Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Summer Shack location shutters its doors with low-key closure

Seafood restaurant Summer Shack has closed its Dedham, MA location. . . more

Boston Properties proposes large, mixed-use project over Back Bay Station

Boston Properties has officially notified the city of Boston that it plans to build a 1.4-million-square-foot mixed-use development above Back Bay Station and an adjacent parking garage.. . . more

Lights out at Times Square retail landmark

The Ferris Wheel in the Toys “R” Us’ Times Square flagship has had its last go round. The 110,000-sq.-ft., four- level megastore shut its doors forever at 6 p.m., Wednesday, December 30, 2015.. . . more

Bidding war ends: Pep Boys goes to Icahn in all cash-deal

Activist investor Carl Icahn has prevailed in his fight to buy the Pep Boys – Manny, Mo & Jack. Icahn’s Icahn Enterprises will buy the auto parts retailer for $18.50 per share. The all-cash deal is valued at approximately $1.03 billion. . . . more

One to Watch: Naf Naf Grill

Seven years ago, Sahar Sander and Elan Burger pooled their savings and opened a shop serving Middle Eastern cuisine in a small footprint with no air conditioning and a bold purple painted exterior—the architectural lines of a vintage Taco Bell.

The 1,200-square-foot restaurant, located in the far west Chicago suburb of Naperville, Illinois, may have stayed tucked away if businessman David Sloan hadn’t stopped by to eat lunch. . . more

Holiday Spending Supports Store Openings Report

The biggest retail winners this holiday season also are the same segments that are planning for the most store openings over the next 12 to 24 months, according to RBC Capital Markets’ latest National Retailer Demand Monthly report.. . . more

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Whole Foods Market to pay $500,000 to settle overcharging allegations

Whole Foods Market has settled a dispute with the city of New York. The grocer has agreed to pay $500,000 and to conduct regular in-store audits in a resolution of allegations that its stores in New York City were overcharging customers for prepackaged foods. The settlement was announced by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA). . . more

Consumer confidence ends year on high note

Consumer confidence rose in December amid lower gas prices and a stronger job market.

The index of consumer confidence rose to 96.5 in December from a revised 92.6 in November, the Conference Board said Tuesday. (The November reading originally was put at 90.4, the lowest level in more than a year.) Economists expected a rise to 93.6, according to Bloomberg.. . . more

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Modell's snags first downtown Boston store in former City Sports site

Modell’s Sporting Goods of New York City will snag its first downtown Boston store when it opens at the Boylston Street site of its former rival, City Sports, in March. . . more

A&P to reject 36 store leases

A&P has asked the court overseeing its bankruptcy case for permission to reject 52 real estate leases including 36 for closed grocery stores it has been unable to sell. . . more

Target’s 2016 store plan: urban, urban and more urban

Target is planning stores of 45,000 square feet or less in the core of several big cities: two in Philadelphia, three in New York City and two in Chicago.. . . more

Fast Food Chain Checkers Plans Expansion Into Connecticu

Checkers' director of franchise development, didn't specify where and when the first restaurant would open, but said there would be "leases signed, construction underway and stores opening" next year with the first locations along the I-95 corridor in the Bridgeport and New Haven area.. . . more

Former Owners Taking Back Oak NYC Stores from American Apparel

After months of negotiations, the former owners of the edgy and hip Oak NYC stores have reached an agreement to buy back their small retail chain from American Apparel.

After bidding twice for the retail chain of two stores in Los Angeles and two stores in the New York area, the former owners—Jeff Madalena and Louis Terline—made a final bid after offering $600,000 and then $1.1 million. The final offer, whose amount hasn’t been disclosed, was outlined in U.S. Bankruptcy Court documents filed Dec. 15. It was accepted by American Apparel, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Oct. 5.. . . more

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Conn’s CEO eyes 500-store opportunity

Conn’s recently opened its 100th store in Las Vegas, but CEO Norm Miller is convinced the retailer could eventually operate as many as 400 to 500 stores nationwide by providing quality, value priced merchandise and convenient financing options to the millions of Americans with less than perfect credit. Miller joined the company in September 2015 and to capitalize on the growth potential he’s intent on establishing what he calls the right foundation for growth. That means fine-tuning the product assortment of furniture and mattresses, home appliances, consumer electronics and home office products while making sure the company continues to drive sales by extending credit to underserved customers who are most likely to make installment payments in a timely manner.. . . more

Staples decries FTC ruling as ‘flawed’

The Federal Trade Commission’s attempt to block the $6.3 billion merger of Staples and Office Depot is a “fundamentally flawed” and “misguided application” of antitrust laws, because the office supply chains “face fierce competition today and in the future from a strong and expanding set of competitors,” Staples said in a court filing.

Framingham-based Staples denied Office Depot is its closest competitor in its answer to the FTC’s Dec. 7 complaint asking a U.S. District Court judge in Washington, D.C., to grant a temporary restraining order blocking the merger, which was granted, and a preliminary injunction.. . . more

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Roche Bros. concept wins design award

BrothersMarketplace-exterior.jpgRoche Bros.’ Brothers Marketplace store in Medfield, Mass., was awarded a commendation for best retail store design of 2015 as part of the International Council of Shopping Centers’ annual U.S. Design and Development Awards.

The ICSC, a trade group representing retail real estate developers, awarded the honor earlier this month at an event in Phoenix. The awards recognize “excellence, innovation and creativity” in the industry.. . . more

Applebee’s sets sights on turnaround in 2016

Applebee’s new prototype renderingApplebee’s Grill & Bar is plotting a turnaround in 2016 that will include tests of a new restaurant design, an overhaul of the bar and menu, and investments in customer-facing technology.

In an interview with Nation’s Restaurant News, Sanjiv Razdan, Applebee’s chief operating officer, outlined in broad strokes some of the ways the 2,016-unit chain will attempt to “break out of the sea of sameness” in casual dining next year.. . . more

What the Middle Class Money Squeeze Means for the CRE Industry

The American middle class is losing its hold on the reins of the U.S. economy, not only because of the drop in incomes and net wealth, but also because the commercial real estate industry is catering to the luxury and working class consumers instead.

According to a recent Pew Research Center study, the recession and the housing crisis hit the middle class hard, erasing its wealth gains from the three decades prior. The middle class is defined by the study as adults whose annual household income is two-thirds to double the national median, about $42,000 to $126,000 annually in 2014 dollars for a household of three.. . . more

Chain store growth slows in NYC

Dunkin' Donuts remains the largest chain in NewChain stores continue to gobble up NYC real estate, though they’re chewing a little more slowly.

The number of chain stores in the city grew by 1% last year (compared with a 2.5% increase between 2013 and 2014).

The Bronx showing the largest year-over-year increase (3.4%), followed by smaller bumps in Brooklyn and Queens, according to the eighth annual “State of the Chains” report issued by the Center for an Urban Future. The net number of locations declined slightly in Manhattan (-0.1%) and Staten Island (-1.2%).. . . more

Bed Bath & Beyond’s issues worrisome warning

The holiday season got off to a horrible start at Bed Bath & Beyond and things went downhill from there, judging from the industry leader’s uncharacteristic and concerning profit warning.

The company badly missed its third quarter sales and profit forecast for a period that included most of Thanksgiving weekend, and said its same-store sales for the fourth quarter were likely to increase 1%.. . . more

US consumer spending and incomes up in November

Image result for consumer spendingU.S. consumer spending rebounded in November after a weak showing in October, while a key inflation gauge posted the fastest year-over-year increase in 11 months.

Spending increased 0.3 percent in November after an essentially flat reading in October and a 0.2 percent gain in September, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. Personal income rose a solid 0.3 percent in November, reflecting solid gains in wages and salaries, after a 0.4 percent October increase.. . . more

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Macy's to close as many as 40 stores

In the name of optimizing its omnichannel approach, Macy's said it plans to close between 35 and 40 department stores at undisclosed locations in early 2016 while moving ahead with expansion of its off price format.

The stores to be closed represent about 1% of Macy’s total annual sales of roughly $28 billion. Macy’s said it won’t disclose the locations until it completes a careful analysis now under way to make final decisions and notifies store employees. Together, the stores' annual sales volume, net of sales expected to be retained in nearby stores and online, is expected to be roughly $300 million.. . . more

Kroger to unveil new fresh concept: 'Main & Vine'

Image result for kroger main and vineThe QFC supermarket that closed earlier this year in Gig Harbor, Wash., will reopen early next year as a new concept featuring artisan foods and culinary specialties to be known as Main & Vine, SN has learned.

Cincinnati-based Kroger Co., owner of QFC, revealed the new name and a details of the store in social media postings and a new website which launched recently.

The company described Main & Vine as “where eating is healthy, affordable and fun.". . . more

Brick-and-Mortar Isn’t Dead Yet — Converting In-Store Shoppers to Sales

According to analytics reports from Adobe and RetailNext, online sales trumped bricks-and-mortar over Black Friday weekend and the trend looks to continue throughout the 2015 holiday season.

This signifies a shift that’s been obvious for quite some time — consumers are going digital. Does this mean the brick-and-mortar retailer is dying a slow death? Not a chance.. . . more

Patriot Place expanding with Hilton Garden Inn hotel

A 136-room Hilton Garden Inn will open at Patriot Place, the shopping and entertainment hub adjacent to Gillette Stadium, by next fall.Construction has started on a 136-room, $14 million Hilton Garden Inn at Patriot Place that overlooks Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots.

The project comes more than two years after Patriots owners The Kraft Group met informally with the Foxborough Planning Board to expand Patriot Place, the 1.3 million-square-foot retail and entertainment complex, with a hotel, retail store and quick-serve restaurant.. . . more

High-volume online shopping is putting a strain on shipping firms and causing delays

High-volume online shopping is putting strain on shipping firms and causing delaysDecember is always the busiest month for shipping packages, but this year's bigger-than-ever e-commerce push has put even more stress on delivery companies.

A surge of orders last month around Black Friday and Cyber Monday took a toll on timely deliveries. And last Friday, retailer told customers that it couldn't "confidently guarantee" orders would arrive in time for Christmas unless shoppers opted for more expensive two-day delivery.. . . more

Sales rising more online than in stores

More often, shoppers are deciding to sit on their couches rather than head to stores this holiday season.

Online sales growth in this holiday season is surpassing growth in sales at stores, according to First Data, which analyzed online and in-store payments from Oct. 31 through early last week.. . . more

Will Bridgestone beat latest Icahn offer for Pep Boys?

Auto chain Pep Boys announced Monday that a $16.50 per share takeover bid by activist investor
Carl Icahn is a "superior offer" to a rival proposal by Bridgestone Retail Operations in September.

It's just the latest chapter in the ongoing saga of who gets to acquire Pep Boys, which has 800 locations in 35 states.

Pep Boys says it now prefers to take the offer from Icahn Enterprises and that Tokyo's Bridgestone Corp. has until Wednesday to up its bid. . . more

Monday, December 21, 2015

Trader Joe's Ex-President Opens Grocery Store That Sells Healthy Food At Fastfood Prices

Lady Choosing Some FruitsIt may look like an ordinary supermarket with aisles teeming with fresh produce and staff mingling around the customers, but there's more to this ordinary looking grocery story. Daily Table sells their goods in an incredibly affordable price.

Foodbeast just recently made a report on Daily Table noting that the supermarket's items are priced so low, it seems like they are part of the fast food industry. Former president of Trader Joe's, Doug Rauch, put up the Daily Table. . . . more

Staples says FTC rejected updated offer of rival Office Depot; another setback for deal

Image result for staples office depotStaples says that regulators have rejected its offer to sell $1.25 billion in contracts, part of its plan to ease monopoly fears as it attempts to acquire rival Office Depot.

The Federal Trade Commission earlier this month sought to block the deal, saying it would reduce competition in the office supplies market.

Staples, based in Framingham, Massachusetts, said that it is still willing to negotiate with the FTC and that it may pursue legal action to close the deal.. . . more

Buy online, pick up in store. Simple, right? Not this Christmas.

Retailers this holiday season have been aggressively trumpeting “click-and-collect” shopping, a relatively new hybrid of digital and old-school buying that allows time-starved customers to place an order online and pick it up within hours at a counter in a store.

But so far, many shoppers are finding it to be a big headache.

Fully 60 percent of such orders placed on Cyber Monday ran into problems, one study found. The wrong items were received, or orders were cancelled because the product was no longer in stock. Sometimes there was no notification an order was ready.. . . more

Low gas prices may fuel a bounce-back sales season

Retailers are holding out hope for a comeback Christmas, as Super Saturday weekend saw packed parking lots and bustling malls — fueled, the experts say, by low gas prices, rosy consumer confidence and aggressive sales incentives.

“This was a gangbuster weekend, and this will be a good week coming up, too,” said Jon Hurst, 
president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts. “In any holiday season, you hope to beat the prior year and beat it by more than the rate of inflation, and it looks like that will happen.. . . more

Consumers happy now, but unsure if good times can last

The current national comfort level with the economy could be fueling a banner holiday spending period — but it may yet prove to be shaky in the new year, as consumers look out on a geopolitical situation that leaves them uncertain how long their feelings of security will last.

“The economy’s been moving ahead, at least at a moderate pace. Unemployment is at 5 percent. I think when people see that, that gives them some confidence that things are getting better,” said Robert Murphy, an economics professor at Boston College.. . . more

Friday, December 18, 2015

La-Z-Boy opens first small-footprint retail store

La-Z-Boy has opened a new urban, small footprint retail store here in the Logan Circle community of Washington, DC.

Located on 14th Street, the roughly 3,000-square-foot showroom is less than one-fourth the size of its typical stores, which average 14,700 square feet, according to Furniture/Today’s latest Top 100 report.. . . more

Walmart joins other retailers, offers free shipping today

Image result for walmart free shippingWalmart says it will participate in national Free Shipping Day by waiving charges for online purchases made Friday, joining other big retailers that hope to generate more sales from last-minute shoppers.

The Bentonville, Ark.-based retail giant is one of thousands of retailers to participate in the promotion, which began in 2007 as a coordinated event online to spur more shopping. Other big names that will offer free shipping Friday include Target, JCPenney and Nordstrom, according to the promotion's website.. . . more