Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Amazon and Whole Foods disagree on products like Coca-Cola

Yahoo Finance
Six months after acquiring Whole Foods, Amazon is working on reorganizing Whole Foods shelves by first adding Amazon private label products and, soon, it may add popular consumer packaged goods like Coca-Cola. Behind the scenes, this is causing internal debate and disagreements, Yahoo Finance has learned.

When asked if Whole Foods will add “consumer packaged goods like Coca-Cola,” Whole Foods spokesperson Brooke Buchanan said, “As you know, we have really high-quality standards, and those products that you just mentioned don’t meet those quality standards. If there were new products that actually do meet our quality standards, then there’s always that consideration.” Amazon declined to comment.. . . more

Report: Toys ‘R’ Us U.K. collapses

Chain Store Age
Toys “R” Us’ U.K. division is “winding down” operations.

Toys “R” Us U.K. has entered into administration, the British equivalent of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company has moved into insolvency following its inability to pay a 15 million-pound ($21 million U.S. dollars) value-added-tax liability that was due this month, according to Bloomberg.

The decision threatens the survival of 300 stores, and nearly 5,500 workers.. . . more

Supermarket giant Ahold Delhaize 4th-quarter profit soars

Miami Herald

Ahold Delhaize, the Dutch-Belgian operator of supermarket chains including Stop & Shop and Giant in the United States, says fourth-quarter net profit soared by more than 300 percent to 744 million euros ($909 million) from the same period a year ago, when one-off costs of 243 million euros dented profits.

The company said Wednesday the profit was boosted by a strong holiday season and a reduction in its income tax expenses due to tax reforms in the U.S. and Belgium.. . . more

Challenges continue at Lowe’s

Charlotte Observer

Lowe’s reported disappointing earnings Wednesday morning as the retailer continues to work to catch up to its chief rival, Home Depot.

Strengthening in the housing market has provided tailwinds for home-improvement retailers, but Lowe’s still lags behind its larger competitor.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/business/biz-columns-blogs/whats-in-store/article202560934.html#storylink=cpy

Sales for the quarter came to $15.49 billion. Same-store sales, a key metric used to gauge a retailer’s health that refers to sales at stores open at least one year, rose 4.1 percent.. . . more

REITs Rethink Strategies to Cope with Falling Stock Prices and Rising Rates

NREI Online

Recent volatility in the stock market is adding insult to injury where REITs are concerned. REITs that generally lagged the broader market in 2017 have been pummeled in 2018.

Year-to-date returns dropped to negative 9.5 percent as of Feb. 22nd in what has been a turbulent start to the year for the stock market. Yet many REITs have been posting lackluster returns for the past three years, with the composite total returns for the one-year and three-year periods at 5.3 percent and 3.5 percent respectively, according to Nareit.. . . more

Fashion Retailer Dry Goods to Open 12 New Locations in 2018

PR Newswire

Fashion destination Dry Goods announced today the opening of 12 additional national locations in 2018. The openings are part of the boutique retailer's nationwide growth plans to showcase the latest fashion trends to young shoppers across the country.

Dry Goods USA, a subsidiary of Von Maur Department Store, opened its first location in 2010 in Aurora, Ill. The Company currently operates twenty-seven stores in eight states in addition to an online business at drygoodsusa.com. . . . more

Starbucks wants people to linger over a cocktail at Reserve stores

Seattle Times

Starbucks wants to introduce America to Italian aperitivo culture.

A bar offering pairings of appetite-inducing cocktails with ingredients such as Aperol and Campari, served alongside aged parmigiano reggiano and Cerignola green olives, anchors one corner of the company’s new Reserve store, opening on the ground floor of its Sodo headquarters building Tuesday.

It’s the first of up to 1,000 such high-end stores Starbucks has said it plans to open as it spends big on an expansion toward a higher-end, fuller-service part of the food and beverage market.. . . more

US economic growth revised down slightly to 2.5 pct. in Q4

Boston Herald
U.S. economic growth was revised down slightly to a still-solid 2.5 percent annual rate in the final three months of last year, as business spent less on investment and restocking shelves than the government had previously estimated.

The fourth quarter advance in the gross domestic product, the economy's total output of goods and services, followed even faster increases of 3.1 percent at a seasonally adjusted annual rate in the second quarter and 3.2 percent in the third quarter, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.. . . more

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

America's most successful malls are worth billions and defying the retail meltdown

Business Insider

Despite the retail apocalypse claiming stores across the country, some of the most successful malls in the US are bringing in more than $1,000 per square foot in sales.

According to research by the boutique firm Boenning & Scattergood, which was reported by CNBC, the 20 most valuable malls in America bring in around $21 billion in retail sales each year. These malls, owned by the likes of Simon Property Group and Westfield, have few vacancies. In addition to traditional stores, many of the most valuable malls include food halls with local eateries, pop-up shops, and grocers, plus experiences like movie screenings or concerts.. . . more

Batteries Plus Bulbs ramps up expansion

Hardware & Building Supply Dealer

Batteries Plus Bulbs is expanding its footprint.

The company opened 26 stores in 2017, with three corporate locations and 23 franchise-owned. It plans to open 47 stores in 2018, including 14 corporate locations and 33 franchise locations.

Batteries Plus Bulbs niche postitioning, investment in category expansion and emphasis on franchising has proved increasingly successful, with sales growth of 22.5% during the last three years. Same-store sales rose 3.7% in 2017.. . . more

Fast-casual sandwich chain growing fast

Chain Store Age

On the heels of opening more than 170 stores in 2017, Jersey Mike’s plans to open 200 new locations, including franchise and corporate, in 2018. The company aims to have more than 2,000 stores open nationwide by 2020.

In addition to continued expansion through franchising, Jersey Mike’s is also placing a focus on its nontraditional development. It is aggressively seeking to expand its presence in in major airports, universities and sporting venues throughout the country.. . . more

State of retail ‘very healthy’

Chain Store Age

Despite news about the dire state of retail, retailers are bullish on their industry overall and their own business in particular.

Six in 10 merchants view the state of retail as very healthy (ranking seven points or higher on a 10-point scale), according to a survey by Vyze, which provides cloud-based financing technology solutions for retailers. And three in four merchants view the state of their business the same. Merchants with loyalty programs rate their business health even higher than average (81%).. . . more

Mattress start-up Casper is opening its first store — with complimentary naps

Washington Post

Online mattress start-up Casper is opening its first permanent store, a 3,000-square-foot location in New York, where shoppers are invited to not only look at  the company’s mattresses, pillows and bedding — but also to use them. Dozing off is encouraged, executives say.

The start-up, founded four years ago out of a one-bedroom apartment in New York, has grown into a $300-million-a-year business. Philip Krim, one of five co-founders, says it began with a simple premise: Mattress shopping was a terrible experience.. . . more

Macy's shares surge on comparable sales growth, 2018 outlook

Reuters

Macy’s Inc on Tuesday reported greater-than-expected growth in same-store sales for the fourth quarter and forecast a return to annual comparable sales growth in 2018.

The biggest U.S. department store chain, which has become emblematic of the decline of brick-and-mortar retail in the face of Amazon.com Inc, has not seen comparable sales grow on an annual basis for three years.

Benefiting from a broadly strong U.S. holiday shopping season, Macy’s also reported better-than-expected quarterly profit on revenue that was in-line with estimates.. . . more

Starbucks' Schultz: We're opening more stores because 'rents are coming down!'

Yahoo Finance

Starbucks executive chairman Howard Schultz has observed an “abundance of empty storefronts across” in prime locations in a number of U.S. cities.

“We are at a major inflection point as landlords across the country will be forced (sooner than later) to permanently lower rent rates to adjust to the ‘new norm’ as a result of the acute shift (consumer behavior) away from brick and mortar retailing to e-commerce,” Schultz wrote in a memo to his leadership team that’s been reviewed by Yahoo Finance.. . . more

Monday, February 26, 2018

Walmart’s Amazon Killer Goes From Superstar to Man on Hot Seat

NREI Online

He was hailed as Walmart Inc.’s online guru, the guy who would drag the lumbering giant into the digital-commerce era and put Amazon in its place.

But 18 months after selling his startup to the world’s largest retailer, Marc Lore is finding those expectations awfully hard to meet. It’s not that investors and analysts are giving up on him as much as it’s a realization that the task at hand is daunting and growing harder by the day -- and that Lore has little margin for error.. . . more

Turning malls into mixed-use centers requires a new value calculation

Chain Store Age

We have all read the articles and seen the headlines: Malls Are Dying, Mall-pocalypse and other similar coverage forecasting the looming extinction the American mall. While these dire predictions might veer a little too often into hyperbole, they do describe a very real phenomenon. Malls are struggling. Online retailers have been steadily nibbling away at brick-and-mortar market share, and large department store dinosaurs have struggled to adapt to an evolving consumer marketplace.

Some malls are failing. Many more are underperforming. But malls as a category are not dying–far from it. Category A malls will continue to flourish, and many/most B malls still have great real estate fundamentals going for them: they typically occupy valuable and desirable real estate, with coveted locations frequently positioned near major transportation hubs. There is a very real opportunity to turn around an underperforming mall by redeveloping it into a new mixed-use destination.. . . more

Top 10 Retail Predictions for 2018

Chain Store Age

It’s February again, and we all know what that means. It’s time to bundle up and check out our Top 10 retail predictions for the year ahead.

1. Even more stores will close. We think just as many — and probably more — will shut their doors this year. But we also think retailers will head into those tough decisions with eyes wide open. In 2018, retailers will continue to trim the fat and run store closure programs that squeeze the most value possible.. . . more

Walmart is launching online bedding, cosmetic brands in bid for upscale shoppers

Chain Store Age

Walmart is preparing to introduce two stand-alone online brands in an attempt to capture the upscale shoppers who have long eluded the retail giant.

The merchandiser plans to launch two homegrown websites — one selling luxury mattresses and bedding, the other focused on cosmetics — to compete with the success of online start-ups such as Casper, Tuft & Needle and Glossier, according to two people who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss internal plans.. . . more

These 7 traditional retailers are cashing in on the subscription box craze

CNBC

Subscription boxes aren't just for Stitch Fix and Blue Apron anymore.

Traditional retailers such as Target and Walmart are picking up on the trend and rolling out their own subscription services for make-up, kids clothing, and athletic apparel. Building on the success of names like Birchbox, Dollar Shave Club, and Trunk Club, established brands like Gap and Under Armour hope they can create their own box model to woo shoppers.. . . more

Nordstrom family restarting effort to take retailer private

Seattle Times

The Nordstrom family is reviving an effort to take their namesake retailer private, according to unnamed sources cited by Reuters on Friday.

The family had suspended its effort in October but said it intended to resume exploration of a take-private offer after the holidays.. . . more

Legal Sea Foods opening new 'fast-casual concept' in Faneuil Hall

Biz Journals

Legal Sea Foods plans to open Legal Fish Bowl, a new fast-casual concept, in Faneuil Hall’s Quincy Market building this spring.

The Boston-based restaurant chain first tested the concept in Cambridge’s Kendall Square last April, and the Faneuil Hall Legal Fish Bowl will be the first in Boston proper. The 850-square-foot restaurant will be designed by The Moseley Group of Franklin. . . . more

Friday, February 23, 2018

Toys 'R' Us to close another 200 stores, report says

NJ.com

Struggling New Jersey-based toy retailer Toys "R" us plans to close an additional 200 stores, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

About a month after disclosing plans to shutter 182 stores, including 12 in New Jersey, more locations are on the chopping block following a lower than expected holiday sales, the Wall Street Journal said. The closures include Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us locations.. . . more

What Is a Class A Mall?

Fool.com

As shopping malls around the country are putting up more vacancy signs, mall operators are quick to point out that not everyone is going down with the ship. "Class A" malls are purported to be the industry's sole bright spot, malls where foot traffic is relatively steady, justifying higher-than-average rents thanks to lower vacancies and higher-end tenants.

But as with any label, definitions vary. Mall owners eager to differentiate themselves from a sea of dead or dying malls are throwing around the Class A label as if it were a cut-and-dried adjective, not a subjective measure of a mall's position in the marketplace.. . . more

To Survive a Challenging Future, Shopping Malls Look to the Past

Morning Consult

For years, many analysts in the retail and commercial real estate sector have predicted the death of U.S. shopping malls. But a closer look at recent industry data shows that despite sweeping closures and thinning foot traffic, malls are far from dead.

While recent reports paint a gloomy outlook — an April report from Cowen and Co. predicted that as many as 20 percent of stores at some mass and middle-market mall retailers will close in the next five years, and a Credit Suisse report from May forecast that 25 percent of all U.S. malls could shutter by 2022 — those projections don’t portend the imminent death of malls, according to other industry experts who say it’s more that the industry is correcting itself in a country that built too many retail centers over the past few decades.. . . more

Sprouts: New store pipeline ‘strong’

Chain Store Age

Sprouts Farmers Market beat the Street in its fourth quarter and said it would invest one-third of its tax savings in wages and bonuses.

The organic grocer opened 32 stores in 2017, giving it a total of 285 stores in 15 states at year-end. It plans to open about 30 locations in 2018, including its first-ever stores in South Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington State. Sprouts has 52 approved sites and 44 signed leases in its pipeline for the upcoming years, according to the Phoenix Business Journal.. . . more

Cap Rates’ Likely Direction Is Up

Globe St.

The general direction for cap rates this year will be up, CBRE says in its latest North America Cap Rate Survey. “The recent spike in inflation and anticipated higher interest rates this year will add upward pressure on cap rates, offsetting the downward forces of expected strong institutional and global capital flows,” says Spencer Levy, senior economic advisor and head of Americas research at CBRE.

This outlook follows a six-month period in which cap rates fell slightly overall, although they increased in the retail sector in last year’s second half, mainly on account of power centers. ”US cap rates were largely flat outside of the retail sector in H2 2017 though a shift from sale to refinance activity contributed to lower transaction volumes,” Levy says.. . . more

Walmart's online strategy isn't clicking yet. Here's how it plans to get its mojo back

Chicago Tribune

Taking on Amazon isn’t so easy, even for one the world’s mightiest retailers.

This is not to say superstore kingpin Walmart won’t eventually give the Seattle-based e-commerce giant a serious run for the online money, but it isn’t there yet.. . . more

Amazon plans to open as many as six more cashierless Amazon Go stores this year

ReCode

Amazon’s much-heralded convenience store of the future, Amazon Go, may seem like a crazy experiment. But the company plans to open as many as six more of these storefronts this year, multiple people familiar with the company’s plans have told Recode.

Some of the new high-tech stores are likely to open in Amazon’s hometown of Seattle, where the first location is based, as well as Los Angeles, these people said. It’s not clear if Amazon will open up Go stores in any other cities this year.. . . more

Patriot Place scores Dana-Farber site

Boston Herald

The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute will bring its cancer care to Foxboro and surrounding communities with the opening of a satellite facility at Patriot Place’s North Marketplace in the spring of 2020.

Retail and restaurant uses are being eyed for the new building’s first floor.. . . more

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Paying to play, at Costco and Amazon

Supermarket News

An increasing number of consumers are paying for both Costco memberships and Amazon Prime shipping services, a study has concluded.

MoffettNathanson, a research firm maintaining offices in New York and Los Angeles, conducted a survey of 2,500 consumers and found that 57% of consumers who maintain memberships at Costco also pay for Amazon Prime, up from 13% in 2013.. . . more

Marc Lore: I am 'absolutely not' leaving Walmart

CNBC

Marc Lore, the head of Walmart's e-commerce division, said he's "absolutely not" leaving the company.

Lore spoke to CNBC Wednesday after a report surfaced that the Jet.com founder was considering stepping down from his new post. Lore has spent a little more than a year at Walmart and is spearheading a website redesign.

"I feel like we are just getting started," he said. "I think we are having a ton of fun. ... We are making great progress on the value proposition.". . . more

Don’t Expect the Albertsons-Rite Aid Merger to Produce a Contender

NREI Online

Grocery chain Albertsons Co. and drug store operator Rite Aid announced plans on Tuesday for a merger estimated to be worth $24 billion. The transaction will feature a stock and cash exchange between the companies’ shareholders that would allow the grocery store operator to go public smoothly after 10 years of private ownership.

Industry professionals who have studied the companies’ operations closely, however, are not convinced that the combination will create an entity strong enough to compete as a heavy hitter against sector leaders Walgreens and Amazon.. . . more

Walmart launches a new home shopping site for furniture and home d├ęcor

Tech Crunch

Following a slowdown in e-commerce sales over the holidays, Walmart today is readying a new strategy to attract online shoppers with an increased focus on home goods. The retailer is now launching a redesigned Home shopping experience on the web which will better highlight home products, like furniture, accessories, and other decorative items.

The new site’s home page will feature curated collections across nine style categories, including modern, mid-century, traditional, glam, industrial, bohemian, farmhouse, transitional and Scandinavian. Unlike Walmart’s typical shopping experience, it will also use editorial-style imagery and will include design tips written by in-house staff.. . . more

Toys are not us, investors to Target

Reuters

Target Corp should hold off on plans to cash in on a perceived advantage in toys after the collapse of Toys “R” Us, several of the company’s investors told Reuters, worried it could eat up capital desperately needed in an Amazon-dominated retail world.

When the biggest toy retailer in the U.S. went bankrupt last September, analysts parsing through the wreckage came to the conclusion that Target would be among the biggest beneficiaries.

Of the 182 Toys “R” Us stores scheduled to close in the first half of 2018, 93 percent are within a 15-minute drive of at least one Target store and analysts say the department-store chain should see more traffic as a result.. . . more

Shoppers want more from supermarkets

Biz Journals

Although Americans spend a substantial amount of time shopping in supermarkets, plenty of them say stores could stand to make some improvements, according to a survey from tech solutions company Phononic.

A survey of 1,100 adults across the United States was done in January to better understand what shoppers - who visit a traditional supermarket 3.9 times a month - want from stores, per Phononics.  . . . more

Toys ‘R’ Us reportedly facing loan troubles

CNBC

Toys R Us is at risk of breaching a covenant on one of its loans, intensifying concerns about its ability to emerge from bankruptcy protection, sources familiar with the situation tell CNBC.

The storied toy retailer secured a $3.1 billion loan from a group of lenders led by J.P. Morgan Chase prior to filing for bankruptcy protection. That loan, a so-called debtor-in-possession, or "DIP," loan is given to a company to provide the money it needs to invest in the business while it is in bankruptcy.

But after a dismal holiday season, Toys R Us is now at risk of having too little cash to satisfy the terms of the loan.. . . more

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

WeShop? WeWork preps a retail push

CNN Money

WeWork has built a billion-dollar business by convincing professionals to pay for decked out coworking spaces and a sense of community.

Entrepreneurs Ali Kriegsman and Alana Branston want to do the same for retail.

The pair are cofounders of Bulletin, a young startup that charges female-focused lifestyle brands a monthly membership fee for placement in its retail spaces and on its online marketplace. It raised more than $2 million last year and plans to open a flagship store in New York this spring.. . . more

Amazon has quietly launched an exclusive line of over-the-counter health products

CNBC

Amazon has quietly launched an exclusive line of over-the-counter health products in a possible challenge to pharmacy retail chains that could spark a price war and put pressure on store-brand profit margins.

Technically, the company doesn't own these products, which are produced by private-label manufacturer Perrigo, but it does put Amazon in a position to squeeze other retailers. The e-commerce giant launched the Basic Care line in August, including 60 products ranging from ibuprofen to hair regrowth treatment.. . . more

Supermarket chain files for bankruptcy protection

Chain Store Age

A heavy debt loan and increased competition from the likes of Walmart, Amazon and others have taken a toll on Tops Friendly Market.

The regional grocery store operator on Wednesday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Tops, which operates some 169 supermarkets in Upstate New York, northern Pennsylvania and Western Vermont, said all stores remain open.. . . more

Taco Bell Overtakes Burger King as the Fourth-Largest U.S. Chain

Bloomberg

Lovers of chalupas and crunch wraps have spoken: Taco Bell is now bigger than Burger King.

The Mexican-themed chain eclipsed its burger rival in U.S. sales last year, becoming the fourth-largest domestic restaurant brand, according to a preliminary report by research firm Technomic. McDonald’s Corp., Starbucks Corp. and Subway Restaurants held on to the top three spots.. . . more

Costco to shutter all Massachusetts photo departments except one

Biz Journals

Costco Wholesale will no longer offer on-site photo printing at its West Springfield store and is also shuttering the photo departments at all but one of its other Massachusetts locations.

The move is a snapshot of the times, the club told customers, related to the progression of digital photography and online social media versus the greeting cards and keepsakes many folks used to have printed with photos. Photo departments at some local Costcos will close April 24.

Photo Departments with on-site printing will remain at stores at 75 Freshwater Boulevard in Enfield, Connecticut, and in Dedham, Massachusetts, according to store employees.. . . more

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

E-commerce retail sales hit $453.5 billion in 2017, as brands invest in omnichannel

CBRE

E-commerce retail sales increased by 16% to $453.5 billion in 2017, accounting for 8.9% of total retail sales for the year, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released on February 16, 2018 (Figure 1). The growth was due in large part to brick-and-mortar retailers’ active investment in omnichannel platforms. E-commerce retail sales include both the revenue of pure-play “e-tailers” and the online sales of primarily brick-and-mortar brands. It is growth in online sales of the latter group that is driving overall growth in e-commerce sales, as providing omnichannel remains the key to success for all retail brands.

In addition to strong online growth, in-store sales continued to increase at a healthy clip (Figure 2). Physical store retail sales grew 3.4% in 2017—the highest growth rate since 2012 and a strong indicator that U.S. consumers continue to shop in-store.. . . more

Shaw's Says It Has No Plans To Close Burlington, MA Store

Patch.com

A spokeswoman for Shaw's and Star Market told Burlington Patch Tuesday that the company has no plans to close its store in Burlington. Speculation mounted over the weekend after a Burlington resident posed the question about whether or not the store was closing on a closed Facebook group for Burlington residents.

"Shaw's does not have plans to close this store location," Teresa Edington, the External Communication & Community Relations Manager for Shaw's, said.. . . more

Restaurants May Be The New Shopping Mall ‘Anchor Tenants’

PYMNTS.com

At one point, restaurants were not considered desirable tenants in shopping centers. Times have changed, however, as landlords seek to replace anchor stores in U.S. malls that are closing — particularly as shopping increasingly moves online, CNBC reported.

Restaurants and other food tenants used to take up just 10 or 15 percent of a shopping center a decade ago. They occupy anywhere from 20 to 40 percent today, according to research from real estate services firm the CBRE Group. As a result, malls and shopping centers are offering more upmarket dining options.. . . more

Department store retailer begins store closing sales

Chain Store Age

The Bon-Ton Stores has taken another step with plans to reduce its store footprint.

The retailer said that store closing sales are underway at 42 select locations. The move is part of the company’s previously announced “store rationalization” program and recent Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection filing.

The in-store sales will take place at Bon-Ton branded stores as well as other the retail nameplates owned by the retailer, including Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s, and Younkers. The company said more stores are expected to be added to the store closing process.. . . more

Walmart online sales growth slips in fourth quarter

USA Today

While e-commerce sales rose in the holiday quarter, retail giant Walmart saw a slip from the previous three-month period, apparently shaking investors. 

E-commerce sales were up 23% in the final quarter of 2017, and soared 44% for the full year to $11.5 billion. But the fourth quarter's performance reflected a steep slide from the previous three month period when online sales jumped 50%.

The company said that the decrease was mostly expected, as sales growth on Jet.com, which it acquired in 2016, slowed. But operational snafus in terms of having the proper amount of inventory available during the holiday season also contributed to the dip.  . . . more

Two supermarket chains possibly eyeing bankruptcy

Bloomberg

Two U.S. supermarket chains are readying bankruptcy filings, according to people with knowledge of the matter, a sign of the mounting pressures in the grocery industry.

Bi-Lo LLC, the company behind the Winn-Dixie chain, is preparing for a filing as soon as March, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the process isn’t public. The owner of Tops Friendly Markets, meanwhile, could potentially seek court protection from creditors as soon as this month, people familiar with that situation said.. . . more

Home Depot 4Q profit rides strong home improvement market

Boston Herald

A strong home-improvement market pushed Home Depot's profit higher in the fourth quarter, topping expectations.


Revenue rose 7.5 percent to $23.88 billion on an increase in customers at existing stores. Same-store sales, a key measure of a retailer's health, increased 7.5 percent.. . . more

Grocery retailer Albertsons to buy drugstore chain Rite Aid

Boston Herald

The privately held owner of Safeway, Vons and other grocery brands is plunging deeper into the pharmacy business with a deal to buy Rite Aid, the nation's third-largest drugstore chain.

Shareholders of Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons will own more than 70 percent of the combined company, which is expected to trade on the New York Stock Exchange. The companies say the deal should close in the second half of this year, but regulators and Rite Aid shareholders still have to approve it.. . . more

Friday, February 16, 2018

FAO Schwarz details new expansion strategy

Chain Store Age

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

Chain Store Age

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

Forbes

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

Bloomberg

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

Boston Herald

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

Bisnow

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

Globe St.

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

News Times

The 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?

NREI Online

Department 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

Bloomberg

Amazon.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

CNN Money

Home 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

Chain Store Age

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

CNBC

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…

Chain Store Age

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

Retail Dive

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

Chain Store Age

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

Chain Store Age

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?

Wall Street Journal

Many 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

MarketWatch

Sales 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

Star Tribune

U.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

Reuters

One 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

Biz Journals

When 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

NREI Online

Things 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

Biz Journals

The 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

NREI Online

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

Sears CEO under pressure from Sears Canada creditors as retirees seek pension funds

CNBC

Sears Canada creditors are calling out Eddie Lampert, the erstwhile controlling shareholder of the bankrupt retailer and current chief executive of Sears Holdings, for receiving dividend payments as the Canadian business crumbled in 2017.

Late last week, a group of pensioners served court papers in Ontario's Superior Court of Justice, requesting the appointment of a trustee in Sears Canada's bankruptcy proceeding who would look for more funds for those creditors.

Lampert and his hedge fund, ESL Investments, were "major beneficiaries" of roughly $3 billion in dividend payments since 2005, the papers said.. . . more

Walgreens, AmerisourceBergen reportedly in acquisition talks

Chain Store Age

Walgreens Boots Alliance reportedly is in talks to buy AmerisourceBergen, one of the biggest drug distributors in the U.S.

Representatives of Walgreens CEO Stefano Pessina reached out recently to representatives of AmerisourceBergen CEO Steve Collis about acquiring the roughly three-quarters of the distributor that Walgreens doesn’t already own, according to the Wall Street Journal, which cited people familiar with the matter.. . . more

Land of Nod closes nearly all its stores

Chicago Tribune

Crate & Barrel’s kid-centered offshoot Land of Nod has closed nearly all of its retail stores, including all of its locations in Illinois.

Morton Grove-based Land of Nod, which sells children's furniture and home decor, told state regulators late last year that it would lay off 25 employees by January because of a consolidation. Its stores in Chicago, Oak Brook and an outlet in Naperville have now all closed, along with a single store in Natick, Mass., and another store in Seattle, according to the company’s website.. . . more

Barnes & Noble Is Laying Off Workers Amid Declining Sales

Fortune

In a round of company-wide layoffs, Barnes & Noble has cut lead cashiers, digital leads and other experienced workers. Workers discovered the news when they showed up to work on Monday only to learn they no longer had jobs, CNBC reports.

“Given our sales decline this holiday, we’re adjusting staffing so that it meets the needs of our existing business and our customers. As the business improves, we’ll adjust accordingly,” a company spokeswoman told CNBC.

During the 2017 holiday season, sales dropped more than 6 percent to $953 million from last year’s. Same-store sales fell 6.4 percent, and online sales slid 4.5 percent.. . . more

Monday, February 12, 2018

David's Bridal downgraded over potential default

Retail Dive

In David’s Bridal, Moody’s analysts see a specialty retailer beset by problems in its sector, capital structure and of the company’s own making, all of which could force it to refinance or even file for bankruptcy as its debt problems mount.

Increasing competition and "casualization" are challenging the wedding sector, according to Moody's. But David’s Bridal — owned by private equity firms Clayton, Dubilier & Rice and Leonard Green & Partners — also fell behind on its digital investments and suffered from issues in a 2016 website redesign that dropped the search rankings of some products, analysts have said. It’s all led to a 30% drop in the company’s earnings since 2012, according to Moody’s.. . . more

Walmart Spruces Up Shopping App with Store Maps, List Features

NREI Online

Walmart Inc. has updated its smartphone app with store maps and shopping-list builders, the latest step in the retailer’s push to reduce hassle amid a migration to e-commerce.

Walmart’s app will add a feature called Store Assistant, which activates when shoppers walk in the door. The goal is to make it easier to build shopping lists while calculating costs and quickly locating items. Maps will eventually be available for all of the chain’s 4,700 U.S. stores. The app will also show if a store has services like auto care or photo processing.. . . more

L.L. Bean reverses a 106-year-old policy

Chain Store Age

A small but growing number of customers are responsible for a big change in one of L.L. Bean’s signature policies.

The outdoor goods and apparel retailer has scrapped its legendary unlimited returns policy whereby customers were allowed to return merchandise years after the purchase if they were not satisfied with the goods — with no questions asked and no proof of purchase.

Under the new policy, merchandise may be returned within one year of purchase for a refund or exchange. After a year, the retailer said it will “consider any items for return that are defective due to materials or craftsmanship.” Proof purchase is required for refunds and exchanges.. . . more

Amazon Prime VP reportedly shifts focus to Whole Foods

Biz Journals

Amazon Prime and Delivery Experience Vice President Greg Greeley will start spending more time at Whole Foods Market, according to CNBC.

Greeley will mainly focus on making Amazon Prime Whole Foods’ customer rewards program. Amazon Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Neil Lindsay will take over most of Greeley's work at Prime, a source told CNBC.. . . more

Target will roll out same-day delivery in Twin Cities next month as it faces off with Amazon

Star Tribune


Target and Shipt are recruiting workers aggressively, with plans to hire 4,000 shoppers and delivery people in the Twin Cities.

As Target makes a splashy entrance on the same-day delivery front and goes head to head with Amazon, its next battleground will be right here in the Twin Cities.

The retailer will begin offering home delivery through Shipt of groceries, essentials, electronics, toys and other products in its hometown starting March 1. This will be one of the first new markets for Shipt since it was purchased by Minneapolis-based Target late last year — and will be followed by many more in coming months.. . . more

Urban Outfitters’ Q4 sales up 5.7%

Chain Store Age

The direct-to-consumer channel helped fuel Urban Outfitter in its fourth quarter.

Total company sales rose 5.7% to $1.09 billion in the quarter ended January 31, from $1.03 billion. Same-store sales in the retail segment increased 4%, driven by double-digit growth in the direct-to-consumer channel and stronger apparel sales in January.

By brand, same-store sales rose 8% at Free People. 5% at Anthropologie and 2% Urban Outfitters grew 2%.. . . more

Amazon to launch delivery service that would compete with UPS, FedEx

Chain Store Age

Amazon is planning to launch a package-delivery service for businesses. Called Shipping with Amazon, or SWA, the service will pick up packages from its third-party sellers who sell via its website and deliver them to customers and put Amazon in direct competition with FedEx and UPS. Some experts speculated that the service could be extended over time to other businesses.

Amazon will launch its new delivery service in Los Angeles during the next few weeks, rolling it out to other cities around the United States during the course of the year, the report said.. . . more

Thursday, February 8, 2018

High Street Retail Continues to Battle Vacancies, Falling Rents

NREI Online

The tony retail districts in New York City, Chicago and San Francisco offer the best in luxury retail. But after years of getting prestige brands to agree to double-digit increases in rents, landlords on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, Chicago’s Michigan Avenue and San Francisco’s Union Square are in their second year of double-digit declines in asking rents.

In San Francisco, where well-heeled shoppers stroll Union Square, asking rents tumbled by about 25 percent; in Chicago, home to Michigan Avenue, rents fell by about 20 percent, and in Manhattan, famous for Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue, rents came down about 30 percent in the last two years, according to Garrick Brown, head of retail research for the Americas with real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield.. . . more

Forty Five Ten to make New York City debut

Chain Store Age

Forty Five Ten will open its first store on the East Coast, a 16,000-sq.-ft. location at Manhattan’s Hudson Yards, in March 2019. The upscale emporium will join Forty Five Ten’s five existing stores across Texas and California.

The New York location will echoes Forty Five Ten’s regard for the unusual design element. The multi-section store presents the brand’s evolving selection of emerging and pillar designers in women’s, men’s, home and beauty. The store will be the second largest for the brand, following its flagship in downtown Dallas, which opened in 2016. The 37,000-square-foot, four-story Dallas store features three retail levels and a top-floor restaurant and lounge. Museum-quality art is featured throughout the space.. . . more

Sport leisure footwear dominates as athleisure rules the runway

Chain Store Age

The U.S. athletic footwear industry grew by 2% in 2017, generating $19.6 billion in sales, according to global information company The NPD Group. Unit sales also grew by 2%. The average selling price remained flat, at $58.16. The women’s market grew the fastest, with sales up 5% over 2016. Men’s footwear, the largest segment of the market, grew its sales by 1%, as did the kid’s market.

“This was one of the most promotional years in decades for the athletic footwear industry,” said Matt Powell, senior industry advisor, sports, The NPD Group. “While promotions helped drive sales in 2017 and the product mix kept the average selling price flat, it was a double-edged sword for the industry, as its performance was not as healthy as in more recent years.”. . . more

Walmart makes push to sell online goods at $10 and up to capture elusive e-commerce profit

Reuters

Walmart Inc is asking vendors to supply it with more merchandise priced at $10 and up, as part of a major push to finally turn a profit at its online business, according to four people with knowledge of the matter.

The new focus at the world’s largest retailer is on dry grocery products such as sauces, soaps and general merchandise items such as toys and home furnishings, the sources said. . . . more

Sears, once an appliance powerhouse, sees sales shrink despite growing demand

Chicago Tribune

Sears— aided by its trusted Kenmore brand — long dominated sales of appliances like refrigerators, ranges, washers and dryers. But at a time when major appliances are seeing rapid sales growth and reliably drawing shoppers into bricks-and-mortar stores, the struggling Hoffman Estates-based retailer’s hold on the category has slipped.

Big-box specialty chains like Home Depot, Lowe’s and Best Buy have been winning over consumers, and even J.C. Penney is bringing major appliances back to stores in a bid to win sales from its department store rival and frequent mall neighbor.. . . more

Empty Whole Foods Market store shelves anger shoppers

USA Today

Considering the cavernous size of its stores, upscale reputation and prices to match, Whole Foods Market isn’t the kind of supermarket chain where customers would expect to find shortages of everyday items.

But that’s exactly what customers like Farah Murphy are discovering across the country — and the chain’s purchase by Amazon hasn’t made a big difference so far.. . . more

Project Repat, which turns old T-shirts into quilts, opens first-ever retail store

Biz Journals

Boston-based Project Repat, a company that turns old T-shirts into quilts, has opened its first-ever brick-and-mortar retail space in Newton.
The company has been steadily growing: it reported nearly $7 million in revenue last year, said co-founder and president Nathan Rothstein. And last year, the firm shipped out close to 60,000 custom T-shirt quilts to customers around the country. Rothstein hopes a retail presence will only add to the firm's growth. . . . more

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Macy's aims new women's clothing at Muslims

CNBC

Macy's is launching a women's clothing line designed specifically for Muslim shoppers.

The department store chain said it teamed up with a boutique called Verona Collection and plans to sell the collection of modest dresses, tops, cardigans and hijabs online. The clothing will launch on Macy's website on Feb. 15.. . . more

Fast-casual eatery in expansion mode

Chain Store Age

Melt Shop is expanding its footprint in the Northeast — and the Middle East.

The company, which describes itself as a pioneer of the melted sandwich movement, has signed three franchise agreements to develop 26 locations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Staten Island, and the Middle East. To date, Melt Shop has nine locations open, with plans to grow to 100 locations over the next five years.. . . more

Mobile purchases climbing rapidly

Chain Store Age

Mobile shopping may still have a long way to catch up to online shopping, but the gap is closing — quickly.

American adult consumers that reported mobile Internet activity in the past 30 days reached 52%, up roughly 50% in just four years, according to “Digital Payments in the U.S.: Consumer Usage, Wallets and P2P,” a report from Packaged Facts.. . . more

Shareholders Stump J. Alexander’s Merger with Ninety Nine

Foodnewsfeed.com

A special meeting of shareholders appears to have ended the proposed merger of J. Alexander’s and Ninety Nine Restaurant & Pub. Shareholders voted down the deal, the company announced Thursday, saying it “expects that the merger agreement will be terminated.”

The deal was first shared in August when J. Alexander’s Holding’s, Inc., the parent company of J. Alexander’s, Redlands Grill, Stoney River Steakhouse and Grill, and Lyndhurst Grill, said it would acquire the chain from Fidelity National Financial Ventures LLC in an all-stock deal valued at $199 million.. . . more

Coach handbags drive Tapestry earnings

bizjournals.com

Tapestry Inc.’s quarterly results surpassed expectations thanks to strong demand for its Coach handbags, Reuters reports.

Overall revenue for Tapestry, the parent company of Coach, Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman, rose to $1.79 billion in the second quarter ending Dec. 30, beating the average analyst prediction of $1.77 billion, according to Reuters.

The results show the success of Tapestry’s move to transform itself into a multi-brand company and remove inventory from stores to cut back on flash sales, per Reuters. Coach same-store sales rose 3 percent in the latest quarter, surpassing analysts’ estimate of 1.83 percent.. . . more

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

In a cutthroat retail environment, malls are stealing tenants from each other

CNBC

As most retailers have halted growing their footprints, mall and shopping center landlords are forced to compete for the best in the business. A deal for Nordstrom marks just the latest example of this trend.

The high-end department store chain revealed late last week it will be leaving Oak Park Mall in Overland Park, Kansas, for Country Club Plaza, roughly 12 miles down the road in Kansas City.

"The good malls will pick off the good tenants," Boenning & Scattergood analyst Floris van Dijkum told CNBC. "It's indicative of the heightened competition. ... Nordstrom is making a rational decision to go from a $460 sales-per-square-foot mall to a $625 sales-per-square-foot property.". . . more

In The Wake Of Amazon, Trophy Retail Properties Fall Short

Forbes

The retail world is in a state of transition. Over the last few years, several retail giants, including Sears, Kmart, JC Penney, Macy’s, Payless Shoe Source, Radio Shack and The Limited, announced multiple store closures or filed for bankruptcy protection. Overall, the number of retailers with debt rated at Moody's most distressed level has tripled since 2009 - and Moody's predicts this list will grow longer over the next five years.

Meanwhile, online retail giant Amazon generated $80 billion in sales in North America alone.. . . more

Another hot Amazon category hit an all-time high in 2017

Chain Store Age

Amazon’s housewares pulled in $8 billion in sales in 2017.

Sales across Amazon’s housewares merchandise were 20% higher than in 2016, making it the online giant’s second-hottest category — only sitting behind consumer electronics, according to One Click Retail.. . . more

Study: Malls will become ‘consumer experience spaces’

Chain Store Age

The mall of the future will have more in common with Disneyland than Roosevelt Field, according to a study prescribing that retail real estate must be in the business of helping people accumulate experiences, not merchandise.

Whether or not A.T. Kearney’s clunky rubric for the new mall — “consumer experience space,” or CES — takes root, the consulting firm’s premise is on solid ground: The Millennials and Generation Z-ers who will comprise the bulk of shoppers in the near future will have less disposable income, more proclivity to share possessions, and greater desire for experiences than mall shoppers of the past.. . . more

Macy's launches pop-up marketplaces in its stores

CNBC

Macy's is opening its doors to pop-ups in a new marketplace concept called "The Market @ Macy's."

The program gives pods of space to a handful of brands and companies on Macy's ground floor to promote or sell their products. It is aimed at giving Macy's customers more variety to their shopping and the Cincinnati-based retailer insight into what they like. For their branded partners, it bestows an opportunity to have brick-and-mortar presence they may lack.. . . more

​Lululemon chief quits abruptly over conduct breach; $5M payout owed

Biz Journals

bizjournals.com

Lululemon’s chief executive has abruptly resigned over what the yoga-wear maker described as a breach of its standards of conduct, raising concerns about its management stability.

Laurent Potdevin, who has led Lululemon since 2014, was leaving immediately, the company said, without providing details about the nature of the conduct involved in his departure.. . . more