Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Things just got a lot worse over at McDonald’s

A McDonald's restaurant in Brooklyn, New York.McDonald's customer satisfaction ratings are getting worse, and it's dragging the rest of the fast food industry down with it, according the American Customer Satisfaction Index Restaurant Report 2015.

The world's largest fast food chain ranked last in consumer satisfaction with a score of 67 out of 100—a 6 percent decline from last year.. . . more

Ahold, Delhaize CEOs eye merger beyond synergies

Image result for ahold delhaize mergerThe CEOs of Ahold and Delhaize in an interview Monday stressed that their forthcoming merger would achieve more than just the considerable synergy savings they expressed to the investment community while announcing the agreement last week.

Asked by SN to elaborate on how the deal would help them become better retailers, Ahold’s mentioned aspects ranging from customer data to small-store operations to e-commerce.. . . more

When it comes to online shopping, we’re browsing more and buying less

The website for Reebonz Pte, an online retailer of discounted luxury goods, is displayed on an Apple Inc. iPad Mini in an arranged photograph in Hong Kong, China, on Friday, Aug. 1, 2014. Two technology companies backed by units of Singapore's state investment company Temasek Holdings Pte are considering U.S. initial public offerings, people with knowledge of the matter said. Photographer: Brent Lewin/BloombergIt’s only getting harder for retailers to close the deal with online shoppers.

A new report has found that customers are leaving retailers’ Web sites more frequently without buying anything and, when they do open their wallets, they are spending less on average per order.

The findings come as retailers have been pouring money into adapting their sites to appeal to customer’s fast-evolving digital preferences, and they may be a sign that, so far, retailers are struggling to get their online experiences to meet shoppers’ expectations.. . . more

Obama proposal would make 5 million more workers eligible for overtime

Image result for overtime retail workersThey're called managers, and they sometimes work grueling schedules at fast food chains and retail stores. But with no overtime eligibility, their pay may be lower per hour than many workers they supervise.

With those employees in mind, the Obama administration is proposing making up to 5 million more people eligible for overtime -- its latest effort to boost pay for lower-income workers. These workers would benefit from rules requiring businesses to pay eligible employees 1½ times their regular pay for any work beyond 40 hours a week.. . . more

Tractor Supply Co. sneaking up on urban areas

Earlier this year, the Tractor Supply corporate team increased its U.S. store target from 2,100 to 2,500, in part because management figured out it could put stores closer together than previously thought because in the northeastern quadrant of the U.S., people tend to live closer together than they do further west.

“What we found is that, over the years, we actually have a little bit more broader appeal than we had initially thought,” CFO Anthony F. Crudele told analysts at an investment conference last month.. . . more

The Ugly Truth: Retailers losing millions betting on merchants’ intuition

Image result for j crew sweater failure
The recent admission by Mickey Drexler to making “mistakes” while explaining the results of two J.Crew sweaters – one successful, one not – shined a bright light on the importance of each new product decision and the consequences of getting it wrong. In the grand scheme of things, one or two bad decisions do not always make or break a company. But when you string multiple bad decisions together, the stakes are much higher. Just ask the 175 people laid off after J.Crew’s earnings report, including its head of women’s design, Tom Mora, who was blamed for the company’s product misses.

In today’s digital age, where consumers are so closely connected and already sharing their thoughts and preferences on new products, why aren’t more companies actively leveraging consumer analytics to add science to the “art” of merchandising?. . . more

Warby Parker’s Retail Expansion Isn't Slowing Down Anytime Soon

Inside a recently opened Warby Parker store in New Orleans. Photo: Warby ParkerA little over two years ago, eyewear e-commerce pioneer Warby Parker opened its first retail store in SoHo with fairly low expectations. “Initially, we only had plans to open one, maybe two stores,” co-founder Dave Gilboa told Fashionista. “We were just blown away by the response that we received from customers.” That store still occasionally has a line out the door on weekends, and Warby Parker now has 12 retail locations across the country, with plans to open seven more before the end of this year. Next up is Kansas City, opening later this summer, followed by Scottsdale and San Diego, Gilboa's hometown, this fall.. . . more

Wegmans still committed to first urban store in Boston

The Boston Redevelopment Authority in 2013 approved a more than $500 million expansion and renovation of the historic Landmark Center in the Fenway. Developer Samuels & Associates is planning 550 apartments; 110,000 square feet of new retail; 15,000 square feet of new offices; 1,500 parking spaces in a below-ground garage and demolition of the existing freestanding garage, as well as an around 75,000-square-foot Wegmans supermarket.Samuels & Associates is planning to kick off construction of its $500 million renovation and expansion of the historic Landmark Center in the Fenway later this year — and a central piece to that renovation is bringing in the first Wegmans supermarket to Boston proper.

Wegmans will anchor the “food hall” on the ground level of the expansive historic building at 401 Park Drive. Patrons will eventually be able to walk through the ground floor from Park Drive to Brookline Avenue.. . . more

Monday, June 29, 2015

Shoplifting causes $44B loss for retailers

Shoplifting causes $44B loss for retailersWhat shrinks and gets bigger at the same time?

Retailer inventory and losses. Shrinkage — or loss due to shoplifting, employee or supplier fraud and administrative errors — cost US retailers an estimated $44 billion in 2014, a 19 percent increase from 2010’s $37 billion, a survey found.. . . more

Online grocery shoppers upping virtual purchases

Image result for grocery internet salesMore than half of online grocery shoppers say they are increasing the amount of total grocery shopping they do online, according to results of a new survey.

The survey, conducted by 72 Point Inc. and commissioned by online organic grocer Door to Door Organics, found that online shoppers increased virtual grocery shopping by an average of 29% over the last year and say that around 19% of their total weekly grocery shopping is done online.. . . more

New Sears store dedicated to 'connected' home solutions

Sears has opened a store in the heart of the Silicon Valley dedicated to smart technology products for the home.

The retailer’s new “Connected Solutions” flagship is a 4,000-sq.-ft. store featuring a living room, kitchen, nursery, workout room, garage and outdoor area where consumers can experience the benefits of smart technology firsthand.

Nationally, Sears is expanding its assortment of smart technology home products to hundreds of stores. According to the retailer, the connected home is one of the fastest-growing categories in consumer electronics. . . . more

Another brand is going brick-and-mortar

Put your dukes up: Everlast Worldwide is going to open physical stores.

Everlast Worldwide, a global leader in the design, manufacturing, licensing and marketing of authentic boxing equipment and apparel, will open its first-ever U.S. stores this summer. The company, whose roots date back to 1910, will open three locations in Florida, at Westfield Broward Mall in Plantation, Pembroke Lakes Mall in Pembroke Pines, according to Licensemag.com.. . . more

Bon-Ton sells six stores in leaseback agreement

The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. is selling six stores for $84 million to CPA: 17 – Global, a non-traded real estate investment trust (REIT) of global net lease REIT W.P. Carey Inc. Bon-Ton will lease the stores back.

Proceeds from the transaction will be used to pay one of two of the company’s mortgage loans due in April 2016. Each loan has about $105 million in principal and consists of 12 properties. Bon-Ton is actively pursuing refinancing options for the second loan.. . . more

Linear Retail plan back in front of Planning Board

Image result for burlington marketplace maAfter having their site plan amendment rejected 2-4-1 by the Planning Board in April, Linear Retail Burlington #1, LLC has come back before the board looking to get a second opinion on what essentially is the same plan but with added monitoring provisions.

As was the case in April, the site plan submitted by Linear Retail Burlington #1 LLC entailed numerous circulation, traffic, and aesthetic improvements for Burlington Marketplace, which is located across from “The District” (New England Executive Park) on Burlington Mall Road.. . . more

Gap, Old Navy stores to take over Toys R Us Times Square location

The Toys R Us store in New York’s Times Square will be divided to accommodate flagship locations for Gap and Old Navy. The stores, each about 31,000 square feet, will have separate entrances. Photo: Mary Altaffer, Associated PressGap Inc. will take over most of a massive store in New York’s Times Square that’s being vacated by Toys R Us in early 2017.

The store at 1514 Broadway will be divided up to accommodate flagship locations for both Gap and Old Navy store. The two stores each will be about 31,000 square feet, with separate entrances.. . . more

Friday, June 26, 2015

Southern New Hampshire Report Preview

While the 2015 KeyPoint Report for Southern New Hampshire, based on our proprietary GRIID™ retail database, is in production, we will again share some of the early results:

Inventory and Vacancy Rate: The retail inventory in Southern New Hampshire reached a level of 29.9 million square feet in 2015. This represents a modest gain of 44,113 square feet or 0.1%. Seabrook was again in the forefront of new development with the opening of Seabrook Crossing, a 145,000 square foot shopping center anchored by Hobby Lobby, only its second store in the state. This new center is located opposite last year’s showcase development in the region, the 380,000 square foot Seabrook Commons power center.. . . more

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Plainridge opening wins with full house

Plainridge Park Casino hit capacity on its first day in business yesterday, as more than 10,000 people turned out to kick off the casino gambling era in Massachusetts.

Hundreds of gamblers waited hours in the sun for the doors to open and a chance to hit the jackpot. Later in the day, Plainridge hit capacity, only letting in new gamblers as others­ left. A spokesman for Plainridge said more than 10,000 customers showed up.. . . more

Retail Assets Appeal to Foreign Investors

Foreign investment in U.S. properties is accelerating, and despite the complexities and challenges of owning retail real estate, international money is eyeing this sector. But these investors aren’t making the leap into retail real estate alone; most are partnering with U.S. firms to provide local insight.

“Foreign investors have been increasingly focused on purchasing investment properties in the U.S. of late,” says Bob Knakal, chairman, New York investment sales, capital markets for Cushman & Wakefield. “These foreign investors typically complete more due diligence on retail investments than on other types of properties, given the sharp differences between one location and another, even within close proximity.. . . more

US consumers ramp up May spending; largest gain since 2009

In this photo taken Tuesday, June 9, 2015, shopper Julian Fojon-Losada, of Georgia, checks a coconut at a local fruit store in the Little Havana area of Miami. The Commerce Department releases its May report on consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of economic activity, on Thursday, June 25, 2015. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)U.S. consumer spending surged in May with the biggest monthly increase in nearly six years — a sign of stronger economic growth ahead.

The Commerce Department said Thursday that consumer spending rose 0.9 percent last month, up from a revised 0.1 percent increase in April. May spending registered the biggest gain since August 2009, when the government's "Cash for Clunkers" program fueled auto-buying.. . . more

Moody’s is wild for Walmart Neighborhood Market

Walmart’s Neighborhood Markets format offers a compelling source of new sales growth for the nation’s largest retailer, according to a report by Moody’s.

Despite strategic shifts to compete more successfully with the company, traditional supermarkets will feel the pressure as Walmart moves to increase its already dominant share of the US grocery segment.. . . more

4 Specialty Retail Takeover Deals That Make Sense

Image result for gamestopThere are two ways to grow a business, increase sales and revenues from an internal or organic way, or use cash and company stock to make a purchase. With many top companies having access to low interest rate financing, having a big stash of cash and company stock that has been repurchased, more deals could be on the way, and soon.

In a new research note from SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, the specialty retail analysts take a look at some deals in their sector that could make sense. They took into account what they term “intangible assets” and accretion potential from a deal, and that came up with four scenarios that are not so far-fetched.. . . more

The Gap, Art Peck, and store closures

Retail consulting firm McMillanDoolittle has posted an interesting blog on Gap Inc.’s ongoing efforts to turnaround its troubled namesake brand. Here is the full posting:

Art Peck is having a busy week. Mr. Peck, the CEO of Gap (Inc.), just announced plans to shutter a quarter of Gap’s U.S. stores. Could this be the canary in the coalmine warning of yet another great American brand’s downfall, or rather is it the strategic repositioning of a brand that is responding to consumer shifts? I think several dynamics have long been at play forcing Gap to this place.. . . more

Is the Staples and Office Depot Merger Really at Risk?

Merger arbitrage and speculation often drive massive inflows and outflows of capital around merger rumors, and they can also have a high impact in actual pending mergers as well. Now there is an unusual development in the Staples Inc. acquisition of Office Depot Inc. — tied to Sysco Corp., a food sales and distribution company.

Does a blocked food sales and distribution network really matter to an office supplies retail merger? In this case, very much so.. . . more

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

How Shake Shack Leads The Better Burger Revolution

Image result for shake shackThe Shake Shack IPO was the highest-profile moment yet for what’s known as the "better burger" category: fast-casual restaurants that crank up the quality on the old hamburger-and-fries concept, targeting savvy diners who care more about how their food tastes and, crucially, where it comes from. Better-burger successes include Five Guys (over $1.3 billion in revenue last year from more than 1,200 locations), Smashburger ($270 million), and Habit Burger ($175 million), which also went public recently. Although these chains are still small—last year they brought in just $2.7 billion out of the $76.9 billion generated by hamburger restaurants in the U.S. overall—they’re having an outsize influence on the burger business, which remains by far America’s largest dining-out category. . . . more