Friday, July 20, 2018

Amazon bulks up its online grocery market share

Supermarket News
Amazon.com Inc. has captured 18% of U.S. online grocery sales since 2017, giving it the largest share by far of any single retailer, according to e-commerce intelligence firm One Click Retail.

In a report released Thursday, One Click Retail estimated Amazon’s second-quarter grocery sales at $650 million, up 40% year over year. That growth comes with “nearly every category attracting more and more grocery shoppers to Amazon,” according to report author Jacob Porter, director of global marketing at One Click.. . . more

Shopping malls want to make you pay for prime parking spots

New York Post
Malls across the country, having lost millions of customers to online rivals, hope to win shoppers back with a rather odd marketing plan: pay for parking.

In partnership with an app called MyPark, malls and outlet centers are starting to reserve the best parking spots — those nearest the stores — and will allow shoppers to reserve those spots, for a fee.. . . more

Rents keep dropping in New York as a new wave of retail moves in

CNBC
Retail rents in New York keep dropping, opening up the door for a new wave of stores to move in.

Average rent prices in a dozen of 16 main retail corridors in New York fell in the past 12 months, according to a new report from CBRE. The average advertised rent fell by a little more than 12 percent to $658 per square foot and landlords are more willing to take less, the commercial real estate services firm found.. . . more

Walmart reportedly launching low-cost video-on-demand service

Chain Store Age
Walmart is entering the subscription-video space.

In a move that would compete with Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, Walmart plans to launch a low-cost subscription-video service. The streaming service will launch through the company’s digital-entertainment division, Vudu, according to Variety. . . . more

Discounter expands same-day deliveries in the Empire State

Chain Store Age
Target is leveraging its acquisition of Shipt to get online orders into the hands of New York customers faster.

On Thursday, the discounter announced that it is expanding its same-day shipping service through Shipt across stores in 10 regions within the greater New York City metro area. Customers will be able to order from more than 55,000 groceries, essentials, home, electronics, and toys, among other products.. . . more

NRF, White House make a ‘pledge’ to bolster retail career opportunities

Chain Store Age
The National Retail Federation is joining forces with the Trump administration to increase the skills of current and future retail workers.

On Thursday, the NRF signed the White House’s “Pledge to America’s Workers.” The move positions both the NRF Foundation’s Rise Up job training program, and student program that exposes college students to career opportunities in the retail industry to help create enhanced career opportunities for 250,000 individuals over the next five years.. . . more

Timeline: The Evolution of the Grocery-Anchored Sector Since Amazon's Acquisition of Whole Foods

NREI
The grocery-anchored sector has long been considered "Internet-proof." But with Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods roughly one year ago, some grocers have been racing to improve their omnichannel offerings. Meanwhile, some smaller players have stumbled. Here is a look at some of the changes over the past year.. . . more

Thursday, July 19, 2018

What’s the Outlook for the Grocery Sector in the Age of Amazon?

NREI
Nearly one year after Amazon’s acquisition of organic grocer Whole Foods, the grocery-anchored shopping center sector, typically viewed as more “Internet-proof” than other segments of retail, has taken greater strides to boost its omni-channel offerings.

So far, the acquisition has not been overtly disruptive to the grocery industry, experts say. However, some grocers are still working to hedge any long-term effects of the deal, particularly as smaller chains struggle to keep up with technological pressures and price competition intensifies. These factors could lead to continued consolidation of smaller grocers and increased investor scrutiny of grocer tenants, according to those in the industry.. . . more

Report: Schnatter discussed merging Papa John's, Wendy's before resigning

Louisville Courier Journal
Papa John’s founder John Schnatter recently held talks about merging the pizza giant with Wendy’s, but the discussions cooled after reports that Schnatter had used a racial slur, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, quoting unidentified people familiar with the matter.

Papa John's spokesman Peter Collins did not immediately respond to a Courier Journal request for comment on the reported merger talks, which the Wall Street Journal described as preliminary and said began before Schnatter stepped down as chairman of the company he founded. Columbus, Ohio-based Wendy’s also did not immediately respond to an email.. . . more

Monmouth Mall is approved for live-work-play remake

Chain Store Age
The owners of New Jersey’s fourth largest mall have received approval from the Eatontown Planning Board to add 700 residential units and transform the property into a mixed-use community.

Kushner Companies’ Monmouth Mall will re-emerge as The Heights at Monmouth. Plans call for the two-story, 300,000 sq. ft. wing that includes Boscov’s department store — a longtime anchor of the 1960s-era mall — to be demolished in the reconstruction. . . . more

Worcester signs first retail pot sale agreements

Worcester Telegram
The city has signed two community host agreements with companies wanting to operate adult-use marijuana retail stores here.

They are the first such agreements Worcester has reached for local licensed marijuana sales. . . . more

Hackers account for 90% of login attempts at online retailers

Quartz
Selling stolen personal data is a big business for hackers: Somewhere on the dark web, your e-mail address and a few passwords are probably for sale (hopefully, old ones). Cyber criminals buy troves of this information to try to login to websites where they can grab something valuable like cash, airline points, or merchandise like expensive cheese. Yes, cheese.

Online retailers are hit the most by these attacks, according to a report by cyber security firm Shape Security. Hackers use programs to apply stolen data in a flood of login attempts, called “credential stuffing.” These days, more than 90% of e-commerce sites’ global login traffic comes from these attacks. . . . more

With Retail Vacancy at 9.5 Percent, Eastern Massachusetts to Continue to See the Brick-and-Mortar Fallout From the Shift Toward Online Shopping: KeyPoint Report

Boston Real Estate Times
With retail vacancy at 9.5 percent, Eastern Massachusetts will continue to see the brick-and-mortar fallout from the shift toward online shopping, according to a report released by Burlington, MA-based KeyPoint Partners, LLC.

This comprehensive The KeyPoint Report for Eastern Massachusetts/Greater Boston 2018 examines supply, occupancy, absorption, and retailer expansion and contraction for virtually every retail property in the region. This year’s Report features a special section of commentary and data on Malls in the region.. . . more

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Boylston Properties, The Wilder Cos. Secure $324M Construction Financing for Mixed-Use Redevelopment Near Boston

Real Estate Business
Developers Boylston Properties and The Wilder Cos. have secured $324 million in construction financing and joint venture equity for the development of Arsenal Yards, a six-building, mixed-use redevelopment of the former Arsenal Mall in Watertown.

HFF worked on behalf of the developers to source institutional investors advised by JP Morgan Asset Management as joint venture equity partners, providing $102 million of equity. HFF also arranged a $222 million construction loan from Wells Fargo Bank.. . . more

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Amazon breaks Prime Day records despite site crashes

Retail Dive
Amazon's first 10 hours of Prime Day outpaced the first 10 hours last year, with Prime members buying "millions" of Alexa devices, according to the e-tailer. More than three quarters (76%) of Prime Day prices beat Black Friday prices, according to an email from deals site BestBlackFriday emailed to Retail Dive. Sales will continue until 3 a.m. Eastern time.

The company acknowledged it had a rough start, with many shoppers unable to make purchases because of site problems, encountering error messages with cute puppies instead. . . . more

Awakening the Dream in the Meadowlands

New Jersey Monthly
For years, it hulked stagnant over the Meadowlands like a massive, forgotten Tinkertoy. But if you drive past it today on Route 3 or the New Jersey Turnpike, the mall once named Xanadu and now rechristened American Dream is rising anew.

But don’t call it a mall—not these days. Don Ghermezian, president of Edmonton, Canada-based Triple Five Worldwide, which took over development of the project in 2011, made that clear when he spoke to Bloomberg in late 2016. He refers to American Dream as “the center of the universe.”. . . more

Property Investors Scrounge Through Retail Ruins for Bargains

The Wall Street Journal
Many property investors these days recoil from owning retail-oriented real estate, worried that most shopping centers are on their way toward extinction.

Then there is Brian Kosoy.

The chief executive office of the Sterling Organization, a private-equity firm based in Palm Beach, Fla., said his firm is poised this month to close a nearly $500 million real-estate fund to invest in grocery-anchored shopping centers, street retail and other shopping centers across the U.S.
. . . more

Gap Sues Westfield Over Mall Expenses as Tensions Rise in Retail World

The Wall Street Journal
Gap Inc. is suing high-end-mall operator Westfield for allegedly overcharging the fashion retailer in an action that underscores the sometimes-tense relationship between landlords and tenants as e-commerce transforms the retail sector.

Other well-known U.S. retailers, such as Starbucks and Saks Fifth Avenue, have duked it out with landlords in court recently as they’ve sought to trim costs amidst a glut of shopping-center space. Mall vacancies in the U.S. recently hit a six-year high, with strip malls and neighborhood centers particularly hard-hit.. . . more

Alberstons narrows loss in Q1

Chain Store Age
Ahead of its planned acquisition of Rite Aid, Albertsons’ solid e-commerce and private label helped narrow its loss for the quarter.

For the period ended June 16, the Boise, Idaho-based company’s net loss was $17.7 million, down from 204.9 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2017.

Albertsons’ identical sales increased 0.2%, with a sales and other revenue increase of $18.7 billion, or roughly 1%, which it said was largely driven by a $154 million boost in fuel sales.. . . more

IHOP launches national delivery program through partnership with DoorDash

USA Today
Whether it's pancakes, burgers or something else, IHOP is launching a service to speed them to customers' doors.

The chain, once the International House of Pancakes before the name was shortened, announced a partnership Tuesday with food delivery service DoorDash.. . . more

Amazon’s Prime Day runs into early snags

Seattle Times
Amazon’s website ran into some early snags Monday on its much-hyped Prime Day, an embarrassment for the tech company on the shopping holiday it created.

Shoppers clicking on many Prime Day links after the 3 p.m. ET launch in the U.S. got only images of dogs — some quite abashed-looking — with the words, “Uh-oh. Something went wrong on our end.” People took to social media to complain that they couldn’t order items.. . . more

Monday, July 16, 2018

Grocery channel has private brand problem, study says

Supermarket News
Though 2017 was a comeback year for private label retail sales, grocery stores have seen some of that business siphoned away by other retailers, new research from the Food Marketing Institute and IRI reveals.

U.S. private-label sales rose 4.1% to $138 billion last year across multiple retail outlets, according to the FMI-IRI report “Power of Private Brands,” released this week. That compared with a 1.3% uptick to $929 billion for all brands.. . . more

Three weapons in the online grocery delivery war

Chain Store Age
The online grocery battle continues to heat up, and traditional supermarket operators are feeling the pressure.

Consumers expect faster, more convenient ways to shop for and receive their groceries. They want options that enable them to purchase weekly staples via laptop, mobile apps, or in some cases, by holding a conversation with a voice-enabled smart speaker. . . . more

Gymboree, a rare retailer to emerge from bankruptcy last year, launches its reboot on Amazon Prime Day

CNBC
Monday, Gymboree is announcing its refreshed personality, product and digital presence. The retailer relaunched its websites and is debuting a new app this week with augmented reality features. In taking these steps, Gymboree hopes its makeover will fix some of the reasons it struggled: growing online competition, a debt-laden balance sheet and a need to woo shoppers with better value.

A quarter of Gymboree’s sales come from its websites, and the retailer is offering as much as 80 percent off on its three brands’ sites, coinciding with Amazon Prime Day. . . . more

Specialty retail vs Amazon: Is it the same old story?

Retail Dive
Specialty retailers might believe they’re superior fashion players, but they can’t ignore the apparel industry’s incoming Goliath. Amazon will soon dominate the $217 billion U.S. apparel market. Upending fashion conventions is one thing, volume and scale are another. Can specialty retailers survive Amazon’s rise in apparel?

Sometime this year, Amazon will become the biggest apparel retailer in the U.S. But when it comes to fashion, it’s just not a very good one. Neither is Walmart, by the way, which will be eclipsed by the e-commerce giant to claim the top spot. That’s the tough lesson for the apparel industry — Amazon doesn’t have to be better at fashion to upend the apparel world, it only needs to be 'just ok.'. . . more

Target going head-to-head with Amazon

Chain Store Age
Amazon isn’t the only retailer running big deals on Prime Day.

Add Target Corp. to the list of retailers who plan to give the online giant a run for its money with their own summer sales. Target’s one-day sales event, which is set to kick off on Tuesday, July 17, will run online, and no membership is required to shop. The sale will feature deals across most of its categories. Merchandise across private-label brands will also be included.. . . more

US bankers warn on commercial property risks

Boston Business Journal
US bankers have warned about mounting risks in commercial real estate, with figures showing they are putting the brakes on loans to buyers of office buildings, hotels and shopping malls.

Executives said they were refusing to sign off on as many property deals because they were worried about overheating, even as they extend more credit to much of the rest of corporate America.. . . more

US retail sales rise at a healthy 0.5 percent pace in June

Boston Herald
U.S. retail sales rose at a solid pace last month despite higher prices and modest wage gains, a sign of underlying consumer optimism.

The Commerce Department said Monday that sales at retailers and restaurants increased 0.5 percent in June, following a big 1.3 percent gain the previous month. May's figure was revised sharply higher from an initial estimate of 0.8 percent. . . . more

Friday, July 13, 2018

Newbury Street holds the retail throne

Boston Realty Advisors
You see it and hear it everywhere – retail is evolving. E-commerce giants have given consumers more convenient and affordable alternatives; but the reality is brick and mortar is keeping up. For evidence of this, you don’t need to look any further than Newbury Street, the epicenter of Boston’s retail.

Originally a residential neighborhood, Newbury has since pivoted into Boston’s quintessential shopping district, taking on a life and meaning far beyond its beginnings.. . . more

These are the retail brands that will be hurt most by Chinese tariffs

MarketWatch
Among the retailers and brands that could be most impacted from the proposed 10% tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods are Best Buy Co. Inc., Michael Kors Holdings Ltd., and Coach parent Tapestry Inc., say analysts.

Raymond James analysts led by Dan Wewer think every company in its research universe will be hurt by the proposed tariffs, but say consumer electronics giant Best Buy and arts-and-crafts shop Michael Cos. Inc. are “the most vulnerable.”. . . more

Still Some Weeks To Go Before Retail Cannabis Sales In Mass. Begin

WBUR News
To date, the state Cannabis Control Commission has granted only five provisional licenses to two companies. Only one of those licenses is for a retail store. That license went to Cultivate Holdings in Leicester.

More are expected to come down the line, but the process has been slow, frustrating marijuana proponents, as well as one legislator who is a key author of the state’s marijuana law.. . . more

To gauge retail growth, follow the warehouses

Chain Store Age
Prime logistics rents — the top prices for quality warehouse and distribution center space — ratcheted up by 100 basis points in the year ending March 31. That’s a sure indicator of retail health, according to one of the world’s largest commercial real estate services firms.

A report from CBRE states that the 3.2% rent increase worldwide and the 4.8% rise in the United States resulted from strengthening economies and greater demand for goods — whether purchased online or in stores. . . . more

Soon there will be only one Blockbuster video store left in the US

USA Today
Two of the three remaining Blockbuster video locations in the U.S. will soon close, according to an announcement made Thursday.

Blockbuster Alaska announced the closure of its two Anchorage stores, saying inventory will be liquidated through the months of July and August.

The announcement, which came in a Thursday Facebook post, means there will be only one remaining location of the iconic franchise left in America: Bend, Oregon. . . . more

Investors Punish L Brands After Victoria Secret’s Weakness

The Wall Street Journal
Victoria's Secret, the flagship beauty and lingerie line for L Brands Inc., simply isn’t resonating with shoppers.

Revenue from Victoria's Secret products fell 1% for the five-week period ended July 7, compared with the same period last year, L Brands Chief Investor Relations Officer Amie Preston said in an audio message accompanying its latest sales report. Fewer customers visited stores for Victoria’s Secret’s semiannual sale, forcing the company to lengthen it by about two weeks and slash already reduced prices.. . . more

Activewear retailer Outdoor Voices opens in the Seaport

Boston Business Journal
Activewear retailer Outdoor Voices is opening a store in Boston's Seaport District on Friday, marking its first New England location and eighth in the U.S.

In an interview, Tyler Haney, CEO of the Austin, Texas-based company, said Outdoor Voices chooses new retail locations based a city's "recreational index" — an assessment of how active its residents are.. . . more

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Customer loyalty is key to driving holiday season sales

Chain Store Age
As retailers gear up for the biggest shopping seasons of the year, they are stepping up their customer loyalty game to encourage repeat traffic both in-store and online.

To earn customer loyalty, it’s critical for retailers to safeguard and protect personal information (76%); reward them with personalized discounts or special offers (73%); and interact with them through their preferred communication channel (55%), according to “Building Loyalty with Dynamic Shoppers,” a study from Valassis. . . . more

‘The retail-pocalypse is over’: Facebook unwraps holiday-ready AR, Instagram tools for merchants

The Drum
Facebook yesterday announced a group of new tools for retailers to cater to shoppers this holiday season.

In a blog post and accompanying presser at its NYC headquarters, the social platform gave brands a 123-day head start on reaching shoppers before, during, and after the holiday season. The Drum selected some of the highlights from Facebook’s new product offerings for retailers of all kinds.. . . more

Old Navy launches in-store pickup; rolls out new store experience

Chain Store Age
Gap’s value apparel brand is getting online orders into its shoppers’ hands faster. It’s also updating the look of its stores.

Old Navy has launched a buy online, pickup in-store service at all stores nationwide. After placing an order, customers have seven days to visit the store to pick up their purchase at a specially designated kiosk, according to a Gap Inc. blog.. . . more

J.C. Penney to expand in Big Apple

Chain Store Age
J.C. Penney is capitalizing on the growth of the New York City market.

The department store retailer announced the opening of a new location in Brooklyn, at Kings Plaza shopping center. The 75,000-sq.-ft. store, designed from the ground up for energy efficiency, will open on Aug. 10.. . . more

Target Drive Up service now offered in 25 states

Supermarket News
Target Corp. has rolled out its Drive Up curbside pickup service to 200 more stores in the Midwest.

With the expansion, more than 800 stores in 25 states now offer Drive Up service for online purchases of groceries, household essential items and other products. Target said it will launch curbside pickup in additional markets late next month.. . . more

The Net Lease Retail Market Is Showing a Shift, with Higher Cap Rates and More Listings

NREI
Cap rates for net lease retail properties have finally pushed upward.

The average retail cap rate for net lease properties during the second quarter of 2018 reached 6.2 percent, an increase of 10 basis points from first quarter, according to Second Quarter National Net Lease Report from the Boulder Group, a national net lease commercial real estate firm. The last time the rate increased that much was in the second quarter of 2011. . . . more

Sears laid off 200 more people at its corporate offices

CNBC
More layoffs have taken place at the corporate offices of Sears Holdings in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.

According to a WARN notice filed in Illinois a few weeks ago that was obtained by CNBC, about 200 workers have been laid off from the department store chain, with about 150 of those working specifically at Sears’ Hoffman Estates support center. . . . more

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Nordstrom investors balk at 5-year plan

Retail Dive
Nordstrom has big ambitions for growth, but investors and analysts don't seem to be entirely convinced. The upscale department store retailer was downgraded by Cowen & Co. analysts early this month, citing pressures on full-line sales, store traffic and margins and a need to improve its off-price Rack division.

Executives on Tuesday acknowledged that women's apparel at Rack missed the mark in a big way and that they're attuned to what they need to do to execute better. Off-price comps grew just 0.4% in the first quarter of 2018, down from 4% growth in the fourth quarter of 2017. . . . more

Snapchat update reportedly hints at Amazon partnership

Chain Store Age
Snapchat could potentially make it easier for users to make a purchase from Amazon.

Code buried within the social media channel’s Android app update includes an unreleased “visual search” feature that connects users to Amazon’s product listings, according to TechCrunch.

Codenamed “Eagle,” the service encourages users to “press and hold” the camera feature to identify an object, song, or barcode. The data is then sent to Amazon, Shazam or other partners. Once an object’s data or barcode has been scanned, it is sent to Amazon. Users are then linked to the product on Amazon’s website, according to the report.. . . more

Oprah expands her food empire

money.cnn.com
Winfrey's latest investment is in True Food Kitchen, a healthy restaurant chain backed by celebrity doctor Andrew Weil. Specific terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but the Phoenix-based chain said she's also joining the restaurant's board of directors and will "collaborate and consult" with True Food Kitchen's leadership team.

True Food Kitchen has grown to 23 locations in 10 states since its founding in 2008. It plans to double its store count in the next three years with a focus on an East Coast expansion. . . . more

The end of Annie Sez: From off-price obsession to retail has-been

northjersey.com
The Annie Sez slogan used to be "It's not just a store. It's an obsession." Soon, the New Jersey-based Annie Sez will no longer be a store and the brand will be a retail has-been.

The Canadian parent company of the brand is converting most of the Annie Sez stores to its sister chain, Mandee, and closing some stores as the leases expire.. . . more

Kate Hudson's Fabletics athleisure line plans to open 75 new stores in global push

CNBC
As Fabletics celebrates five years as a fashion brand in the athleisure industry — athletic wear designed for working out or running errands — it's mapped out an aggressive growth strategy amid a competitive landscape that includes rivals Lululemon, Gap's Athleta, Nike and Tory Burch Sport.

The privately held retailer, owned by ShoeDazzle and JustFab parent company TechStyle Fashion Group, is planning to open 75 new stores across the U.S. and overseas, bringing its total to 100. . . . more

Walmart to open more convenience stores

The Dallas Morning News
Walmart has decided that it likes convenience stores and will be opening more of them in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Plano gets the next one. A 2,900 square-foot convenience store with eight fuel pumps will open at 6000 Coit Road in Plano on Wednesday.

Three more convenience stores are planned for Arlington, Lake Worth and Lewisville later this year, said Anne Hatfield, Walmart spokeswoman in Texas. . . . more

10 Up-and-Coming Retail Chains to Watch

NREI
There is no shortage of bad news when it comes to retail real estate. The sector is undergoing a lot of change, those in the industry admit. But behind the wave of store closures—there have been 4,146 major U.S. store closing announcements year-to-date in 2018, according to a recent tally from research firm’s CoreSight Research—there are many retailers that are growing their brick-and-mortar presence in the United States. Store opening announcements during the same time period totaled 2,042.

Here is a look at several up-and-coming and expanding retailers in the United States.. . . more

New Target store planned for Cape Cod

Boston Herald
The retail giant Target has announced plans on Tuesday to open a store in Hyannis' Cape Cod Mall in 2019.

The company has signed a lease with Simon Property Group for an 80,000-square-foot store.. . . more

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

U.S. retail CEOs expect M&A activity to drive bullish growth

Chain Store Age
The nation’s retail chief executives are bullish on growth.

That’s one of the findings of KPMG LLP’s 2018 U.S. CEO Outlook report, in which 83% of CEOs in the consumer and retail industry say they are very confident about the growth prospects of their companies during the next three years. Mergers and acquisitions were cited as the top (38%) growth driver, followed by third-party strategic alliances (23%). M&A activity is expected to transform retailers’ business models faster than organic growth, reduce costs, increase market share and on-board new technologies, according to KPMG.. . . more

Nordstrom expanding its inventory-free, small store concept

Chain Store Age
Nordstrom said it plans to open two more Nordstrom Local stores in Los Angeles, one downtown and one in the Brentwood section. (There are also plans to expand to Manhattan, according to reports.)

Nordstrom opened the first — and still only — Nordstrom Local in October, on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. The 3,000-sq.-ft. store is designed as a neighborhood hub that offers an array of services, including onsite tailoring and alterations, curbside pickup, and buy online pickup in store. . . . more

Iconic off-price fashion retailer highlights ‘best of best’ in new format

Chain Store Age
Century 21 has become the latest retailer to try on a smaller-sized concept.

The high-end, off-price fashion retailer, known for its discounted designer fashions, unveiled a small-store format, called Century 21 Edition, at Staten Island Mall, Staten Island, New York. It recently opened a second location, at Roosevelt Field Mall, Garden City, New York. . . . more

Shopping struggles: These 11 retailers may not survive 2018

USA Today
Many North American retailers were wiped out in the “retail apocalypse” which started in 2010. Amazon and Walmart’s growth, the rise of fast fashion retailers, reserved spending habits after the Great Recession, and dying malls crushed countless retailers.

Some retailers survived the downturn by closing stores and expanding their e-commerce presence, but others weren’t as lucky. Let’s examine eleven retailers which could struggle to remain relevant this year. . . . more

Four Words Missing in the New Tax Law Give Restaurants Heartburn

The Wall Street Journal
As intended, a new tax law would have let companies deduct their renovation costs immediately, rather than over many years, providing an incentive to do such work.

Instead, as written, companies must depreciate building-renovation costs over 39 years—a less favorable rule than existed before Congress changed the law.

The problem is the statute lacks the words “any qualified improvement property” in the correct place, which would have made these improvements eligible for the first-year write-offs that apply to equipment purchases and other items.. . . more

Dunkin’ defends franchise agreements in face of Healey probe

Boston Business Journal
Dunkin’ Brands and seven other restaurant chains face an investigation by state attorneys general, including Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, over limits they may place on workers switching from one franchisee to another.

Each of the companies that received a letter has a presence in Massachusetts. In addition to Dunkin’, the attorneys general sent letters to Panera Bread, Arby’s, Burger King, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Little Caesars, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen and Wendy’s.. . . more

The Fresh Market Closing 15 Stores In Nine States, including Bedford, NH

The Shelby Report
The Fresh Market Inc. announced that it plans to close 15 stores in Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin. This decision was made following the completion of an organizational analysis and careful consideration of the overall growth strategy and long-term financial performance of the company, the Greensboro, North Carolina-based specialty grocer said, adding, “We do not expect any further store closures in the foreseeable future.”

CEO Larry Appel noted that the company has been in the midst of a “turnaround plan” for the past eight months. . . . more

Monday, July 9, 2018

More Uncertainty for Barnes & Noble as Struggling Bookseller Fires CEO

NREI
Barnes & Noble is without a CEO once again.

The troubled big-box book chain terminated CEO Demos Parneros for “violations of the company’s policies,” according to a July 3 company press release. He was the company’s fourth CEO in the past five years.. . . more

Mall Makeovers, Big Box Availability Benefit Retail Growth

CoStar
To glimpse the future of retail development for the second half of 2018, look no further than the Village at Totem Lake in Kirkland, Washington.
The 45-year-old shopping mall will soon boast 850 luxury apartments, plazas with fountains, a pool, a gourmet grocer and a high-end movie theater.

The development is at the forefront of mall makeovers picking up across the country, transforming large, drab slabs of concrete into community centers. The phenomenon joins two other trends that will shape the retail sector for the rest of 2018 and beyond: developers seizing costly opportunities presented by closing big-box stores and brick-and-mortar retailers adopting eye-catching technologies to engage shoppers. . . . more

Mall Tenants Had an Out When Giants Like Macy’s Left. Now Landlords Bar the Door

NREI
The only thing more dangerous for America’s malls than a string of apparel-chain bankruptcies is when the trouble hits department stores.

Retailers like J.C. Penney Co. and Macy’s Inc. are considered “anchors” that keep malls humming and foot traffic flowing. They’re so important to the ecosystem that smaller tenants may refuse to set up shop without a promise that the anchors will stick around: Many leases include so-called co-tenancy clauses that let them cut and run or pay less if those key tenants depart.. . . more

Retail industry loses jobs in June

Chain Store Age
Jobs in the retail industry are up over last year, but down from last month.

Retail industry employment in June increased by 50,200 jobs unadjusted over the same time last year despite a seasonally adjusted drop from May of 25,800, according to the National Retail Federation. (The NRF numbers exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants.) Overall, U.S. businesses added 213,000 jobs over May, the Labor Department said.. . . more

Trade War Already Threatens to Ruin Christmas for Retailers

Bloomberg
It may only be July, but Christmas is fast-approaching for U.S. retailers -- and the threat of an escalating trade war with China has industries that have so far been spared increasingly worried their goods will be next on the naughty list.

President Donald Trump’s threat to slap tariffs on at least another $200 billion in goods from China -- on top of the $34 billion that went into effect on Friday -- are ramping up fears that the all-important holiday-shopping season will be a casualty in the battle with America’s largest trading partner.. . . more

Costco changes up food court menu, but the $1.50 hot dog deal remains

The Seattle Times
There is a significant contingent of people who track Costco’s bargain food court menu and revere the hot dog combo, sold for $1.50 with a soda since almost the beginning. For many, it’s the singular reason for countless trips to the warehouse retailer – incidental big-screen television purchases notwithstanding.

These people probably already knew the latest development: The Polish hot dog is going off the menu at many Costco stores around the Seattle area and beyond.. . . . more

Hobby Lobby, Burlington Expected to Move Into Empty Toys ‘R’ Us Stores

The Wall Street Journal
Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., Burlington Stores Inc. and TJX Cos. are among the retailers expected to fill the spaces vacated by defunct retailer Toys “R” Us Inc., according to one of the nation’s biggest owners of open-air shopping centers.

More than 700 Toys “R” Us stores in the U.S. closed their doors last week after the retailer abandoned its plan to reorganize in a chapter 11 bankruptcy case. Many retailers also bid on Toys “R” Us locations in bankruptcy court, including Big Lots Inc., Scandinavian Designs, Ashley Homestores Ltd. and Ollie’s Bargain Outlet Holdings Inc., a filing shows. . . . more

Friday, July 6, 2018

New Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works Open at University Mall, Vermont

KeyPoint Partners
KeyPoint Partners, LLC (KPP) announces the opening of the Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works stores at University Mall (UMall) in South Burlington, Vermont. KPP Vice President of Leasing Don Mace negotiated a lease with L Brands last year for an expansion and relocation of the long-time tenants.

The Victoria’s Secret expansion is one of several ongoing initiatives to re-merchandise the Mall and improve foot traffic, Mace says. KPP also negotiated leases with Target, H&M, and Shoe Dept. Encore to open stores at University Mall this year.. . . more

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

U.S. Retail Vacancies Marginally Rise in Second Quarter: Reis

US News and World Report
U.S. retail vacancies rose marginally to 10.2 percent in the second quarter, hurt by bankrupt toy retailer Toys "R" Us Inc's store closures, real estate research firm Reis Inc said in a report on Monday.

Toys "R" Us stores across the United States marked their final day in business on Friday.. . . more

CVS, Walgreens stand to lose the most from Amazon-PillPack deal

Chain Store Age
Amazon’s acquisition of PillPack is a warning shot in what is about to become a major battle within the pharmacy space. Not only has Amazon finally made a solid move into pharmacy, it has done so via an innovative supplier which helps patients manage and organize their prescription drugs.

In our view, this is only the first play in what will be an increasingly aggressive strategy by Amazon to develop a much more significant presence in the pharmacy market. This is incredibly bad news for traditional players, like Walgreens and CVS, who stand to lose the most from Amazon’s determination to grow its share.. . . more

1.5 million-sq.-ft. New Jersey mall to close

Chain Store Age
When its last surviving tenant, Sears, closes in September, so too will the Marketplace at Burlington in New Jersey.

Once a strong regional draw in this town located between Trenton and Philadelphia, the former Burlington Center Mall owned by Moonbeam Capital LLC flourished with 1.5 million sq. ft. of retail. Now local government officials are left to seek a new use for this huge tract in the middle of their community. . . . more

Sears adds more stores to closings list; 78 set to close in September

USA Today
Ten more Sears and Kmart stores have been added to the growing list of locations slated for closure, a move that represents another step in the diminishment of what were once two of the nation's most prominent shopping chains.

Sears Holdings, which owns both chains, said it informed employees Thursday that it would be shuttering nine Sears stores and one Kmart in late September. Liquidation is scheduled to begin as early as July 13, the company said in a statement.. . . more

Irish deep-discount clothing chain expands in U.S.

Boston Business Journal
Irish deep-discount fashion retailer Primark is expanding its presence in the U.S., opening a ninth U.S. store in Brooklyn.

The company opened its first U.S. store in Boston in 2015 and has locations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut and New York. The retailer plans to open two more U.S. stores this year, per Chain Store Age, including one in Florida. . . . more

Nordstrom shares tumble on analyst downgrade, concern about brick-and-mortar store sales

CNBC
Shares of Nordstrom tumbled 3 percent in early morning trading Monday after the stock was downgraded as same-store sales at the upscale retailer's brick-and-mortar locations decline and its chain of discount stores, Nordstrom Rack, comes under pressure.

The company's off-price division, Rack, "remains a work in progress as digital strength has masked weak physical store comps," Cowen analyst Oliver Chen said in a research note Monday. He said same-store sales at Nordstrom Rack have declined for the past six quarters, underperforming other off-price rivals like Ross Stores and TJX. . . . more

Leicester startup first licensed pot seller

Boston Herald
Leicester-based Cultivate Holdings yesterday became the first startup in Massachusetts awarded a provisional license to sell adult-use recreational marijuana.

Sam Barber, 25, president of Cultivate, said he’s hoping for a September opening on the town’s Main Street to begin selling weed-laced edibles and potions seven days a week. But with no independent lab yet online to test his products, he’s got a few more hurdles to clear with the Cannabis Control Commission.. . . more

Monday, July 2, 2018

Simon Property Malls to Offer More Happy Returns Stores Now

Nasdaq
Simon Property Group, Inc. announced that it will expand the Happy Returns services available at its malls to several other locations. This will enable an increasing number of customers to return purchases made online at malls where Simon Guest Services is available.

Notably, Happy Returns already has a significant presence in Simon's malls. The recent agreement will see the company expanding in additional 16 centers owned by Simon Property. . . . more

Brick-and-mortar retail's most important renovation: The workforce

Retail Dive
Want a look at the future of brick-and-mortar retail? Stop by your local REI store.

There you will find associates who are passionate about the outdoors, who have used the gear the store offers and can tell you exactly what you need for your next skiing holiday or camping trip and exactly how to use it. Their employer picks up the tab for field trips and supplemental training, treats associates with respect, and pays them a living wage that signals management’s high regard for its workers and what they have to offer. No wonder those associates are so excited to get to work in the morning. . . . more

Investors bullish on outlet centers

Chain Store Age
Commercial real estate investors have traditionally shied away from the outlet retail sector, but that’s beginning to change, according to two CBRE executives.

“An influx of new players is beginning to broaden the sector and spark conversations about its key attributes. I’ve seen multiple private equity groups and pension funds underwriting outlet offerings,” CBRE executive VP Richard Frolik told GlobeSt.com.. . . more

Target, Walmart Automate More Store Tasks

The Wall Street Journal
Target Corp. plans to add automatic cash-counting machines to its nearly 2,000 stores starting this summer, following other retailers who are automating more store jobs as labor costs rise.

The gray machines known as cash recyclers count bills and coins quickly, but they also allow stores to digitally bank their cash and predict how much money is needed for each cashier’s shift. Target will start adding the machines to 500 stores this August, then roll them out to all U.S. stores, a Target spokeswoman said.. . . more

WeWork debuts retail format

Chain Store Age
Office-sharing giant WeWork is expanding into retail—and it has a built-in audience.

The fast-growing co-working company, which is also moving into co-living, has launched a retail concept, called WeMrkt, with the first one at a WeWork location in downtown Manhattan. The small shop sells a curated selection of merchandise, from healthy snacks to office supplies to apparel, exclusively to the company’s members. The products are made by member companies. . . . more

Walgreens Q3 earnings top Street; same-store sales flat

Chain Store Age
Walgreens Boots Alliance topped analysts’ earnings expectations amid stock repurchases even as its same-store sales disappointed.

Sales rose 14% to $34.33 billion, also better than expected. In its U.S. retail pharmacy division, sales rose 15% to $25.9 billion. Same-store sales decreased 1.2%, compared with the same quarter a year ago. . . . more

First look at Topdrawer's newest Boston store

Boston Business Journal
Japanese-American retailer Topdrawer, which sells tools for creative professionals, has opened its second Boston store, and sixth in the U.S., in Coolidge Corner.

The retailer, a division of 114-year-old Japanese stationary store Itoya, is headquartered in Boston and has locations in both Japan and the U.S. Currently, Topdrawer has 50 employees in the U.S. Its revenue has grown by more than 50 percent over the past year.. . . more

Friday, June 29, 2018

What Kohl’s Early Call for Holiday Workers Says About the State of Retail Jobs

FN
Kohl’s is getting an exceptionally early start to the holiday season this year.

On Wednesday, the retailer put out a call for seasonal workers, a full two months before most of its competitors typically start their annual hiring sprees in earnest. The chain said it plans to beef up its workforce at more than 300 of its 1,100 total stores nationwide. Hiring will continue later this summer through the fall at additional stores, along with distribution and e-commerce fulfillment centers and credit operations.. . . more

Faster delivery of nearly everything is the next big thing

Las Vegas Sun
As shoppers increasingly demand that everything from hot meals and groceries to dresses, bedding and electronics be dropped off at their doorsteps, retailers are betting big on delivery services that will get them there faster.

In the latest development, Amazon, which played a crucial role in raising shoppers' expectations for near-instant gratification in recent years, announced plans Thursday to assemble its own fleet of delivery vans that would be operated by independent contractors. . . . more

Kroger to test unconventional delivery service

Chain Store Age
A supermarket giant is embarking on a new path when it comes to grocery delivery — and its driverless.

Through a partnership with Nuro, the maker of a fully unmanned vehicle, The Kroger Co. will deliver online grocery orders using a fleet of self-driving vehicles. The test, which will be based on Nuro’s hardware and software, is expected to launch in the fall, according to the grocer. . . . more

Amazon buys Pillpack, an online pharmacy, for just under $1 billion

TechCrunch
A week after appointing a CEO for its healthcare joint venture with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan, Amazon today announced an acquisition that underscores how it also hopes to have a more direct — and more commercial — role in the world of healthcare in the coming years. The company has purchased PillPack, an online pharmacy the lets users buy medications in pre-made doses.

Terms of the deal have not been disclosed by Amazon, but sources close to the deal say it was for just under $1 billion. PillPack had reportedly been in talks with Walmart — one of Amazon’s big rivals — for an acquisition, and we confirmed that this was indeed the case. “But someone” — that is, Amazon — “came along offering more.”. . . more

Inside Target’s top secret test store

Co.Design
When she was a little girl, Erika De Salvatore fantasized about being locked in a mall when everyone else had gone home. She’d seen the 1980s rom-com Mannequin, and, after that, she imagined having free reign over the commercial space, exploring storefronts full of products after the lights went dim.

As we stroll around a huge, mostly empty retail space, she laughs about how she’s now living that fantasy. De Salvatore is the VP of visual merchandising at Target. And this is her domain: A 100,000-square-foot test store that takes up a full city block in downtown Minneapolis. You could wander here for hours and never see another soul.. . . more

Pier 1 teeing up brand relaunch for this fall

Home Textiles Today
Pier 1 stores are about to get an overhaul – with different merchandise and a new pricing grid.

New product will begin hitting stores in August, and by the fall relaunch the floor will have a materially different look and feel, president and CEO Alasdair James told investors during yesterday evening’s Q1 call. . . . more

BJ’s muscles in against warehouse giants on Wall Street

Boston Herald
Westboro-based BJ’s got a warm welcome from Wall Street even as it continues to be a laggard in the highly competitive warehouse club market.

Shares of BJ’s Wholesale Club Holdings Inc. rallied more than 29 percent to close yesterday at $22 as it returned to the public markets after seven years. . . . more

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Former Toys R Us CEO considering a revival of the bankrupt retailer

CNBC
Jerry Storch, a former CEO of bankrupt Toys R Us, is reportedly considering reviving the toy retailer and has been working with investors and bankers to stitch his plan together.

Bloomberg reported Monday afternoon that Storch has been working with Credit Suisse Group as a financial advisor, based on the news outlet's conversations with people familiar with the situation. Talks have also included Fairfax Financial Holdings, the investment firm that acquired the Canadian unit of Toys R Us, those sources told Bloomberg.. . . more

Retail marijuana not happening July 1

WickedLocal.com
There will be no legal recreational marijuana sales in Massachusetts on July 1. And though regulators expect to approve business licenses next week, there can be no legal retail sales until an independent testing laboratory applies and is licensed by the Cannabis Control Commission.

The CCC on Tuesday formally asked its staff to prioritize the review of license applications for independent testing laboratories, a critical link of the supply chain without which no retail shops can open since state law requires all marijuana sold to be tested and approved by a lab.. . . more

Fast-casual juice-bar chain continues aggressive expansion

Chain Store Age
Smoothie King, which operates nearly 1,000 locations worldwide, has inked a deal with a franchise partner that will bring the brand into new markets. John Clancy and his team at Smoothie King Midwest signed an agreement to develop 60 locations Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and central Florida, starting in Indianapolis and Palm Beach County, Florida.

Clancy, a longtime Planet Fitness franchisee with a strong background in real estate and finance, has an aggressive growth plan for the brand. He and a partner opened three Smoothie King locations in Connecticut, New York and Florida in the past year under a separate development agreement.. . . more

KKR on Role in Toys `R' Us Demise

NREI
KKR & Co.’s leveraged buyout of Toys ‘R’ Us is coming under scrutiny by state pension funds that are questioning the private equity firm’s role in the bankruptcy of the world’s largest toy retailer.

The Minnesota State Board of Investment decided last week to temporarily halt future commitments to KKR as it reviews the investment, while the Washington State Investment Board spent more than an hour Thursday discussing the holding and asking the private-equity firm to account for its actions. . . . more

Home Depot joins Walmart, others in installing lockers in stores for online orders

USA Today
Instead of navigating the aisles of a cavernous big-box store, many Home Depot customers will soon be able to go right to a little box, grab what they ordered and head out the door.

In the rush to compete in the new era of online shopping, Home Depot is joining other chains in modifying its stores to make them more convenient for those who buy on the website.. . . more

Five Below Adding 125 Stores as Growth Continues

Chain Store Guide
Five Below continues to expand. The company closed 2017 with 625 stores, having grown by 103 net units, or 19.7% on the year. For 2018, the plan is 125 stores.

The states with largest number of new stores on tap include California, Florida and Texas. In California, where Five Below opened its first store in spring 2017, the chain will nearly double its store count from 15 to 28 stores. On this year’s list of firsts is Arkansas, where the company will open at least 5 stores. Real estate requirements for all of these news stores are 8,000 to 10,000 square feet with a minimum frontage of 55 feet. . . . more

North End business owners fight planned Starbucks

Boston Herald
Family business owners in the North End are rallying against a proposed Starbucks on historic Hanover Street, decrying the business as a corporate stain on one of the country’s remaining Little Italy districts.

Connecticut-based Charter Realty plans to demolish a strip of businesses at the entrance to Hanover Street and build a Starbucks on the corner with an outdoor “piazza,” leaving business neighbors aghast.. . . more

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Special Section Preview: Eastern Massachusetts Malls

KeyPoint Partners

The 2018 KeyPoint Report on the retail real estate market in Eastern Massachusetts/Greater Boston is in production, and will be released very soon. This year’s report includes a special section on the status of traditional enclosed malls in the region. Have malls fared as badly as the business media would have us believe? It appears that, at least in this region, they’re actually holding their own. Here’s a brief excerpt from our special section:

The volume of noise that’s been heard in the media regarding a retail apocalypse is directed at enclosed regional shopping centers as much as any other segment of retail. For malls in Eastern Massachusetts, however, conditions are not so dire. . . more

Monday, June 25, 2018

Party City to open Toy City stores in wake of Toys R Us demise

CNBC
Party City said Monday it will open about 50 Toy City pop-up stores this year as Toys R Us finishes closing its last stores this week following its September bankruptcy.

Party City said it will roll out the temporary locations alongside its Halloween City pop-up shops in "optimal" markets where it found "attractive leasing opportunities." Many retailers have been able to negotiate favorable rents and lease terms because of a glut of vacant stores.. . . more

What You Need To Know About Recreational Marijuana In Mass.

WBUR
The marijuana industry in Massachusetts will hit a major milestone Sunday, as recreational sales of cannabis become legal.

But while you might be legally able to buy recreational marijuana at a pot shop, so far there aren't any licensed shops to sell it to you. That’s expected to change in the next few weeks and months.. . . more

Barnes & Noble widens loss in Q4; to open smaller format

Chain Store Age
The nation’s largest bookseller reported a wider loss in its fourth quarter over last year amid disappointing sales and charges related to turnaround initiatives.

Sales fell 3.4% to $786.1 million, which is better than analysts had expected. Same-store sales decreased 4.1%.. . . more

One last toy run! All Toys R Us stores will close on or before Friday

USA Today
Toys R Us shoppers have been taking their last selfies with Geoffrey and making their final purchases.

All Toys R Us and Babies R Us stores will close on or before Friday, the iconic toy retailer announced.

Many stores nationwide won't make it until Friday with some closing Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. . . . more

Amazon expands Prime member savings to all Whole Foods locations across U.S.

Geek Wire
Amazon’s new Prime discount program will be available at all Whole Foods locations across the U.S. this week.

Prime members who pay $119 per year can receive 10 percent discounts on sale items and other special deals. Amazon first announced the deal six weeks ago at stores in Florida and gradually expanded it to more states over the past month. Starting Wednesday, more than 400 stores will offer the deals.. . . more

Small online businesses brace for tax ruling impact

Boston Business Journal
Small- and medium-sized online retailers with limited accounting capacity could face the biggest challenge meeting new state tax collection mandates as they struggle to comply with requirements in multiple jurisdictions.

In a ruling Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court found that states can make retailers collect sales taxes on online sales even if they don't have a physical presence in the state, but did not specify what the collection threshold will be.. . . more

Out-of-stocks could be costing retailers $1T

Retail Dive
Customers are already turning online, in many cases to Amazon, to find things they can't or won't look for in stores. And the problem is being exacerbated by retailers themselves as they boost omnichannel services like click-and-collect, which deplete shelves further and take up staff time.

Customers report many reasons to go to a store rather than online to meet their needs: They want or need something immediately, want to see or try something in person, want to avoid delivery charges or support their local stores, or they just find it easier to shop in person. . . . more

Friday, June 22, 2018

‘Retail Apocalypse’ Didn’t Scare This Landlord Off an IPO

Bloomberg
U.S. landlord Essential Properties Realty Trust Inc. just went public as shares of other retail real estate owners struggle. What’s its angle?

Don’t just sell stuff.

“We focus on a very specific set of properties that have this service component, so it’s not just a generic box selling retail goods,” Chief Executive Officer Pete Mavoides said in an interview. “We own fitness centers, dental clinics, restaurants -- granular tenants that provide a service.”. . . more

Dollar General jumps into self-checkout game

Chain Store Age
Dollar General is letting some shoppers use their smartphones to pay for their order and skip the checkout line.

The discounter launched its DG Go! app, which allows customers to use their phones to scan items as they shop, and checkout directly through the app. The app, which was released in May, is available in Apple’s App store and on Google Play. . . . more

Winners, losers in Supreme Court ruling

Chain Store Age
The Supreme Court handed a victory to the nation’s brick-and-mortar retailers on Thursday, overturning ruling that e-commerce marketers only had to collect sales tax in states where they had some sort of physical presence.

Physical retailers are clearly the big winners in the Supreme Court’s decision. (It’s estimated that not collecting sales tax gives online retailers anywhere from a 5% to 9.98% advantage, depending on the state, over traditional retailers in product pricing.). . . more

Amazon Prime Day 2018 date leaked - 36 hours of deals start midday on July 16th

TechRadar
Amazon Prime Day 2018 will take place on Tuesday July 17th with deals starting at midday the day before - Monday 16th. That’s all according to a Prime Day 2018 banner published on the Amazon UK website - presumably in error - and discovered by TechRadar this morning.

The 36 hour period for Prime Day 2018 makes it the longest Prime ‘day’ ever - providing final and clinching proof that Amazon cares not for the mental health or sleep patterns of TechRadar's hard working deals team. It eclipses last year’s 30-hour period which started the evening before at 9pm and also breaks with Amazon’s recent tradition of running Prime Day on the second Tuesday in July.. . . more

J.Crew, mired in debt, is trying to turn around its business

The Washington Post
J.Crew sales have been tumbling for more than three years, amid changing consumer habits and increased competition. It is in the process of closing 70 stores, after which about 250 will remain. Add to that nearly $2 billion in debt, much of it from a 2011 leveraged buyout, and analysts say the company’s problems cast a shadow on recent turnaround efforts.

“There are so many issues here, but the biggest one is a crippling debt load — we’re talking $30 million a quarter just in interest payments,” said Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail. “It’s an eye-watering number and it makes a turnaround just about impossible.” . . . more

Target, Best Buy laud Supreme Court decision allowing states to collect taxes from online retailers

Star Tribune
Minnesota's biggest retailers heralded the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on Thursday to clear the way for states to require companies such as Amazon and Wayfair to collect sales tax.

Brick-and-mortar businesses, including Target Corp. and Best Buy Co. Inc., have long complained that they are disadvantaged by having to charge sales taxes while many of their online competitors do not. States have said that they are missing out on tens of billions of dollars in annual revenue under a 1992 Supreme Court ruling that helped spur the rise of internet shopping.. . . more

Westfield Plans To Build 670 Apartments At Montgomery Mall After Sears Closes

bisnow.com
The Sears at the Westfield Montgomery Mall is expected to close next year, and the mall owner is looking to launch a major mixed-use development on its piece of the property. 

 Westfield presented plans to the community Wednesday to build 670 apartments and 300K SF of new retail and hotel space on the 28-acre site now occupied by the Sears and the surrounding parking lot, Bethesda Magazine reports. . . . more

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Supreme Court: States can collect online sales tax

Chain Store Age
The U.S. Supreme Court has handed down its eagerly anticipated decision regarding online sales tax collection — and some digital retailers are not going to be happy.

In a 5-to-4 ruling, the court opened the door for states to collect sales taxes on companies that operate entirely online and do not have a physical presence in that state. The decision overturned a longstanding rule that states can collect sales taxes only on sales if the retailer has a “bricks and mortar” presence in that state.. . . more

22 experiential stores NYC has to offer

Retail Dive
Whether you're in Manhattan for pleasure or business, there are dozens of experiential stores to check out. Some double as community hangouts, some serve as learning experiences and some are just for the fun of it.

Here are 22 to hit up next time you're in the Big Apple. . . . more

Trader Joe’s rates high in customer experience, reports study

Supermarket News
Trader Joe’s ranked first among multichannel retailers in Forrester Research’s 2018 U.S. Customer Experience Index.

Based on a survey of more than 110,000 U.S. adults, the Forrester CX Index aims to measure and rank how well a brand’s customer experience strengthens shopper loyalty. The Cambridge, Mass.-based research firm benchmarked the customer experience quality at 287 U.S. brands, including 42 leading multichannel retailers. . . . more

Dollar General in management hiring spree

Chain Store Age
Dollar General needs more managers to support its rapid growth — and it wants them sooner rather than later.

The discounter on Thursday said that during the next 10 days it is looking to fill management roles within its retail operations, distribution centers and corporate functions. Available positions include retail district managers, retail region directors, distribution center assistant directors and distribution center supervisors.

Dollar General continues to grow at a fast pace. It is on track to open 900 stores in 2018.. . . more

Williams-Sonoma CEO: Even Amazon sees the benefits of having physical stores

CNBC
As Williams-Sonoma's business shifted from selling via catalogs to selling online, the furniture and kitchenware retailer remained consistently adamant about one thing: its stores.

"Even Amazon believes that they should have some real spaces," Laura Alber, the company's president and CEO, told CNBC on Wednesday. "When you go in a store and it's wonderful, it helps you make the purchase.". . . more

Kroger nets $2B profit on sale of convenience stores

Cincinnati Enquirer
Kroger reported a $2 billion profit Thursday for its first quarter, reaping a windfall from the sale of its convenience store business.

Excluding its $1.8 billion profit from the sale of its business, Kroger netted a $626 million profit.

Total sales rose 3.4 percent to $37.5 billion. Identical-store sales in supermarkets excluding fuel increased 1.4 percent during the fiscal quarter ended May 26.. . . more

Debt Extension Isn’t Likely to Save Sears, Experts Say

NREI
Sears Holding Corp. continues to gasp for air. However, the struggling company just got some breathing room from creditors after receiving more time to refinance its debt.

In a June 4 Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Sears says it has two additional years to pay back its lenders, including Sears CEO Eddie Lampert. The company consolidated three loans, including two real estate loans, totaling $593 million, which were due next month. The new consolidated loan’s due date has been pushed out to July 20, 2020. . . . more

Amazon rolls out try-before-you-buy program to all Prime members

Chain Store Age
Amazon’s Prime Wardrobe service is now available to all Prime members — and no invitation is necessary.

Shoppers can order (and try on) between three and eight items of clothing, shoes or accessories before they actually have to buy any merchandise — with no upfront charge or added styling fee. Shoppers can keep the items for seven days. They return unwanted pieces and only pay for the items they keep.. . . more

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Lidl not very disruptive so far

Chain Store Age
German discount grocery giant Lidl is not shaking things up to the extent that many had feared.

That’s according to a report by shopper intelligence firm Catalina, which found that the opening of U.S. stores by Lidl was less disruptive to competing supermarkets than some grocers had originally feared. Catalina found that nearby incumbent supermarkets lost close to 7% of overall sales during the first month of a Lidl store opening, but the impact on those same stores declined rapidly, falling to less than 2% of store sales by the fourth month. . . . more

Sears Is Closing More Stores -- and This Mall Operator Is Happy About It

The Motley Fool
At the end of 2018's first quarter, once-thriving retailer Sears was operating 381 fewer stores than it was a year ago. And the company's footprint is continuing to shrink. Sears announced more closures recently, and it looks like a total of 275 Sears and Kmart stores could close during 2018.

As a result, many malls across the U.S. are about to be left with massive amounts of vacant square footage, and as a result, many mall operators are getting hammered.. . . more

Shake Shack founder sees cashless future for his business

CNBC
Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer is defending his restaurant group's push into cashless transactions, saying in a blog post, "we're unaware of any federal law that requires private businesses to accept [cash]."

"We know that some have raised concerns about the socioeconomic implications of operating a cashless business," Meyer said in the post. "By not accepting cash, a restaurant may be excluding prospective guests who do not have a bank account. And we might be inconveniencing guests who simply don't have their credit/debit on them at the time. That's certainly not our aim." . . . more

Can't choose between Sears and Kmart? Now you can get two-in-one

USA Today
The Sears department store chain, which has been shrinking, is experimenting with doubling up with its corporate sibling, sister chain Kmart.

A Sears store in New York City now sports a Kmart section.

The retailer opened a Kmart convenience store inside a Sears store in Brooklyn over the weekend in a move to woo shoppers not only looking to make bigger purchases, but those loading up on smaller items like paper towels or detergent. . . . more

Amazon rolls out last-stop solution for package deliveries

Chain Store Age
Amazon wants to help apartment dwellers across the United States secure their package deliveries—even if the package isn’t from Amazon.

The company is rolling out Hub by Amazon, a delivery locker designed to be placed in the common area of apartment buildings and other housing complexes. The customizable unit can feature between 42 and 55 lockers. There are indoor and outdoor models, which stand 6 ft. high and 7 ft. high, respectively.. . . more

Two of Ascena’s fashion-outlet brands going online

Chain Store Age
Apparel giant Ascena Retail Group is expanding its premium outlet fashion business to the online world.

Loft Outlet launched its e-commerce site on June 19, while Ann Taylor will enter digital retail on June 26. The online sites will offer the same products that are sold in the brands’ brick-and-mortar stores stores, along with special launch offers.. . . more

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Starbucks says it will close 150 stores next year

money.cnn.com
Starbucks will close 150 poorly performing company-operated stores next year, about three times as many as it typically closes.

The company told investors late Tuesday that it expects same-store sales to grow just 1% for the quarter that begins next month, lowering its previous guidance. The stock slumped 3.5% in after-hours trading.. . . more

How long can the off-price retail party go on?

Retail Dive
Thanks in part to solid fundamentals like a robust merchandise pipeline, a healthy consumer base and plenty of runway for brick-and-mortar expansion, the off-price segment is on pace to reach $18 billion to $19 billion of incremental sales by 2021, according to a September note on the sector from JPMorgan analysts. Around the same time, Moody's Investors Service released a note saying much the same thing, crediting the retailers' significant scale, flexible purchasing, strong and expanding vendor relations and adaptable real estate strategies, for their endurance.

But does a century-old retail concept, in the age of instantaneous price-checking, the rise of e-commerce and a glut of apparel sellers, really have staying power?. . . more

Florida Officials Approve Plan to Build Largest U.S. Mall

The Wall Street Journal
At a time when store closures are accelerating and struggling malls pockmark the country, county commissioners in Florida have approved a plan to build what would be the largest mall in the U.S.

American Dream Miami would also be the most expensive mall ever built, according to Canadian developer Triple Five Worldwide Group of Cos. The 6.2-million-square-foot retail and entertainment complex would cost an estimated $4 billion, Triple Five says. . . . more

Sears, Kmart stores ailing as CEO Eddie Lampert's hedge fund gets hundreds of millions

USA Today
When he became CEO of Sears Holdings, Eddie Lampert declared he was on a mission to restore the iconic retailer to its former glory. Since then he's extended billions of dollars in loans from his hedge fund to Sears and Kmart.

But the difference between what Sears has invested in its stores — and therefore what customers experience when they shop — is stark compared with many of its peers, a USA TODAY review of public filings and analyst research shows. And if the chain ever sinks into bankruptcy, the records show Lampert's hedge fund will be positioned at the front of the line when loans are repaid. . . . more

Toys ‘R’ Us says more than 115 companies interested in brand

New York Post
As Toys ‘R’ Us fades to black, scores of businesses are scrambling to keep it alive.

The bankrupt retailer says that interest in its intellectual property, which includes its Babies ‘R’ Us, Toys ‘R’ Us and Geoffrey trademarks, is so high that it needs more time to discuss the matter with potential bidders, according to court documents.. . . more

Roslindale chef says liquor license plan forced him to close restaurant

Boston Herald
Mayor Martin J. Walsh is backing a proposal — which must be approved by the Legislature — that would create 152 new liquor licenses in Boston over the next three years. State law currently limits Boston to 745 liquor licenses.

The proposed new licenses would be nontransferable, meaning a restaurant would have to return its license to the city instead of selling it on the open market if it goes out of business. But the new licenses will also cost far less than the six-figure prices existing licenses go for on the open market, which opponents fear will lead to devaluation of current licenses.. . . more