Tuesday, October 31, 2017

There may be fewer 'last-minute shoppers' this holiday season, survey finds

A pedestrian passes by a Black Friday discount sign at a Joe Fresh retail store in New York.It's still October, but Christmas is quickly approaching, and so are retailers' all-important holiday sales.

This year, more Americans are expected to begin their holiday shopping in the middle of the season, or Thanksgiving weekend, as opposed to late in the season, or early December, a new survey from NPD Group has found.. . . more

Best Buy looks to entice shoppers with free shipping, same-day delivery

Free shipping has become the price of entry in the holiday shopping game.

Best Buy on Monday announced it will provide free shipping of all online orders, with no minimum purchase required, from Oct. 30 to Dec. 25. It is the third straight year Best Buy has made the offer. Last week, Target announced it was offering the same.. . . more

Thunder clouds for department stores

It’s only the beginning of November, but some ominous indicators are surfacing for department stores as they head into their most important shopping season.

Citi Research on Monday downgraded Macy’s and J.C. Penney from neutral ratings to sell, CNBC reported. Last week, Penney slashed its 2017 profit and same-store sales forecasts, citing heavy discounting, primarily across apparel, to get rid of excess inventory ahead of the holidays.. . . more

Rent-A-Center to Explore Options

Image result for rent a centerRent-A-Center Inc., facing investor pressure as it struggles to revamp business, is suspending dividend payouts as it explores “strategic and financial alternatives”—often seen as a sign that a company may sell itself.

Engage Capital LLC, which had called for the company to sell itself, wasted no time in renewing its call for a sale asking management to “expeditiously begin the due diligence process with the numerous publicly reported strategic and financial buyers that have already provided indications of interest in acquiring Rent-A-Center, beginning with the opening $15 per share bid from Buddy’s/Vintage Capital.. . . more

This Halloween, we did the math

Image result for halloween spendingThe Halloween season is getting to be a bigger treat for businesses year after year, with a record $9.1 billion in national spending expected this year — the highest ever from an annual survey by the National Retail Federation.

The amount represents more than an 8 percent rise from last year's national total, and a truly frightening 78 percent increase from a decade ago, as retailers of all stripes cash in on the holiday.. . . more

Kings is open in Boston’s Seaport

Image result for kings bowling in the seaportKings Dining & Entertainment on Monday opened a 20,000-square-foot bowling alley, restaurant and entertainment venue on the second level of 60 Seaport Blvd.

Kings Bowl first opened in Back Bay in 2002 and has since expanded to Lynnfield, Burlington, and Dedham, as well as locations in Florida, North Carolina and Illinois. Kings has since rebranded to Kings Dining & Entertainment “to represent their evolution as a social dining experience rather than a traditional ‘bowling alley’ where food is an afterthought,” according to a recent press release. . . . more

Monday, October 30, 2017

Can Outlet Center Operators Avoid the Worst of the U.S. Retail Fallout?

Outlets Wall Street has walloped the retail industryduring the much-hyped “retail apocalypse,” and the country’s two biggest operators of outlet centers—Simon Property Group and Tanger Factory Outlet Centers—have not been spared.

However, some observers think outlet centers—and the REITs that own them, like Simon, Tanger, Macerich and Taubman Centers—don’t belong in the same cart as regional malls. That’s not to say, though, that outlet centers are immune to some of the challenges haunting the retail sector.. . . more

UPS predicts a ‘record-breaking’ holiday season

Expecting shipping volume to jump 5% this holiday season, UPS is on track to shatter its holiday shipping records.

The carrier plans to deliver more than 750 million packages globally in the 25 days between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. This volume is approximately 5% above last year’s holiday peak shipping season volume. During 17 of these 25 days, UPS expects to deliver more than 30 million packages.. . . more

New survey results point to happy holiday for retailers

It appears that retailers are headed for a happy holiday selling season — especially online.

Consumers say they will spend an average $967.13 this year, up 3.4% from the $935.58 consumers said they would spend when surveyed this time last year, according to the annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics for the National Retail Federation. And for the first time in survey history, online is the most popular shopping destination this year, cited by 59% of consumers.. . . more

Report: Amazon has wholesale pharmacy license in multiple states

Fuel has been added to the fire that Amazon is getting set to enter the pharmacy business.

Amazon has received a wholesale pharmacy license in at least a dozen states, reported the St. Louis Post Dispatch. The states include Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, New Jersey, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Tennessee, Nevada and Oregon, according to the report.. . . more

True Religion exits bankruptcy

After less than four months, True Religion Brand Jeans has emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The retailer emerged, following negotiations with its key stakeholders, under a reorganization plan that reduced the company’s nearly $500 million debt through a debt-for-equity swap.. . . more

Mall Owners Work to Reclaim Retail Wasteland with Public Money

Image result for brookfield mall in wiAt the Brookfield Square mall in Wisconsin, the landlord, CBL & Associates Properties Inc., needed a new occupant for a fading Sears. CBL had been tinkering with the mix for the past few years. Earlier, in 2008, it completed a 20,000-square-foot expansion, adding grocery stores and restaurants and renovating the interior.

In the end, it found its tenant: the city of Brookfield. The local government plans to step in to build a conference center and hotel.. . . more

U.S. Consumer Spending Rises Most Since 2009 on Car Buying

Image result for consumer spendingThe jump in September outlays was driven by purchases of durable goods including the replacement of motor vehicles lost in recent flooding from hurricanes. That means the latest surge probably overstates the strength of consumer spending.

Meanwhile, real disposable income was flat after a 0.1 percent decline in August. While consumers are getting support from steady hiring, higher home values, stock-market gains and still- low inflation, a sustained pickup in wages would help them further boost purchases.. . . more

Sycamore In Talks To Acquire Bon-Ton's Retail Assets

Sycamore In Talks To Acquire Bon-Ton's Retail AssetsBon-Ton has an estimated 260 stores across the country, including furniture galleries and clearance centers, and has a market value of $15.7M. It is also laden with more than $1B in debt and has seen its shares decline by half their value this year, falling another 13% on Thursday, according to Bloomberg. But Sycamore is reportedly engaging in talks with Bon-Ton about a potential deal to take some of those assets off Bon-Ton's hands.

This would not be the first time Sycamore has come to the rescue of a retailer. The firm is known for investing in ailing companies and in June entered into an agreement to buy Staples Inc. for $6.9B. Sycamore also invested in Aeropostale Holdings and Nine West Holdings and is attempting to raise $4B in funding by January in order to invest in even more. . . . more

Friday, October 27, 2017

Build-A-Bear Workshop on right track as it expands beyond malls

Build-A-Bear, which remains heavily reliant on passing footfall to drive sales, has not been helped by the continued softness in mall traffic. Over the past few months, this continued to trend downwards with a consequent impact on custom and revenues.

Given the weakness of some malls, we are encouraged that Build-A-Bear has been working to lessen its reliance on sales via traditional stores, and to reshape its fleet in response to changing patterns of demand.. . . more

American Eagle to open redesigned store where you can 'curate' your jeans and do your laundry

A customer shops for shirts at an American Eagle Outfitters Inc. store.Teen apparel retailer American Eagle Outfitters is opening a prototype store that it hopes will entice younger shoppers to stay longer by customizing their jeans and doing their laundry there.

The company announced this week that its first AE Studio store will open Nov. 10 in New York's Union Square neighborhood.. . . more

J.C. Penney warns of poor results as it slashed prices on slow-moving merchandise

Image result for jcpenneyJ.C. Penney cut its outlook for full-year results on Friday saying it accelerated markdowns in the third quarter ended in October to move out slow-moving apparel, primarily in women's, it's largest department.

The company said it now expects 2017 comparable store sales to be flat or down 1 percent versus its most recent guidance for sales to be up as much as 1 percent. Penney also slashed adjusted full-year earnings per share.. . . more

CVS Makes Blockbuster Aetna Bid

Image result for cvsCVS Health Corp. is in talks to buy Aetna Inc. for more than $66 billion as the drugstore giant scrambles to fortify itself against looming competition from Amazon.com Inc. amid a continuing reordering of the health-care industry.

CVS has made a proposal to buy the health insurer for more than $200 per share, people familiar with the matter said. The talks may not lead to a deal, but in a sign of their seriousness, the companies’ respective chief executives— Larry Merlo at CVS and Mark Bertolini at Aetna—have met multiple times over a period of roughly six months, one of the people said.. . . more

Amazon in very good shape, but there are some chinks in its armor

For all Amazon’s undoubted success, there are a few chinks in the behemoth’s armor.

The main one of these is profit. For the quarter, operating income was down by 40% to $347 million. The dramatic growth of marketing costs, which were partly a function of the Whole Foods acquisition as well as the substantial promotion of new devices, took its toll on the bottom line. Fulfilment and shipping costs also increased faster than sales, although the pace of increase is not quite as bad as feared.. . . more

Amazon soars on big revenue growth

Amazon’s third quarter blew past market expectations as the online giant benefited from a $1 billion-plus sales infusion from Whole Foods Market and a revenue surge in its cloud computing business.

Amazon’s net sales increased 34% to a better-than-expected $43.7 billion in the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with $32.7 billion last year. The results include $1.3 billion from Whole Foods Market, which Amazon acquired in August. Results also include Amazon’s cloud computing division (AWS), where revenue rose to $4.58 billion from $3.2 billion last year.. . . more

Dunkin’ Donuts invests $100M in shops, may shorten name

Image result for california Dunkin storeDunkin’ Brands Group Inc. yesterday said it will invest $100 million in its U.S. Dunkin’ Donuts locations, but hurricanes that dampened sales also forced the company to cut its number of new restaurant openings this year.

The Canton company is still considering whether to shorten Dunkin’ Donuts’ name to simply Dunkin’ nationwide. A California location is testing the shortened name, and a new store in Quincy — where Dunkin’ Donuts got its start in 1950 — will go by Dunkin’ when it opens.. . . more