Friday, February 16, 2018

FAO Schwarz details new expansion strategy

FAO Schwarz has entered into an agreement with Hudson Group, one of the largest travel retailers in North America, to open a chain of FAO Schwarz- branded airport shops in the U.S. and Canada. The stores will feature signature FAO Schwarz branded toys and games and products from other leading brands. The first location, which will debut later this year, will include a stand-alone candy store under the FAO Schweetz brand.

The expansion into airport retail follows the company’s announcement last fall that it will open a 20,000-sq.-ft. flagship at Rockefeller Plaza in Manhattan in time for the holiday 2018 season.. . . more

Warby Parker to have nearly 100 stores open by year-end

Warby Parker’s brick-and-mortar expansion is inching toward a big milestone in 2018.

The digitally native eyewear retailer plans to have nearly 100 stores open across the United States by the end of this year, according to CNBC, up from its current count of 64 locations.. . . more

The Future Of The Supermarket: Fresh Is King

E-commerce is disrupting the arena of the traditional supermarket industry. Old moguls, like Walmart and Costco, have initiated their own online businesses to survive this seismic shift. Walmart's net sales from e-commerce grew 60% and 50% in Q2 and Q3 of 2017 respectively, while total sales grew just 1.8% and 2.7% over the same periods. It seems that the traditional supermarket industry will migrate to the internet, leaving physical stores to decay in their tombs.

So, will online shopping completely replace traditional physical stores in the supermarket industry? The answer is a big no.. . . more

Amazon's Top Apparel Victims: Target, Macy's, J.C. Penney

Apparel on display at the new Target store in Herald Square.U.S. shoppers may be ordering more clothing than socks and underwear on Amazon after all.

Amazon.com Inc. is spiriting away share of apparel sales from Target Corp., Macy’s Inc. and J.C. Penney Co., according to a report Thursday by Coresight Research. Amazon Fashion is tied with Target as the second-most-shopped apparel retailer in the U.S., behind Walmart Inc., as measured by number of shoppers, the survey found. More than 20 percent of respondents said they have switched more of their apparel spending to Amazon and away from Macy’s and J.C. Penney. . . . more

Developer pitches major overhaul for Dorchester Market space

BIG CHANGES: Rendering for 951-959A Dorchester Ave., above, shows Cornerstone Real Estate’s plans
Cornerstone Real Estate’s plans to replace a longtime Dorchester corner market/meat shop and a separate bar call for a new 38-unit residential building with an updated market location and space for a restaurant in the Columbia-Savin Hill neighborhood.

The Boston developer’s proposed five-story building would span 43,800 square feet, replacing the existing Dorchester Market and Tom English Bar, which are housed in two single-story buildings separated by a parking lot at 951-959A Dorchester Ave.. . . more

How Newbury Street Is Looking To Regain The Boston Retail Throne

How Newbury Street Is Looking To Regain The Boston Retail Throne Inflated rents, space constraints and NIMBYs have tarnished Newbury Street’s retail luster, and developers and business owners are looking to regain their footing.

For decades, Newbury Street has been Boston’s version of Rodeo Drive or Fifth Avenue. Home to some of the biggest names in luxury retail and a variety of see-and-be-seen restaurants, the chic Back Bay street has commanded some of the highest rents in the city. But new development in the Seaport and Fenway, as well as renovations to the nearby Copley Place and Prudential Center malls, have drawn shoppers at all price points away from Newbury. . . . more

Thursday, February 15, 2018

How Washington Prime Is Repositioning Grand Central, Other Malls

It is not easy being a retail REIT these days, or a retailer for that matter. Yet Washington Prime Group has been finding success with its strategy of repositioning anchors at its malls across the US, including its holding in Vienna, West Virginia, Grand Central Mall. The REIT recently announced it has secured a 20,000-square foot H&M for the mall, replacing a former Elder Beerman department store. It will be H&M’s first location in West Virginia when the store opens in the fall of this year.

All told the REIT has repositioned, or is in the process of repositioning 15 anchors since 2015, according to CEO Lou Conforti. “Anchor repositioning is a testament to our hybrid model of combining enclosed and open air formats within a single convenient location,” he said in a prepared statement. Recently-announced tenants include ALDI, Party City, PetSmart, Ross Dress for Less, Round 1 and The Room Place.. . . more

Needs of prospective tenants change as retail industry evolves

The Kuchma property at 245 Fairfield Ave., in Bridgeport, Conn. July 3, 2017. Photo: Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media / Connecticut PostThe retail industry is in flux, and those who broker leasing deals must stay on top of the changing needs and desires of merchants looking for space.

Michael “Mick” Consalvo, a commercial real estate broker for 30 years and vice president of Tower Realty in Brookfield, CT said retailers are looking for smaller spaces, lower rates and flexible lease terms more than in past years.. . . more

How Much Pain Will the Bon-Ton Bankruptcy Cause for the Mall Sector?

Bon-TonDepartment store chain Bon-Ton Stores is currently working through a plan to close about 42 of its stores, totaling $435.8 million in CMBS exposure. While those are already sobering numbers in this environment, industry analysts say that the picture could be much worse.

Companywide, Bon-Ton store properties are behind about $2 billion in CMBS debt, says Steve Jellinek, a vice president of CMBS research at Morningstar Credit Ratings. The company estimates that about $170.6 million in CMBS debt is tied to properties that will see a significant drop in occupancy and net cash flow as a result of the store closures. That number, however, might rise.. . . more

Amazon Bets on Band-Aids as Health Industry Braces for Shakeup

Image result for amazon selling band aidsAmazon.com Inc. may have big ambitions to shake up health care, but it is starting small.

The Internet giant is angling to become the go-to source for basic medical supplies such as latex gloves, bandages and sutures. While that’s not the sort of splashy entrance into the U.S. health sector that some investors have braced for, it could be a sounder route for Amazon to set itself up as a long-term player.. . . more

The one sector of retail that's hiring - a lot

Image result for home depot workerHome Depot and Lowe's are getting ready to hire about 133,000 workers between them as they prepare for the busy spring and summer seasons.

Lowe's said Wednesday that it is looking to hire 53,000 seasonal workers and has announced plans for its first national hiring day on February 21. The hiring goal is up from the 45,000 target it had last year.. . . more

Chinese firm buys big stake in GNC

GNC, which has been working to turnaround its business, has entered into a strategic partnership and joint venture with a leading pharmaceutical company in China.

Harbin Pharmaceutical Group Holding Co. (“Hayao”) will invest approximately $300 million in GNC, becoming the single largest shareholder in the U.S. vitamins and supplements retailer. Hayao will own approximately 40% of the company’s stock.. . . more

After months of flash sales and deep discounts, apparel prices spike the most in 3 decades

The Consumer Price Index on Wednesday revealed that apparel prices climbed 1.7 percent in January, accounting for about 3 percent of the overall CPI and marking the biggest increase since 1990.

The monthly report by the Labor Department also showed that women's apparel costs jumped a record 3.4 percent during the month.. . . more

Nation’s favorite fashion retailer is…

For the sixth consecutive year, a customer service legend took top honors as the country’s favorite fashion retailer.

Nordstrom ranked No. 1 in Market Force’s annual study, polled more than 10,000 consumers. The study ranks premium fashion retail brands, identifies what sets each apart and uncovers retail technology trends.. . . more

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Genesco is putting Lids up for sale

Genesco's short-term plan is simple: sell Lids and focus on shoes. But "the pool of buyers appears relatively limited." If the retailer can find a buyer for Lids, which has more than 1,000 locations worldwide, it could bring in around $250 million.

Not helping in the pursuit of a buyer: Lids had a horrendous holiday season. Comparable sales at the hat seller fell 14% during the holiday period, dragging down Genesco's overall comps metric, according to a Jan. 8 press release announcing quarter-to-date sales. While Lids sales plummeted, comps at Journeys rose 10%, Schuh comps were up 1 % and Johnston & Murphy comps were up 5%. Comps at the company as a whole rose 1%. CEO Robert Dennis noted in a release that "Lids' challenges expanded.". . . more

Struggling fast-casual giant names new CEO

Chipotle Mexican Grill has tapped a fast-food veteran from another Mexican-food chain as its next chief executive.

The company has appointed Brian Niccol as CEO and a member of the board, effective March 5, 2018. Niccol most recently served as CEO of Yum! Brands’ Taco Bell Division, where he is credited with a successful turnaround of the business.. . . more

Chain Store Age announces winners of 2018 Breakout Retailers Awards

The Breakout Retailers annual awards, selected by the editorial board of Chain Store Age, honor emerging retail/restaurant concepts that are innovative and show strong potential for growth. The class of 2018 features five forward-thinking brands that are redefining and reinventing their industry segments, and includes two digitally native retailers that are successfully extending their brands offline.

“This year’s winners are charting new courses to succeed in today’s highly competitive and disrupted marketplace,” said Marianne Wilson, editor-in-chief, Chain Store Age. “They are shaking up the marketplace and connecting with customers in meaningful ways. And they have a very clear pathway for growth.”. . . more

Can the Nordstrom Family Outrun Retail’s Woes?

Image result for nordstromMany retailers, pummeled by online competition and shifting consumer tastes, are slashing costs and closing hundreds of stores. Nordstrom Inc.  is doing the opposite.

The family-run company has been investing heavily as it tries to outrun the forces battering the industry. It is revamping some of its 122 department stores and spending more than $500 million to gain a toehold in Manhattan. It has snapped up e-commerce companies including flash sale website HauteLook and subscription service Trunk Club. And it has launched new concepts, including a store in Los Angeles called Nordstrom Local that doesn’t stock any clothes.. . . more

U.S. retail sales slump in January and December’s initial gain was erased

Image result for retail salesSales at U.S. retailers fell by 0.3% in January — the biggest drop in almost a year — chiefly due to declines at auto dealers and home centers. And a previously reported increase in sales in December was wiped out.

Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast a 0.2% increase in sales.. . . more

Rise in core consumer prices stokes inflation fears

Image result for CPI indexU.S. consumer prices, excluding the volatile food and energy categories, rose 0.3 percent last month. That was the biggest climb in a year and has intensified inflation fears in financial markets.

Overall consumer prices rose 0.5 percent in January, the most in four months, the Labor Department said Wednesday. Inflation rose 2.1 percent from a year earlier and core prices increased 1.8 percent. The increases were led by much higher clothing costs and more expensive car insurance.. . . more

Walmart goes to the cloud to close gap with Amazon

Image result for walmart giant server farmsOne of Walmart Inc’s best chances at taking on Amazon.com Inc in e-commerce lies with six giant server farms, each larger than ten football fields.

These facilities, which cost Walmart millions of dollars and took nearly five years to build, are starting to pay off. The retailer’s online sales have been on a tear for the last three consecutive quarters, far outpacing wider industry growth levels. . . . more

​Sam’s Club makes e-commerce push with Amazon Prime competitor

Image result for sam's clubWhen Sam’s Club announced last month that it was closing 63 stores as part of its strategy to overhaul its business, many shoppers were outraged over the loss of jobs and memorable shopping venues.

On Wednesday, the warehouse club, which is a unit of Walmart, revealed more details about its strategic shift — one that is based, predictably, on increasing its e-commerce sales.. . . more

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Is America in a Retail Apocalypse? Ask Yelp

bankruptcy-clockThings did not appear to go well for retail landlords in 2017. Big chains announced thousands of store closings and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection at a record rate, leading analysts to predict that hundreds of malls were on the verge of closing. The forecasts for the future proved even more grim than the present. 

But that’s not how mall owners see their own prospects. Mall managers tend to bemoan what they see as sensationalized coverage and doomish predictions designed to drive traffic to news websites—and rent reductions for their retail tenants.

How bad is it really? Figuring that out isn’t as easy as you’d think.. . . more

Fresh Market will halt expansion in 2018

Image result for the fresh market bedford nhThe Fresh Market apparently has backed off any expansion plans in 2018.

After news of the pullback surfaced in other media, Senior Vice President Scott Duggan confirmed the company's position Friday to Triad Business Journal.

"The Fresh Market is proud to be a member of the communities which our 176 stores serve. At present, the company believes the most efficient growth vehicle is to focus on improving core operations within its existing footprint, so it has decided not to open any previously announced new stores for 2018," Duggan said in an email sent to TBJ.. . . more

A Space Disposition Pro Discusses the Current State of the Market

Image result for store closing
There is a lot of retail space in the U.S., and a transformation is underwaythat is a fact well-known to most in the industry. But few people can understand that better than Andrew Graiser, co-president of A&G Realty Partners. The firm, based in Mellville, N.Y. and founded by Graiser and co-president Emilio Amendola in 2012, works with companies to help them dispose of their real estate through lease terminations, subleasing and sales. Since its founding, A&G Realty Partners has represented more than 110 companies in both the retail and non-retail sectors. While the firm is expanding beyond retail clients, it has been tapped to help retailers like Toys ‘R’ Us—which is shuttering at least 100 stores after it filed for bankruptcy—dispose of their assets. In a Q&A with NREI, Graiser offers his insight on what this retail transformation looks like and which types of properties might be most likely to come on-line this year. . . . more