Thursday, April 30, 2015

GNC has weak Q1

GNC Holdings Inc. demonstrated some weakness during the first quarter of fiscal 2015 with shrinking profit and revenue. Net income dropped 9% to $63.27 million from $69.9 million a year earlier, driven by rising selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses.

Net revenue fell slightly to $670.25 million from $674.46 million. Same-store sales decreased 4.1% in domestic company-owned stores (including sales). In domestic franchise locations, same-store sales decreased 1.5%.. . . more

Rite Aid same-store sales rise 3% in April

Same-store sales increased 3% in April 2015, compared to the same month a year earlier. April front-end same-store sales, which were negatively impacted by 0.9% due to a shift in the timing of Easter, decreased 0.5%.

Pharmacy same-store sales, which included an approximate 1.45% negative impact from new generic introductions, increased 4.6%. Prescription count at comparable stores increased 1.8% from the prior-year period.. . . more

Private Equity Focuses on Leases

Eager to deploy their funds, private equity firms are investing in restaurants and retailers. The way they approach these deals is changing, however. PE firms are increasingly focused on lease obligations as they look to maximize their investments.

“When deciding whether to invest, private equity firms are beginning to place a heightened emphasis on the lease cost, lease term and remodel status of the assets they are acquiring, as opposed to more traditional factors such as location or operational success,” says Tom Mullaney, a principal with Huntley, Mullaney, Spargo & Sullivan Inc., a lease and debt restructuring firm whose clients include numerous private equity firms.. . . more

Developer readies major Boston projects

Boston Properties may be ready to pull the trigger on several area projects this year, including the first phase of its nearly $1 billion mixed-use site next to TD Garden and a residential development in Kendall Square.

Significant improvements that would add “high-value” retail amenities to 100 Federal St. in Boston and two possible Waltham office developments totaling more than 300,000 square feet also may come off the drawing boards this year, the company disclosed in an earnings call Tuesday.. . . more

Merchandising Has Replaced ‘Filling Space’

Image result for retail tenants coming soonNo longer desperate to fill vacant square footage, retail landlords nationwide are developing sophisticated merchandising strategies to craft the ideal tenant mix for their centers, Coreland Cos.’ president Chris Hite tells Hite spoke about some of those strategies and how they help landlords remain competitive in the retail sector.

"You have to be looking critically at all of your tenants, and in particular, actively reviewing tenant sales. Ideally, landlords should be receiving sales figures from their tenants, and if not, they should be putting that requirement to report back into their leases as they negotiate renewals. The improved economy has restored stability. We can now begin to analyze tenants from a content and operational perspective. We can ask ourselves: are they doing a good job of driving sales and traffi.. . . more

J.C. Penney expands in-store Sephora partnership

J.C. Penney Co. Inc. is expanding its in-store partnership with Sephora. Starting May 1, Penney will introduce Sephora to 25 additional stores, enabling the global beauty retailer to enter new and smaller markets, while expanding Penney’s reach as a destination for beauty.

Since the exclusive partnership launched in 2006, more than 500 Penney stores now feature a full-service Sephora offering.. . . more

Sluggish U.S. Quarter on Better Note

Image result for consumer spendingConsumer spending climbed in March, capping a lackluster first-quarter performance that was enough to keep the U.S. economy from shrinking.

Purchases rose 0.4 percent, the biggest increase since November, after a 0.2 percent February gain that was larger than previously estimated, Commerce Department figures showed Thursday in Washington. . . . more

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

As woes mount, Lumber Liquidators swings to 1st Q loss

Lumber Liquidators is down sharply Wednesday after the flooring retailer posted a first-quarter loss, lower-than-expected sales and said it is facing possible Justice Department charges in the aftermath of a 60 Minutes probe into the alleged toxicity of its Chinese laminates.

March same-store sales plunged nearly 18% following the 60 Minutes report, which said the Chinese laminate imports carried toxic levels of formaldehyde. The company posted a net loss of $7.8 million  vs. net income of $13.7 million in the year-ago quarter.. . . more

RadioShack agrees to mediation over sale of customer data

RadioShack has agreed to mediation with state attorneys general concerned about the electronic retailer's planned sale of customer data as part of its bankruptcy reorganization.

A RadioShack attorney told a Delaware bankruptcy judge Tuesday that the mediation, which will include a consumer privacy ombudsman, will start May 14. That's after a scheduled May 11 auction for intellectual property assets including the names and addresses of millions of RadioShack customers.. . . more

Container Store Q4 profit drops; will open nine new stores

Higher selling, general and administrative (SG&A expenses) helped drive down net income at The Container Store Inc. during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014, and the retailer expects open nine new stores and relocate one store during fiscal 2015. The Container Store reported net income of $13 million, down 29% from $18.3 million in the same quarter the prior year.

Net sales totaled $224.26 million, up 3% from $216.82 million. Same-store sales dropped 0.8%.. . . more

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Look! Abercrombie Finally Shifts Hiring Focus After Years of Lawsuits

Image result for abercrombie and fitch logoModels won't be the only ones working for minimum wage at Abercrombie and Fitch this summer. The clothing retailer has announced that it will no longer consider "body type or physical attractiveness" in hiring decisions -- it's even considering letting employees wear shirts to work.

Abercrombie's "hunks only" policy had caused the company plenty of legal troubles over the years, including lawsuits over claims of legal and religious discrimination, one of which is before the Supreme Court right now. The change in the brand's hiring policy comes just a few months after its longtime CEO Mike Jeffries stepped down, a sign, no doubt, of how quickly common sense can be regained after a change of leadership.. . . more

Losing a Grocer, Without the Nightmares

Image result for vacant supermarketThe grocery industry continues to evolve as it responds to the changes in consumers’ demographic profiles and needs. This is evidenced by many national grocery stores going through consolidations and reinventions in response to competition from the ethnic operators as well as niche grocery operators such as Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and value-oriented brands like Walmart. sat down with Donald MacLellan, senior managing partner with Faris Lee Investments, a retail property investment advisory firm that is advising owners of retail centers across the nation, about this trend.. . . more

HoneyBaked Ham Co Preps For Growth

The HoneyBaked Ham Company and Café, a premium food retailer with more than 400 locations nationwide, is announcing an aggressive franchise expansion program to develop 15 to 20 new locations in the year ahead, awarding additional franchises in target markets across the nation. The brand has 190 franchised locations.

HoneyBaked is the most recognized ham brand in the U.S. market, with nearly 60 years of consistently high ratings in terms of brand awareness and quality. Thecompany is looking to expand its national footprint through a franchising model blanketing much of the nation.. . . more

AutoZone Executives Talk Up Growth Prospects

AutoZone chairman, president and CEO Bill Rhodes doesn’t often participate in investor roadshows.

The meetings between a company’s executives and analysts who cover that company’s stock can serve up insights not always found during the more formal question-and-answer sessions that accompany earnings presentations.. . . more

Mother’s Day spending expected to surge; department stores are big winners

Whether it’s on jewelry or apparel, gift cards or brunch, families this year are expected to spend more for Mother’s Day than they have in the last decade or more.  And the largest portion of that spending will be at U.S. department stores.

According to the National Retail Federation’s Mother’s Day Spending Survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, Americans will spend an average of $172.63 on mom this year, up nearly $10 from $162.94 last year and the highest amount in the survey’s 12-year history. Total spending is expected to reach $21.2 billion.. . . more

Office Depot implores shareholders to support Staples' acquisition deal

Office Depot will urge its stockholders to support a merger with Staples by asking them to vote in favor of the $6.3 billion acquisition by Staples at an annual meeting. Industry insiders say the merger could help the pair solidify their positions in the office supplies market and fend off gains made by Amazon and Walmart in the category.

According to a proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday, shareholders are encouraged to vote in favor of the deal. The meeting will take place at the Renaissance Boca Raton Hotel on an as-yet-unnamed date.. . . more

Monday, April 27, 2015

Dunkin’ Brands raises revenue outlook for 2015

Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. raised its revenue outlook for the year Thursday, after reporting a strong first quarter, despite severe winter weather in core markets across the Northeast.

Revenue for the first quarter ended March 28 increased 8.1 percent, to $185.9 million, fueled by a 2.7-percent same-store sales increase at Dunkin’ Donuts in the U.S., as well as an 8-percent increase for domestic Baskin-Robbins locations.. . . more

As Retail Bankruptcies Rise, Landlords Must Prepare

Image result for bankrupt retailersCommercial landlords should take notice. Within the last several months, one women’s clothing retailer after another has gone out of business. On Dec. 4, 2014, Philadelphia-based Deb Shops filed Chapter 11. Next came Delia’s, based in New York, which filed bankruptcy only four days later. On Jan. 9, 2015, Body Central, based in Florida, a chain with 265 stores, announced that it was closing all of its stores by way of an assignment for the benefit of creditors, an alternative to federal bankruptcy. On Jan. 15, Wet Seal, a Southern California-based company, filed its own Chapter 11. Then on Feb. 4, Cachè, another New York-based chain filed Chapter 11. In addition to these, Jones New York and Kate Spade Saturday recently announced that their retail locations would be closing.. . . more

Amazon swings to Q1 loss on higher expenses; Web Services booms

Increases in expenses including fulfillment, marketing and technology helped swing to a net loss of $57 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2015 from net income of $108 million the same quarter a year earlier. Amazon met Wall Street expectations with the loss.

Amazon fared better with net sales, which increased 15% to $22.72 billion from $19.74 billion. In North America, net sales grew 24% to $13.41 billion from $10.08 billion.. . . more

Consumers are spending again — but they’ve gotten smarter about it

As retailers continue to see only modest sales growth even as gas prices have fallen, the conventional wisdom has been this: Consumers are still cautious in the wake of a bruising recession, and they’re just not ready to open their wallets yet.

But what if shoppers’ battlescars from the recession aren’t quite as bad as they’ve been made out to be?. . . more

Make way for the millennials, America's economic force of the future

Image result for millennialsThe roughly 74 million millennials will have a profound economic effect as more baby boomers retire. They’ll spend more money on new technology, they’ll start the next Google, and they’ll become the main breadwinners for their families.

But some of their distinct characteristics may delay their full impact. Millennials — also called Generation Y — tend to be highly educated but burdened by student loans. Many are unemployed or underemployed.. . . more