Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Take a look inside the most valuable mall in America

Business Insider

The retail apocalypse has claimed many malls across America, but some of the best in the country have continued to thrive. Located in Honolulu, Hawaii, the Ala Moana Shopping Center was recently named the most valuable mall in America.

With over 350 stores and restaurants ranging from budget-friendly chains to high-end boutiques and department stores, the Ala Moana Center is worth roughly $5.74 billion, with about $1,500 in sales per square foot, according to a recent study by the research firm Boenning & Scattergood, which was reported on by CNBC. . . . more

Expectations Are Tempered for Brick-and-Mortar Retail, In Spite of Strong Holiday Season

NREI Online

The numbers for 2017 are in: It appears the holiday shopping season was a success. But will this translate to a revival for bricks-and-mortar retail in 2018?

The short answer is that it depends. That was the message during real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield’s recent webinar on the topic, hosted by Garrick Brown, head of retail research for the Americas, and Ben Conwell, senior managing director and e-commerce advisory group lead.. . . more

Amazon is creating a health care company—with two big-name partners

Chain Store Age

Amazon is teaming up with two influential companies to try to improve a system that others have tried and failed to change over the years.

Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase will form an independent company, as yet unnamed, that will address health care for the U.S. employees of their respective companies with the aim of lowering costs and improving satisfaction — outside a focus on profit making and other constraints.. . . more

In public filing, Bon-Ton describes turnaround plan that involves closing, opening stores


Ailing department store chain The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. appears to be headed for a restructuring — sooner rather than later.

In a filing Monday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Bon-Ton said it is engaged in discussions with debtholders regarding potential restructuring alternatives.. . . more

McDonald's to open 1,000 new restaurants

USA Today

McDonald's plans to open about 1,000 new stores worldwide and speed up plans to add new self-service ordering systems and other store upgrades as the fast-food giant's momentum continues.

The company reported strong fourth-quarter sales Tuesday, fueled by strong interest in its McPick 2 options, beverage deals and a "strong consumer response" to its new Buttermilk Crispy Tenders.

The promising sales report applied to the period immediately preceding January's revival of its popular Dollar Menu, with items priced at $1, $2 and $3.. . . more

Payless in retail realignment

Chain Store Age

Payless ShoeSource is realigning its North American retail organizational structure, with an end goal of better serving the customer.

The footwear retailer announced that is increasing the number of North America associates who work closer to the store level while reducing layers between its corporate headquarters and retail stores. It did not specify if the realignment will result in the elimination of jobs.. . . more

You could be grocery shopping online in 5 years


The majority of shoppers could be buying their groceries online within five years, much sooner than previously thought.

A joint report from the Food Marketing Institute and Nielsen predicts 70 percent of consumers will be buying at least a portion of their groceries online in the next five to seven years, CNBC reported. Both groups had previously estimated the shift would take place over 10 years.

Shoppers are still expected to spend 80 percent of their grocery dollars in stores, as they tend to be loyal to their grocers, per CNBC.. . . more

Monday, January 29, 2018

Online retail grew less than expected in 2017

Computer Weekly

Online retail sales grew by 12.1% year on year in 2017, according to the annual IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. But although sales grew over the year, annual online retail sales were 2% below the forecast growth rate of 14% – and were below the previous year’s 15.9% online retail sales growth rate.

Justin Opie, managing director of IMRG, said several macro-economic factors, such as rising inflation and interest rates, may have contributed to the slow growth, and that retailers should expect 2018 to be even harder. . . . more

Boxed may have another suitor—and it’s a giant one

NY Post

Jeff Bezos’ e-commerce giant invited Boxed founder and Chief Executive Chief Huang to Amazon’s Seattle headquarters on Wednesday to discuss an acquisition of the four-year-old company, a source with knowledge of the trip and discussions told The Post.

It is the first time Huang has met with the Seattle behemoth and comes on the heels of reports that Boxed — which sells bulk grocery goods — is an acquisition target of Kroger, the country’s largest grocery chain.. . . more

Mattress Firm shakeup as CEO resigns

Chain Store Age

Mattress Firm’s president and CEO Ken Murphy is stepping down after two years on the job. He will be succeeded by Steve Stagner, executive chairman, effective March 1. Stagner, who has been with Mattress Firm for more than 20 years, previously served as CEO from February 2010 to March 2016, handing over the reins to Murphy.

Stagner returns to the CEO role at a turbulent time in the company. In September 2016, Mattress Firm was acquired by South African conglomerate Steinhoff International Holdings in a $3.8 billion deal that included Steinhoff assuming more than $1 billion in debt the U.S. retailer had racked up in an expansion move that saw it acquire several major competitors. Last December, Steinhoff’s president and chairman resigned following the discovery of what the company described as “accounting irregularities.”. . . more

Dollar General is looking for a few good…

Chain Store Age

Dollar General will hold its first-ever Innovation and Supplier Diversity Summit in April. The event is designed to pair potential vendors with respective buyers and category managers from the chain. It is open to new suppliers and also those who have not sold products to the company within the past 18 months.

In addition, in order to be eligible to attend, suppliers must sell items in at least one of the following categories:

• Beauty, personal care and over-the-counter/wellness
• General merchandise/all non-food
• Grocery
. . . more

By Shrinking, Can Sam’s Club Keep Up With Costco?

Wall Street Journal

This month, the Wal-Mart Stores Inc. chain closed 63 U.S. Sam’s Club locations. The closures cut about 10,000 jobs and are the largest since Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton opened the first Sam’s Club in 1983. Wal-Mart says some of those workers will get jobs in other stores.

The closures aren’t only a result of retail’s rapid shift online, but are part of a strategy pivot by new Sam’s Club Chief Executive John Furner to turn what has long been Wal-Mart’s underperforming sibling into a retailer that can rival its most successful competitor, Costco Wholesale Corp.. . . more

Staples hires Coke executive to replace Goodman as CEO


Staples Inc. is bringing on an outgoing Coca-Cola Co. executive to serve as its next chief executive, the company said Friday, the same day that CEO Shira Goodman left the company.

J. Alexander “Sandy” Douglas Jr., most recently the president of Coca-Cola North America, will become Staples CEO on April 2, according to a statement from Staples. Coca-Cola had announced in October that Douglas would be retiring from the Atlanta-based beverage giant on March 1. He has spent the past 30 years of his career at Coke.. . . more

Friday, January 26, 2018

Should Net Lease Investors Worry About Convenience Store Tenants?

NREI Online

In 2018, net lease investors can expect middling performance from convenience stores.

Recent estimates suggest that convenience stores will achieve total sales of about $73 billion in 2018—on the lower end of the spectrum for this sub-sector—and total sales growth of just 5.5 percent, according to the “Retail, Apparel and Restaurants—U.S., 2018 Outlook,” from Moody’s Investors Service.. . . more

Retail, restaurant chains among 30 most polarizing brands in U.S.

Chain Store Age

A survey by Morning Consult ranks the companies, brands, and organizations that are the most politically divisive—or the ones that divide Democrats and Republicans the most. And at the top of the list is Trump Hotels.

Media companies dominate the top 30. But five retail/restaurant companies also are included: Chick-fil-A (#15), Bass Pro Shops and Papa John’s (tied at #21), Starbucks (#25), and Cabela’s (#26).. . . more

China’s JD Prepares to Take on Amazon on Its Home Turf


Watch out Amazon—a global online powerhouse is looking to move onto your home turf.

JD.com is preparing its U.S. debut, with a beachhead in Los Angeles, according to Bloomberg.

The $68 billion company has said previously it wanted to start online sales in Europe and the U.S. by the second half of 2018.. . . more

Starbucks delivers tepid growth across its global empire

Seattle Times

Starbucks’ U.S. slowdown has gone global.

The coffee chain posted disappointing sales growth in all its major regions on Thursday, signaling that it now has bigger problems than an overly saturated U.S. market.

“Our holiday merchandise and limited-time offers did not perform up to expectations,” Chief Executive Officer Kevin Johnson said in an interview. In the U.S., the chain also saw “a little bit of softness in the afternoon, which may be a reflection of fewer people out shopping.”. . . more

Walmart Makes a Late Entry Into the E-Book Market

New York Times

Walmart is making a circuitous and belated push into the digital book market, teaming up with a Japanese company to sell e-books and audiobooks.

The deal with Rakuten, an e-commerce giant based in Japan, will allow Walmart to start selling digital books on its website for the first time later this year.

The move, which was announced late Thursday, comes years after Walmart’s archrival, Amazon, began to dominate the market for digital readers.. . . more

Wal-Mart Job Cuts Rise to 1,000 in Company's Latest Shake-Up


Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is cutting as many as 1,000 jobs at its headquarters this year and next, the latest effort to streamline a retail empire under threat from Amazon.com Inc.

The first wave of layoffs totaled between 400 and 500 jobs and hit the company’s marketing, human resources, merchandising, real estate and other divisions this week, the Bentonville, Arkansas-based chain said. Those affected will have 60 days to find a new role.. . . more

Staples CEO Shira Goodman stepping down immediately

Boston Business Journal

Staples Inc. President and CEO Shira Goodman is stepping down from the company on Friday, with an announcement regarding her replacement to come in the next few days, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The move comes less than six months after private equity firm Sycamore Partners took the retailer private. The firm completed its $6.9 billion acquisition of Staples in September.. . . more

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Amazon bumps up fees for apparel sellers


Amazon has increased its third-party seller fees and apparel is now the most expensive item to sell on the site, Business Insider reported.

The company raised the fee for sellers in the Clothing and Accessories category from 15 percent of the sale to 17 percent, and the fee for handbags and sunglasses jumped from 15 percent to 18 percent for items above $75, according to Business Insider.

Amazon also altered fees for jewelry sellers, charging 20 percent on the first $250 per item, and 5 percent on the rest. The move could be a strategy to bring more higher-priced luxury jewelry to the site, per Business Insider.. . . more

More details unveiled for giant Stop & Shop project in Allston

Boston Herald

Supermarket Co. and New England Development have revealed more details and preliminary renderings for Allston Yards — their proposed 10.6-acre, mixed-use development with up to 1,050 housing units, office space, a new flagship store for the grocery chain and other retail, restaurant and fitness uses.

The four-building project would be built in phases over several years at the Everett Street site of the current Allston Stop & Shop, located near the Mass Pike and next to New Balance’s 15-acre Boston Landing complex and the MBTA’s Boston Landing commuter rail stop.. . . more

Target launching same-day delivery

Chain Store Age

Target Corp. is moving quickly to leverage its $550 million acquisition of Shipt.

The discounter announced that it will debut same-day delivery services via Shipt on Feb. 1 across 57 stores in South Florida and Birmingam, Alabama. It will move quickly to expand the service, making it available at nearly half its 1,834 stores by the end of the first quarter (February 12), and the majority of its stores in time for the 2018 holiday season.. . . more

Is Walmart pursuing the ‘Tinder’ of grocery shopping?

Chain Store Age

Walmart filed a patent for an online grocery shopping service that functions like the dating app Tinder. Called ‘The Fresh Online Experience (FOE) system,’ the solution will allow customers to view the exact item that in-store associates are picking to fulfill their online grocery order.

The item will be scanned using three-dimensional scanning. As the associate packs the order, they scan images of the items. Upon receiving a notification of the merchandise, shoppers can approve or reject the fresh item before it is packed into the order, according to the patent filing.. . . more

Rite Aid: Transfer of stores to Walgreens on ‘track’

Chain Store Age

Rite Aid’s transfer of stores to Walgreens Boots Alliance is expected to be complete in spring of this year.

Rite Aid reported the successful transfer of 625 of its stores and related assets to Walgreens Boots Alliance. The company said it has received cash proceeds of $1.3 billion, which it is using to repay all of its $970 million of outstanding secured loans while maintaining a strong liquidity position.. . . more

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Enough with the doom and gloom. Retail and its real estate have bright spots


Retail isn't just decades-old apparel brands and antiquated shopping malls.

The future for many industry names is bright and booming, despite dire headlines. And malls and shopping centers are taking on a new image of their own, bringing in experiential tenants and living spaces as department stores and other big-box anchors scale back.. . . more

Nine West Said to Plan a Bankruptcy Filing with Asset Sales

NREI Online

Nine West Holdings Inc. and its creditors are closing in on a deal to restructure almost $1.5 billion of debt that would include filing for bankruptcy and selling off parts of the shoe and clothing retailer, according to people with knowledge of the negotiations.

The plan hinges on asset sales to pay off creditors, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the negotiations are private. Nine West would seek Chapter 11 court protection with a restructuring plan agreed upon in advance by its creditors, said the people. The goal is to file before a March 15 interest payment, they said.. . . more

Ontario Teachers' Is Said to Test Investors on Macerich Bid

NREI Online

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board has held talks with other investors about a potential deal to take U.S. mall owner Macerich Co. private, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Canadian pension fund, which owns about 16.5 percent of real estate investment trust Macerich, has held discussions with firms including sovereign wealth funds about backing the potential bid, the people said, asking not to be identified as the details aren’t public. Talks are at an early stage and may not lead to a deal, the people said.. . . more

Sears downgraded by Fitch Ratings

Chain Store Age

Fitch Ratings downgraded Sears Holdings Corp.’s ratings to C from CC, after the retailer announced a distressed debt exchange.

Sears said it has commenced an exchange various tranches of debt held by Sears and its Kmart business, Marketwatch reported. The exchange involves pay-in-kind notes that allow the company to make interest payments with more debt.. . . more

Proposed Brighton building to offer discounted retail

Boston Herald

A proposed 115-unit Brighton apartment building with discounted first-floor space to support a local business is under city review.

Boston-based KIG Real Estate Advisors wants to land the five-story structure with studio to three-bedroom apartments at 5 Washington St., across from a Whole Foods Market, according to an expanded project notification form filed with the Boston Planning & Development Agency. Fifteen of the apartments would be affordable units restricted to households making 70 percent of the area median income or below.. . . more

Toys R Us to close 180 stores across the US


Toys R Us is planning to shutter roughly 180 stores across the country, or about one-fifth of its U.S. store fleet, in a bid to restructure the company and emerge from bankruptcy protection.

The closures still need court approval, documents show, but management is planning to shut those locations beginning in early February and running through mid-April. (See below for a complete list of those locations set to close.). . . more

Retail Landlords Increasingly Look To Transit Hubs To Boost Traffic


Seeking a new way to transport retail from bankrupt to burgeoning, landlords are looking to transit hubs as a way to drive traffic.

This is in opposition to the former strategies employed by mall landlords, who used to attract shoppers with popular anchor stores and then limit the number of exits in order to encourage lengthier periods of shopping and spending, the Wall Street Journal reports.. . . more

Chase hints at opening first retail branches in Boston

Biz Journals

It didn't come right out and say it, but JPMorgan Chase & Co. gave strong indications Tuesday it may soon open its first retail branches in Boston.

Chase retail expansion plans are ambitious — up to 400 new branches in the next five years, in an era when most banks are shrinking their brick-and-mortar footprints. In its statement announcing the plans, Chase stopped short of definitively saying where it will expand, but Boston was one of the few cities it name-checked.. . . more

Whole Foods Stocking Woes Could Take Years For Amazon To Right


Boston-area Whole Foods customer complaints have surged in recent weeks due to food shortages and empty shelves. The logistical problems predate Amazon acquiring the company and are part of the reason why the grocer was for sale in the first place, the Boston Globe reports.

“Amazon does not understand the details involved in fresh food retail,” Strategic Resource Group retail analyst Burt Flickinger told the Globe. “This is going to be Amazon’s retail version of Vietnam; it’s going to take three to five years to fix and at a really, really high cost.” . . . more

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Columbia Development Partner Offers a Take on the Mixed-Use Sector

NREI Online

After a strong holiday shopping season, plus the passage of a tax reform bill expected to boost personal spending, industry experts are looking forward to an improved environment in the retail real estate sector in 2018.

Mixed-use centers are expected to be among the better-performing assets in the sector, as the industry moves away from shopping centers and enclosed malls and to properties that combine office, hotel and retail elements.. . . more

H&M Investor Heads for Exit as Selloff Tests Crisis Point

NREI Online

One of H&M’s largest shareholders has lost its patience.

Skandia’s actively managed funds have spent the past months selling off most of its stake in Hennes & Mauritz AB after watching the fashion retailer struggle with weakening sales in its physical stores and intensifying online competition. The Swedish savings and insurance giant says there’s a raft of issues H&M would need to address before it will consider investing again.. . . more

QIC closes on third mall in 10-mall deal

Chain Store Age

The investment company QIC closed on an ownership stake in Antelope Valley Mall in Palmdale, California, its third closing in a 10-mall deal it signed with Forest City Realty Trust.

Forest City’s shares in the properties were valued at approximately $1.55 billion in the transaction. Full value of all the regional malls is close to $3.2 billion.. . . more

Consumables become Amazon’s top ‘breadwinner’ in 2017

Chain Store Age

More spending power and domesticated lifestyles among Amazon’s shoppers sparked growth among consumables in 2017.

Described as its biggest breadwinner, Amazon’s consumables category racked up an estimated $6.2 billion in sales in the United States in 2017 — a 41% increase over 2016. This puts the category second to only consumer electronics, according to “Amazon Consumables 2017 Review,” from One Click Retail, a company that specializes in e-commerce data measurement, sales analytics and search optimization for brand manufacturers.. . . more

Foot Locker takes stake in women’s luxury activewear start-up

Chain Store Age

Foot Locker is investing in an online women’s luxury fitness and fashion brand with a cult following.

The athletic retailer announced that it has made a strategic investment in Carbon38, taking a minority stake in the brand. The $15 million Series A funding round brings the total raised by Carbon38 to $26 million since 2013.. . . more

Tween retailer Claire's turns to Lazard for debt advice


Tween accessories company Claire's, the go-to destination for ear piercing, has hired investment bank Lazard to help address its roughly $2.2 billion debt load, the company announced on Monday.

"We believe this is the right time to undertake this initiative and we want to assure our vendors, employees and stakeholders that we believe we have ample liquidity to honor our commitments through the completion of this process," said CEO Ron Marshall.. . . more

Kroger's new nationwide strategies unfold in North Texas including Scan, Bag, Go

Dallas News
Kroger has stepped up closings of unprofitable stores including one that had been open for less than two years in Plano. At the same time, Kroger is still opening new stores and investing in new technology. It's bringing Scan, Bag, Go self-checkout system to 19 North Texas stores beginning in March.

Kroger is adding the Scan, Bag, Go system to 400 stores nationwide and the 19 in North Texas will have them installed from March through August, said April Martin Nickels, Kroger spokeswoman in North Texas. Shoppers have to have a Kroger Plus card to use it, she said, and the purchase is completed at the self-checkout. (Last summer, Walmart brought its version of scan-as-you-shop system to several local stores.). . . more

Monday, January 22, 2018

Which REIT Sectors Will Outperform in 2018?

NREI Online

Retail REITs have been punished in spite of the fact that they tend to own higher-quality assets, while it’s lower-quality malls and shopping centers that tend to be hit hardest by challenges like e-commerce, Brad Case, senior vice president of research and industry information with NAREIT says.

“I think regional malls and shopping centers are due for a good year this year,” says Matt Werner, managing director and portfolio manager at Houston-based investment advisory firm Chilton Capital Management LLC, citing the potential for stepped-up mergers and acquisitions activity. By and large, REIT stocks are undervalued, Case says, and stock prices are lower than they should be based on the strength of the industry.. . . more

Here's what could happen to America's hundreds of dead malls

Business Insider

Traditional malls need to transform themselves to stay alive, and many are making changes to attract more business.

Malls of the future have an opportunity to fulfill other community needs besides commerce, June Williamson, an architecture professor at the City College of New York and an author of "Retrofitting Suburbia," told Business Insider.

Here is what may become of the many failing malls of today:. . . more

This Home Depot Of Golf Is Revolutionizing The Sport's Retail Sector


The retail side of the golf industry has changed significantly in recent years and no company in the game has adjusted and evolved more successfully than PGA TOUR Superstore.

Mirroring the approach that helped Home Depot change the home improvement sector, the retailer is coming off a record year in which it had 23 percent sales growth, opened several new stores, conducted over 100,000 custom club fittings, gave about 50,000 lessons and re-gripped more than 750,000 clubs.. . . more

NRF 2018: Key Takeaways

Chain Store Age

The message was clear at the National Retail Federation’s annual “Big Show in New York: Retailers need to adopt disruptive technology if they want to remain relevant among digitally savvy shoppers.

With customers in the driver’s seat, retailers find themselves in the hot seat not only to keep these consumers engaged, but to streamline the shopping experience. The only way to do so is to adopt innova-tive technologies that can meet — and exceed — customer expecta-tions and remove friction from their shopping journeys.

Here are some other key takeaways from the NRF show:
. . . more

CB2 continues expansion with Philly store opening in February


CB2, described as the younger, hipper sibling of Crate & Barrel, announced earlier this week a Feb. 2 opening of a 12,000-square-foot showroom in the space formerly occupied by Kenneth Cole, Lacoste, and a physical therapy office at 1422 Walnut St.

The Philadelphia location marks its 12th store in the country and fifth East Coast location. CB2, which has been on an expansion run, opened a location in Paramus, N.J., in August.. . . more

The partnership between Kohl's and Amazon is a "win for both companies"


Last October, Kohl's started selling Amazon's smart home products and accepting the online retailer's returns at a handful of its U.S. stores. Since then, some people have made the case for Amazon outright acquiring Kohl's for its real estate and loyal customer base.

The partnership between the two is a "win for both companies," Konik said Friday. "We anticipate the pilot to roll out nationally and provide Kohl's stores with stronger traffic and is a nice added convenience for Amazon shoppers.". . . more

Amazon to debut store without checkout in downtown Seattle

Boston Herald

Amazon employees have been testing it, but is the public ready for a cashier-less store?

More than a year after it introduced the concept, Amazon is opening its artificial intelligence-powered Amazon Go store in downtown Seattle on Monday.. . . more

Friday, January 19, 2018

Travel retail market reaches new heights

Chain Store Age

Travel retail sales are poised to exceed $1 billion with five years amid surging growth in fragrances and beauty.

The global travel retail market, valued at $69.5 billion in 2016, is projected to reach $125.1 billion by 2023, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 8.9%, according to a report by Allied Market. The largest segment of the market is perfumes and cosmetics, which enjoys a strong customer base.. . . more

Amazon’s apparel investment paying off

Chain Store Age

More and more shoppers are turning to Amazon to buy clothing.

That’s according to a survey by CPC Strategy in which 52.1% of online shoppers said they bought clothing from Amazon in the last six months, while 46.7% cited a retailer’s website. Nearly 14% (13.9%) said eBay, and 10. 8% said search engines. (All respondents were screened with the question “Have you ever purchased clothing online?” and only those who responded “yes” participated.)

Other key takeaways from the “U.S. Apparel Shopping Trends Forecast: How Shoppers Will Browse and Buy Clothing in 2018” report include:. . . more

Amazon is raising the price of Prime monthly memberships by nearly 20 percent


Amazon Prime memberships are getting more expensive — for those customers who want the flexibility to pay for the speedy shipping and media streaming program on a monthly basis.

The company is announcing on Friday that the Amazon Prime monthly fee is increasing from $10.99 to $12.99 in the U.S., an increase of 18 percent. The new price works out to nearly $156 a year.. . . more

Starbucks to Test a Cashier-Free Store at Its Headquarters


Starbucks will open a dedicated mobile order and pay store next week in its Seattle headquarters building as it tests how to best serve convenience-oriented customers, the company said in a letter to employees on Thursday.

The coffee chain has been looking for ways to ease bottlenecks at cafe drink delivery stations, which suffered peak-hour backups due to a pileup of mobile drink orders.. . . more

With A Flawed Strategy, J.C. Penney's Future Is Uncertain


The recent Christmas 2017 sales report for J.C. Penney implies that improved sales should be a balm for optimists.  Hard times are looming for the company.

Very high debt. The company has about $7.5 billion in total debt if you take total liabilities minus cash minus receivables. J.C.Penney calculates outstanding long-term debt to be about $4.06 Billions.
. . . more

Landlords speed store openings by streamlining lease process


Internet retailers and other merchants new to the physical space tend to get bewildered by the length of the modern lease process. In a session at ICSC’s New York Deal Making last December, Kyle Ashley, director of retail innovation for eyewear vendor Warby Parker, urged landlords to make the process quicker, easier and more transparent. “Why does it take five months to negotiate a lease?” Ashley asked.

One of the surest ways to speed the process is to use in-house leasing personnel, says Gerald Crump, a Weingarten Realty senior vice president who oversees the central region. “This gives us the ability to make quick decisions and coordinate immediately with our legal group, all of which takes time off the lease-negotiation process.”. . . more

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Simon Settles Suit With Starbucks Over Teavana Closures

Wall Street Journal

Simon Property Group and Starbucks Corp. have reached a settlement over a lawsuit by the mall owner that had sought to prevent Starbucks from closing Teavana stores in its shopping centers.

In November, an Indiana judge ordered the coffee giant to halt from closing Teavana stores in 77 retail locations owned by Simon. Starbucks filed an appeal against the preliminary injunction.. . . more

Retail With Purpose and the New Customer Loyalty Equation

Women's Wear Daily

Not so long ago, retail was all about offering the right products at the right price at the right time. But in today’s integrated consumer-driven marketplace that’s no longer enough. Now it’s about persuading customers to buy into your brand by showing them who you are, what you stand for and why you exist.

In short, it’s about going back to your roots and offering a clear and renewed sense of purpose.. . . more

Developer abandons plans for Town of Newburgh retail project

Times Herald Record

The developer proposing to build a 700,000-square-foot retail, dining and entertainment complex on Route 300 in the Town of Newburgh officially announced it is abandoning the project, two months after the Newburgh school board rejected a 20-year tax-break deal.

Needham, Mass.-based Waterstone Properties said Wednesday in a press release that it is considering non-retail uses for the 122-acre property, which sits across from the Newburgh Mall where Route 300 intersects with Interstate 84.

Named The Ridge Hudson Valley, the project was to include an 85,000-square-foot BJ’s Wholesale Club, a 50,000-square-foot Dick’s Sporting Goods and a 78,000- square-foot ShopRite, which would have relocated from North Plank Road.. . . more

Burlington opening in Somerville this spring

Boston Globe

As Burlington Stores prepares to open a new outlet in Somerville, the national retail chain is holding a two-day community jobs fair for area residents interested in applying for the 75 positions that will be available at the facility.

Set to open this spring, the 45,000-square-foot store will be located at 133 Middlesex Ave., near the Assembly Row development. Formerly known as Burlington Coat Factory, Burlington has 632 stores in 45 states and Puerto Rico.. . . more

Fashion is getting personal as brands battle for shoppers


The idea that shoppers won't buy their clothes online has been more than proven to be a myth.

And with growth in the clothing category slower than the overall retail sector, those retailers need to fight for every sale on every platform.

Industry experts recommend a strategy that provides customized products and personalized services both online and in stores.. . . more

'Entire aisles are empty': Whole Foods employees reveal why stores are facing a crisis of food shortages

Business Insider

Whole Foods is facing a crush of food shortages in stores that's leading to empty shelves, furious customers, and frustrated employees.

Many customers are blaming Amazon, which bought Whole Foods in August for $13.7 billion. Analysts have speculated that the shortages could be due to a spike in shopper traffic in the wake of the acquisition.

But Whole Foods employees say the problems began before the acquisition. They blame the shortages on a buying system called order-to-shelf that Whole Foods implemented across its stores early last year.. . . more

Jeweler sparkles in holiday season

Chain Store Age
Tiffany & Co. on Wednesday reported a robust holiday season and raised its annual earnings outlook.

The company reported that its total net sales rose 8% to $1.05 billion during the combined November and December period.. . . more

Amazon takes on Wish with an “Under $10” selection of products that ship for free


Amazon has quietly launched a new feature that’s seemingly aimed at helping the retailer better compete with discount shopping apps such as Wish and others. In the Amazon iOS app and on the web, Amazon recently added a new section offering products under $10 that ship for free. Some of the products are also available on Prime, but the feature doesn’t appear to be limited to Prime subscribers.

Called “$10 & Under,” the selection can be found under “All Programs” in the Amazon’s app main navigation. This is the area where Amazon regularly trials its newer experiments, like its shoppable Instagram clone Spark or outfit compare feature, for example.. . . more

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Crunch Fitness Franchisee Fitness Holdings LLC Acquires Boost Fitness, Expands Across Massachusetts


Crunch Fitness Franchise announced today that its Connecticut-based franchisee, Fitness Holdings LLC, has acquired Boost Fitness, the largest independent fitness chain in Central Massachusetts. The acquisition increases the number of Crunch locations in Massachusetts five-fold, growing the club base from two clubs to ten in the Boston area.

The eight Boost fitness centers, located in Auburn, Oxford, Fitchburg, Franklin, Hudson, Tewksbury, Westford and Worcester, were converted to Crunch Fitness clubs and began operating under the Crunch brand on January 1, 2018.. . . more

Beauty retailer Kiko USA files for bankruptcy

Retail Dive

Kiko USA, the U.S. subsidiary of an Italian makeup retailer, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week with plans to close all but five of its domestic retail locations.

The retailer wants to close 24 of its 29 domestic locations in bankruptcy. This, together with a 25th closure, could reduce annual operating losses by $7.1 million a year, and leave $3.9 million in real estate costs going forward, according to Kiko USA CEO Frank Furlan. He added that the retailer hopes to be completely moved out of those locations by Feb. 28.. . . more

The top three U.S. grocery retailers are…

Chain Store Age

Three diverse retailers came out on top in a new consumer study.

Trader Joe’s, Costco and Amazon took the top three positions in a survey by customer data science company dunnhumby. H-E-B and Walmart rounded out the top five.. . . more

Wegmans announces opening date for Natick Mall location

Metrowest Daily News

Wegmans Food Markets officials said the company plans to open its new store at Natick Mall on April 29.

Wegmans is moving into the former JCPenney space. The company is creating a two-floor, 146,500-square-foot supermarket that includes more than 100 seats for in-store café dining and two restaurants. The store will feature escalators for shoppers and carts as well as elevators to help customers move between the floors.. . . more

Retail sales to grow 3% annually through 2021; store openings to outpace closures

Chain Store Age

Retail industry sales are expected to remain on the upswing for the next several years and so are store openings.

A new report by Zebra Technologies, conducted with IHL Group, projects that retail industry sales in North America and EMEA regions (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) will rise 3% annually through 2021, led by a shift to greater e-commerce/omnichannel sales volume. 

The year 2017 saw more retail store openings than closures and store openings are expected to outpace closures through 2021, according to Zebra’s 2017 Retail Transformation Study. . . . more

Dunkin' opens its first next-generation store in Mass.

Biz Journals

This isn't your father's Dunkin' Donuts. The Canton-based company's first next-generation store in the country — simply called Dunkin' — opened today in Quincy.

According to Dunkin' executive Dave Hoffmann in an interview with the Business Journal, the new 2,200-square-foot location uses the latest technology in an attempt to attract on-the-go millennials. For instance, the store has a separate drive-through for those customers who use the Dunkin' app to order and pick-up their food. The chain, which opened its very first store in Quincy 68 years ago, says its the first national restaurant brand to offer this type of drive-through innovation.. . . more

A shift in strategy at Rent the Runway


Rent the Runway is shifting its stores' strategy to focus on subscribers to its monthly Unlimited program, and technology is playing a big role.

The company is transforming its stores from showrooms for rental items to locations where Unlimited subscribers can return and pick up clothing using self-service tablets, Glossy reported. Rent the Runway has partnered with technology company Aila on the changes.. . . more

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

15 companies that are defying the retail meltdown by opening hundreds of new stores

Business Insider
While many retailers are closing stores, some are rapidly building new locations, with at least one — Dollar General — adding as many as 900 stores this year.

A large majority of the retailers that are opening new stores this year are discounters, including Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Aldi, Lidl, Five Below, and Hobby Lobby. . . . more

Supreme Court to revisit Internet sales tax ruling

Chain Store Age
In a decision cheered by traditional retailers and many states, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to revisit a 1992 decision in which it ruled that states could only require remote sellers to collect sales taxes if they had a physical presence in the state.

The Court said it would hear an appeal from South Dakota (South Dakota vs. Wayfair) that the current “physical presence” rule is outdated and unfair in a time when Americans do much of their shopping online. In 2016, South Dakota passed a law requiring out-of-state sellers to collect and turn over sales tax to the state. The state’s highest court struck down the law, citing previous Supreme Court decisions.. . . more

Discount giant plans to cut thousands of corporate, co-manager positions

Chain Store Age
Walmart just announced that it plans to hand out thousands of pink slips across its corporate office, as well as at store-level.

The discount giant is planning to eliminate more than 1,000 corporate jobs, according to CNBC, which cited The Wall Street Journal. (The Wall Street Journal first broke the story.). . . more

Walmart to close last Sam's Club store in Mass., leaving 167 workers jobless

Boston Business Journal
The Sam's Club in Worcester — the last Sam's Club in the Bay State — will close to the public on Jan. 26, according to a company spokeswoman. A state filing on Thursday further confirmed the company will lay off all of its 167 workers at the store by March 16.

Walmart announced on Thursday that it would close 63 Sam's Club stores across the country. But its initial list of stores didn't contain any Massachusetts locations, including the Worcester one at at 1 Tobias Boland Way.. . . more

Unveiling Dunkin’ of ‘future’

Boston Herald
Dunkin’ Donuts will unveil its next generation concept store next week in Quincy — the city where its first restaurant opened 68 years ago.

The restaurant says the event at its 588 Washington St. location will offer “the first look at the brand’s U.S. store of the future.” New elements include an exclusive On-the-Go drive-thru lane for mobile ordering, a cold beverage tap system and new uniforms designed in partnership with Life is Good.. . . more

Friday, January 12, 2018

Women's fashion retailer A'gaci files for bankruptcy

Retail Dive

Women's apparel retailer A'gaci filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this week after a rapid brick-and-mortar expansion in recent years "spread the organization too thin to effectively respond to the rapidly changing trends in the retail market," the company's chief financial officer said in a court filing.

After building out 21 new stores over the past two years, A'gaci is now looking to close 49 stores — almost 65% of its footprint — in bankruptcy, A'gaci CFO Mark Butterbach said in the filing. Along with the overexpansion, Butterbach said the consumer shift toward online shopping, trouble implementing a new business software system, and major hurricanes last year — which "ravaged" some of the retailer's most profitable stores — forced the company into bankruptcy.. . . more

NH Sam’s Club store to close permanently


A Sam’s Club store in the Granite State is one of many locations across the country slated to close soon.

The Seabrook location will close on Jan. 26, according to town manager Bill Manzi.. . . more

Kohl's to partner with grocers or convenience stores to fill vacant store space


Kohl's plans to partner with retailers like grocery stores or convenience stores to lease the white space left by the roughly 300 stores it has "right-sized" over the past several years, CEO Kevin Mansell told CNBC at ICR's conference this week.

The department store has created operationally smaller, more profitable stores within its roughly 87,000-square-foot boxes. That downsizing leaves unused footage, which Mansell said would benefit from traffic-generating retailers like those that sell food.. . . more

In age of retail closings, Boscov's to open another store

The Morning Call

There’s been a lot of talk of a coming retail apocalypse. In fact, many department store chains are drastically retracting their brick-and-mortar presence as online shopping takes a larger and larger slice of the overall retail pie.

But then there’s Boscov’s.

The Berks County department store chain this week announced it will open its second New England location later this year at the Connecticut Post Mall in Milford, Conn. . . . more

US retail sales rise, while core sales are revised sharply higher


U.S. retail sales increased in December as households bought a range of goods and figures for the prior month were revised higher, suggesting the economy exited 2017 with strong momentum.

The Commerce Department said on Friday that retail sales rose 0.4 percent last month. Data for November was revised to show sales gaining 0.9 percent instead of the previously reported 0.8 percent increase.

Retail sales in December rose 5.4 percent from a year ago.. . . more

The newest delivery service: a self-driving ‘bodega-on-wheels’

Chain Store Age

Grocery chains will soon have a new way to get fresh produce into the hands of its time-starved shoppers.

Startup Robomart introduced a self-driving, nearly fully autonomous grocery store on wheels. The rolling robot is designed to bring fruits, vegetables, and other perishable items from the supermarket aisle to customers’ doors, according to Business Insider.. . . more

Riley Rose opens eighth store in Bridgewater, New Jersey

Chain Store Age

Forever 21 has come out of the gate fast with its new beauty/lifestyle format, Riley Rose, which made its debut in September. The fast-fashion giant has opened the concept in eight locations to date, including one in December at Bridgewater Commons Bridgewater, New Jersey.

Riley Rose is targeted at young millennials. Awash in pink hues and feminine accents, the 5,000-sq.-ft. Bridgewater store combines an extensive and diverse mix of edgy beauty and skin care brands (including many formerly online only and a large selection of Korean offerings) with fun, offbeat home and lifestyle goods, ranging from stationery to tech accessories to candy (with sweet treats from Dylan’s Candy Bar).. . . more

Trump reiterates need for Internet tax—and takes another jab at Amazon

Chain Store Age

President Trump’s concern about Amazon’s and its impact on the U.S. Postal Service isn’t waning.

The president once again stated that there should be an Internet tax. Without it, he said he believes that traditional retailers will continue to struggle at the hands of online retailers, reported CNBC.

He also reiterated concerns about Amazon’s effect on the U.S. Postal Service, as the department struggles to keep up with online orders. He made a similar comment via Twitter in December.. . . more

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Walmart is abruptly closing 63 Sam's Club stores and laying off thousands of workers

Business Insider

Walmart is closing 63 Sam's Club stores across the US, the company told Business Insider.

Several stores were abruptly closed Thursday. In some cases, employees were not informed of the closures prior to showing up to work on Thursday.

Instead, they learned that their store would be closing when they found the store's doors locked and a notice announcing the closure, according to reports.. . . more

Dunkin' Donuts wants to double the number of stores


Dunkin' Donuts wants to open 9,000 new stores.

It's an ambitious goal for any retailer in this climate. And it might seem especially bold for Dunkin', which said this summer it is drastically slowing expansion plans.

But scaling down while refining a new concept and then ramping up was always the brand's plan, said R.J. Hottovy, an analyst who covers the brand for Morningstar. Over the summer, Dunkin' said it would pare down its menu at some locations, remodel stores, bring in new equipment and sell more food in supermarkets and other non-Dunkin' locations.. . . more

Retailers expect strong sales growth in 2018; new stores, remodels up

Chain Store Age

The nation’s retailers are bullish on the new year.

North American retailers expect a 6.2% increase in sales in 2018, according to research from IHL Group. The report found that retailers are increasing the number of stores in 2018 by an average of 5.6%, with planned remodel of stores expected to rise more than 5%.

IT spend is also up. Store level IT Investment is expected to rise 5.8% this year over 2017 levels.. . . more

UNC Study: Lidl’s impact on grocery prices ‘unprecedented’

Chain Store Age

The arrival of German discount grocer into the United States is prompting rivals in its operating markets to lower their prices.

That’s according to a study by the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School, which examined the competitive price effect of Lidl’s entry in the U.S. grocery market and the reaction of Aldi, Food Lion, Kroger, Publix and Walmart. The study, which was conducted independently, was commissioned by Lidl U.S.. . . more

Which generation has the most debt and the worst credit scores? Hint: It's not Millennials

USA Today

Generation X continues to struggle with debt while Millennials and Baby Boomers are making positive strides, according to a new report. 

Experian’s State of Credit report paints a relatively healthy picture for Americans, with the average credit score rising from 673 to 675 over the 12 months ending last June, the highest since 679 in 2007, before the Great Recession began. Consumer confidence is up sharply and the Federal Reserve said this week that credit card debt hit a new record in November. That’s a good sign for consumer spending but could spell trouble down the road if the economy and labor market weaken.. . . more

Supervalu is back in the black, but the new tax law is causing a hiccup

Star Tribune

Just as Supervalu Inc. was starting to gain some traction in its quarterly results, the company revealed in its latest results Wednesday that the new tax law will hurt its bottom line for the rest of its fiscal year.

Supervalu, based in Eden Prairie, said it will take a charge of up to $45 million in the last three months of its fiscal year, which ends in early March, to account for reducing the carrying value of deferred tax assets as a result of the new tax law.. . . more

Experts See a More Selective Lending Environment for Retail Assets

NREI Online

Even before the early 2018 store closings and retail bankruptcies can be tallied up, the real estate industry it taking a look at the availability of financing capital for retail centers.

As could be expected, the flow of liquidity will be tempered and reserved to the most desirable property sub-types and geographical markets, with landlords likely to face a more challenging environment for raising capital in 2018. Traditional sources of financing, such as loans from commercial banks, will be more difficult to obtain, industry insiders say, for reasons ranging from property-level fundamentals to the full implementation of risk-retention rules for banks.. . . more

$302M In CMBS Debt At Risk Due To Sears Closures


Sears will close 103 of its remaining 1,100 stores, putting an estimated $302.5M worth of commercial mortgage-backed securities at risk.

The stores slated to close in the spring include 64 Kmart and 39 Sears locations, 16 of which are located at retail centers backed by CMBS loans worth a total $671.1M, according to a Morningstar Credit Ratings report.. . . more

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Retail Apocalypse Delayed

Wall Street Journal

“When companies are priced for death, slight increases seem heroic,” observes Simeon Siegel of Nomura Securities. Indeed, holiday sales, reported over the last week by a cluster of such doomed retailers, suggest an extraordinary revival.

It isn’t surprising that Kohl’s and Target were among the best performers. Both have made big investments in e-commerce and innovation. Kohl’s attributed its growth to digital demand and stronger in-store traffic. Its new partnership with Amazon, which allows it to sell Amazon’s popular smart-home products in stores, likely helped. . . . more

Amazon is still in ‘early innings’ of its retail growth opportunity, analyst says


Amazon is just getting started in the e-commerce and retail business, according to one Wall Street firm.

Piper Jaffray reiterated its overweight rating on the internet company's shares, predicting Amazon will generate strong sales growth this year.

Piper Jaffray's survey of 1,000 U.S. internet users revealed that 50 percent of people allocated 10 percent or less of their holiday spending to Amazon. As a result, he estimated that the company had 4 percent market share of U.S. retail holiday spending in 2017.. . . more

Discount giant embarks on newest mobile push

Chain Store Age

Walmart wants even more of its in-store shoppers to skip the checkout line.

The company is expanding the test of its Scan & Go mobile app to another 100 stores. Currently, the app is being tested in a few select markets, including Dallas-Fort Worth, Orlando, and Northwest Arkansas. By adding these new locations to the mix, the app will be available in stores operating in 33 states across the United States, according to a blog on the company’s website.. . . more

Children's Place CEO: We have the 'dream customer'—millennial moms


The Children's Place has undergone transformations in various key areas including inventory, distribution and digital channels under President and CEO Jane Elfers.

As she steers the company towards international success, Elfers told CNBC on Tuesday that the company's digital efforts are being driven by a crucial customer demographic: millennials.. . . more

Nordstrom Ends Rocky Year With Modest Holiday Sales Growth

Business of Fashion

Nordstrom Inc., after a year of sluggish sales and a failed plan to take the company private, eked out modest growth during the holiday season.

Same-store sales — a key measure — climbed 1.2 percent in November and December combined, the company said on Tuesday. Though that marked a rebound from the 0.9 percent decline in the previous quarter, investors are still waiting for a more dramatic comeback. . . . more

Sears raises $100M in new financing, eyes $200M in cost cuts

Boston Herald

Sears has secured more financing, and is eying more cost cutting, as the beleaguered retailer reported a sales drop during the critical holiday season.

The company, which operates Sears and Kmart stores, said Wednesday that it secured $100 million in new financing, will seek twice that from other sources, and will attempt $200 million in additional cost cuts this year unrelated to store closings. It also said that if the company's efforts to complete these transactions are not fully successful, then the board will consider all other options to maximize the value of its assets.. . . more

Harvard Square store eyes Seaport location

Boston Herald

A longtime Harvard Square specialty food store appears ready to cross the Charles River and open a Boston location.

Cardullo’s Gourmet Shoppe, in business since 1950, is seeking an all-alcohol package store license for 101 Seaport Blvd. on the South Boston waterfront, according to a legal notice. A Boston Licensing Board hearing is scheduled for next Wednesday.. . . more

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Holiday Sales Hint the Retail Apocalypse Isn't Nigh


The retail world got the best gift it could've asked for this holiday season: affirmation from consumers that the industry is not in a death spiral.

Target Corp. on Tuesday became the latest to report healthy sales growth during the Christmas rush, with comparable sales in November and December up 3.4 percent over a year earlier.

There was plenty of seasonal cheer to go around, with several other major chains reporting solid results in recent days:. . . more

Whole Foods Market putting new limits on vendors

Chain Store Age

Under the ownership of Amazon, Whole Foods Market is changing the way some products are sold in its stores — and asking vendors to help pay for them.

The changes, outlined in an email sent to the grocer’s suppliers, are intended to save on costs and centralize operations, reported the Washington Post, and come as Amazon pushes to reduce prices at Whole Foods’ stores.. . . more

Pizza Hut is working on self-driving delivery trucks


Toyota unveiled a concept vehicle called e-Palette, which could host a mobile store, act as a ride-sharing service or deliver packages. The announcement was unveiled at International CES in Las Vegas on Monday.

The automaker said it is teaming up with a handful of partners, including Pizza Hut, Amazon, Chinese ridesharing giant Didi and Uber.

"Today, you have to travel to the stores," Toyota president Akio Toyoda said at the event. "In the future with e-Pallete, the store will come to you.". . . more

J.C. Penney will put Sears out of business, retail expert says

Fox Business

While some brick-and-mortars fight to survive he increasingly competitive retail market, one expert tells FOX Business, J.C. Penney could survive the downturn while putting Sears out of business.

“[J.C. Penney will be the] best Rocky Balboa come back in retail and it’s by pushing Sears closer to the cliff and going to the edge of Niagara Falls to break in the rocks in the barrel below,” Strategic Resource Group managing director Burt Flickinger told FOX Business’ Stuart Varney on “Varney & Co.”. . . more

Circuit City To Relaunch Feb. 15


Circuit City CEO Ronny Shmoel has set Feb. 15 as the launch date for his iconic retail brand.

The go-to-market plan, revised, reexamined and reimagined over the past two years, will begin with an experiential website and expand to kiosks, store-in-stores and ultimately showrooms.
. . . more

Target leveraged stores to up its online game, and it worked

Boston Herald

Target leveraged its stores as delivery centers, helping to boost holiday sales during the critical November and December period.

The Minneapolis retailer said Tuesday that sales at stores open at least a year jumped 3.4 percent in November and December, with heavy traffic on the company's website and in stores.. . . more

Amazon eats up 44% of US e‑commerce sales in 2017

Digital Commerce 360

Amazon.com Inc. accounted for 44% of U.S. e-commerce sales in 2017, according to a new estimate by retail analytics firm One Click Retail.

Globally, Internet Retailer estimates that consumers spent $310.0 billion on Amazon in 2017. One Click Retail does not have a 2016 estimate of Amazon’s share of U.S. e-commerce sales. Slice Intelligence, however, estimated last year that Amazon accounted for 43% of all U.S. online retail purchases in 2016, just a percentage point lower than 2017. Internet Retailer estimates that Amazon accounted for 30.7% of U.S. sales out of the Top 1000 online merchants, according to Top500Guide.com. . . . more

Monday, January 8, 2018

What's Amazon's Next Acquisition Target? Retail Experts Share Their Picks

The $13.7 billion Whole Foods deal in 2017 provided Amazon with a real estate portfolio and access to a leading consumable – food – to further strengthen its subscription pantry delivery service. Soon after taking ownership of Whole Foods, Amazon announced sizeable price cuts, some Whole Foods stores began selling Amazon technology, and the Whole Foods’ loyalty program was replaced with Amazon Prime.

Its growth strategy already underway there, is Amazon scoping out another retail to join the fold?. . . more

Why Some Shopping Malls May Be in Deeper Trouble Than You Think

NREI Online

The damage inflicted on America’s malls by the rise of e-commerce may be worse than it appears.

As embattled retailers announce store closures at a record pace, some tenants are shrinking their footprints more quietly by choosing not to renew expiring leases, according to a report from property-research firm Green Street Advisors LLC. Of 2,468 in-line stores that closed in 2017 -- a category that excludes department stores -- 979 weren’t announced, the report produced by the firm’s advisory and consulting group shows.. . . more

New Neiman Marcus CEO Faces Steep Challenge of $4.8 Billion Debt

NREI Online

Geoffroy van Raemdonck has spent his career at global fashion companies such as Ralph Lauren Corp. and Louis Vuitton.

But it will take more than an eye for style to fix the problems at Neiman Marcus Group Ltd., a quintessentially American luxury department-store chain hoping to relive its former glory. Van Raemdonck, who becomes chief executive officer next month, is taking over a retailer facing heavy losses, an industrywide traffic slowdown and -- worse -- nearly $5 billion in debt.. . . more

Lululemon raising fourth-quarter guidance following holiday season

Financial Post

Lululemon Athletica Inc. is raising its sales and earnings guidance for its fourth quarter.

The retailer says it now expects net revenue will be in the range of $905 million to $915 million for the quarter based on a total comparable sales increase in the high single digits on a constant dollar basis.. . . more

Retail’s Tax Windfall Provides Ammunition Against Amazon

Wall Street Journal

In its early stages, the Republican tax plan didn’t bode well for retailers. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan wanted to include a border-adjusted tax on imports that would have been disastrous for an industry that sources much of its merchandise overseas.

That didn’t make it into the final plan. Instead of coal for Christmas, retailers got a war chest. Their corporate tax rate of 35% will drop to 21%, handing them a free cash flow boost as they fight for survival in the Amazon era.. . . more

Kohl's joins holiday party, dept. stores show staying power

Boston Herald

Kohl's put up strong sales numbers throughout November and December, joining other traditional department stores in a much needed holiday rally.

Comparable-store and total sales surged 6.9 percent during the critical end-of-year shopping period, Kohl's said Monday, providing more evidence that department stores are learning to better compete against Amazon.com.. . . more

2018’s Retail Outlook Can Be Summed Up In 3 Words — Reduce, Reuse, Recycle


Though retail real estate has suffered greatly from the massive closures of major brick-and-mortar retailers in the past year, there are still ample investment opportunities in the sector. Tenants, owners and investors could find opportunities in the sector as retailers strategically transform their business models and physical locations to embrace e-commerce and become more experiential.

TH Real Estate said in a 2018 outlook report that there are three ways the retail sector will be transformed this year. The firm called it the three R's of retail: reduce, reuse and recycle. . . . more

Friday, January 5, 2018

Another Retail Bankruptcy Wave Is on the Way, Credit Suisse Says

SF Gate

A wave of store closings and retailer bankruptcies is coming in early 2018, as the industry deteriorates faster than analysts had expected a year ago, according to Credit Suisse Group AG.

The retail business’s “large and undeniable transformation” will crimp rents and vacancy rates this year, strategists Roger Lehman and Benjamin Rozyn wrote in a note Thursday. Bonds backed by these loans will likely weaken, they added.. . . more

The Five Best Omni-Channel Retailers

NREI Online

Online retailing is often cast as an outlier threatening to decimate the traditional brick-and-mortar retail business. While industry experts no longer fear such a drastic outcome, omni-channel retailers have been making moves recently that are difficult to ignore. The U.S. Department of Commerce holds that e-commerce accounts for 9 percent of all retail purchases, according to the agency’s third quarter 2017 data.

That number is expected to grow. Online sales will reach about $100 billion in 2017, predicted Ben Conwell, a senior managing director at real estate services firm Cushman and Wakefield and its e-commerce advisory group lead, during a recent webcast about 2017 holiday sales expectations.. . . more

Sears closing Burlington store, 100 others around the country

Biz Journals

Sears Holdings announced Thursday it was closing another 103 stores– including dozens of Kmart locations, the latest in a series of struggles for the Illinois-based retailer.

Sears said its store located at the Burlington Mall would go dark in early April. No other Kmarts or Sears stores in Massachusetts are on the list of those slated for closure.. . . more