services, but also merchandising and product development.. . . more

12 retail chains closing stores the fastest

AP SEARS CANADA F I FILE CANSears stores continue to be even more of an endangered species as the retailer closes more locations.

And Sears isn’t alone.

There are 12 retailers in the very broad Russell 3000 index, including Sears, apparel seller Christopher & Banks and toy builder Build-A-Bear Workshop that have fewer stores now than they had two years ago, according to a USA TODAY analysis of data from S&P Capital IQ.. . . more

Apple Pay Faces Challenge as CVS, Rite Aid Reject System

Apple Inc.’s mobile payment technology ran into a roadblock a week after its introduction as CVS Health Corp. and Rite Aid Corp., part of a consortium developing a competing system, disabled Apple Pay in their drugstores.

CVS and Rite Aid are among 220,000 U.S. merchants that already have technology in place to read the short-range wireless signals that enable customers of Apple Pay or similar services to make a purchase by waving their smartphones. The retailers weren’t among those specifically named as accepting Apple Pay when the iPhone maker revealed its system last month.. . . more

Publix could debut new small prototype store in Charlotte

Image result for publixPublix Super Markets Inc. may debut a smaller, urban prototype store in Charlotte, N.C.

The Lakeland-based grocer has been working on a 20,000-square-foot model for several months, as sister news organization the Orlando Business Journal first reported. 

Real estate sources in Jacksonville and Tampa say Publix is continuing to work on that model, possibly for a Charlotte location.. . . more

Cabela’s misses on Q3 results, to open 13-15 stores annually going forward

Cabela’s Inc. missed Wall Street estimates for earnings and revenue in the third quarter of fiscal 2014. Net income rose 8% to $53.8 million from $49.9 million, dampened by provisions for income taxes.

The retailer said it plans to open 13-15 stores per year for the next several years.

Total revenue grew 4% to $886 million from $850.8 million, while same-store sales declined 11.2%, impacted by sluggish firearms and ammunition sales. . . . more

Amazon Q3 loss widens to $437 million; sales up 20% to $20.58 billion

The red ink got worse at Amazon in its third quarter as the Internet giant reported a net loss of $437 million in the third quarter, worse than analysts expected, compared with a net loss of $41 million in the year-ago period.

Net sales increased 20% to $20.58 billion in the quarter ended Sept. 30, up from $17.09 billion in the year-ago quarter. . . . more