Friday, December 22, 2017

2018 Retail Predictions

1. Mobile is never ending and never finished. Mobile has been an initiative for retailers for years and has come a long way. In 2017, 29% of sales between Black Friday and Cyber Monday occurred on mobile e-commerce websites and apps. Mobile is an extension of the store, and retailers must be able to facilitate rapid delivery of everything available in-store on mobile devices, and then some.. . . more

Minimum wage to rise in 18 states in 2018

Another new year brings another round of minimum wage hikes in 18 states.

The federal minimum wage remains at $7.25 per hour, with a tipped wage in some states at $2.13 per hour. But many states are taking action with wage hikes scheduled to go into effect on Dec. 31 or Jan. 1, 2018. . . more

Star Wars fever hits shopping centers

Last weekend was a blockbuster at the movies — thanks largely, to the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi — and a blockbuster for shopping centers too, where most went to see their movie.. . . more

Troubles mount at Toys ‘R’ Us

The third quarter brought no relief to the nation’s largest toy store retailer.

Toys “R” Us’ loss rose to $624 million for the period ended Oct. 28, up from $160 million in the year-ago period.

Revenue fell 7.5% to $2.1 billion. Total same store sales decreased 4.4%, driven by a 7.0% decline domestically. Same-store sales at international stores rose 0.4%, as a result of growth in Asia.

Toys “R” Us, which filed for bankruptcy in September, released its quarterly metrics amid a report that it is preparing to close 100 or more stores. Chairman and CEO Dave Brandon called the results “disappointing. . . more

Icahn's Pep Boys Acquires 10 Stores in Washington

Carl Icahn's automotive business has acquired a 10-store tire dealership in the state of Washington. The stores will be rebranded under the Pep Boys — Manny, Moe & Jack brand.

A spokeswoman for Icahn Automotive Group LLC confirmed the purchase of Elliott Tire & Auto Service Inc., with four stores in Seattle, plus locations in Everett, Kent, Kirkland, Mt. Vernon, Woodinville and Yakima, Wash.. . . more

Freddy’s Expanding in Pennsylvania with 8 New Locations

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers announced it has signed a multi-unit franchise agreement to grow its footprint in Pennsylvania, which will bring eight new restaurants to Montgomery County. Freddy’s made its debut in the Philadelphia metro area in 2012 with a Broomall location. A second area location opened last year in West Chester.. . . more

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Brass Tap Crafts Franchise Growth and 'Great Times'

The leading upscale craft beer bar, The Brass Tap, is gearing up for nationwide franchise expansion with a strong development plan that is redefining the franchise bar concept in the lucrative craft beer market.

At the heart of the fastest growing craft beer concept, closing in on the milestone opening of its 50th location, is a focus on local. . . . more

Dog-friendly restaurant chain slated for first CO location

Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar, a California-based chain that has menu items for patrons and their four-legged friends, has planted its first Colorado location.

It is looking to open its 25th restaurant in Westminster on Dec. 20, with plans for a second Colorado location to open in Aurora next spring.. . . more

Consumers have plenty of holiday shopping left to do

December 23 is shaping up as a crucial day for retailers.

Fifty-three percent of consumers — about 126 million people — plan to shop this weekend on “Super Saturday,” the last Saturday before Christmas, according to the annual survey released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics...more

Home goods retailer’s net earnings continue to tumble in Q3

While Bed Bath & Beyond’s net earnings continue to slide, strong digital sales helped the chain beat analyst estimates for the third quarter.

The company’s net earnings took a hit for the quarter ending Nov. 25, topping out at $61.3 million, compared with $126.4 million for the fiscal 2016 third quarter. While earnings were $.44 per diluted share compared to $.85 for the same period last year, this was above analyst expectations of an estimated $0.37 per share, according to Nasdaq.. . . more

Reuters: Chinese firm only bidder for Vitamin World

A Chinese company is set to acquire Vitamin World Corp.

Feihe International Inc. will purchase Vitamin World, which is based in Holbrook, New York, out of bankruptcy for $28 million, according to Reuters. There were reportedly no other bidders.. . . more

Allston Beer Bar Sunset Grill & Tap Has Shuttered

Pour one out for Boston’s original beer bar: The Sunset Grill & Tap and its upstairs pool hall, Patron’s, have closed for good.. . . more

Restaurants, retail groups hail passage of tax plan

Trade associations and other bodies representing foodservice and food retailers hailed Congress’ passing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, but some trade unions and other organizations condemned the bill...more

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Here are the 26 retailers and apparel companies most at risk in 2018

SEARS HOLDINGSAs holiday revelers put the finishing touches on their gift lists, some of the stores where they've been shopping may face a rough new year ahead.

The number of U.S. retail and apparel companies at potential risk of defaulting on their debts or seeking bankruptcy court protection continues to grow, according to an analysis by rating agency Moody's for USA TODAY. The list surpasses levels reached during the last recession and may signal worsening financial struggles in 2018.. . . more

East Coast's Largest Mall Is Trying Something Other Than Stores

king-of-prussia-mallKing of Prussia Mall, a 2.8 million-square-foot shopping wonderland northwest of Philadelphia, is the type of destination center that mall defenders say can defy the rise of online shopping. It’s a sprawling complex that houses stores from all corners of the retail universe, more than 50 food venues and a concierge lounge. Yet it still has to grapple with today’s reality, such as a J.C. Penney that shut down in July and left a hole in a key anchor spot.

Owner Simon Property Group Inc., the largest U.S. mall landlord, sees the closure as an opportunity -- to bet on non-retail uses. For the first time since Woolworth’s and E.J. Korvette opened their doors more than 50 years ago, a sizable chunk of land at King of Prussia will be dedicated to something other than stores and restaurants.. . . more

Online giant is the ‘go-to’ retailer for more than 75% of U.S. online consumers

Despite having an abundance of shopping options, most online consumers choose to shop on Amazon — especially during the holidays.

Seventy-six percent of Americans shopping online this holiday season expect to make most purchases on Amazon, according to CNBC’s “All-America Economic Survey.”

While Walmart comes in second place, the retailer lags far behind its rival. Only 8% of Americans who shop online are visiting the discount giant to search or check prices, according to CNBC.. . . more

The retailer that could benefit most from Toys ‘R’ Us store closures is…

As Toys “R” Us mulls another round of store closures, Target is positioned to benefit most from the fallout.

The embattled toy retailer is considering closing more than 100-plus stores. If this plan materializes, Target is primed to pick up some lost sales, according to CNBC.

According to a note to his clients, UBS analyst Michael Lasser said in the report, “93% of Toys “R” Us stores are within a 15 minute drive of a Target. Toys “R” Us and Target are exposed to a similar consumer demographic.”. . . more

2017 was the year of retail’s existential reckoning

Image result for everlane storeConsumers are still spending on retail, but which stores they’re going to and what they’re spending on is fundamentally changing. The year wasn’t so much an apocalypse as a reckoning, and the common thread through these events has been brands big and small forced into pondering fundamental questions about the purpose of physical spaces. Why does a store need to exist? And what should a store actually do?

Before the internet, the answers were simpler. Stores were where customers bought things. Their other jobs included offering customers information and good service, and maybe having an atmosphere that made it enticing to enter and wander around. But selling goods was their main reason for being.. . . more

Retailers rethink physical stores as online shopping grows

Nordstrom Local opened in Oct. on Melrose Place in West Hollywood, California. Nordstrom’s newest store in Los Angeles is a 3,000-square-foot experiment called Nordstrom Local in West Hollywood’s chic Melrose shopping district. The “service-focused concept store” is tiny compared to a standard 140,000-square-foot Nordstrom department store and doesn’t stock any inventory. Instead, customers can pick up online orders, meet with personal stylists, have alterations made or even get manicures.

“What Nordstrom is doing is what we’re going to see a lot of mature retailers do,” said Steve Dennis, president of retail strategy firm SageBerry Consulting. “When they’ve run out of opportunities to open new locations, how do they continue to grow? The shift to small format has to do with getting closer to the customer.”. . . more

Looking Ahead to the New Year

There are always retail stories that make headline news, and 2017 was no exception. The Walgreens acquisition of 1,932 Rite Aid locations comes to mind, as well as the Amazon acquisition of Whole Foods Market. The entry of Lidl into the U.S. market was another top-of-mind story impacting the grocery industry. There were a number of retail bankruptcies, the largest of which included The Limited, Toy R Us, Gymboree, Payless ShoeSource, and Radio Shack.. . . more

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Top 10 SN stories of the year

Top10StoriesPromo.jpgFrom Lidl’s noisy arrival to the mega Amazon-Whole Foods deal, here are the most popular Supermarket News stories of 2017.

1. Lidl: First 20 U.S. stores to open this summer. . . more

In America’s Most Middle-Class City, the Mall Is Dying. Here’s Why

Image result for wausau CenterThe mall is failing in the most middle-class city in America, and it isn’t because its 39,000 residents don’t shop.

Shoppers here spend about 30% more than state and national averages, according to the Census Bureau. Sales-tax receipts have grown 20% in the county since 2011, and city officials say there is not one vacancy in Wausau’s downtown shopping district.. . . more

Retail industry cuts women, adds men

Image result for home depot salesmanThe loss of U.S. retail jobs in the past year has had a major impact on women while men have been making steady gains.

U.S. Census data shows categories like furniture, building materials, garden supplies, motor vehicles and parts, where men are more predominant, have been selling better than clothing and accessories, Forbes reported.. . . more

Online holiday shopping continues strong, driven by ‘a perfect storm’

E-commerce activity spiked late last week and into the weekend as consumers were likely motivated by Free Shipping Friday and other promotional offers from retailers, according to the Holiday Retail Index by Verizon, which monitors daily traffic volume to the top 25 U.S.-based online retailers throughout the holiday shopping season.

Average daily e-commerce traffic volume to U.S.-based retailers was up 16% on Friday (Dec. 15) and 17% on Saturday (Dec. 16) from these same days last year, the report found.. . . more

Jack in the Box sells struggling Qdoba for $305 million

Image result for qdobaFast-food chain Jack in the Box has agreed to sell its ailing fast-casual brand, Qdoba, to an investment firm.

Funds led by publicly traded Apollo Global Management will pay about $305 million for the Qdoba chain, which is struggling with fast-casual competition as well as higher commodity costs and labor expenses.. . . more

Bankrupt Toys ‘R’ Us Weighs Closing at Least 100 Stores

Image result for toys r usToys “R” Us Inc., which filed for bankruptcy in September, is considering closing at least 100 U.S. stores in the face of weak holiday sales, according to people with knowledge of the situation.

U.S. sales have declined about 15 percent this Christmas-shopping season from a year earlier, according to people recently briefed on the matter, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. The number of closed stores could reach approximately 200, one of the people said, but no decision has been made.. . . more

Bruegger’s Bagels closes 30 bakeries

Image result for bruegger's bagelsEinstein Noah Group announced this week it would close 30 Bruegger’s Bagels bakeries throughout the country, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reported.

The announcement comes a few months after Caribou Coffee Co., also part of the Einstein Noah Group, bought Bruegger’s Bagels, according to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.. . . more

Monday, December 18, 2017

The Limited, Toys R Us and Gymboree among 11 retail bankruptcies impacting mall investors

The Limited didn't have the most stores or make the most money, but its bankruptcy was the largest in 2017 in terms of its impact on an important part of the real estate investment market, according to a new report from data and investment analysis firm Trepp, which specializes in the market for commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS).

Trepp found that more than $35 billion in CMBS debt is exposed to retailers that filed for bankruptcy protection this year. Commercial mortgage-backed securities typically bundle multiple commercial property loans of varying risk profiles into securities that can be sold to third parties. . . . more

Attention Retail Investors And Vendors: Beware of January 10, 2018

Image result for christmas season markdownsThere are two days you should remember when trying assess the potential of a retailer: December 17, 2017 and January 10, 2018. Both dates are important and suggest how well a company will do in the future. The December date is when most chain retailers take early markdowns of merchandise that is not selling well during the Christmas selling season. Many stores experience sluggish sales during the first part of December and try to create excitement with three-day sales and other promotional activities. This is not unusual.

That is why I am much more concerned about the January 10, 2018 date. That is the day when all bills come due and must be paid. Most retailers will be able to generate plenty of cash in December and can pay their vendors.. . . more

Analyst says Costco’s online business is poised to take off

Linda Wentzel shops for clothing at a Costco Wholesale store in East Peoria, Illinois.Costco shares tumbled this summer on worries the Amazon-Whole Foods Market merger will hurt the retailer's business.

But one Wall Street firm says the retailer's e-commerce growth will be a catalyst to lift Costco stock to new heights.. . . more

How Target CEO Brian Cornell is Facing Down a Retail Apocalypse

target storeWhen Brian Cornell joined Target Corp. three years ago, the cheap-chic retailer was reeling from slumping sales and a hacking attack that exposed the personal data of millions of customers.

He simplified things by pulling the company out of Canada, farming out its drugstore business and focusing on the stylish clothing and home d├ęcor items for which “Tar-zhay” is famous. Now facing increased competition from Inc. and a resurgent Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Cornell, 58, has responded by unveiling a $7 billion plan to open smaller urban stores, remodel others and lower prices.. . . more

Kimco’s Conor Flynn Discusses the Future of the Retail Sector

Image result for kimco shopping centerSince it steers clear of department-store-dependent assets, shopping center REIT Kimco Realty Corp. has largely escaped the turmoil that’s been dragging down discretionary retailers. Yet in many cases, Kimco is being painted with the same broad brush that has stained retail landlords whose properties are anchored by department stores.

The 2017 holiday shopping season could help paint a sharper picture for Kimco and other retail landlords, though. Conor Flynn, CEO of Kimco, is enthused about this holiday shopping season, based on projections of roughly 3.5 percent to 4.5 percent growth in retail sales compared with 2016.
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