Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Credit card's chip on their shoulders: Fraud liability to be on issuers, merchants

Only a fraction of U.S. payment card issuers have sent chip-embedded cards to customers, and only a fraction of merchants have installed chip-enabled payment systems as a deadline looms tomorrow to shift liability for fraudulent transactions from credit card companies.

The liability shift to card issuers and merchants will apply to in-store fraud from counterfeit and cloned credit and debit cards. ...more

Costco's 4Q profit rises 10 percent on membership boost

Image result for costco Costco Wholesale Corp. reported-better-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter profit on a boost in membership, despite lower gasoline prices and a stronger U.S. dollar weighing down revenue.

Revenue rose less than 1 percent to just under $35.78 billion, falling just short of expectations for $35.8 billion. Same-store sales, a key measure of a retailer's health, fell 1 percent on lower gasoline prices and a stronger U.S. dollar.. . . more

Target kicks off the holiday price wars

The competition for retailers selling online just got a lot more intense with a new price-match policy from Target just ahead of the prime holiday shopping season.

Beginning Oct. 1, Target will price-match the websites of 29 major retailers in stores and for purchases from their website.. . . more

Survey reveals why consumers don’t like buying gifts online

As the holidays approach, retailers are hoping the convenience and immediacy of e-commerce will prompt high volumes of online gift purchases.

But according to a new survey of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers from e-gift software provider Loop Commerce, there are some common problems that make consumers hesitate to buy gifts online.
. . . more

Walmart continues expansion of grocery pick-up service

Walmart has extended its grocery pick up service to eight additional markets and is alluding to the possibility of a more significant roll out in the months ahead.

The nation’s largest food retailer said its free online grocery pickup service is now being offered at select stores in a host of new markets, including, Atlanta, Nashville, Tucson, Colorado Springs, Charlotte and Fayetteville, NC., and Salt Lake City and Ogden, Utah. Expansion of the convenient service is something customers continually ask for, according to Michael Bender, executive VP and COO of Walmart Global eCommerce.. . . more

If Google Builds Stores, Will Consumers Follow?

Image result for googleEarlier this year, Google opened its first branded store in London. The store—technically a store-within-a-store given that it is housed inside a larger electronics store—showcases Chromebooks, Chromecast dongles, Android phones and other Google products. Given the potential for stores to drive foot traffic and exposure to Google’s lesser-known products, many commentators and analysts have suggested Google should double down on store investments. . . . more

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

U.S. Retail Sales in line with the target

Image result for retail salesNational chain-store sales fell 1.5% in the first four weeks of September from the comparable period in August, according to Redbook Research's latest indicator, released Tuesday.

The index's decline was in line with the target.

The Johnson Redbook Sales Index also showed seasonally adjusted sales for the period improved 1.2% from a year earlier, also in line with the target.. . . more

Attleboro area seeing strong retail expansion

Market Basket SA Update Online retailers are increasingly cutting into stores’ share of consumer spending. But in suburbs south of Boston, brick-and-mortar businesses are looking good.

The Attleboro-Brockton-Norwood area experienced the strongest retail store expansion of any market in Eastern Massachusetts over the past year, according to a Burlington consulting firm. And vacancy rates, increasing elsewhere, are in decline.

KeyPoint Partners, in its annual report on Eastern Massachusetts, reported the largest gain in the amount of retail store space — 2.1 percent — occurred in the area southwest of Boston that includes Brockton, Attleboro, Norwood and Milford, as well, as local towns like Mansfield, North Attleboro, Plainville, Wrentham, Norton and Seekonk.. . . more

Is Best Buy Really Rebounding?

Electronics retailer Best Buy has signed a $3.2-million lease with Techbilt Cos. for its newly constructed industrial building at 11885 Community Rd. in Poway Corporate Center here. The developer built the building, along with 11895 Community Rd., on spec, and both were 100% leased prior to the completion of construction.

The move by Best Buy is interesting due to the wave of speculation about the retailer’s imminent demise. . . . more

Retailers Raise Number of Store Openings Planned for the Next Two Years

Worries about the fallout from Chinese economic troubles notwithstanding, U.S. chain retailers upped the number of stores they plan to open in the short term, according to the August report from RBC Capital Markets. As of the latest tally, there were 42,554 stores on the planning board for the next year and 79,655 stores on the planning board for the next two years, the National Retailer Demand Monthly report reveals. The numbers represent year-to-date increases of 4.2 percent and 4.1 percent for the 12-month period and 24-month period respectively.. . . more

A Holiday Preview of What Shoppers Want and Where They Want to Buy It

For many, the arrival of fall means two things: good TV and the onslaught of moralizing complaints from your great aunt that the Christmas season comes earlier and earlier each year.

The truth is that more than a third of consumers begin shopping for Christmas at least nine months before the stockings are hung. The majority, however, start as soon as the leaves change.. . . more

Roche Bros. To Close Sudbury Farms Store In Randolph, Massachusetts

Roche Bros.’ lease terms for its Sudbury Farms store in Randolph, Massachusetts, have expired and the company has decided to close the location in January.

The closing will leave Randolph with a single major supermarket, Shaw’s. Roche Bros., following the Sudbury Farms store losing, will have 18 stores, including two other Sudbury Farms locations.. . . more

Monday, September 28, 2015

A&P to Sell 12 Stores to Wakefern Food for $40 Million

Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. is selling 12 of its stores to Wakefern Food Corp. for $40 million, subject to higher bids at an auction.

The stores being sold are 11 A&P, Pathmark and Waldbaums stores in New York and Pennsylvania and one A&P store in Connecticut. . . . more

Bed Bath & Beyond looks to future

New selling space at Bed Bath & Beyond is being added cautiously, while the company probes potential new growth vehicles. Examples include a new small format (5,000-sq.-ft.) Cost Plus World Market in Manhattan on 6th Avenue between 18th and 19th Streets near an existing Bed Bath & Beyond store. Up next in 2016 is a massive, by the company’s standards, 100,000-sq.-ft. store in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, where the company plans to combine four formats (Bed Bath & Beyond, Cost Plus World Market, Harmon Face Values) under one roof.. . . more

Rumors continue about deep job cuts at Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club HQ

Rumored corporate layoffs at Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club offices in Bentonville persist, with five sources indicating that the retail giant will begin handing out pink slips as early as this Friday and continue through the fiscal quarter which ends Oct. 31.

This is a matter of simplification in a corporate structure that Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon told analysts in June that had become too bureaucratic. The City Wire first reported in early July the impending layoffs, which were expected to number up to 1,000 or roughly 5.5% of the corporate workforces of Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club. Wal-Mart has not confirmed, nor denied any specific number of jobs that may be eliminated among its corporate ranks this year.. . . more

Whole Foods Is Cutting 1,500 Jobs

<span class='image-component__caption' itemprop="caption">Whole Foods announced a round of layoffs this week. </span>Whole Foods Market will cut 1,500 jobs from its workforce over the next two months, the grocery chain announced on Monday. 

The newly announced round of layoffs will affect 1.6 percent of the chain's employees. Whole Foods said it expects that many of those who lose their jobs will be able to find others somewhere within the company, as more than 9,000 positions have been added in the past year, and nearly 2,000 are currently open. In a statement, Whole Foods said the layoffs will allow the company to "invest in technology upgrades" and keep its prices in check.. . . more

Domino’s 3Q sales rise 10.5%

Domino’s Pizza Inc. saw same-store sales rise 10.5 percent in the U.S. in the third quarter ended Sept. 6, the company said Monday.

It was the fourth straight quarter of double-digit domestic same-store sales growth for the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based pizza chain, which has experienced a post-recession renaissance due to an improved pizza recipe, advertising and new technology.. . . more

Taco Bell launches online ordering and payment

Taco Bell Corp. is upping its digital game with the launch of a new website Monday that will allow users to order and pay ahead on their personal computers and tablets, as they already do on their smartphones.

The move expands the availability of order and pay ahead capabilities and customization options across all devices, which were previously only available via the brand’s mobile app.. . . more

Getting Physical

The emphasis on omnichannel commerce has largely laid to rest (at least for now) the debate of online versus offline. Indeed, A.T. Kearney put it best in the title of a recent study, “On Solid Ground: Brick and Mortar is the Foundation of Omnichannel Retailing.”

Whether a space used for showrooming, webrooming, a pick up and return venue for online orders or plain old shopping, the physical store plays a crucial role in the shopper’s journey.  And as A.T. Kearney noted in its study: It’s been proven that having multiple channels is good for business.”. . . more

Lululemon is insanely popular — and that's terrible news for the brand

Lululemon is insanely popular — and that's terrible news for the brandThe brand's pricey yoga pants are frequently sited as one of the top trends for teens. Celebrities from Jennifer Aniston to Kylie Jenner have been spotted wearing the gear. 

And with 300 stores, Lululemon is just getting started. Analysts at Morgan Stanley write that they expect the brand to become even bigger in the coming years. 

But the near-ubiquity of Lululemon could be terrible news for the brand.. . . more

Consumer Spending in U.S. Rose More Than Forecast in August

Image result for consumer spendingHousehold spending climbed more than forecast in August and incomes also rose as the biggest part of the U.S. economy continued to power past a global slowdown.

Consumer purchases climbed 0.4 percent, matching the gain in July that was larger than previously reported, Commerce Department figures showed Monday. The median forecast of economists in a Bloomberg survey called for a 0.3 percent August increase. Incomes advanced 0.3 percent.. . . more

Friday, September 25, 2015

Outage of Walgreens pharmacy computer database causes prescription delays

Pharmacists have been filling prescriptions manually since the system went down Tuesday morning, causing delays for customers at all 8,200 Walgreens drugstores across the U.S., a company spokesman said.Getting a prescription filled at Walgreens may take a lot longer than usual over the next few days due to an ongoing outage of the drugstore chain’s pharmacy computer database.

Pharmacists have been filling prescriptions manually since the system went down Tuesday morning, causing delays for customers at all 8,200 Walgreens drugstores across the U.S., a company spokesman said Thursday.. . . more

Running Group to unify all stores under one brand

The Running Specialty Group is uniting its various store banners under one of its newest brands: JackRabbit.

The Running Group, a division of The Finish Line, operates 76 specialty running stores under some 15 individual banners, including JackRabbit, The Running Company, Run On!, Blue Mile, and Boulder Running Company. The company will rebrand all the stores as JackRabbit, taking an omnichannel approach that includes a new logo, e-commerce site, and an enhanced social presence. The Running Group acquired JackRabbit in March.. . . more

Halloween pop-up chain brings stores back to life

Spirit Halloween, a chain of more than 1,150 pop-up shops across the country, has reincarnated the former Staples store and filled it with 4,000 costumes and accessories, with themes ranging from zombies to superheroes and princesses to prison inmates. And gory displays: a zombie-filled subway, a swamp surrounded by bloody and screaming animated creatures.

Spirit Halloween crams a lot of business into a short time. Its staff swells from the hundreds to more than 20,000 starting in June. It makes its revenue for the year in less than three months.. . . more

Ross Stores continues aggressive store growth

Ross Stores Inc. is continuing an aggressive growth strategy for both its Ross Dress for Less and DD’s Discount banners. The new store openings are part of the retailer’s 2015 expansion program, totaling approximately 70 new locations during the year.

Together, Ross Dress for Less and DD’s Discounts currently operate more than 1,400 off-price apparel and home fashion stores in 33 states, the District of Columbia and Guam.. . . more

EU Probes Staples’ Planned Purchase of Office Depot on Competition Concerns

odp-caTrust busters in Europe sounded the alarm today about the proposed merger of Office Depot and Staples, sending shares of Office Depot down 4 percent early Friday.

“The transaction could eliminate an important competitor and reduce the choice of suitable suppliers in already concentrated markets, which could lead to price increases,” said the European Commission, the European Union’s antitrust regulator.. . . more

A&P: More than 100 bidders in store auction

With the sale of 95 stores to Acme and Stop & Shop out of the way and 25 stores closing, A&P
is now turning its attention to the disposal of the remainder of the chain — a process that could shape into an "everything must go" sale.

That group, consisting of approximately 180 locations — has received 128 separate bids, officials of the retailer said earlier this week. The auction is set to take place Oct. 1 and 2 in New York.. . . more

'Bohemian' fashion brand to open large-format store in Chestnut Hill

Philadelphia-based fashion retailer Free People is opening a large-format store in Chestnut Hill.Free People, the Philadelphia-based bohemian fashion retailer, has plans to open its first Boston-area large-format store in Chestnut Hill Square this Friday.

The 5,090-square-foot retail store will open at 200 Boylston St. It's the company’s largest store in the state since Free People opened its first retail location in The Shops at Prudential Center 10 years ago.. . . more

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Lower Whole Foods pricing may require leveraged buyout

Image result for whole foods pricesWhole Foods Market needs to lower prices to achieve sales and earnings growth — an undertaking that may require pressure from an outside activist or a leveraged buyout — a Wall Street analyst suggested in an extensive report.

In a report published Tuesday, Karen Short, a research analyst with Deutsche Bank, New York, said the case for owning Whole Foods stock “is predicated on the involvement of an outsider that can exact change,” with a potential buyout price of $35 per share.. . . more

Lenders Prefer Multifamily and Industrial Over Retail

Even though the retail sector continues to strengthen, lenders don’t find retail properties as attractive as they find multifamily and industrial assets. With the exception of grocery-anchored centers and fortress malls, lenders are cautious when it comes to retail real estate, experts say.
“Everybody wants multifamily and industrial,” says Bryan Gortikov, principal at George Elkins Mortgage Banking Co. “Retail is a distant third. It’s not the preferred product type, unless its grocery-anchored retail in an A or B market—then it’s up there with industrial.”. . . more

How to Prepare Your Store for the Future of Retail

View From the Shop: How to Prepare Your Store for the Future of RetailWhen contemplating retail’s near future, it’s easy to get wrapped up in visions of drones dropping parcels on doorsteps and staff-free storefronts resembling giant vending machines.

But preparing your shop for tomorrow’s retail landscape doesn’t require an advanced degree in robotics—simply a good grasp of how consumer demands and behaviors are changing and evolving.. . . more

Are Supermarkets About to Get Sandwiched?

VP of Research Bob Sheehan on the future of supermarkets in the latest KeyPoints retail newsletter: The pressure seems to be coming from all sides: online groceries, non-traditional formats, home delivery, and other trends are pushing traditional supermarket chains to work a lot harder to hold on to market share - and it’s not going to get any easier. . . more