Monday, July 31, 2017

Target Steps up its Game to Court the College Crowd

In the age of online shopping, Target is trying new ways to connect with college students while also bringing stores closer to campuses as it opens new smaller-format locations.

“How we’re reaching college students has changed and is evolving,” said Joshua Thomas, a Target spokesman. “As consumers are changing, so has our strategy and how we can service students.”. . . more

Bucks from Bricks: These Retailers Make the Most Money Per Square Foot on their Real Estate

Sales per square foot — a popular metric used when comparing the profitability of retail real estate — have tumbled in recent years as the retail industry struggles to draw in shoppers.

Those sales, as measured by CoStar, at most public retailers have declined to an average of around $325 per square foot, down from roughly $375 in the early 2000's, the commercial real-estate research firm said in a report.. . . more

The 12 Retail REITs That Could Be Hurt the Most by the Amazon-Whole Foods Deal

Ever since Amazon rocked the world with news of its $13.7 billion deal to buy Whole Foods Market, professionals in the retail real estate industry have been buzzing about what the combo will mean for shopping centers.
If retail REITs are hoping for a lift from the Amazon-Whole Foods marriage, then they might be disappointed with the data that former REIT analyst Shahzeb Zakaria has crunched.. . . more

Staples is One Step Closer to Being Acquired

Staples met the first requirement on its road back to private ownership.

The office supplies giant, which is being acquired by private equity firm Sycamore Partners, has been granted early termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976. This act states that no merger or acquisition can take place until the United States Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice have determined that the filed transaction will not violate U.S. commerce antitrust laws. . . . more

Hydroponic Greenhouses Gets $25M to Grow New England Produce

A business that wants to build two hydroponic greenhouses in New Hampshire's North Country to get tomatoes and salad greens more quickly to New England supermarkets has received $25 million in assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

North Country Growers plans to start building two 10-acre (4-hectare) greenhouses in Berlin soon. It expects to produce 8 million pounds (3.6 million kilograms) of tomatoes and 15 million heads of lettuce annually.

The USDA says hydroponics, or growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions in water, without soil, is a growing area of commercial food production. The largest in New England, in Madison, Maine, produces upward of 30 million tomatoes each year for supermarkets regionally. ...more

Friday, July 28, 2017

Dunkin' cuts appetite

Dunkin’ Donuts is launching a broader U.S. test of a simplified menu and trimming expansion plans until it is ready to launch a new more modern restaurant design.

The moves come amid a fifth straight quarter of declining traffic at the Canton chain’s U.S. stores and the eighth consecutive quarter in negative territory.. . . more

Starbucks to shutter all Teavana stores as sales disappoint

Starbucks is shutting down its struggling Teavana chain, and relying on customers who spend more on pricier drinks and food to drive up sales at its namesake coffee stores. The company reported disappointing global sales growth on Thursday, and said it will close all 379 Teavana locations over the coming year. It had acquired the U.S. mall-based chain in 2012, with then-CEO Howard Schultz citing the huge potential for the tea market. But in April, the company said it was reviewing options for the chain... . . more

Digital Gifting Solutions: Unlocking a blind spot in digital commerce

Consumers shopping for others bring different expectations and needs than those shopping for themselves. Until now, retailers have turned a blind eye to the enormous sales opportunities in digital gifting, which is estimated to represent $200 billion-300 billion in sales annually. Leading retailers and brands such as Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Coach, Lilly Pulitzer, Vera Bradley, and others have begun to embrace innovative, new digital gifting solutions and monetize the emerging digital gifting category. . . . more

Build-A-Bear Workshop narrows its loss in Q2, plans new stores

While Build-A-Bear Workshop continues to navigate amid declining store traffic, the company continues to open new stores.

Build-A-Bear plans to reopen a location in the Southern California market at the end of September. The company recently closed a store operating in the Downtown Disney District in Anaheim, California.

The specialty retailer is also preparing to open a new location in New York next to the Empire State Building — the same location where it previously operated a temporary store. The new store will serve both tourists and local shoppers, according to the retailer. Build-A-Bear didn't reveal a timeframe when it would open.. . . more

Border tariff removed from tax reform plan

The import tax proposal has officially been removed from the tax reform plan — which is welcome news for retailers across the industry.

On Thursday, congressional and administration leaders announced they would remove the Border Adjustment Tax (BAT) from consideration, and announced an outline for comprehensive tax reform. The BAT provision would have ended importers’ ability to deduct the cost of merchandise purchased from other countries.. . . more

2017 KeyPoint Report on Eastern Mass./Greater Boston retail real estate trends & analysis - by Bob Sheehan

The following is an excerpt from the 2017 KeyPoint Report on Eastern Massachusetts/Greater Boston.

Supply, Occupancy, & Absorption: This year Eastern Mass. inventory grew moderately, reaching 194.6 million s/f, or an increase of 0.4%. No major center development occurred during the year. The largest gains came from the freestanding 136,000 s/f Life Time Athletic in Framingham and the 82,000 s/f Market Basket in Plymouth. Another addition was the expanded retail area at Prudential Center, to accommodate a 45,000 s/f Eataly food concept and Under Armour flagship. Eastern Mass. experienced a modest decrease in vacant space, with demolitions and mixed-use redevelopment beneficially impacting the vacancy rate. A number of large-space users filling vacant space have contributed to the improvement. These include At Home in Seekonk and Primark in Braintree. Several obsolete buildings that once served as retail space were removed from our year-end inventory. Adjusting for this, the vacancy rate in the region still improved versus last year from 8.8% to 8.6%. The region finished the year with positive net absorption of 1.2 million s/f. Positive absorption is good, but keep in mind that a significant number of announced store closings have not yet occurred.. . . more

Belk to Open Three New Stores by 2018

Belk will open three new stores through the end of 2018, part of a nearly $40 million investment in store remodels, capital improvements and new store openings in 2017. The regional retailer is dedicated to the customer experience and offering an appealing assortment of products in its "Modern. Southern. Style." aesthetic.

Founded in 1888 by William Henry Belk in Monroe, N.C., Belk has kept family and community involvement at the top of its core values for its more than 125 years, which has instilled an unmistakable loyalty amongst customers.. . . more

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Smaller retailers vulnerable as competition intensifies

Image result for smaller retailersIntense competition among huge retail players like Amazon and Walmart is increasingly endangering smaller retailers, for which even small revenue declines can be devastating, according to a report this week from Moody’s Investors Service emailed to Retail Dive.

For retailers under liquidity stress, even $10 million quarterly loss in revenue can create a make-or-break scenario, Moody’s said. Additionally, retailers are dedicating resources to their e-commerce channel because of its fast pace of growth, though digital sales have yet to reach 10% of overall retail sales. The costs are taking their toll in almost every segment of retail, Moody’s said.. . . more

Retail Cap Rates Stay Stable in the Second Quarter

In spite of persistent trend of rising store closings, retail cap rates stayed largely flat in the second quarter of 2017, according to data collected by commercial real estate services firm CBRE. On the national level, cap rates average 6.8 percent—a one basis point increase from the first quarter of 2017 and a one basis point decline from the same period last year.

Quarter-over-quarter, cap rates went down in the East, West and South. They went up in the Midwest by 29 basis points, to 7.39 percent. Year-over-year, retail cap rates rose in the East and the Midwest, but went down in the South and the West.. . . more

Home Furnishing Retailers Expand Amid a Mixed Outlook

Restoration-HardwareHome furnishings retailers are drawing keen interest from both consumers and investors alike lately. TJX Cos. is preparing to launch a new concept that features much more furniture than its other brands. Wayfair continues to be adept at using e-commerce to boost top line growth and Rent-A-Center has attracted two acquisition offers, even though it reportedly turned away both, prompting demands for a sale from shareholders.

Taken together with strong housing sector fundamentals, it would be tempting to conclude that furniture retailers are on more solid ground than other retail sectors.. . . more

Whole Foods' Sales Slump Eases Ahead of Takeover by Amazon Inc.’s challenge of turning around Whole Foods Market Inc. looks like it won’t be quite so difficult.

The organic-food grocer, which agreed to be acquired by the e-commerce giant in June, posted quarterly results that exceeded analysts’ estimates. While same-store sales still declined in the period, the drop was less severe than projected.. . . more

Best Buy adds Dyson in-store shops to demo vacuums, hair dryers

itempropIn addition to state-of-the-art curved TVs and the latest in smartphones, Best Buy’s mini-shops with prominent brands will soon highlight another innovative product: vacuums.

The electronics retailer is launching a new shop-in-shop space in select stores featuring Dyson, the maker of vacuums, hair dryers, fans and other household items. Dyson Demo Experiences, ranging in size from 40 to 400 square feet, will roll out to about 90 of Best Buy’s U.S. stores next month.. . . more

Luxury department store puts a restructuring plan in motion

Neiman Marcus is making moves to offset its debt and improve its capital structure.
The luxury department store’s first step was to eliminate 225 positions. Affected employees — which span all brands and operating divisions — will receive severance packages, and also be considered for other job openings within the company, according to the Dallas News.
According to the report, a company statement said the retailer is “also assessing our Last Call outlet portfolio to ensure [we are] optimizing the store footprint and ensure we have the right mix of brick-and-mortar and online stores to meet our customers' evolving demands.” Last Call stores, which average about 25,000 sq. ft., are located in outlet centers and neighborhood shopping centers.. . . more

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Court sides with liquor store chain in suit over bargain booze

Image result for total wine & moreSuffolk Superior Court ruled Wednesday that a big box liquor store can legally sell booze for cut-rate costs despite a law setting limits on how cheaply alcoholic beverages can be priced.

Total Wine & More, based in Maryland, was accused in January by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission after it received complaints that the chain was selling alcoholic beverages below invoiced costs. State law prohibits retailers from selling alcohol for less than the invoiced cost, in order to prevent monopolies in the liquor market and dissuade retailers from predatory practices that could put competitors out of business.. . . more

Macy's names executive to head Backstage

Macy’s Inc. on Monday confirmed to Retail Dive that Michelle Israel, senior vice president of Bloomingdale’s off-price unit, The Outlet Store, will assume added responsibilities of Macy’s Backstage and has been promoted to senior vice president, off-price with oversight of both off-price businesses.

Macy’s launched Backstage in 2015 and last year began incorporating the off-price concessions in its full-line stores.. . . more

The Kors/Jimmy Choo Deal May Usher In A New Era Of Retail Consolidation

Yesterday's announcement that Michael Kors would buy luxury shoe and accessories brand Jimmy Choo comes on the heels (heh, heh) of Coach's $2.4 billion deal to acquire Kate Spade. While this particular move is not in and of itself a catalyst for more merger & acquisition activity, there is a growing sense that various forces are converging to drive an acceleration in retail industry consolidation.

The biggest driver is the harsh reality that organic growth is getting harder and harder to come by. Most sectors of the luxury market have stalled and retailers across a spectrum of formats and price points are being confronted with the need to downsize their physical store footprints amidst retail overcapacity and a fundamental shift in consumer spending behavior. . . . more

Consumers are reigning in back-to-school budgets, visits

Families are keeping back-to-school shopping — and spending — simple.
Nearly two-thirds of families budgeted $250 or less for all their back-to-school needs, with only a quarter indicating they will spend between $251 and $500. With tight budgets, families are focusing on price and selection when it comes to buying goods for their youngsters.. . . more

Chipotle posts improved results as it faces another crisis

Chipotle’s Genuine Queso is made with real, all natural ingredients and is a blend of cheddar cheese with tomatillos and chiles.Chipotle Mexican Grill on Tuesday announced a big test of Genuine Queso in 350 stores in Denver and Los Angeles markets – but is the buzzy new menu item enough to overcome yet another foodborne illness crisis?

Chipotle’s earnings, revenue and restaurant margins all were up in the second quarter of 2017 compared to last year, but the effect of norovirus virus cases linked to a store in Sterling, Va., won’t be known until the Denver-based company’s third-quarter results are released Oct. 24.. . . more

Investor to nation’s largest bookstore chain: ‘Sell yourself!’

One investor wants Barnes & Noble to embark on a new chapter — with a new owner.
Activist investor Sandell Asset Management issued a letter to Barnes & Noble’s board of directors on Tuesday, urging the company to sell itself. The firm believes a sale would not only improve the value of the brand, but protect itself against a volatile marketplace that continues to take a toll on sales.. . . more

Sephora opened a new store in Boston — and it's the smallest in North America

Image result for sephora boston new storeSephora has big plans for its first concept store, but the beauty retailer doesn't need a big space to prove it.

Sephora Studio in Boston is the retailer’s smallest store in North America at only 2,000 square feet — less than half of Sephora’s typical 5,500-square-foot store, Store Director Jennifer Halpainy said.. . . more

Online giant in big supply chain hiring push

Amazon is making good on its promise to hire 130,000 workers by 2018.
The online giant announced Wednesday that it plans to fill more than 50,000 roles across its fulfillment network in the United States. Amazon is hiring “tens of thousands” full-time associates who will pick, pack and ship customer orders from its fulfillment centers. It will also fill supporting and managerial roles within its facilities, including human resources managers, IT specialists, and operations leaders, among other positions, the retailer said.. . . more

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

How Sears—Sears!—disrupted retail

The Sears at 4201 Main, the oldest Sears in Houston. Photo: Godofredo A. Vasquez, Staff / Godofredo A. VasquezThe lifetime of Sears has spanned, and embodied, the rise of modern American consumer culture. The 130-year-old mass merchandiser that was once the largest retailer in the United States is part of the fabric of American society.

From its start as a 19th-century mail-order firm, to its heyday on Main Street and in suburban malls, and from its late 20th-century reorientation toward credit and financial products to its attempted return to its original retail identity, Sears has mirrored the ups and downs of the American economy.. . . more

Dollar Tree moves to dismiss Sycamore suit

Dollar Tree Inc.Dollar Tree Stores has filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit alleging that it purposefully “killed” 330 stores it sold to Sycamore Partners.

As previously reported, Dollar Tree and Sycamore sued one another last month, each blaming the other for the failure of Sycamore to turn the stores, which were divested as a condition of the Dollar Tree-Family Dollar merger in 2015, into a viable discount store chain that was to be known as Dollar Express. Sycamore earlier this year sold those units to a third competitor, Dollar General, saying it was unable to make a viable business of them. . . . more

Developers look to revamp Inman Square warehouse with condos, retail

Image result for Inman Square warehouseDevelopers hoping to revamp an old warehouse not far from Inman Square with residential and retail space were before the Planning Board yet again for a design review following changes to the project’s plans.

The proposed building, known as the 305 Webster Avenue Condominiums, will replace the warehouse located at the junction of Webster Avenue and Columbia Street. Visible from Cambridge Street, the site is near the future Union Square station on the proposed Green Line Extension.. . . more