Monday, February 29, 2016

Another online brand gets serious about offline expansion

An online brand known for its retro-inspired Indie fashions has brought on new executives to help it move into physical retailing and build an international presence.

ModCloth has appointed Elizabeth Cooksey to the new position of VP of stores and retail operations, Women’s Wear Daily reported.  Cooksey advised the company when it opened its “Fit Shop” pop-up this past summer, in San Francisco.. . . more

Sprint Decides It Needs 500 More Stores, Partners With U.K.’s Dixons

sprint_sign Sprint said Monday that it plans to open a further 500 retail stores in the U.S. in partnership with British retailer Dixons Carphone.

Sprint and Dixons will each put up half the costs and have a 50-50 ownership in the stores, which will operate under the Sprint brand.. . . more

Millennial-focused stores give hope to retailers

When Sears' CEO took the unusual step last week of pouring out his heart about the problems that the his storied chain faces in competing against a raft of upstarts, he could have been speaking for all old-line retailers.

Edward Lampert shared a list of troubles that Sears faces against upstarts like Amazon, which are shaking up the way goods are sold. Store chains from Walmart to Whole Foods "have felt the impact of disruptive changes from online competition and new business models," he told investors in a note.. . . more

Q4 Retail Sales Sag on Poor Showing From Wal-Mart; February Sales Up Slightly

Image result for retail salesThe best that can be said for February same-store sales is that they won’t be as bad as January’s sales, which were down 1.3%. Among the small group of stores still reporting monthly sales, research firm Retail Metrics expects sales to come in 0.2% higher than January sales. Last February, same-store sales rose 1.2% year over year.

For the fourth fiscal quarter of 2015, same-store sales are currently 1.2% lower than they were in the fourth quarter of 2014. About half of the 119 stores tracked by Retail Metrics have reported earnings so far. Excluding a 9% sales decline at Wal-Mart Stores Inc., reported retail sales for the fourth-quarter are up 1.4%.. . . more

Whole Foods has big dreams for new smaller stores

Whole Foods has big dreams for new smaller stores photoAustin-based Whole Foods Market has some big expectations for 365 by Whole Foods Market, its new chain of smaller, value-driven stores.

Company leaders hope the 365 stores — which are set to debut in late May — can help Whole Foods shake off its “Whole Paycheck” reputation. They hope the smaller, value-driven store experience can draws Millenials and older shoppers alike. And, they hope the new chain can inject new life into earnings for the whole company.. . . more

J.C. Penney reports strong Q4 sales; debuts 'Penney Days'

J.C. Penney continues to be a bright spot in the retail sector with impressive increases in same-store sales and earnings, as well as a new marketing campaign that is generating a lot of buzz.

On Thursday, the retailer announced that same store sales grew 4.1 % for the fourth quarter ended Jan. 30. A combination of strong sales growth, accelerated gross margins and disciplined expense reduction resulted in full year adjusted EBITDA of $715 million, a $435 million increase.. . . more

TJX results show where consumers are spending

Off-price giant The TJX Companies attracted record numbers of bargain-hungry shoppers during the holiday period as the retailer reported record sales and profit sales for the fourth quarter.

For the period ended Jan. 30, net sales at TJX Cos. increased 8% to $8.96 billion, and same-store sales increased 6%.. . . more

Friday, February 26, 2016

How Paint Nite is turning painting into a serious business

Paint Nite, the company behind the popular guided, social painting events hosted at bars, isn’t really about artistry or even alcohol — it’s about fulfilling a largely untapped need for a social experience, according to CEO Dan Hermann. 

Hermann and co-founder Sean Mcgrail saw that potential in the first social painting event they attended.. . . more

Sprouts Farmers Market sales hit record high

Perhaps no other retailer is profiting as well from Americans' changing eating habits than Sprouts Farmers Market, which reported record sales and earnings for the fourth quarter.

The Arizona-based grocer said that same-store sales during the period ended Jan. 3 rose 7.4%. Net income was $28.2 million and diluted earnings per share were 18 cents. Net sales were $3.59 billion, a 21% increase compared to reported net sales in 2014. Adjusted diluted earnings per share of $0.86, a 19% increase from 2014.. . . more

Kohl's Profit Falls 20%, Plans to Test Smaller Format Store

Kohl's Corp. on Thursday posted a 20% drop in fourth-quarter profit on continued tepid sales growth and announced plans to close certain underperforming locations and test a smaller format store...more

Rouse Agrees to Be Bought by Brookfield in $2.8 Billion Deal

U.S. shopping-mall owner Rouse Properties Inc. agreed to be bought by an affiliate of Brookfield Asset Management Inc. in a sweetened offer valued at $2.8 billion, including debt.

Brookfield will pay $18.25 a share to acquire all of Rouse’s outstanding common stock, for a total equity value of $1.06 billion. Brookfield last month made an unsolicited bid to buy the New York-based mall company for $17 a share.. . . more

Office Depot On Track to Close 400 Stores by Year-End

According to Office Depot's latest annual report, it will shutter about 50 stores in the U.S. this year. Last year, the company closed 181 stores following the exit of 168 locations in 2014. As part of its buyout of rival Office Max in 2013, Office Depot said it would close at least 400 stores by the end of 2016. The closure of 50 stores this year will effectively bring Office Depot to its goal.. . . more

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Target is winning back shoppers, especially online

Brian Cornell says Target's fifth consecutive quarter of traffic growth is evidence that the retailer is making good progress on its omnichannel capacity improvements.

For the fourth quarter ended Jan. 30, same-store sales at Target increased 1.9%, driven by traffic growth of 1.3%. This is Target's sixth consecutive quarter of rising same store sales.. . . more

Macy’s details expansion plans, hints at real estate deals

Macy’s is continuing its expansion into off-price and specialty retailing.

On Tuesday, the department store retailer said it will expand its off-price Macy’s Backstage format in 2016, opening one freestanding location and 15 in-store locations in traditional Macy’s stores.. . . more

Another record quarter for Home Depot

Atlanta-based The Home Depot reported record fourth-quarter and fiscal year results, as it emphasized "the interconnected customer experience" and rode a recovering U.S. housing market.. . . more

Fast-growing Aldi enters big new market

Discount grocer Aldi will make its long-awaited California debut on March 24, with the opening of eight Southland stores. But that’s just the beginning of the company’s expansion plans for the market.. . . more

Instacart expands options for Boston customers

Boston has long been known as a town that likes to imbibe now and then, and online grocery delivery service Instacart is helping to spread the cheer.

Instacart is partnering with local omnichannel liquor retailer Vinodivino to offer Boston customers same-day delivery of wine, liquor, and beer. Vinodivino is now part of the Instacart marketplace, meaning Boston residents can order alcohol online from Vinodivino through the Instacart site or app and get alcohol delivered in as little as one hour.. . . more

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Tasty Burger opens in ‘underserviced’ Dudley Square

Three and a half years after first setting its sights on Roxbury, Tasty Burger’s tell-tale red-and-white gleam is now shining bright in Dudley Square.

Tasty Burger has opened a fifth brick-and-mortar location at the Bruce C. Bolling Building, a renovated municipal office at 2200 Washington St. Formerly known as the Ferdinand Building, the facility reopened last year and is now home to the central office for Boston Public Schools.. . . more

DSW store growth set to accelerate

DSW has a robust store expansion plan in the works to tap future penetration within the U.S. market this year.

"New store growth is an important and exciting piece of the DSW formula. It allows us to bring the brand to more communities and build relationships with new customers. More stores also enable us to provide additional customers with immediate access to our full assortment. We look forward to engaging with these new customers and helping them find the perfect shoe at the prefect price," said Valara Gee, VP Stores. . . more

Stein Mart details store expansion plans

Just a few weeks after reporting sales growth of 3.2% for 2015, Stein Mart is embarking on the first phase of its 2016 store expansion plan.

The Florida-based retailer plans to open 12 new stores this year, with five of those stores scheduled to open this spring.. . . more

Profits improve as Office Depot awaits FTC action

Office Depot continues to hope its merger with Staples secures approval from U.S. regulators, but in the meantime the performance of its retail operations is looking much better should it remain an independent company.

Office Depot’s North American retail footprint did shrink to 1,564 locations at the end of the year after the company closed a total of 181 stores, including 56 in the fourth quarter. Thinning the herd a bit helped the overall profitability of Office Depot’s largest division during the period ended Dec. 26 even though sales declined.. . . more

Survey: 56% of consumers choose brick-and-mortar for the savings

For all the fanfare over digital and mobile commerce, physical stores still have an edge in every factor influencing purchase, according to a survey from research firm GfK. Even when it comes to saving money, consumers who have access to the Internet picked stores over digital, 56% to 28%.. . . more

Two Brothers From New Jersey Are Bringing Back City Sports

Beloved Boston brand City Sports filed for bankruptcy in 2015, eventually shuttering its 26 locations after more than 30 years in business. Now, though, a couple brothers from New Jersey want to bring it back.. . . more

Monday, February 22, 2016

What’s a beefsteak? Diners can find out at this new Waltham spot

A beefsteak, by tradition, is a century-old men-only meal where hundreds of diners would gather to eat meat with their bare hands — but a new steakhouse in Waltham is broadening the definition.

Flank, a 240-seat steakhouse inspired by the beefsteak tradition, opened at 74 Tower Road in the 1265 Main development in Waltham earlier this month.. . . more

L.L. Bean to open first Mich. store this summer

Maine-based outdoor retailer L.L. Bean said Friday it’s opening its first Michigan store at The Mall at Partridge Creek in Clinton Township this summer.

The 14,000-square-foot store will be located in the mall’s Center Court between the Pandora jewelry story and Lush cosmetics store and will employ about 100.. . . more

Vons Reloaded and Opening in Saugus

Vons grocery store in Saugus is restocked and its sign newly hung as it readies to open on Wednesday, March 2, said a spokesperson for the chain. It’s opening one week earlier than noted on the sign hanging on the store front.. . . more

Friday, February 19, 2016

How often is mobile used in-store?

ding to a new survey of 9,142 online consumers in the U.S. and Canada conducted by Bizrate Insights, a division of Connexity Inc., three-quarters (73%) of online buyers use mobile devices to shop online. However, only one in five (21%) use mobile devices to assist their in-store shopping experience. Mobile devices include both smartphones and tablets.

When online consumers do use mobile devices in-store, it is not always to the benefit of the retailer they are visiting. Sixty-three percent who use mobile devices in-store look for competitors’ coupons and prices. Fifty-three percent compare a retailer’s in-store and online prices and coupons.. . . more

Google Goes For Groceries

Image result for google grocery deliveryIn an effort to ramp up its presence in e-commerce, Alphabet Inc's Google expanded its online shopping offerings to include perishable goods like produce and meat in certain pars of California.

Google's foray into online grocery shopping began on Wednesday as part of the firm's Google Express offering— which delivers items to customers within hours of their order. . . .more

Apparel supplier expanding retail footprint again

The combination of 80 new stores and a 20% increase in e-commerce is expected to drive double digit growth of VF corp.’s business in 2016.

The company, best known for brands such as Timberland, North Face, Lee, Wrangler and Vans, has become a major retailer in its own right and it likes what it sees. It ended last year with 1,520 stores – up from 1,401 the prior year – which combined with a rapidly going e-commerce business, accounted for 34%, or $1.2 billion, of VF’s fourth quarter revenue of $3.4 billion. That compares to 32% in the fourth quarter the prior year. For the year, the direct-to-consumer combination of stores and e-commerce accounted for 27%, or $3.3 billion, of VF’s total revenues of $12.4 billion.. . . more

Survey: Online groceries are habit-forming

Although not many consumers are currently shopping for groceries online, those who do are likely to be repeat customers.

According to “The 2016 Online Grocery Shopper,” a survey of more than 500 U.S. online consumers from Toronto-based grocery technology provider Unata, 8% of consumers bought groceries via Internet in 2015.

However, 93% of those shoppers said they are “likely” or “very likely” to buy groceries online in 2016.. . . more

Nordstrom vows sharper focus on improving profitability

Even though Nordstrom’s fourth-quarter earnings improved on a dismal third quarter, continuing doldrums in the apparel retail industry helped drag down the results it reported Thursday.

The company failed to meet analysts’ expectations for the quarter, which included the all-important holiday shopping season. Nordstrom also offered a soft forecast for the upcoming year.. . . more

US consumer prices unchanged in January

U.S. consumer prices were unchanged in January, as the rising costs of housing and health care were largely offset by cheaper oil.

But the annual pace of inflation showed signs of acceleration. The Labor Department said Friday that prices have risen 1.4 percent over the past 12 months, compared to a year ago when annual inflation was close to zero. Consumer prices climbed at the fastest annual rate since October 2014.. . . more

Thursday, February 18, 2016

German grocery chain picks Pennsylvania for one its first U.S. stores

A German discount grocery chain, Lidl, expanding in the U.S. is seeking approval to build one of its first stores in Wilson, PA.

Lidl spokesman Will Harwood declined to elaborate on the company's plans in Wilson, but said the company plans to open stores in several mid-Atlantic states "no later than 2018.". . . more

The Walmart Effect: Compressed Cap Rates on Net-Leased Big Boxes

In a retail environment undergoing drastic changes from the influence of e-commerce, investors are increasingly choosy about which retailers they will partner with to add value to their investment portfolios. Can one retailer make a difference in an environment where so much is at stake?

Recent data suggests that the Walmart Neighborhood Market chain is driving down cap rates on net-leased big-box stores. An influx of new units in the fourth quarter of 2015 helped tighten cap rates in the sector by 63 basis points, according to an assessment by The Boulder Group, a real estate investment firm specializing in single-tenant net-leased properties. Net lease cap rates tightened by 25 basis points between the fourth quarter of 2014 and the fourth quarter of 2015.. . . more

Amazon expanding deliveries by its 'on-demand' drivers

Amazon boxes are seen stacked for delivery in the Manhattan borough of New York City, January 29, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Inc is quietly inviting drivers for its new "on-demand" delivery service to handle its standard packages, as the online retailer known for low prices and razor-thin profit margins looks to speed up delivery times and tamp down its growing multi-billion dollar logistics bill.

The move, which has not been announced publicly, is the latest sign that the world's biggest e-commerce company wants to control more of its own deliveries. Media reports have said the company plans to lease its own fleet of jets, and CEO Jeff Bezos eventually wants to use drones to get packages to customers.. . . more

Cabela's posts stronger than expected profit, revenue

The CEO of Cabela’s, Tommy Millner, said warm winter weather hampered same-store sales in the fourth quarter, but he did not provide details about any potential sale of the company.

For fourth quarter ended Jan. 2, total revenue increased 10.5% to $1.4 billion; retail store revenue increased 14.3% to $926.5 million. Same-store sales decreased 3.5% and consolidated same-store sales decreased 4.9%. . . . more

Sports Authority to close 140 of its 450 stores

Image result for sports authoritySports Authority is prepping for store closing sales as part of plans to shutter about 140 of its 450 stores, a source familiar with the company's plans confirmed Wednesday.

 The shedding of stores comes as Sports Authority, the fourth-largest sporting goods retailer in the U.S., is reportedly on the brink of bankruptcy. Saddled with at least $643 million in debt, the company missed a $21 million interest payment in January and weeks later laid off 100 employees, mostly at its Englewood headquarters, to bolster its balance sheet.. . . more