Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Drugstores, supermarkets and specialty set to grow in 2019

Retail Dive
The U.S. retail industry next year is poised for continued growth in sales (4.5% to 5.5%) and operating profits (5% to 6%), thanks to a strong economy plus retailers' investments in e-commerce and the shopping experience in their stores, according to a report from Moody's Investors Service emailed to Retail Dive.

Six of 13 retail sectors studied by Moody's analysts will outperform the broader industry. Drugstores, specialty retailers and supermarkets will see performance improve; Amazon U.S. (not including its cloud services) "will continue to grow;" and home improvement, off-price and dollar stores "will continue to perform well," according to the report. Even department store "losses will begin to taper," Moody's said.. . . more

JLL: Big chunk of holiday spending still up for grabs

Chain Store Age
Consumers still have a lot of holiday shopping left to do — and that bodes well for brick-and-mortar stores.

According to JLL Research findings, 29.5% of consumers still have half of their holiday shopping left to do this holiday season. Out of all the generations surveyed, millennials were the ones with the largest number of respondents who indicated they still had half their shopping left. . . . more

Rent-A-Center calls it off

Chain Store Age
Rent-A-Center isn’t going private after all.

The company on Tuesday announced it has terminated a deal to be acquired by affiliates of Vintage Capital Management after the private equity firm didn’t extend the deal’s deadline. The agreement had allowed Rent-A-Center and Vintage Capital to extend the end date of the plan of the merger to March 17. Rent-A-Center also opted not to extend the end date. . . . more

Toy sales booming on Amazon

Chain Store Age
Amazon is doing big business in toys — especially in games.

Sales in the group hit an estimated $510 million in the third quarter, up 30% from the year-ago period, according to a report by Edge by Ascential. The research revealed that outdoor play, toys for adults (games) and automotive toy trends will carry Amazon into the new year as one of the biggest toy sellers in America. . . . more

Total Return Growth for All Commercial Property Types Will Slow to 5.7 Percent in 2019, PREA Survey Forecasts

NREI
The results of the latest consensus forecast survey from the Pension Real Estate Association (PREA) show that respondents expect total unlevered return growth on commercial real estate assets traded at the institutional level to moderate in 2019. Respondents expect that total returns on all commercial property types, as represented by the NCREIF Property Index (NPI), will average 5.7 percent next year vs. 7.1 percent in 2018 and will decline to 4.4 percent in 2020.

Retail properties, on the other hand, will likely experience slightly higher returns in 2019, at 4.3 percent, indicating a 10-basis-point increase from 2018, in survey respondents’ estimate. . . . more

Here’s Where Costco Is Opening in 2019

Winsight Grocery Business
Costco this week said a new unit would open in Coral Springs, Fla., in February but has not publicly identified future U.S. sites beyond that. The company typically does not identify opening dates until about two months before they open.

Data from Planned Grocery, a site tracking retail developments from Beitz and Daigh Geographics, indicates the company could open as many as 10 more sites in 2019.

The site lists another 19 U.S. cities where Costco stores are proposed or planned, with estimated openings through 2022 including Branford and Clinton, Conn. and Cranston, R.I.. . . more

Developer proposes converting part of CambridgeSide mall to office space

Boston Business Journal
New England Development is proposing to convert a portion of the third floor of the CambridgeSide Galleria Mall in Cambridge from retail to office space, another example of landlords taking creative steps to open up leasable space in a tight market.

The proposal to convert 140,000 square feet of retail into office space follows New England Development’s $30 million investment last year to revitalize the 1.2 million-square-foot mall, which opened in 1990 at 100 Cambridgeside Place. At the time of its opening, the mall was one of the first urban enclosed shopping centers in the U.S. . . . more

Monday, December 17, 2018

Lowe's refocuses in wake of missteps

Retail Dive
In a presentation to investors on Wednesday, newly arrived Lowe's CEO Marvin Ellison, a veteran of the retailer’s main rival, The Home Depot, said that Lowe’s had lost its way but has identified areas to improve and on which to base strong growth.

Ellison said the retailer will make retail fundamentals a priority in the wake of missteps — including a website outage during peak Black Friday shopping — but will continue with its technology efforts. As part of the investor day, Lowe’s also unveiled a focus on its pro customers and a new marketing approach aimed at a wider audience which includes a new slogan, "Do it right for less. Start with Lowe’s.". . . more

Costco Q1 earnings beats Street; first location in China under construction

Chain Store Age
Costco Wholesale Club’s earnings climbed more than 19% in the first quarter amid strong sales at home.

Costco said it earned $767 million in the quarter ended Nov.25, up from $640 million in the year-ago period.

Revenue rose 10.2% to $35.07 billion from $31.81 billion a year ago. billion. Total same store sales rose 8.8%. Same-store sales rose 11% in the U.S., 4% internationally and 2.4% in Canada.. . . more

More stores may hop to neighboring shopping malls amid surge of retail closings

nwi.com
Commercial real estate observers say it might become more common for stores to hop to nearby shopping centers because of the slew of retail closures in recent years, including huge national chains like Sports Authority and H.H. Gregg. Others, including Macy's and Lowe's, have scaled back and shrunk their footprints. That can give retailers options to move somewhere nearby and get a better deal on rent when their leases expire, and some landlords may try to poach their neighbors' tenants to fill vacant space.

"You're absolutely seeing more poaching nationally," CoStar Group Market Economist Brandon Svec said. . . . more

Genesco in deal to sell struggling Lids

Chain Store Age
Genesco Inc. has finally found a buyer for Lids.

The company has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its ailing Lids Sports Group for $100 million in cash to FanzzLids Holdings. The holding company is controlled and operated by affiliates of Ames Watson Capital, owner of licensed sports apparel retailer Fanzz. . . . more

Stop & Shop rolls out updated store design

Chain Store Age
New England’s largest supermarket operator has brought its updated design and smaller-store concept to its home state of Massachusetts.

Stop & Shop has opened a 20,950-sq.-ft. store at Newton Nexus, in Newton Highlands, Mass. It is the first location in the state to feature the brand’s new logo and refreshed store design. The update is part of a multi-year, chainwide initiative to improve Stop & Shop’s in-store experience with a focus on more fresh and healthy options and improved digital solutions. The grocer first launched the initiative at 21 remodeled stores in the Hartford, Conn. area.. . . more

November retail sales show ‘good start’ to holiday season

Chain Store Age
U.S. consumer spending showed momentum in November as shoppers began holiday shopping in earnest.

Retail sales in November rose 5% unadjusted year-over-year and 0.7% seasonally adjusted from October, reported the National Retail Federation. (The NRF numbers exclude automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants.)

The NRF said the results, which reflect the first half of the holiday season, show that spending is on track to easily meet its forecast of a 4.3% to 4.8% increase in sales during November and December for a total between $717.45 billion and $720.89 billion. . . . more

Is This What Derails Amazon's Plans for 3,000 Cashless Stores?

Motley Fool
Amazon.com wants to open 3,000 cashierless Amazon Go stores by 2022, but the effort could be stymied if more states follow New Jersey's lead and require all retailers to accept cash.

Excluding transactions made online, by telephone, or via mail, as well as certain airport stores and parking facilities, a bill unanimously approved by a state senate committee would prohibit any brick-and-mortar store in the state from being cashless, with violations carrying hefty fines. It's this sort of Luddite thinking that could prevent Amazon from transforming the retail industry.. . . more

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Aerie comps soar 32%

Retail Dive
American Eagle Outfitters on Tuesday reported that total third quarter net revenue rose 5%, or $43 million, to about $1 billion from $960 million last year, with the calendar shift bringing down results by $40 million.

Overall store comps rose 8%. By brand in the quarter, American Eagle comps rose 5%, and Aerie's comps soared 32%, following a 19% increase last year, the 16th consecutive quarter of double-digit comp growth, according to a company press release.. . . more

Smaller Amazon Go store tested in Seattle as retailer eyes new venues

Seattle Times
Amazon continues its experiments with new physical retail formats and technologies, this time with a shrunken version of its no-checkout convenience stores.

The company on Wednesday opened a 450-square-foot Amazon Go store — about a quarter the size of existing Go stores — on the sixth floor of the Macy’s department-store building in downtown Seattle. . . . more

Unit growth boosts Dave & Buster’s revenues

Nation's Restaurant News
Growing unit count helped Dave & Buster’s Entertainment Inc. post record revenues in the third quarter despite negative same-store sales, the Dallas-based company said Tuesday.

The big-box food and entertainment brand is on track to open 15 new locations in its fiscal 2018, which ends Feb. 3. That increase will represent unit growth of 14 percent, the company said.

Same-store sales declined 1.3 percent in the third quarter ended Nov. 4.. . . more

Investors Still Pursuing Grocery-Anchored Shopping Centers but Deal Volume Slowed in 2018

NREI
High-quality, well-located grocery-anchored shopping centers continue to be a “darling” of investors and are still achieving strong pricing.

These high-performing centers, anchored by top-tier grocers, appeal to investors because they draw customers to the center for daily needs and have proved more internet-resilient than other retail sectors.. . . more

Transformation is tops for Lowe’s going forward

Chain Store Age
Technology improvements, merchandise excellence, a seamless, omnichannel experience, and a $10 billion stock repurchase plan are priorities as Lowe’s heads into the new year.

In the current fiscal year, total sales are expected to increase about 4%. Comp-store sales are expected to increase 2.5%. Lowe’s plans to add a total of eight new stores on the year. . . . more

A look inside Starbucks' newest Reserve Roastery in New York City

CNBC
Nestled in the meatpacking district between Chelsea Market and Google's New York offices is Starbucks' latest Roastery.

Set to open on Friday, the nearly 23,000-square-foot space is far from the typical Starbucks store. Bathed in warm light and teeming with copper features, the Roastery is a cozy haven for coffee fanatics looking to not only get their caffeine fix, but get an up close and personal experience with Starbucks' roasters, baristas and craft mixologists.. . . more

Tailored Brands’ Q3 sales miss Street, lowers outlook

Chain Store Age
Lower transactions at its Men’s Wearhouse brand took a toll on Tailored Brands’ third quarter sales.

The parent company of brands including Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank earned $13.9 million for the quarter ended Nov. 3, compared with $36.9 million for the same period a year ago. 

Retail net sales increased 0.6% primarily due to an increase in retail clothing sales, which drove positive 2.3% retail comparable sales. This was partially offset by a $7.3 million decrease in alteration and other services primarily resulting from the MW Cleaners divestiture. . . . more

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

A look inside Macy's new retail strategy

Retail Dive
A new in-store strategy at Macy's is on prominent display at its Herald Square flagship in New York, where both The Market @ Macy's and b8ta concepts are placed just inside one of the entrances, at the intersection of 34th and 7th streets. Both installations came into being this year, the same year that Macy's acquired store concept Story, and invested in and partnered with b8ta.

The department store's most recent experiments sit alongside another shop-in-shop concept, a Samsung mini-store, and the three mark a departure from the usual in-store experience at Macy's. The move could be seen as a response to the perception that it has struggled to stand out from the pack in the past, resulting in shuttered stores and a turnaround that finally seems to be taking hold. . . . more

Brick-and-mortar store traffic up 14% this holiday season

Chain Store Age
Retailers in malls, shopping centers, and streets will see a 49% lift in foot traffic on Dec. 15, contributing to a 14% year-over-year increase in Christmas traffic, according to a report from Foursquare.

The study, which was sponsored by the British online marketplace OnBuy.com, found consumers most willing to drive long distances to sporting goods stores, an average of 11 miles.

Next came shopping centers at around 10 miles, clothing stores and boutiques (9.6), and department stores (9). . . . more

Your shuttered Sears store could soon be demolished. Here's why

CNBC
If a Sears store near you has already closed or is in the process of closing, it's likely the owner of that property will opt to demolish it rather than find someone to fill the space.

The bankrupt department store chain has already said it will shut 142 stores by year's end. And its future while it's in bankruptcy court proceedings is still uncertain, with a total liquidation being one potential outcome. That would mean more than 500 additional Sears and Kmart stores going dark.. . . more

Happy Socks in store milestone

Chain Store Age
Happy Socks continues to expand its U.S. brick-and-mortar footprint.

The Swedish socks brand has opened its 100th global store, in Manhattan’s Times Square. It is Happy Socks’ third New York City location.

The 345-sq.-ft. store is bright and colorful, and is designed to reflect the brand’s signature playful aesthetic. It follows on the heels of two recent openings, in Brooklyn, New York, and Venice, Calif.. . . more

Whenever possible, Americans want dinner at home

Supermarket News
U.S. consumers prefer to eat dinner at home and are seeking more ways to help them do so, a survey by online grocer Peapod finds.

Of more than 1,000 adults polled, 77% said they would rather eat a homemade meal than go out for dinner, and 43% aim to cook more in 2019, according to Peapod’s annual meal planning forecast, compiled by Engine.

The top reason consumers said they’d rather make dinner at home is cost savings, cited by 77% of respondents. Other reasons for preferring to cook at home included the desire to eat healthier (51%) and spend more quality time with family (41%), according to Peapod, a subsidiary of supermarket retailer Ahold Delhaize USA.. . . more

In acquiring Aetna, CVS embarks on another pivotal moment in its 55-year history

CNBC
CVS wants to be a health-care company. It's buying a health insurer to prove it.

Four years after adding "Health" to its name, CVS has become more than just a drugstore chain. Now, its vision is becoming clearer as CVS Health enters what may be the most pivotal moment in its 55-year history.. . . more

Comcast Opens Seven Interactive Xfinity Stores In New England In 2018

prnewswire.com
In 2018, Comcast opened seven interactive Xfinity Stores in New England, bringing the regional total to 29. The stores – located from Holyoke, MA to Manchester, NH -- are a key part of the company's multi-year strategy to transform the customer experience, and provide a welcoming, state-of-the-art environment for customers to learn to optimize their Xfinity products and services.

The new Xfinity Stores are conveniently located at popular shopping destinations and feature trained and knowledgeable sales consultants, flat screen TVs, interactive iPads and a dedicated seating area for demonstrations of Xfinity products and apps. . . . more

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Ascena Retail Group Q1 income, sales beat Street

Chain Store Age
The parent company of such brands as Ann Taylor, Lane Bryant and Dressbarn started its fiscal year on a high note, fueled by strong sales at Ann Taylor, Loft and Justice.

Ascena Retail Group reported net income of $6 million in the quarter ended, compared to net income of $7 million in the year-ago period. 

Net sales were a better-than-expected $1.592 billion compared to $1.590 billion. Total same-store sales rose 3%. By division, same-store sales rose 8% at premium fashion (Ann Taylor and Loft) and 12% at kids fashion (Justice). Same-store sales decreased 3% at value fashion (dressbarn and maurices) and 2% at plus fashion (Catherines and Lane Bryant). . . . more

What’s next for retail in Worcester?

Worcester Telegram
As we head into the holiday shopping season, what should be next for retail in the city? What does Worcester need and how should the city go about getting it? Where should it be located? Big-box outlets? Storefront retail? Local owners? Chains? And what should, for instance, be done Greendale Mall?

We asked our guest columnists to weigh in. . . . more

Francesca’s swings to Q1 loss; to evaluate store portfolio

Chain Store Age
Francesca’s Holdings Corp. posted a loss in its first-quarter as traffic to its stores slowed.

The women’s apparel and accessories retailer had a net loss of $16.2 million in the quarter ended Nov.3, compared to earnings of $0.2 million in the year-ago period. 

Sales fell 10% to $95.4 million, slightly ahead of estimates of $95.1 million. Same-store sales fell 14%.. . . more

McDonald's franchisees to Corporate: We're not going to take it

Ad Age
It's tough being a McDonald's franchisee these days. More than 1,000 are expected to voice their displeasure at a meeting in Dallas this week, the latest move in what could become a historic showdown between the fast-food juggernaut's corporate team and its 1,700 U.S. restaurant owners.

The costs of labor, goods and rent are all rising, while diners are showing up less frequently. At the same time, CEO Steve Easterbrook's three-year-old turnaround plan requires store owners to pony up hundreds of thousands of dollars for high-tech store remodels.. . . more

Without Toys R Us, one iconic, international toy chain could soon make its mark in the US

CNBC
Without Toys R Us, an $11 billion toy industry has been left with no clear market leader.

Companies like Target, Walmart, Amazon and Kohl's are trying this holiday season to sell more toys to kids and their parents, but the verdict is still out on which company will best fill the void that Toys R Us left behind. Seeing a huge opportunity, one iconic, British toy retailer Hamleys could soon make its first move into the U.S. with a flagship location in New York, and plans for a wider rollout of stores to follow.. . . more

Sears seeks offers on stores Lampert needs for turnaround

Chicago Tribune
Sears Holdings Corp. is shopping around its stores, looking to gauge what they're worth in the open market while it weighs Chairman Edward Lampert's $4.6 billion bid to buy the entire chain and keep it open.

The firm has hired real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle to market its portfolio of about 500 U.S. stores and so far has seen high interest in major markets, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Bids have come in from retailers and mall owners, and other parties are interested in potentially converting stores for non-retail use, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing the private plan.. . . more

Chase plans to open 18 local branches over next year

Boston Business Journal
JPMorgan Chase & Co. expects to open at least 18 retail branches in Greater Boston by the end of 2019, including in suburban towns like Belmont, Hingham and Lynnfield, according to the company.

The megabank announced in October that it would open 50 branches in the region over the next few years, its first in Greater Boston. Only six other banks currently have at least that many retail branches in the area.. . . more

Monday, December 10, 2018

How 'brick-and-mobile' is transforming in-store shopping

Retail Dive
Nearly two-thirds (71%) of shoppers now access their phone while in stores to read product reviews, compare prices, navigate aisles, check out, pay or look for gift inspiration ahead of the holidays. That number is up 15% from 2017, and increasingly, retailers are answering consumers' rapidly changing expectations through the mini computers in nearly everyone's pocket.

Over the past few years, retailers have used mobile to add life to their brand while reimagining their store spaces to match customer desires for "brick-and-mobile" experiences, Shannon Andrick, VP of marketing advancement at Alliance Data's card services business, told Mobile Marketer in an interview.. . . more

Eddie Lampert's Sears Bid Comes With a Key Demand: Legal Shelter

NREI
Eddie Lampert’s $4.6 billion bid to salvage what’s left of bankrupt Sears Holdings Corp. was pitched by the hedge fund manager as a way to preserve tens of thousands of jobs. To some others in the industry, it’s also seen as a way to sweep a decade of potential problems under the rug.

The bid, if successful, would come with an important condition: a full release from liability over controversial deals his fund made before the 125-year-old retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. . . . more

Mall Landlord CBL Is `Always for Sale,’ Chief Executive Says

NREI
CBL & Associates Properties Inc., an owner of lower-end malls in the suburban U.S., is always open to prospective buyers.

“We’re a public company, so we’re always for sale, so to speak,’’ Chief Executive Officer Stephen Lebovitz said in an interview at an industry conference Wednesday. “Anyone who’s contacted us -- we’ve always talked to them, but we’re not actively looking to sell the company.’’. . . more

GNC: The Store Base

Seeking Alpha
GNC is on track to close about 200 company stores in the current year.

The company announced during the third quarter call plans to close 700-900 additional company stores over the next three years.

However, these numbers relate only to company owned stores – total store closures including franchisees and store-within-a-store locations are running at a higher rate.. . . more

Online holiday spending already hits new record

ChainStore Age
With more than two weeks left to go to Christmas, online spending is already reaching new heights.

Total online sales hit $80.3 billion from Nov. 1 through Dec. 6, up 18.6% from the year-ago period, according to new data from Adobe Analytics. It was the biggest online shopping period of all time in the U.S., beating last year’s record of $67.7 billion. The top states by basket size were Alaska, California, Washington, New York and Wyoming.

Adobe forecasts that the holiday season (Nov. 1 to Dec. 31) will see at least $124.1 billion in total U.S. online retail sales. . . . more

Ulta Beauty Q3 sales, earnings up; to ‘moderate’ store growth

Chain Store Age
Ulta Beauty’s net income increased 25.3% to $131.2 million in the quarter ended Oct. 28. Net sales increased 16.2% to $1.56 billion, in line with estimates. Total same-store sales increased 7.8%, driven by new store growth along with 5.3% transaction growth and 2.5% growth in average ticket. E-commerce sales spiked 42.5% to $170.7 million, representing nearly 11% of total company revenue.

Ulta kept up its heady expansion during the quarter, opening 42 new stores. It also remodeled four existing locations and relocated one unit. The retailer has opened 105 net new stores to date this year.. . . more

SHOS posts Q3 declines, plans store closings

HBSDealer
Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores (SHOS) reported third quarter 2018 net sales of $339.1 million, more than a 12% drop from sales of $386 million in the third quarter of 2017.

During the third quarter consolidated comparable store sales decreased 0.2%. The lawn and garden category achieved a positive comp and outperformed the average comparable store sales. Tools, home appliances and mattress categories underperformed the average, the company said.. . . more

Friday, December 7, 2018

Big Lots swings to loss amid higher expense; expects ‘challenging’ holiday results

Chain Store Age
Big Lots reported a wider-than-expected third quarter loss and lowered its earnings guidance for the holiday period and full year.

The discounter swung to a net loss for the quarter to Nov. 3 of $6.6 million from a profit of $4.4 million in the same period a year ago. 

Sales rose to $1.15 billion from $1.11 billion, beating estimates of $1.14 billion. Same-store sales rose 3.4%, also more than expected. . . . more

At Home store expansion on track amid 19th straight quarter of comp growth

Chain Store Age
At Home reported that its third-quarter net sales increased 25.5% to $267.2 million, driven by the net addition of 29 stores. Same-store sales rose 5.2%. It was the chain’s 19th consecutive quarter of same-store sales growth and 18th consecutive quarter of over 20% net sales growth.

On the chain’s earnings call, chairman and CEO Lee Bird said that, with a longer term potential of at least 600 locations, “new stores are the growth engine for this business.” The retailer currently operates 178 stores.. . . more

Retail Sales Are Robust for November

Apparel News
November retail sales jumped 8.8 percent, paving the way for a very good holiday season.

November sales were way above the 4.2 percent increase forecast by Retail Metrics president Ken Perkins. “Holiday 2018 is likely to be a merry one,” Perkins wrote in a Dec. 6 retail note.. . . more

Amazon targets airports for checkout-free store expansion

Reuters
Amazon.com Inc is looking at bringing its futuristic checkout-free store format to airports in an effort to win business from hungry, time-pressed travelers, according to public records and a person familiar with the strategy.

The move underscores how a company that started as an online bookseller is making forays into brick-and-mortar retail to capture a greater share of shoppers’ spending.. . . more

Walmart is acquiring the world's largest online seller of art

Business Insider
Walmart announced on Thursday that it plans to acquire Art.com, which it says is the world's largest online seller of artwork.

Walmart will acquire the entire company — catalog, intellectual property, trade name, and all of its US-based operations — for a price it did not disclose. The deal will close early next year, it said.. . . more

Where Toys 'R' Us 'loyalists' are shopping now

Yahoo Finance
It will be a holiday season without Toys ‘R’ Us, after the toy chain liquidated all 800 stores over the summer.

Foursquare, the location tech company, conducted a study of shoppers who visited Toys ‘R’ Us at least three times in 2017, labeling those “loyalist” shoppers. (28% of Toys ‘R’ Us shoppers overall are high loyalty.) Foursquare then looked at which stores those people visited in Q3 of this year, after the closure of Toys ‘R’ Us. (Foursquare pulls this data from its own app and partner apps.). . . more

Ten Retail Brands to Watch in 2019

Chain Store Age
Brand-building consultant and author Denise Lee Yohn has released her annual Brands to Watch list — the brands that she will be keeping her eye on in the coming year. There are 26 companies on the list (one for each letter of the alphabet), with retail and restaurant brands accounting for 10 of the spots. Here is Yohn’s take on the top 10 brands:

• Amazon: No surprise, Amazon will dominate the headlines. . . . more

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Sears chairman/CEO Eddie Lampert submits bid to buy bankrupt chain

Chain Store Age
The drawn-out saga of embattled Sears Holdings Corp. may have entered its final chapter.

In a move to save the bankrupt retailer, ESL Investments, the hedge fund run by Sears chairman and CEO Eddie Lampert, submitted a $4.6 billion bid on Thursday to purchase its remaining stores, which total about 500, headquarters, distribution locations, as well as Sears brands Kenmore and DieHard. . . . more

More food in the mix at Dollar General

Supermarket News
Food remains a linchpin of Dollar General Corp.’s efforts to expand its store base and fine-tune its retail formats, according to CEO Todd Vasos.

The dollar store chain plans to remodel more stores to include extra refrigerated space and a fresh produce section and step up its “Better-For-You” initiative to offer customers healthier consumables, Vasos told analysts yesterday in a conference call on third-quarter results.. . . more

Opportunity Zones, Marijuana-Related Properties and Retail Assets Among Best CRE Bets for HNW Investors in 2019

NREI
As high-net-worth (HNW) investors zone in on commercial real estate opportunities for 2019, Opportunity Zones, multifamily, marijuana, retail and industrial are emerging as some of the key areas to watch.

Real estate investments made next year by HNW investors should be weighed against rising interest rates and the prolonged economic expansion, according to Doug Brien, co-founder and CEO of Oakland, Calif.-based Mynd Property Management, which specializes in multifamily assets.. . . more

Online apparel returns set to rise this holiday season

Chain Store Age
The holiday season’s online sales may be off to a strong start, however consumers may not be keeping all of the clothes they purchased — not by a long-shot.

This was according to data from BodyBlock AI which revealed that half (50%) of Americans are expecting to return clothes ordered online due to poor fit. This could equate to $1.39 billion.. . . more

Barnes & Noble’s Top 20 holiday gift ideas include only 1 book

MarketWatch
Barnes & Noble Inc.’s list of 20 top holiday gift ideas in five categories includes several types of socks, some mittens, Mickey Mouse speakers and a Buddha board for “live-in-the-moment” painting, but only one book and no reading devices, not even its own Nook e-reader.

That’s actually one more book than last year, as the company’s 2017 list of 27 “top gift items” didn’t include a book. In 2016, the list of 40 “unique gift ideas” included seven books, while the list of 19 “last-minute” gift ideas included five books.. . . more

Walgreens expands prescription delivery program nationwide

Boston Herald
Walgreens is joining rival drugstore chain CVS Health in expanding home deliveries for prescriptions nationwide, as stores continue adjusting to a retail world made more consumer-friendly by online competition.

Walgreens said Thursday it will partner with FedEx to deliver prescriptions as soon as the next day for a $4.99 fee, and it also is providing same-day deliveries in several cities including New York, Chicago and Dallas. The Deerfield, Illinois, company started offering deliveries in several markets in October.. . . more

Weaker Sears holiday forecast heightens doubts about its survival

Chicago Tribune
Revised internal forecasts show that Sears Holdings Corp. will bleed hundreds of millions of dollars more than it expected over the coming weeks, casting new doubt on whether the bankrupt retailer can avoid liquidation.

When the company declared bankruptcy Oct. 15, it filed a budget with revenue forecasts of $241 million for the week of Christmas and $1.93 billion for the two months ending Jan. 12. But an updated budget filed Friday shows only $215 million the week of Christmas and $1.69 billion for the entire two months, almost $246 million less than originally projected.. . . more

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Target Opening Unique Store In West Hartford

West Hartford Patch
Target announced Tuesday that it plans to open its first small-format store in Connecticut located in West Hartford at the Bishops Corner Shopping Center.

Target has signed a lease with EDENS, a national retail real estate owner, operator and developer, for the approximately 59,000-square foot store, which will offer residents and families a quick-trip shopping option. . . . more

Gymboree to shutter Crazy 8 stores amid 'strategic review'

Retail Dive
Gymboree announced Wednesday it has begun a "comprehensive review of strategic options," which could include a sale or "other transactions" for its Gymboree, Janie and Jack, and Crazy 8 brands, according to a company press release.

The children's retailer said in the release that it plans to close all of its Crazy 8 locations and is "significantly reducing" the number of Gymboree locations in 2019, though for now all of the retailer's locations remain open.. . . more

Ahold Delhaize USA makes Giant investment

Supermarket News
After launching a brand refresh at Stop & Shop in the Northeast, Ahold Delhaize USA is now investing $175 million in a store upgrade program at Giant Food in the Mid-Atlantic.

Landover, Md.-based Giant said Tuesday that it plans to open one new store in Fairfax Circle, Va., and remodel 24 locations over the next two years across its Washington, D.C., regional trade area.. . . more

All the space department stores take up could build 350 malls—that may be way too much

CNBC
Even with Sears and Bon-Ton filing for bankruptcy protection this year, and shutting hundreds of locations, department stores still account for more than 350 million square feet of mall space across the United States. And that's likely way too much.

Companies like Macy's, J.C. Penney and now-bankrupt Sears — which still has hundreds of locations open — continue to evaluate their massive real estate portfolios, and industry analysts expect more store closures to come. . . . more

Hudson’s Bay posts lower Q3 loss as Saks Fifth Avenue drives improvement in overall sales

Star Business Journal
Hudson’s Bay Co. says it had a smaller overall third-quarter loss than last year as sales increased by 5.6 per cent to $2.2 billion, with its Saks Fifth Avenue brand of luxury retail stores continuing to show improvements.

Comparable-store sales from continuing operations increased 2.9 per cent overall, with Saks Fifth Avenue up 7.3 per cent and the Saks OFF 5th off-price brand down 2.3 per cent on a comparable-sales basis.. . . more

Here are the best retailers to work for in 2019, according to Glassdoor

Business Insider
Retail work isn't always easy— but some companies provide a better environment for employees than others.

Glassdoor just ranked the best places to work in 2019. Eight retail companies made the job site's list this year, accruing average scores on Glassdoor well above the site average of 3.4. . . more

Christopher & Banks closing up to 40 stores

Boston Business Journal
Women's clothier Christopher & Banks plans to close 30 to 40 stores over the next two years but has seen a rise in e-commerce and expects net sales to increase in 2019, the company said in a quarterly call with analysts.

The Plymouth, Minnesota-based company’s net sales for the quarter ended Nov. 3 fell 7.3 percent to $91.3 million, Fashion Network reported, while comparable sales decreased 7.5 percent, for a quarterly net loss of $8.8 million.

But online sales posted a revenue increase of 10.7 percent over the same period, and the company said that it expects net sales for fiscal 2019 to increase 2 percent to 3 percent, Nasdaq reported. . . . more

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Amazon testing cashierless retail store in larger format location

Mobile Payments Today
Amazon, the leading e-commerce retailer in the U.S., is testing its cashierless store concept in larger format spaces, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The report published late Sunday says that Amazon is testing the concept in a larger format store in Seattle, hoping the idea would work in larger sized stores with higher ceilings and more goods on the shelves.. . . more

Seritage Says 70% of Signed Lease Income Coming from Non-Sears Tenants

NAREIT
Benjamin Schall, president and CEO of Seritage Growth Properties, said that the REIT ended the third quarter with 70 percent of its income on a signed lease basis coming from non-Sears tenants. “That income is now with new, growing retailers who are attracted to the quality of our sites and the first-class environments that we’re developing,” he said.

Asked about the potential impact on investors if Seritage’s master lease with Sears were to end, Schall said the company has “more than sufficient” income coming online in the next 12 to 24 months from its commenced and completed redevelopment activity.. . . more

RH details expansion strategy, other developments for 2019

Chain Store Age
RH upped its expansion strategy and raised its guidance for the year amid third-quarter earnings that beat Street expectations.

The luxury home retailer is accelerating its expansion starting in 2019, with plans to open five to seven new “Gallery” locations per year, up from three to three to five. . . . more

AutoZone comes out of the gate fast as earnings surge

Chain Store Age
AutoZone topped Wall Street’s first-quarter earning estimates amid an acceleration of its commercial growth and a solid performance from its DIY business.

Net income surged 25.1% to $351.4 million. Sales increased to $2.64 billion fro $2.59 billion, in line with estimates. Same-store sales rose a better-than-expected 2.7%.. . . more

Dollar General Q3 tops Street; reveals 2019 store plans

Chain Store Age
Dollar General reported better-than-expected third quarter sales and earnings, but cut its full-year outlook on hurricane-related costs.

The discounter also revealed its expansion plans for the upcoming year. It plans to undertake some 2,075 real estate projects in 2019, including 975 new store openings (up from 900 in 2018), 1,000 mature store remodels, and 100 store relocations. . . . more

Kroger to Sell Groceries in Walgreens Stores

The Wall Street Journal
Kroger Co. plans to sell groceries in branded sections of Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. stores, as both retailers look for ways to keep customers loyal to their products.

The first “Kroger Express” sections will open by early next year in 13 Walgreens stores near the grocer’s Cincinnati headquarters. The companies said they would add more of the 4,000-square-foot displays of produce, Home Chef meal kits and other products if customers take to them. They will account for roughly a third of an average Walgreens selling space.. . . more

Clothing is back in fashion for the holidays

CNBC
One takeaway from this year's Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping extravaganza is that there will be a lot more sweaters and coats under the tree this year.

Shoppers are turning up at stores such as Lululemon, Abercrombie & Fitch, Old Navy and Urban Outfitters this holiday season to buy clothing for themselves and for others. It's a stark contrast from the years that followed the Great Recession, when cash-strapped consumers stuck to their budgets and bought only necessities. For many people, for many years, that meant less clothing. But now, the apparel industry seems to be bouncing back.. . . more

Monday, December 3, 2018

Retailers Need To Gear Up For Post-Holiday Shopping Surge

Forbes
The National Retail Federation noted in a press release following Black Friday that online and in-store sales were almost equal, with 44 percent of shoppers going online and a near equal 40 percent shopping in-store. The International Council of Shopping Centers reported a “supercharged” holiday kickoff, with about 151 million people going to a mall or shopping center over the weekend.

But if retailers think the Black Friday-Cyber Monday stretch was intense, it’s possible they ain’t seen nothing yet. Sixty-four percent of respondents to our recent survey agreed that sales are actually better after the holidays, and 49 percent said discounts in January will draw them back into the stores. . . .more

Ikea to bring new store concept to U.S.

Chain Store Age
Ikea is finally dropping anchor in the Big Apple — but not with its typical format.

Ikea will open its first-ever city-focused location in the United States next spring, in Manhattan. The store, called Ikea Planning Studio, will feature smart solutions for urban living and small spaces. It is designed to give customers the opportunity to discover, select and order Ikea products for delivery to their home.. . . more

There's no place like online for the holidays

Retail Dive
Retailers just closed out one of the best Black Friday weekends in a while. While store traffic over Thanksgiving and Black Friday dropped 1% from last year, retailers made up for it with online sales, which rose 25% in the same period, according to a note from Morgan Stanley emailed to Retail Dive. In-store pickup of online orders helped legacy retailers compete online, with such services rising 65% year over year (a record increase), according to Adobe Analytics data.

But "closed" doesn’t seem to be quite the right word, considering that the appeals to shoppers have hardly abated. Extensions of Cyber Monday price cuts and shipping discounts piled into email inboxes the whole week. Strong spending continued into Tuesday, with Adobe expecting the online total for that day to rise 26% to $2.9 billion. . . . more

Meal kit players adapt to changing market

Supermarket News
Robust growth in the meal kit delivery market will come as the main players continually fine-tune their offerings to consumer preferences, according to a study by Packaged Facts.

The Rockville, Md.-based research firm said the U.S. meal kit market tallied sales of $2.6 billion last year and stands to reach $3.1 billion by the end of 2018, marking growth of nearly 22%. Double-digit sales gains are expected over the next several years but will decline to single-digit growth by 2023.. . . more

Neiman Marcus restructuring talks end

Chain Store Age
Neiman Marcus Group and its lenders have ended their debt negotiations — at least for now.

The discussions between the luxury department store retailer and its lenders and bondholders ended nearly after a month with no deal to extend debt maturing in the next two to three years, the Wall Street Journal reported. . . . more

Sears workers, galvanized by Toys 'R' Us, ask for bankruptcy assurances

TulsaWorld.com
Employees of Sears Holdings Corp., inspired by the hardship fund for workers affected by the collapse of Toys “R” Us Inc., are asking Chairman Eddie Lampert and the firms involved in the chain’s bankruptcy to preserve jobs and stores, as well as guarantee severance pay and pensions.

Sears says it has no plans to liquidate after filing for Chapter 11 court protection in October, but it has been closing stores and cutting jobs as part of that process. It’s still working to keep several hundred outlets alive as part of Lampert’s plan to buy the company out of bankruptcy. Sears has lost billions of dollars since Lampert combined the Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based company with Kmart in 2005.. . . more

Where are the drones? Amazon's customers are still waiting

ABC News
Jeff Bezos boldly predicted five years ago that drones would be carrying Amazon packages to people's doorsteps by now.

Amazon customers are still waiting. And it's unclear when, if ever, this particular order by the company's founder and CEO will arrive.

Bezos made billions of dollars by transforming the retail sector. But overcoming the regulatory hurdles and safety issues posed by drones appears to be a challenge even for the world's wealthiest man. The result is a blown deadline on his claim to CBS' "60 Minutes" in December 2013 that drones would be making deliveries within five years.. . . more

Friday, November 30, 2018

Young women like Victoria's Secret, but will they buy?

Retail Dive
Consumer sentiment toward Victoria's Secret's brand has risen since April among U.S. women aged 18 to 49, according to new data from brand research firm YouGov. Its "buzz" score rose from 23 to a high of 29 in early October, but then it dipped to 26 after controversial comments in Vogue from L Brands marketing chief Ed Razek, according to the report.

Women aged 18-49 who report buying from the brand gradually rose to 24% up from 17% in mid-April, and satisfaction with the brand rose from 29 to 37, according to YouGov's 19,000 interviews between January 2016 and November 2018.. . . more

Coming to a city near you: Ikea, new and (maybe) improved

Retail Dive
Ikea has big plans to lure urban millennials to its stores.

The Swedish retailer recently announced it will open around 30 urban store concepts over the next two years. These stores will differ from the big-box warehouses many have come to associate with the company. Instead, they will have a more experiential concept, creating mock ups of rooms within the store to showcase products.. . . more

Holiday’s hot toys already in short supply at big-box retailers

New York Post
The disappearance of Toys ‘R’ Us has left a big, empty hole in the US toy industry — and retailers are already falling behind in a scramble to fill it.

Toy supplies at Walmart, Target and Amazon are looking spotty six months after the nation’s biggest toy chain closed its doors for good — and just days into the kickoff of the crucial holiday shopping season, sources told The Post.. . . more

J. Crew cuts loss; to discontinue low-priced Mercantile unit

Chain Store Age
Earlier this month, J. Crew dismissed its CEO, James Brett, over reported disagreements with the board. Some of the programs he put in place are being discontinued, while others are being retooled. J. Crew is currently being run by an “office of the CEO” made up of four senior J. Crew executives.

In news first reported by The Wall Street Journal, J. Crew plans to discontinue its budget apparel division, Mercantile.

In an internal memo that was cited by the Journal, the company told employees its priorities are to “return the J.Crew brand to profitable growth” to focus on growing its lower-cost “factory” business online and in stores. . . . more

Under The Tree For Retailers: More Efforts To Combine Online, In-Store Shopping

Bisnow.com
This holiday season, retailers are implementing strategies to draw online shoppers into stores, reward their loyalty in new ways and ensure that toys are available at every turn, according to a new report from CBRE. 

CBRE’s annual Holiday Retail Trends Guide outlines trends that will shape the season. Consumer spending growth is exceeding expectations and with a positive turn in retailer earnings over the first half of the year, holiday sales forecasts are optimistic. Retailers are expected to push their omnichannel strategies more than ever during this holiday season and encourage shoppers to buy across channels. . . . more

GameStop cuts full-year profit forecast

Reuters
GameStop Corp cut its full-year adjusted profit forecast, as the world’s largest video game retailer struggles with weakness in used games from developers launching streaming services of old titles, sending its shares down 11.3 percent.

The company, which is exploring a potential transaction after receiving a buyout interest, last week said it would sell its Spring Mobile business to Prime Communications LP for $700 million.

“We are evaluating all aspects of our business, including our store and omni-channel experience, cost structure, strategic and economic partnerships ...,” Chief Financial Officer Robert Lloyd said in a statement on Thursday.. . . more

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Chico’s president out as sales plunge

Chain Store Age
The president of Chico’s is departing after a tough third quarter in which same-store sales fell 10.2%.

Total same-store sales fell 6.8%, driven by declines in transaction count and average dollar sales. By brand, same-store sales fell 10.2% at Chico’s and 5.1% at White House | Black Market. Same-store sales rose 2.4% at Soma, Chico’s intimate apparel division.. . . more

Abercrombie & Fitch shares soar on earnings beat, retailer expects to close fewer stores than expected

CNBC
Abercrombie & Fitch shares soared 20 percent Thursday morning after the teen apparel retailer reported quarterly earnings and sales that topped Wall Street expectations, fueled by growth of its Hollister label and momentum in the U.S.
million.

Sales at stores open for at least 12 months were up 3 percent, better than the 1.6 percent increase forecast by analysts who cover the company. Same-store sales at Hollister were up 4 percent during the quarter, while those at Abercrombie were up 1 percent. In the U.S., same-store sales were up 6 percent, while they were down 3 percent internationally. . . . more

CVS plans changes to stores after Aetna deal

USA Today
CVS Health plans to reduce the amount of store space devoted to retail and shift more to health care after its $70 billion acquisition of Aetna.

CVS CEO Larry Merlo told USA TODAY that the company will begin using a greater portion of the floor space in its nearly 10,000 locations to provide medical services.. . . more

Sears Entertaining Offers From Liquidators as ESL, Cyrus Prepare Takeover Bid

The Wall Street Journal
Sears Holdings Corp. is considering offers from liquidators that would result in the closure of all its stores while Chairman Edward Lampert and Cyrus Capital Partners prepare a bid that would keep the bankrupt retailer in business, according to people familiar with the matter.

Mr. Lampert, who believes a slimmed-down Sears can emerge from bankruptcy, and Cyrus are expected to make an offer for roughly 500 of Sears’s best-performing stores, the people said.. . . more

Top-Tier Mall REITs Post Solid Performance in the Third Quarter

NREI
While the retail sector continues to face challenges, REITs that own top-tier malls are posting solid performance numbers and respectable earnings.

Despite record numbers of retail bankruptcies and store closures over the last couple of years, several big mall REITs, including Simon Property Group, Macerich and Taubman Centers, reported increased store sales and occupancies in third quarter, solid measures of how their properties are performing.. . . more

Former Urban Big-Boxes, Class-B Office Buildings Are Being Converted to Last Mile Industrial Space

NREI
The limited supply of urban industrial inventory available for “last mile” e-commerce distribution space is causing investors and end-users to get creative by repositioning other types of real estate with failed uses or shrinking demand, according to a JLL report, Urban infill: the route to delivery solutions.” The report notes that annual total e-commerce deliveries have more than tripled over the past five years, but development of new urban industrial infill assets has remained relatively flat.

Older office buildings, underused parking structures, abandoned strip centers—even former churches—are now among properties being repositioned as last mile fulfillment centers. . . . more

Leasing Nightmares: Avoiding Lease Problems Before Opening for Business

Modern Restaurant Management
While much thought and consideration during lease negotiations is given to protecting a tenant from its landlord’s acts or omissions during the lease term, some of the most commonly-encountered issues after lease execution pertain to the earliest stages of the landlord-tenant relationship, specifically the phase where the parties are preparing and exchanging plans for the premises, obtaining construction and use permits, and building out the space for the tenant’s use – all of which should occur well before a tenant actually opens for business at the premises and begins paying rent.

If a tenant’s lease is not carefully negotiated, a tenant may find itself bound by lease for premises in which it can’t successfully operate or it may be required to start paying rent well before it’s open for business and generating revenues. . . . more

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Just How Apocalyptic Is It?

KeyPoint Partners
If you haven’t read a story - make that ten stories - about the retail apocalypse by now, then possibly you’ve been living under a rock. The “thrashing” of brick-and-mortar retailers by online sellers over the past decade has taken a toll on shopping centers throughout the country, including our home region: retail vacancy in Eastern Massachusetts during that period quickly climbed from the mid-single digits to double digits and has been hovering around the 10% mark for the past few years. However, while the fallout is far from over, there are signs that the worst may be behind us.

To help put the current retail environment into perspective, we used our proprietary GRIID™ retail database to analyze the vacancy patterns of 270 shopping centers in Eastern Massachusetts. . . more

Dick’s Sporting Goods turns in mixed Q3 results as sales fall

Chain Store Age
Dick’s Sporting Goods beat profit expectations and raised its earnings outlook amid disappointing sales.

The sporting goods retailer reported that its net income rose 2% to $37.8 million in the quarter ended Nov. 3 from $36.9 million.

Net sales fell 4.5% to $1.86 billion, slightly below estimates of $1.88 billion. Same-store sales, based on an unadjusted calendar, declined 6.1%. (Adjusted for an extra week in 2017, same-store sales fell 3.9%.) . . . more

Burlington Stores crushes Q3 earnings estimates

Chain Store Age
Burlington Stores blew past third quarter earnings estimates and raised its full year guidance.

Revenue rose to $1.64 billion from $1.44 billion, also better than expected. Same-store sales rose 4.4%, topping the 3.1% analysts had expected.. . . more

Kids clothing retailer Gymboree weighs closing half its stores

Reuters
Gymboree Group Inc, a U.S. retailer of infant and children’s clothing, is considering closing more than half of its approximately 900 stores, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

The move would be a setback for Gymboree after it emerged from bankruptcy last year. It was one of the few brick-and-mortar retailers that managed to escape liquidation in a wave of bankruptcies that swept the sector, amid the rise of online shopping.. . . more

Amazon, Mass Merchants Win on Black Friday; Malls and Guns Lose

NREI
The presents may not yet be wrapped and under the tree, but at least they’re in transit with a tracking number. With spending increasingly moving online, a new set of winners is emerging as the Black Friday holiday shopping weekend comes to a close.

“We are seeing a fundamental shift in who’s considered winners and losers coming out of Black Friday this year,” Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Jennifer Bartashus said. “Whether you’re talking about department stores, mass merchants or specialty apparel chains, consumers are voting with their online spending and driving this evolution.”. . . more

Methuen welcomes Chick-fil-A, no problem

Boston Herald
While Boston has bawked at Chick-fil-A, the controversial chicken sandwich chain is getting a warm welcome in the Merrimack Valley, where Methuen Mayor Jim Jajuga gleefully posed in a filet-flipper’s paper hat with the trademark “Eat Mor Chikin” cow character — and residents say they are looking forward to the tasty burger alternative.

The restaurant will be the 12th Chick-fil-A in Massachusetts and the first in the Merrimack Valley when it opens tomorrow on Pleasant Valley Street.. . . more

Tops Markets Emerges From Chapter 11 Reorganization

The Shelby Report
Tops Markets LLC has successfully completed its financial restructuring and emerged from Chapter 11. The company, which reorganized with the support of its secured creditors and the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors, says it is emerging with “enhanced financial flexibility and (is) well positioned for long-term success,” adding that it will invest in its stores to create an “even more exceptional shopping experience.”

The Williamsville, New York-based company is emerging from Chapter 11 with a substantially stronger balance sheet, reducing its debt by approximately $445 million and with more than $100 million in liquidity. It also emerges having resolved the labor and pension issues that it faced at the commencement of the Chapter 11 cases, the company says.. . . more

Indoor Golf Concept That Takes Vacant Department Store Space Gets Private Equity Backing

bisnow.com
Cain International has bought a stake in the company behind indoor crazy golf concept Swingers, and will help it to expand in the U.K. and U.S.

Cain said it made a "significant investment" (but didn't disclose how much) in Competitive Socialising, which was founded in 2014 by Matt Grech-Smith and Jeremy Simmonds. Competitive Socialising will be targeting more launches for Swingers in the U.S. and also launching a second concept in the U.K.  . . . more

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Amazon reports biggest shopping day on Cyber Monday

Retail Dive
Cyber Monday was Amazon’s single biggest shopping day in its history, with more products ordered worldwide than any other day, according to a company press release. Amazon customers globally ordered more than 18 million toys and more than 13 million fashion items on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the company said.

Amazon.com's best-selling Cyber Monday items included its new Echo Dot, an AncestryDNA ethnicity test, Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones for Apple, Michelle Obama's memoir, Jenga and the 6-Quart Instant Pot, the company said. . . . more

10 digitally native brands to watch

Retail Dive
There's perhaps never been an easier time to launch a digitally native brand. Venture capital money is fueling e-commerce consumer brands in nearly every category, from beauty and apparel to footwear and mattresses. And social media is making it even easier for companies to cut through the noise and foster a direct relationship with consumers.

Vertical integration, nimble supply chains and promises of free and fast delivery are all also helping boost the reputations of lifestyle brands like Casper, Glossier and Away among shoppers seeking convenience and authenticity. Many traditional retailers are also looking to these types of young brands to inject new life into their businesses and reach young, urban customers. . . . more

Canadian athletic apparel retailer opens U.S. flagship

Chain Store Age
RYU Apparel has landed in New York City.

The Vancouver-based brand, which specializes in stylish athletic tech apparel for men and women, has opened a flagship in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, New York, as it continues its expansion into the United States. . . . more

Cyber Monday breaks online sales record

Chain Store Age
Cyber Monday sales were even better than expected, fueled by a surge in mobile commerce.

The online shopping event was on track to hit a record $7.9 billion by the end of the day, representing a 19.7% increase over last year, according to data from Adobe Analytics (data is as of 7:00 p.m. ET.) Mobile transactions surged 55.6%.. . . more

5Qs for Yaromir Steiner on retail transformation

Chain Store Age
Born in Istanbul and educated as a civil engineer in France, Yaromir Steiner brought a fresh outlook to the American retail real estate industry he joined with the inception of Steiner + Associates 25 years ago. His notion of building an outdoor center with streets and plazas and metered parking in front of store entrances was a radical departure when Easton Town Center opened in Columbus, Ohio, in 1999. Now his privately held company serves as a model for an industry in flux. We recently asked Steiner about his personal highlights of the past quarter century.. . . more

Dunkin' execs reveal why they want customers to 'order through a robot' in the near future

Business Insider
As Dunkin' rolls out its rebrand to new and existing locations nationwide, executives say the coffee empire isn't afraid to embrace automation.

The rebrand, which started with a name change to just Dunkin', also includes new features like cold brew taps, brand-new espresso machines, and an emphasis on mobile ordering and pickup. . . . more

CVS set to close $69B Aetna merger after final state approvals

Boston Business Journal
CVS Health Corp. and Aetna Inc. are set to close on their $69 billion merger this week after receiving final regulatory approval for the deal on Monday.

CVS said in a federal filing that it expects the deal with Aetna to close on Wednesday. The announcement comes almost a year after the merger agreement was first announced. . . . more

Monday, November 26, 2018

The winners and losers of Black Friday 2018

Retail Dive
Thanksgiving isn't going to take over Black Friday anytime soon, but the holiday did smash expectations and set the sales weekend up for success.

Adobe Analytics disclosed that $6.22 billion was spent online by the end of Black Friday, an increase of 23.6% year over year, according to sales results emailed to Retail Dive. More importantly, this holiday season retailers aligned sale prices across multiple days and multiple channels, giving consumers choices of when to spend. Customers can now engage in traditional brick-and-mortar shopping, or they can start early in the comfort of their own homes.. . . more

Steinhoff's U.S. unit Mattress Firm exits bankruptcy, shuts 660 stores

Reuters
Steinhoff International said on Thursday its Mattress Firm Inc unit, the largest U.S. mattress retailer, emerged out of bankruptcy with access to $525 million in exit financing, within two months of filing for Chapter 11 protection.

Mattress Firm also closed about 660 underperforming stores, said Steinhoff, which has been working on a deal to restructure the debt of some units after revealing multi-billion-euro holes in its balance sheet.. . . more

Gap looking to close hundreds of namesake stores

Chain Store Age
Gap Inc. is set to take drastic action with regards to its ailing namesake division — and sooner rather than later.

Speaking on the chain’s quarterly call with analysts, Gap CEO Art Peck said that the biggest challenge with the Gap brand has to do with certain “legacy elements,” notably real estate obligations that currently “encumber” the business. The company operates 775 Gap stores globally, and “the range from the very best to the very worst is extremely broad,” Peck added. . . . more

Analysis: Strong but not stellar Black Friday weekend as demand ‘pulled forward’

Chain Store Age
Retailers enjoyed a solid but not spectacular Black Friday shopping weekend, as online and in-store promotions proliferated earlier in the week and on Thanksgiving, cannibalizing sales that once occurred on Saturday and Sunday, the “demand pull-forward” phenomenon.

Combined with an early Thanksgiving, the demand pull-forward will also shift the traditional early December lull to a late November shopping lull. The good news is that plunging gasoline prices—down $0.35/gallon since mid-October—are giving a mid-season boost to available discretionary spending. . . . more

UPS’s Christmas Wish: A Delivery Surge It Can Handle

The Wall Street Journal
United Parcel Service Inc. is hoping that billions of dollars in system improvements this year will help it avoid shipping problems during the online shopping surge of the holiday season.

The Atlanta-based company expects to handle nearly 800 million packages between Thanksgiving and Christmas, delivering an average of 31 million each delivery day—more than double the average daily volume. That is up from 762 million packages during last year’s peak period. . . . more

Looks like another record-setting Cyber Monday

Boston Business Journal
It’s likely to be another record-setting Cyber Monday, and e-commerce businesses have prepped for a big boost in online traffic.

Shipping and courier delivery services company DHL surveyed 14,000 U.S. e-commerce businesses to find out how they were preparing for Cyber Monday 2018. More than half — 52 percent— said they are expecting an increase in sales of more than 21 percent compared with 2017, while almost one-fourth expect an increase of more than 40 percent. . . . more

Lord & Taylor prepares to say goodbye to Fifth Avenue

Boston Herald
For generations, the Lord & Taylor on Fifth Avenue helped define Christmas in New York. It was the city's first department store to turn its big sidewalk windows into animated, theatrical holiday displays. Tourists lined up to see them transformed into enchanted forests, gingerbread palaces and wintry cityscapes.

Lord & Taylor plans to close its longtime flagship in January after one last blowout sale. Next year, the 11-story, Italian Renaissance-style building covering a whole city block will be taken over by WeWork, the workspace leasing company.
. . . more

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Online lingerie startup begins retail store push

Chain Store Age
The fast-growing Adore Me has big plans for brick-and-mortar.

The digitally native retailer has opened a store at Bridgewater Commons mall, in Bridgewater, N.J. The 3,600-sq.-ft space is the brand’s second physical store to date and double the size of its first location (photo above), which opened in June, at Staten Island Mall, in the Staten Island borough of New York City.. . . more

Foot Locker plays hard in Q3

Chain Store Age
Athletic footwear giant Foot Locker turning in a winning third quarter, with sales and earnings that topped Wall Street expectations.

Total third quarter sales decreased 0.5% to $1.86 billion this year, topping estimates. (The 53rd week shift impact reduced sales by approximately $60 million during the third quarter.) Same-store sales increased 2.9%, better than expected.. . . more

Ross Stores Q3 profit tops expectations but outlook disappoints

Chain Store Age
Off-price retailer Ross Stores has lowered its outlook for holiday sales gains in anticipation of a “fiercely competitive” retail market.

Third quarter sales rose 7% to $3.5 billion, just short of expectations. Same-store sales rose 3%. . . . more

At J.C. Penney, Everything’s on Sale. Will That Be Enough?

Bloomberg
Walk into a J.C. Penney and it’s a sea of red stickers. Almost everything is marked down, from apparel, jewelry and home goods to Christmas decor, bedding and appliances. And it’s not even Black Friday yet.

Even for a retailer whose identity is built on promotions and discounts, there’s an urgency to this holiday season. J.C. Penney Co.’s bonds are near record lows, its stock has slid toward a buck a share, and brand new Chief Executive Officer Jill Soltau is pushing her team to shovel out the dated goods that she says make the stores feel “over-assorted and heavy on inventory.”. . . more

Walmart and Target are grabbing a bigger piece of online sales heading into the holidays, but it's come at a cost

CNBC
Retailers such as Walmart and Target have been pouring money into their online businesses to fend off rival Amazon as the companies look to capture an even greater share of U.S. e-commerce sales.

While Amazon's reported sales growth each quarter includes that taken in from its other businesses, such as Amazon Web Services, the company is expected to capture nearly 5 percent of total U.S. retail sales by the end of this year, according to eMarketer. . . . more

Who wants to shop on Thanksgiving Day?

Boston Business Journal
Most Americans oppose stores opening on Thanksgiving Day, though the younger you are, the more likely it is that you'd like to hit the mall after your turkey dinner.

According to a new poll by Morning Consult, 58 percent of women and 52 percent of the 2,200 adults surveyed overall said they think stores should be closed until Black Friday.. . . more

'We don't just want to be normal': Danish retailer Flying Tiger expands in Mass.

Boston Business Journal
Stepping into Flying Tiger Copenhagen's Downtown Crossing store, shoppers are met with neon unicorn lamps, plush Santa decorations and boldly colored reading glasses. It's a random assortment of goods — and that's how CEO Mette Maix likes it.

"We want our stores to have things you get inspired by," Maix said. "Each store gets at least 300 new products every month, so it is a bit like a treasure hunt.". . . more

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Sears is just one of five retailers that have no room for error this holiday season

CNBC
Despite all the changes in retail, one thing remains constant: The holidays are the most crucial season of the year.

Many retailers can ring up a third or more of their sales during the holiday quarter. The extra shoppers give retailers such as Walmart, Amazon and Target a chance to test new technologies and tout new experiences — and hopefully win a customer's loyalty into the new year. But for those that have been struggling, the pressure is on to earn enough cash to support the business so it can make investments to reinvent the brand, stave off a bankruptcy filing or simply stay alive.. . . more

Blue Apron halts retail program with Costco

Supermarket News
Back in May, Blue Apron made news with its first foray into retail store distribution in a highly publicized partnership with Costco. Now, six months later, the meal kit company is putting the brakes on the relationship — at least temporarily.

During its earnings report last week, Blue Apron announced that its pilot program with Costco will shut down indefinitely as the holidays approach. Costco needs shelf space for holiday offerings, and Blue Apron customers are typically less engaged during the holiday season, Blue Apron CEO Brad Dickerson said on the earnings call.. . . more

Lowe’s plans more cost-cutting despite better-than-expected earnings

The Charlotte Observer
Mooresville-based Lowe’s reported better-than-expected earnings and sales for the third quarter on Tuesday. But the company said it will exit its Mexico business as part of its ongoing effort to improve profitability.

Sales for the quarter were $17.4 billion, up 3.8 percent from a year ago and above the $17.33 billion estimate from Wall Street analysts. Same-store sales, an industry term that gauges the health of the retailer and refers to sales at stores open at least a year, rose 1.5 percent. Same-store sales in the U.S. rose 2 percent. . . . more