Friday, March 30, 2018

Sales at Class-A Malls Increase Despite Broader Retail Woes

Trepp.com

Someone needs to tell class-A mall owners that the consensus among market pundits is that the mall is dying. The owners probably didn't receive the memo, given the stellar recent performance of their properties.

Inline store sales for Macerich Co., Simon Property Group, Taubman Centers Inc., and GGP Inc. all increased year over year, a strong barometer of just how successful their properties have been. (In some cases, the increases were more handsome than others.) However, owners of class-B/C malls didn't fare as well.. . . more

Analysts: GGP Deal Lowers the Bar for Mall REIT Values

NREI Online

Earlier this week, mall REIT GGP Inc. finally agreed to a $9 billion cash buyout offer from Brookfield Property Partners, ending years of negotiations for the takeover of one of America’s largest mall REIT companies. The terms disappointed industry observers, who believe the deal closes out the era of big appetites for mall portfolios, and the willingness to pay premium prices for such assets.

Some industry observers quickly noted that the price carries negative implications for the mall sector. GGP’s portfolio contains plenty of class-A assets and the company owns such premiere properties as the Ala Moana Center in Honolulu, Hawaii and One Union Square in San Francisco.. . . more

Why Amazon May Be Picking Up More Retail Locations

NREI Online

Time to delivery is now the yardstick for e-commerce success, so” last mile” distribution space is of utmost importance to online retailers. With last-mile warehouse space in short supply and most of it in old, obsolete industrial buildings, it was only a matter of time before big-box stores began doubling as distribution space.

Online giant Amazon has already partnered with department store chain Kohl’s to handle its returns. Kohl’s is now selling Amazon devices in its stores and offers free returns for Amazon products at a number of locations.. . . more

Albertsons clears anti-trust hurdle in Rite Aid deal

Chain Store Age

Albertsons is one step closer to acquiring Rite Aid.

Rite Aid Thursday morning announced that the HSR waiting period (under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976) in connection with its previously announced merger with Albertsons, expired this midnight past.

The expiration of the waiting period under the HSR Act satisfies one of the conditions to the closing of the merger, which remains subject to other customary closing conditions, including the approval of Rite Aid’s stockholders.. . . more

Former Walmart CEO calls out Amazon as being ‘predatory’

Chain Store Age

It seems Walmart’s former CEO shares President Donald Trump’s feelings about the power and impact of Amazon on the retail industry.

Bill Simon, who served as Walmart’s CEO between 2010 and 2014, said Congress should consider splitting up Amazon, reported CNBC. Simon called out the company for operating its retail segment at a loss for decades, and subsidizing the retail portion of its business with profits from other areas, such as Web services.. . . more

Walmart in Early-Stage Acquisition Talks With Humana

Wall Street Journal

Walmart Inc. is in preliminary talks to buy insurer Humana Inc., according to people familiar with the matter, a deal that would mark a dramatic shift for the retail behemoth and the latest in a recent flurry of big deals in health-care services.

It isn’t clear what terms the companies may be discussing, and there is no guarantee they will strike a deal. If they do, the deal would be big: Humana currently has a market value of about $37 billion.. . . more

Whole Foods just hinted at giving Prime members a 10% discount

CNBC

More discounts may soon be coming to Amazon Prime members at Whole Foods Market.

At a Whole Foods in Austin, Texas, the grocer has tested marketing material that promotes 10 percent discounts for Prime members, according pictures of that signage obtained by CNBC.

The discounts are not official, and the marketing material is still in its trial stage. The banners were hung late Wednesday in the store and had been removed by Thursday morning.. . . more

Experts Say Brookfield’s Lowball Offer For GGP Could Spark A Bidding War

BisNow

Some experts foresee a bidding war breaking out on the heels of the Brookfield Property Partners deal to acquire the remaining 66% of GGP for $9.25B in cash.

The deal has sparked controversy and caused many to question whether or not it will lead to the undervaluing of Class-A malls. GGP rejected an earlier offer from Brookfield because it was deemed too low, but according to Brookfield, the new offer increases the cash consideration from $7.4B to $9.25B.

Bullish real estate investor and Seeking Alpha contributor Julian Lin said this controversy could lead GGP rival Simon Property Group to put in a bid. . . . more

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Hudson’s Bay Co. swings to profit in Q4, but ‘not pleased’ with performance

Chain Store Age

Despite capitalizing on the value of its real estate portfolio and swinging to its first profit in eight quarters, Hudson’s Bay Co. missed earnings expectations for the fourth quarter. Disappointing performances by the retail giant’s European chain, discount banners, and Lord & Taylor, and problems with its cost-cutting plan, all took a toll on the retail giant, whose overall same-store sales fell.

Retail sales increased 2.1% to C$4.7 billion, helped by an additional week of sales. Overall comparable sales across all banners during the quarter decreased 2.4%. Same-store sales fell 2.6% at the department store group, consisting of Hudson’s Bay, Lord & Taylor and Home Outfitters, amid lower traffic. The company’s discount banners, including Gilt and Sake Off-Fifth, also did not perform well. A bright spot was Saks Fifth Avenue, whose same-store sales rose 2.1%, the third consecutive quarter of growth.. . . more

Amazon Prime Now gives Whole Foods a price edge

Supermarket News

Ordering grocery delivery from Whole Foods using Amazon Prime Now may be cheaper than buying from Kroger using Instacart, despite higher in-store prices at Whole Foods, according to new research from Barclays Capital.

In a recent price check in Cincinnati, Kroger’s headquarters market, the Barclays research found that ordering two-hour delivery from Whole Foods using Amazon Prime Now yielded discounts of between 2% and 7% for baskets of $35-$50, not counting the $99 annual membership fee for Amazon Prime.. . . more

Toys R Us stores set to be bid on by Target, Big Lots and Aldi, among others

CNBC

Several Toys R Us stores are scheduled to be auctioned off later this week, according to court documents filed Tuesday. that were reviewed

Out of the 58 "qualified bids" being considered, Target and Aldi both are looking at one location in Kendall, Florida, which is near a handful of college campuses. Big Lots is bidding on five stores — in Fresno, California; Exton, Pennsylvania; Durham, North Carolina; Woodbridge, Virginia, and Indianapolis. Furniture chain Raymour and Flanigan is looking to bid on three stores — two in New Jersey and one in New York. Golf & Tennis Pro Shop, which owns PGA Tour Superstore, will bid on the same Indianapolis store as Big Lots, along with a store in Vernon Hills, Illinois. . . . more

US consumer spending up modestly in February as incomes rose

Boston Herald

Americans increased their spending just 0.2 percent in February, while their incomes were boosted by increased wages and business owners' income.

The Commerce Department says the modest spending increase followed an equal gain in January and a rise of 0.4 percent in December. Incomes increased a healthy 0.4 percent.. . . more

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

L.L. Bean's first urban store in Boston heralds a new chapter for the storied Maine retailer

Biz Journals

At 8,600 square feet, L.L. Bean’s first urban store is among the larger retail footprints in Boston’s Seaport District. But the store is by far the smallest in L.L. Bean’s portfolio — and it heralds a new chapter for the storied Maine retailer.

Going forward, L.L. Bean’s goal will be to open smaller-footprint spaces with a merchandise selection that’s selected to fit the needs of the store’s surrounding community, said Susie Gresco, L.L. Bean’s Seaport store manager, on a tour Wednesday morning. And it starts with the Seaport location.. . . more

KeyPoint Partners To Lease New Development Merrimack Park Place in Merrimack, NH

Boston real Estate Times

BURLINGTON, MA- KeyPoint Partners, LLC (KPP) has been retained to handle retail leasing for Merrimack Park Place, a new development in Merrimack, New Hampshire at the entrance to the Merrimack Premium Outlets. The Monahan Companies of Nashua, New Hampshire, is developing the property. KPP Vice President of Leasing Michael Branton is handling the leasing assignment.. . . more

J.Crew to grow Madewell brand

Chain Store Age

J.Crew Group is looking to its Madewell division to make up for continuing slumping sales as its namesake division.

Total revenues increased 2% to $710.6 million, which includes $28.6 million generated in the 14th week. Same-store sales fell 3%.

By brand, J.Crew comp sales decreased 7%.Madewell comparable sales increased 17%.. . . more

Restoration Hardware Q4 profit tops Street; develops smaller format

Chain Store Age

The luxury home furnishings retailer reported net income of $261,000, or 1 cent a share, for the quarter, compared with $9.4 million, or 23 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Sales rose 14% to $670.3 million. Analysts had expected sales of $672 million. Same-store sales increased 2%.

RH plans to open four new locations (“Galleries”) in 2018, Portland, Ore.; Nashville; Yountville, Calif.; and New York City. The latter three will feature cafés, wine vaults and coffee bars.. . . more

Rite Aid completes its store transfers to Walgreens

Chain Store AGe

Rite Aid on Tuesday finalized the transfer of 1,932 stores and related assets to Walgreens Boots Alliance in return for $4.2 billion. The transfer of the three distribution centers and related inventory is expected to begin after Sept. 1, 2018.

The majority of the closing conditions have been satisfied, and the transfers of Rite Aid distribution centers and related assets remain subject to minimal customary closing conditions applicable only to the distribution centers being transferred at such distribution center closing.. . . more

Lululemon Surges the Most in 10 Months After Online Sales Boom

Bloomberg

Lululemon Athletica Inc.’s sales accelerated faster than expected last quarter, helped by booming e-commerce orders, sending the shares on their biggest rally in almost 10 months.

The yogawear maker posted comparable-sales growth of 11 percent when accounting for currency effects and direct-to-consumer channels. Quarterly revenue and profit beat estimates, easing concerns that a CEO shuffle will disrupt its performance.. . . more

Walgreens pharmacy business drives profit, sales beat

Reuters

Walgreens, which has been focusing on its pharmacy business in the face of falling retail sales, added more than 20 million members through its partnership with pharmacy benefit managers such as Minnesota-based Prime Therapeutics.

This helped fill 9.1 percent more prescriptions in the quarter and drive a 5.1 percent rise in pharmacy same-store sales. Same-store sales at its retail business fell 2.7 percent.. . . more

US economic growth in Q4 revised up to 2.9 percent rate

Boston Herald

The U.S. economy grew at a solid 2.9 percent annual rate in the final three months of last year, a sharp upward revision that caps three straight quarters of healthy growth. The Trump administration is hoping the economy will accelerate further this year, aided by sizable tax cuts and increased government spending.

The gross domestic product, the country's total output of goods and services, grew at a faster clip than its previous estimate of 2.5 percent, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. The gain followed increases of 3.1 percent in the second quarter and 3.2 percent in the third quarter.. . . more

Lingerie e-tailer Adore Me plots up to 300 stores

Retail Dive

Lingerie e-retailer Adore Me is planning a major brick-and-mortar incursion, with 200 to 300 stores slated to open in the next five years.The first of seven to 10 stores will open this year in New York City.

Another 20 stores will open next year, and the company will study its results before expanding plans beyond 2019, according to the report. . . . more

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Mall Mergers Accelerate with Brookfield Property's Buyout of GGP

NREI Online

As the age of Amazon takes its toll on retailers, mall owners are finding it may be better not to confront the turmoil on their own.

GGP Inc., the second-largest U.S. mall landlord, agreed Monday to be taken over by a unit of Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management Inc. The deal follows an agreement in December for Australia’s Westfield Corp, which has malls across the U.S., to be acquired by Unibail-Rodamco SE. Meanwhile, Macerich Co. and Taubman Centers Inc. have faced pressure from activist investors.. . . more

H&M's pile of unsold clothes grows to a new high

Adage.com

Swedish fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz, better known to shoppers as H&M, says it's increasing markdowns this quarter after accumulating a record pile of unsold garments worth more than $4 billion.

Operating profit fell 62 percent to the lowest level in more than a decade as clearance sales failed to reduce quantities of T-shirts and jeans that customers had passed over.. . . more

Winn-Dixie and Bi-Lo operator Southeastern Grocers files for bankruptcy

Reuters

Southeastern Grocers LLC, the Florida-based operator of supermarket chains Winn-Dixie and Bi-Lo, said on Tuesday it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to restructure debt.

The company said earlier this month it planned to file for bankruptcy and will close 94 underperforming stores.. . . more

Inside the Strange Odyssey of Hedge-Fund King Eddie Lampert

Vanity Fair

Once a wunderkind, who at 25 established his own hedge fund, ESL, Eddie Lampert is 55 now and celebrating the silver anniversary of managing his own money and that of a few select billionaires, such as entertainment mogul David Geffen, Michael Dell, Thomas Tisch, and the Ziff publishing family. He has had legendary successes, such as his investment in AutoZone, AutoNation, Honeywell, Saatchi & Saatchi, and Liz Claiborne Inc.

But today those triumphs are largely obscured by his worst mistake: the 2005 merging of Sears, the iconic retailer whose doorstop mail-order catalogue was once a fixture in nearly every American home, with the downmarket Kmart chain, which he had brought out of bankruptcy in 2003.. . . more

Pet supplies retailer to open 50 stores

Chain Store Age

Pet Supplies Plus is expanding its footprint, both through franchising and corporate-owned stores.

The retailer is celebrating the first weekend of April with five new store openings in four different states, including Texas, Florida, Illinois and Iowa. Its new location in Florida, in Winter Park, will be among the first to roll out a community room, a meeting space that customers can reserve free of charge to network with pet parents of similar breed dogs, host birthday parties, adoption events or community group meetings.. . . more

Lands’ End maintains momentum in Q4; plans major store expansion

Chain Store Age

For its fourth quarter, Lands’ End recorded its third straight period of sales growth after 11 consecutive quarters of declines.

Net income was $39.8 million, compared to a loss of $94.8 million in the year-ago period.

Net revenue increased 11.3% to $510.6 million (the period included an extra week). Direct segment revenue increased 14.3% to $455.6 million. Retail segment revenue decreased 8.7% to $55.1 million compared to the same period last year, primarily due to fewer Lands’ End Shops at Sears. Same-store sales rose 5.0%.. . . more

Brookfield To Buy The Rest Of GGP For $9.3B

Globe St.

Brookfield Property Partners and GGP have entered into a definitive agreement for Brookfield to acquire the rest of the shares of GGP that it doesn’t already own. The cash-and-stock deal totals $9.25 billion with GGP shareholders entitled to receive $23.50 in cash or stock in either Brookfield or the new REIT that will be formed when the deal closes.

Brookfield Property publicly announced an offer to acquire the remaining shares that it didn’t already own of GGP in November 2017, at $23 per share or $7.4 billion. GGP rejected the offer but talks continued behind the scenes between the two companies.. . . more

Monday, March 26, 2018

Roots To Open In June At MarketStreet and Natick Mall

Biz Journals

Canadian sportswear company Roots Corp. has plans to open retail locations at the Natick Mall and MarketStreet Lynnfield this June as part of an ongoing international expansion following an initial public offering.

Roots is known for its sweats and casual wear, leather goods, accessories and footwear. The retailer aims to add 10 to 14 stores in the U.S. by year-end 2019, specifically focusing on New England, the mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions, CEO Jim Gabel said in a statement. . . . more

Amazon to raise ‘add-on’ item requirements

Chain Store Age

Amazon’s new ordering requirement could impact Prime members’ ability to order what they want, when they want.

The online giant is increasing the required number of products it calls “add-ons” needed to make a shipment. Besides offloading costs onto suppliers, limiting the number of single, low-priced items shoppers can purchase will help Amazon offset rising shipping costs, according to Bloomberg.. . . more

Are Alexa-based delivery drones on the way?

Chain Store Age

Amazon doesn’t just want customers to use drones to receive package deliveries, the company wants shoppers to interact with them, too.

The online giant was awarded a patent this week for a drone that can be configured to deliver packages based on its recognition of human gestures and voice commands. The patent was filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office on July 18, 2016.. . . more

Short visits rise at Whole Foods stores with Amazon lockers

Reuters

Shoppers are making more quick trips to Whole Foods stores that have installed Amazon.com lockers, giving the natural and organic retailer a new way to boost sales, research from location data advertising firm inMarket showed on Monday.

Short “micro” visits, defined as three to five minutes in length, were up 11 percent at stores with lockers since Amazon closed its purchase of Whole Foods on Aug. 28, according to an inMarket report provided exclusively to Reuters News.

That compares with the 7 percent gain at stores in the same cities that do not have the banks of lockers, inMarket said.. . . more

Finish Line agrees to $558M sale to JD Sports Fashion

USA Today

Slumping athletic apparel retailer Finish Line agreed to sell itself to a United Kingdom-based sportswear company that was angling to get a foothold in the U.S.

JD Sports Fashion has reached a deal to acquire Indianapolis-based Finish Line for about $558 million.

Finish Line has 556 stores, as well as dedicated, branded floor space in 375 Macy's locations. The company, which also sells products in another 188 Macy's stores, has about 13,000 employees.. . . more

Ulta, Gap, Target and more: These retailers are still opening stores in 2018

CNBC

The retail sector is flush with store closures taking place later this year. Toys R Us marks the latest company to deal a blow to the industry, leaving real estate owners scrambling to find replacements for vacated boxes.

There are, meanwhile, some retailers planning meaningful expansions in 2018 and beyond. The idea of having bricks and mortar is still an important part of the business — most companies admit they can't succeed in retail without stores.. . . more

Friday, March 23, 2018

Retail shopping in Hamden seeing additions

NH Register

While many big box stores, such as Toys ‘R Us are closing, the town is seeing retail growth in its largest shopping centers.

“We are seeing continued interest in the Magic Mile and interest at Putnam Plaza in terms of alternative uses that will be good in the long run for the tax base and residents,” Economic Development Director and Neighborhood Revitalization Dale Kroop said in a press release.. . . more

It’s true, Millennials still go to malls

Chain Store Age

Not all Millennials think of the enclosed mall as a relic of their parents’ generation. In fact, 60 million of them don’t.

That’s how many of that coming-of-age generation visited malls in from last November through February, according to a consumer poll conducted by Opinion Research for the International Council of Shopping Centers. That’s more than a third of the total of 165 million Americans who did so in that time period.. . . more

Easter retail forecast is sunny

Chain Store Age

Shoppers are gearing up for the Easter holiday.

Easter spending is expected to total $18.2 billion this year, slightly down from a record $18.4 billion in 2017, but still the second-highest level on record, according to the annual survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. A total of 81% of Americans will celebrate the holiday and spend an average of $150 per person, down from last year’s previous record of $152.. . . more

Whole Foods Is Losing Executives Under New Owner Amazon

Wall Street Journal

An executive exodus is under way at Whole Foods, as Amazon.com Inc. integrates the pioneering natural grocer into its retail empire.

More than a dozen executives and senior managers have left since Amazon acquired Whole Foods last year, according to former employees and recruiters steering them to new jobs. People who have left include leaders of the bakery, produce, sustainability and local-foods divisions.. . . more

You Can Now Buy a Car at Walmart

Ad Week

Pharmacies, eye doctors, hair and nail salons and/or fast food joints in roughly 250 Walmart locations are getting a new neighbor as digital automotive marketplace CarSaver expands a car-buying program with the retail giant and moves in its kiosks.

In an email, a Walmart rep said locations will open in Georgia, Illinois, Indiana and Virginia in the near term, as well as on a microsite on Walmart.com.. . . more

Target, Kroger shares rise on merger report, but source tells CNBC there are no talks

CNBC

There is "no truth" to a report that Target and Kroger are in merger talks, a source close to the matter told CNBC on Friday.

Shares in both companies surged in premarket trading Friday after Fast Company reported the two were discussing a merger deal. It cited several people with knowledge of the matter.

The report said the two companies first started discussing a partnership last summer but decided "a merger is the best path forward.". . . more

Wegmans Sets Leadership Team For April 29 Natick Opening

The Shelby Report

Wegmans Food Markets announced the leadership team managing its new store at Natick Mall in Natick, Massachusetts, which opens at 7 a.m. on Sunday, April 29.

The Natick store is a 146,500-s.f. supermarket spanning two floors, including in-store café seating and featuring two restaurant concepts: The Burger Bar and Blue Dalia Mexican Restaurant & Tequila Bar.. . . more

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Amazon Seeks Larger Whole Foods Stores to Support Delivery Plans

NREI Online

Less than a year after closing its acquisition of Whole Foods, Amazon.com Inc. is looking for fresh ways to expand its brick-and-mortar retail network while bolstering the online shopping business.

The world’s largest online retailer is searching for bigger Whole Foods locations in cities that can serve as both grocery stores and urban distribution centers for delivering goods to online shoppers more quickly, said a person briefed on the plans. Amazon is seeking more retail space that can accommodate grocery aisles and storage for the most popular items purchased from Amazon’s website, like consumer electronics, bestselling books and yoga pants.. . . more

The Starbucks View of Retail Real Estate

NREI Online

As retailers continue to make headlines with bankruptcy filings and liquidations, one major tenant is said to be predicting that if the current environment persists, it might permanently reduce its real estate costs.

The Financial Times reported details of a memo that Starbucks Executive Chairman Howard Schultz reportedly sent to the company’s staff, in which he shared views about the trajectory of the retail property market. Schultz reportedly told employees that the retail sector was reaching a point where landlords all over the country, including those who own prime real estate space, would need to lower rents as the shift from shopping in bricks and mortar locations to online eventually affects them, the newspaper reported. . . . more

The Toys "R" Us liquidation sales are coming

Chain Store Age

The company had said it expected the sales to start Thursday. But there's been a delay, a company spokesperson told CNNMoney Thursday morning. It now expects sales to likely start Friday.

The iconic toy giant announced last week that it will shut or sell all of its 735 US stores.
Shoppers looking to snag a bargain should act fast when the sales start.

"It will be quick," said Chuck Tatelbaum, a director with Tripp Scott, a Florida law firm, on how quickly the shelves will empty. "No more than 60 days, closer to 30 days.". . . more

Michaels to close all Aaron Brothers stores in brand repositioning

Chain Store Age

The Michaels Companies is pulling the plug on its freestanding stores devoted to framing, wall art and other art supplies.

The retailer on Thursday announced that, following a strategic review of Aaron Brothers, it plans to close all 94 full-size Aaron Brothers stores and reposition the brand as a “store-within-a-store” concept providing custom framing services in all Michaels store locations. Michaels will also rebrand Framerspointe.com, a company-owned online custom framing website, as AaronBrothers.com.. . . more

Amazon reportedly pressuring suppliers as price war escalates

Retail Dive

Amazon appears to be taking a page from Walmart’s playbook, passing on costs to suppliers in order to maintain its price edge. Amid an escalating price war and the higher costs of online fulfillment, the retail giants need vendors to take on more of the expenses and customers to consolidate their purchases.

The e-commerce giant already pushes tiny items into larger orders by offering them only as "add ons" to larger purchases, which are subject to minimums even for Prime members, which otherwise don’t face minimum order amounts for free two-day shipping. But otherwise Amazon has been raising prices for some time and that indicates there could eventually be cracks in its momentum, according to retail analyst Nick Egelanian, president of retail development consultants SiteWorks International. . . . more

Grocery chain Lidl may no longer be opening four stores in Virginia

WSLS.com

A discount grocery chain that planned on building four stores in the region may be reconsidering.
Last year, German-based Lidl said it would build 100 stores on the East Coast by the middle of this year.

In Virginia, a store was planned for Salem and for Christiansburg, and two were planned for Roanoke County.. . . more

Toy co. CEO leads effort to salvage Toys R Us

Boston Herald

Toy company executive Isaac Larian and other investors have pledged a total of $200 million and hope to raise four times that amount in crowdfunding in a bid to save potentially more than half of the 735 Toys R Us stores that will go dark in bankruptcy proceedings.

The unsolicited bid faces a number of hurdles like finding other deep-pocketed investors, as well as getting a bankruptcy judge to approve such an unusual plan. It is the first known plan to keep the Toys R Us brand alive.. . . more

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Put Ann Taylor's Parent on Retail Death Watch, Too

Bloomberg

For reasons that aren't quite explicable, Ascena Retail Group Inc. tends to be left out of discussions about trouble in the specialty apparel business.

Perhaps it's because the publicly traded company -- whose chains include Ann Taylor, Loft and Lane Bryant, among others -- doesn't fit tidily into a narrative about leveraged buyouts in retail going sour. Or maybe it's because Ascena's struggles have lacked the schadenfreude-ready twists that put its peers in the headlines.

But whatever the reason, it should go overlooked no longer: Ascena is in tatters. And the window for executives to fix it is closing quickly -- if such a window exists at all.. . . more

Retailers filing for bankruptcy or going out of business in 2018

USA Today

Will 2018 be worse for retailers than 2017?

The rapidly changing retail landscape is seeing a great deal of upheaval as brick-and-mortar stores are struggling to change and adapt in the highly competitive digital age.

Retailers continue to close under-performing stores and cut staff as many struggle with high debt and low cash. . . . more

Macy's has a lofty goal for its private-label business. Here's why

CNBC

Macy's aims to grow its private-label and private-brands business to represent 40 percent of the retailer's overall merchandise mix, according to CEO Jeff Gennette. The lofty goal is part of Macy's overall turnaround plans, to get back to positive same-store sales.

As of last June, the amount of private and exclusive brands at Macy's was about 29 percent of total inventory. That includes some of its best-selling lines.. . . more

Wegmans cuts prices on some popular items

Buffalo News

Wegmans has again lowered prices on produce, grocery, dairy and frozen food items it says families buy most.

The latest round of price cuts includes 22 varieties of Wegmans cereal priced two for $3, tomatoes on the vine for $1.99 per pound and a dozen varieties of Wegmans frozen pizza for $2.99.

The items join a list now totaling roughly 102 products representing 530 varieties, which was last refigured in 2016. The full list of products can be found at wegmans.com.. . . more

No deal: Nordstrom family’s price not enough for board

Seattle Times

Nordstrom family members were apparently unwilling or unable to substantially boost their $50-a-share offer for the company that bears their name, prompting the retailer’s independent directors Tuesday to terminate buyout discussions.

A board committee said in a statement late Tuesday “it could not reach agreement with the group on an acceptable price for the company.”. . . more

Westfield’s Lowy says malls and tech must work together

Chain Store Age

High-needs customers expect superlative service, and that’s why malls must turn to the latest digital technologies to keep customers coming back, according to the co-CEO of one of the nation’s largest mall owners.

“Consumers today expect to be very, very well serviced — with technology,” Westfield’s Steven Lowy told CNBC. “They wake up every day with that expectation, and it’s essential that the retailing industry really adapts and evolves … so it can compete better.”. . . more

Retailers don’t want to be Baker’s $1B ‘guinea pig,’ group says

Biz Journals

Gov. Charlie Baker won cheers from Massachusetts retailers this month with legislation that would make the annual sales-tax holiday permanent. But on another new proposal, he and the industry find themselves at loggerheads.

In a letter to state lawmakers on Monday, the Retailers Association of Massachusetts strongly opposed Baker’s proposal to require retailers to hand over sales taxes on certain purchases to the state daily, rather than monthly, saying it would cost more than $1 billion to implement without providing any meaningful benefit.  . . . more

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

KB Toys planning comeback after demise of Toys ‘R’ Us

NY Post

The defunct KB Toys brand is planning a comeback — after nearly a decade in mothballs.

Hoping to capitalize on the apparent demise of Toys ‘R’ Us, the California company that bought the KB brand in 2016 is in talks with pop-up operators to open stores in malls before Black Friday, it said Monday.. . . more

Has online grocery delivery reached a tipping point?

USA Today

Grocery delivery is a $4.5 billion industry — a small sliver of the $680 billion for grocery overall, according to the Chicago-based food industry consulting firm Pentallect, whose 2017 data excludes sales of pet food, health and beauty aids, flowers and alcohol. That figure is expected to jump 12.5% each year and reach $9 billion out of $735 billion in 2022.

"As more people get used to it, it’s become more popular," said David Livingston, a supermarket consultant with Wisconsin-based DJL Research. "The business model for this has been getting better.". . . more

Amazon Has Considered Buying Some Toys ‘R’ Us Stores

Bloomberg

Amazon.com Inc. has looked at the possibility of expanding its retail footprint by acquiring some locations from bankrupt Toys “R” Us Inc., according to people with knowledge of the situation.

The online giant isn’t interested in maintaining the Toys “R” Us brand, but has considered using the soon-to-be-vacant spaces for its own purposes, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.

Such a move would let Amazon quickly expand its brick-and-mortar presence, coming on the heels of buying Whole Foods Market Inc. and its more than 450 locations last year. The Seattle-based company also has opened its own line of bookstores and a convenience-store concept.. . . more

Walmart to bring FedEx shops into 500 of its US stores

CNBC

Walmart is bringing FedEx shops for printing, packing and shipping into 500 of its U.S. stores, adding to the number of services it offers customers in its race against Amazon.

Walmart and FedEx have been testing the arrangement in roughly 50 locations across North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Arkansas, Texas and Colorado. Following a successful pilot program, the small-format FedEx Office shops will be in 500 Walmart locations within two years, the companies announced Tuesday.. . . more

Whole Foods calls supplier summit amid Amazon angst

finance.yahoo.com

Whole Foods will host a summit on Tuesday for up to 200 of its suppliers, amid anxiety about how its ongoing business revamp will play out under new owner Amazon.com.

Amazon's $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods last summer shook the grocery industry, spawning worries that the ecommerce giant would disrupt groceries the way it upended books, toys and electronics.. . . more

Independent toy stores move on after Toys ‘R’ Us

BizJournals.com

As Toys ‘R’ Us shuts its doors across the U.S., smaller retailers have an opportunity to capitalize on the in-store customer service and expertise they offer.

Independent toy stores, which often struggled to compete with Toys ‘R’ Us in terms of price and selection, can benefit by emphasizing a personalized shopping experience and comfortable environment, CNN Money reports.. . . more

Monday, March 19, 2018

Brookfield Property submits new offer for mall owner GGP

Reuters

Commercial real estate company Brookfield Property Partners LP has submitted a new offer to take over GGP Inc, one of the largest owners and operators of U.S. shopping centers, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

The new bid comes more than three months after a special board committee of GGP rejected a $14.8 billion cash-and-stock acquisition offer from Brookfield Property, its largest shareholder, as inadequate.

Brookfield Property’s new offer has a slightly higher cash component and offers GGP shareholders a new security that will trade as a real estate investment trust, according to the sources.. . . more

Macy's to add mobile checkout to all stores by year's end

CNBC

Macy's wants to make checking out at its stores less of a hassle.

The company will roll out a mobile checkout option, powered by its mobile app, to all full-line Macy's stores by the end of 2018, CEO Jeff Gennette said Sunday at the ShopTalk conference in Las Vegas.

The company is also adding an augmented reality shopping experience for furniture to the Macy's app, hitting phones as early as next month for some shoppers. With the upgrade, customers will be able to virtually place Macy's furniture within their own living spaces, seeing how it looks there before they buy.. . . more

Mattress Firm to close more stores than previously announced

chron.com

Mattress Firm plans to close more stores this year than previously announced, but it also intends to open dozens of new locations.

The Houston-based mattress retailer closed 99 stores during the fourth quarter of 2017 and will close another 175 stores in 2018, according the latest quarterly report from its parent company,  Steinhoff International.

The 274 store closures is higher than the 200 closures Mattress Firm officials announced in December 2017.. . . more

Consumers’ favorite value fashion retailer is…

Chain Store Age

Two discounters came in neck-in-neck in an annual ranking of the nation’s favorite value fashion retailers.

TJ Maxx and Target took top honors in a new retail study from Market Force, which polled more than 10,000 consumers. The study ranks value fashion retailers overall, as well in specific areas such as merchandise selection, customer service and e-commerce.. . . more

Supermarket Bankruptcies Are Beginning to Pile Up

Bloomberg

This is how the grocery industry lives now.

Regional chains are filing for bankruptcy. European-born discounters are expanding, forcing competitors to keep their own prices low. And Kroger Co. and Walmart Inc., the two largest grocers in the U.S., are investing in technology and expanding delivery as they try to fend off an incursion by Amazon.com Inc.

It’s a bleak outlook for a sector that was supposed to be rebounding this year. A historic bout of food deflation -- which fueled a price war in the past two years -- has ended, but efforts to sell more groceries online are gobbling up investment dollars. And some well-known names are crying uncle.. . . more

Claire’s Becomes Latest Retailer to Go Bankrupt

Bloomberg

Claire’s Stores Inc. filed for bankruptcy Monday and said it reached an agreement with creditors including its private-equity backer, Apollo Global Management LLC, to restructure around $1.9 billion in debt. Its plan to survive rests on its reputation for trendy merchandise and a unique service that it says can’t be replicated by shopping online: ear piercing.

Chief Executive Officer Ron Marshall has been trying to revive Claire’s North American operations, which have been under pressure as shoppers shun the malls where the company has many of its 7,500 total locations. The task was hindered by payments on its debt load and efforts to tame its liabilities, including a debt exchange in 2016 and a refinanced credit line last year, didn’t do enough to bolster cash.. . . more

Big idea for Boylston

Boston Herald

Planning officials signed off on another massive glassy tower of condos to rise on a desolate block of Boylston Street in the Back Bay, the project aiming to straddle the Mass Pike next to the Hynes Convention Center.

The 484-foot building, to be known as 1000 Boylston St., will include 108 residential units through 27 floors that will be set on two stories of about 45,500 square feet of retail and restaurant space, the Boston Planning & Development Agency said.. . . more

New owner serving up 4 Au Bon Pain locations in Cambridge, Burlington, Braintree

Biz Journals

Panera Bread has opted to shop a variety of newly acquired locations of Au Bon Pain in the Boston area as available for sublease.

While there’s no immediate indication that the cafe bakeries will close, Herky Pollock, executive vice president for CBRE, recently sent out an email blast marketing as available the Au Bon Pain locations at the Burlington Mall; 1100 Mass Ave. in Cambridge; South Shore Plaza in Braintree; and in the CambridgeSide Galleria in Cambridge.. . . more

Friday, March 16, 2018

Supermarket chain to file for bankruptcy; closing 94 stores

Chain Store Age

In a move that was not unexpected, the parent company of such grocery banners as Winn-Dixie and Bi-Lo said it is preparing to file for bankruptcy protection.

Southeastern Grocers said it has entered into a restructuring support agreement with a group of creditors and its private equity sponsor regarding a comprehensive financial restructuring that will position the company for long-term financial health. Under the court-supervised, prepackaged restructuring agreement, Southeastern will file for bankruptcy protection by the end of March.. . . more

Retail Landlords Get Ready to Deal with Empty Toys ‘R’ Us Spaces

NREI Online

Few in commercial real estate were shocked following the announcement that Toys ‘R’ Us has moved to liquidate all its U.S. stores, even as they work to fill the big spaces that will soon be left behind.

The liquidation filing means that more than 800 stores in the U.S. would shutter, taking a major big-box tenant and toy industry player off the market. Most of the Toys ‘R’ Us stores are in the 35,000-sq.-ft. range and located in power centers.. . . more

Bain Capital sees high-profile buyouts go bust

NY Post

Bain Capital has had better weeks.

The Boston private equity firm was a lead investor in three leveraged buyouts — Toys ‘R’ Us, iHeartMedia and Guitar Center — each of which experienced a financial collapse in recent days.. . . moreToys 'R' Us is going out of business

Dunkin’ Donuts eyes catering to hike revenue

Boston Herald

Dunkin’ Donuts will start testing a new catering service on Monday, with the hope of growing revenue by attracting consumer and business customers interested in serving its food and beverages at events from kids’ parties and bridal showers to office and client meetings.

The Canton chain’s goal is to eventually expand the online ordering platform and special catering menu nationwide.. . . more

Discounts hurt H&M sales

Biz Journals

Fashion retailer H&M reported low first-quarter sales on Thursday, Business of Fashion reports.

H&M warned last month that markdowns to clear out overstocked inventory would impact earnings at the start of the year, per Business of Fashion.

The Sweden-based retailer said revenue fell 1.7 percent in the first quarter to $5.6 billion, Bloomberg reports.. . . more

E‑commerce accounts for 40% of total retail sales growth in February

Digital Commerce 360

An analysis of new retail sales data from the Department of Commerce suggests e-commerce sales grew 15.8% in February.

U.S. nonstore sales grew steadily in February, new monthly data from the U.S. Commerce Department shows. What the agency calls “nonstore sales” reached $55.08 billion in February on a seasonally adjusted basis, a 10.1% increase compared with $50.01 billion in the same month of 2017. That’s about the same year-over-year increase as January, when nonstore sales increased 10.2%.. . . more

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Boutique fitness centers give landlords hot, less-risky lease options to attract tenants

Biz Journals

Boston has always been synonymous with health and fitness. But a seismic shift in the fitness industry toward small-footprint boutique studios and lifestyle wellness has altered Boston’s real estate landscape. The boutique boom has not only given fitness club members more options for staying healthy. It’s also giving commercial landlords a less-risky option for leasing space, and luxury residential developers a hot, new option for attracting tenants in a crowded marketplace. . . . more

Industry Pros Expect Another Nordstrom Buyout Offer, And No Store Closures

NREI Online

In the renewed bid by family members of Seattle-based department store chain Nordstrom to round up financing and buy enough shares to take the company private, shareholders are being firm that the buyout group offer a fair price.

On March 5, the special committee of the board of directors received—and rejected—an offer on the company because the board felt the offer was too low. The prospective buyers, consisting of about a half dozen Nordstrom family members and a private equity firm, proposed to buy all of the company’s outstanding common stock, and about 21 percent of family-owned shares, for $50 per share.. . . more

Sears Gains After Tax Benefit Helps Retailer Swing to a Profit

Bloomberg

Sears Holdings Corp.  posted a rare quarterly profit after the U.S. tax overhaul helped the ailing retailer .

Sears alerted investors to the expected windfall last month, saying profit would be $140 million to $240 million. Sears also cut its long-term debt to $3.2 billion, down $1 billion from a year earlier.
The results have helped bring some optimism to investors, even as the chain’s sales continue to plummet. Its same-store sales -- a closely watched measure -- declined almost 16 percent last quarter, a sign the company didn’t benefit from a generally positive holiday season.. . . more

Dollar General's strong same-store sales, profit forecast lift shares

Reuters

Dollar General Inc posted strong quarterly same-store sales and gave an upbeat profit forecast for 2018, in contrast to rival Dollar Tree Inc, indicating moves to remodel stores and stock a wider variety of products were paying off.

In order to drive sales, Dollar General has been investing in remodeling stores and lining its shelves with more private-label as well as health and beauty products, while also selling groceries and other items at lower prices.

That helped Dollar General’s same-store sales increase 3.3 percent in the holiday quarter, easily beating analysts average estimate of a 2.7-percent rise.. . . more

Consumer economics driving retail bifurcation

Chain Store Age

The so-called ‘retail apocalypse’ is a myth. But retail industry bifurcation is not — and those in the middle are in a tough spot.

That’s according to a new study from Deloitte, which found that, rather than a battle of online against brick-and mortar, retail is changing in line with consumer income bifurcation. The revenues of both higher-end and price-conscious retailers are soaring, growing 81% and 37%, respectively, while those in the middle realized a mere 2% increase in sales during the past five years.. . . more

Toys R Us' liquidation will send ripples

Boston Herald

The likely liquidation of Toys R Us, the nation's largest independent toy seller, could add stress for the companies that make toys and games, and mean changes for the owners of the strip malls where most of its stores are.

Not to mention its impact on more than Toys R Us's 30,000 U.S. workers.

Here's a look.. . . more

Ahold Delhaize Pleased With Strong 4Q, Synergy Efforts

The Shelby Report

With overall sales up 1.6 percent and the integration of Ahold and Delhaize completed, Ahold Delhaize reported a strong 2017 fourth quarter and further plans for 2018 announced by Dick Boer, CEO of Ahold Delhaize.

“2017 was the first full year at Ahold Delhaize, one in which we substantially completed the integration,” Boer said. “We delivered synergies ahead of schedule and continued to show underlying operating margin expansion with stable or increasing market shares in our major markets.”. . . more

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Sticking gyms in ailing malls won't work, and here's why

CNBC

With retailers closing a record number of stores last year, malls have been experimenting with new types of businesses to drive traffic: Everything from restaurants and movie theaters to mini golf courses.

Now, there's a new strategy that's heating up – the gym. Over the last five years, gym leases in malls across the country have nearly doubled, according to commercial real estate information firm CoStar. They now account for 1 percent of all mall space in the U.S.. . . more

February Retail Sales Slip as Auto, Gas Purchases Fade

US News

U.S. consumers spent less at auto dealers, gas stations and department stores in February, causing overall retail sales to slip 0.1 percent despite signs elsewhere of a robust economy and the tax cuts signed into law by President Donald Trump starting to take effect.


It was the third consecutive month of declining retail sales, the Commerce Department said Wednesday, though they're still 4 percent higher from a year ago. Shoppers have opened 2018 with a cold spell after robust spending gains in the months leading up to the holidays. The core retail sales that economists monitor — which exclude autos, building materials, gasoline and restaurants — improved a mere 0.1 percent in February after essentially being flat in January.. . . more

Warby Parker, the Eyewear Seller, Raises $75 Million

NY Times

Warby Parker opened its website eight years ago and quickly became one of the inspirations for a generation of e-commerce brands aiming at a younger, hipper customer base.

Now the eyewear retailer has raised another slug of money — with some coming from a big investor with a history of investing in companies that are close to a stock market listing.. . . more

Toys R Us is said to miss vendor payments as woes mount

Chicago Tribune

Toys R Us has missed payments to some suppliers in recent days as its U.S. division heads toward a likely liquidation, according to people with knowledge of the situation.

The payments stopped without explanation, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. Some of the people said they can't get anyone to respond to questions at the retailer, which filed for bankruptcy in September and faces a $5 billion debt load.. . . more

BJ’s to offer Instacart delivery chainwide

Supermarket News

BJ’s Wholesale Club has expanded its same-day delivery agreement with Instacart and said it will offer the service from all of its membership clubs by the end of April.

The Westborough, Mass.-based chain first launched its partnership with Instacart a few years ago as a pilot in 18 stores, a BJ’s spokeswoman told Supermarket News. It will now be rolled out through the site delivery.bjs.com to all 215 BJ’s clubs, which operate along the East Coast from New England to Florida.. . . more

The markets where Amazon doesn’t dominate are…

Chain Store Age

Amazon continues to grab consumer wallet share, but Walmart is holding its own in some markets.

Walmart still enjoys more than 60% share of spend among millennials in Florida and Texas, and has maintained a far more stable share of the market over the past three years, according to data from consumer payments data firm Arm Insight.

According to data, Florida consumers’ Walmart spend is more than twice that of their Amazon spending. This is more than twice their Target spend.. . . more

Walmart expands grocery delivery in a big way

Chain Store Age

Walmart is giving Amazon and its newest acquisition a run for its money in the online grocery delivery war.

Walmart is expanding its online grocery delivery service to 800 stores by the end of the year, a move that will serve more than 40% of U.S. households. The program, which is currently available in six markets, will grow to serve more than 100 metro areas across the country.. . . more

Signet Jeweler’s new ‘transformation’ plan includes store closings

Chain Store Age

Signet Jewelers Ltd., parent of Zales, Kay Jewelers, Jared and other jewelry banners, will undertake a real estate review as part of a new, three-year strategy to revive the company and drive long-term profitability.

The jewelry giant anticipates closing more than 200 stores by the end of fiscal 2019. With three-quarters of the stores expected to close located in the same mall as another Signet banner, the company said it expects approximately 30% of revenue from closed stores to transfer to remaining Signet stores.. . . more

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

94% of retail execs expect as many — or more — bankruptcies in 2018

Retail Dive

There could be no end in sight for what has colloquially (if somewhat dramatically) been dubbed the "retail apocalypse."

In the report, BDO counted more than 2,300 stores slated for closure in the second half of 2017. (That figure included retailers that planned to close at least 20 stores in the period.) The firm also cited Cushman & Wakefield projections that 12,000 retail stores could close in 2018, up from 9,000 last year, and that at least 25 major retailers would file for bankruptcy this year.. . . more

An unlikely partnership hints at Amazon’s next move

Chain Store Age

Khloe Kardashian threw a baby shower last weekend, one that came to fruition through a sponsorship deal with Amazon, according to Business Insider.

According to the reality star’s Instagram posts, she is a member of Amazon’s baby registry, a service that features “millions of products” ranging from bottles and strollers to cribs and swings. Users can manage the registry on any device, and Amazon offers free 90-day returns on most items, according to Amazon’s website.

The partnership could be a hint that Amazon is pursuing a bigger investment in the baby and toy category. . . . more

Swim school concept launches national expansion

Chain Store Age

Only lately have in-line shopping center tenants come to the realization that the traffic drawn by fitness operations merit the parking spaces they take up. Now here comes a fitness concept whose staffers alone constitute a decent customer base for fellow tenants.

Forty swim instructors and three managers conduct 2,000 lessons a week at each of the four locations that Big Blue Swim School operates in Illinois. Former member of the U.S. national swim team Chris DeJong founded Big Blue with old friend John Lonergan in a mission to teach kids how to swim his way.. . . more

Mall owner to acquire four Sears stores

Chain Store Age

Washington Prime Group Inc. has signed an agreement to acquire four Sears stores in a sale-leaseback transaction.

Under the terms of the deal, whose purchase price was put at $28.5 million, Sears will continue to operate the properties (for a time) under new leases with Washington Prime, which will have control of the sites for future redevelopment. Aggregate base rent under these leases is approximately $1.25 million per year.. . . more

Dick's Sporting Goods reports profit hike in fourth quarter, but sales take a hit

KSNT.com

Dick’s Sporting Goods said its profit climbed during the fourth quarter to $116 million, or $1.11 per share, but a key measure of sales slipped during the quarter.

Shares of the Findlay-based retailer shed about 7 percent in pre-market trading.

Consolidated same store sales, which tracks sales in stores open at least one year, slipped 2 percent. Fourth quarter 2016 consolidated same store sales increased 5 percent.. . . more

Aldi and Instacart expand home delivery

Biz Journals

Discount grocer Aldi is expanding its partnership with grocery delivery service Instacart and adding more delivery areas in the Midwest, Chain Store Age reports.

Online ordering and home delivery is now available across Chicago’s metro area, including Northwest Indiana and Northwest Illinois, per Chain Store Age. Aldi first offered the service in Atlanta, Dallas and Los Angeles in August.. . . more

Monday, March 12, 2018

Despite rebuff, Nordstrom buyout effort is not over

Seattle Times

Eight months after they first proposed the idea, members of the Nordstrom family last week suggested a price of $50 a share to buy back from the public the storied retailer founded and built by their forebears in Seattle.

Those company board members not named Nordstrom rejected the price as “inadequate” and threatened to “terminate discussions” on the contemplated take-private transaction if the family didn’t substantially up its proposed price, and quick.

So what’s next? One person familiar with the deal thinks a resolution, one way or the other, could come soon.. . . more

Grocery poised to grow online alcohol sales

Supermarket News

Grocery retailers that offer ecommerce are poised to gain significant market share in the home delivery of beer and wine to consumers, according to a report from investment firm Rabobank.

While the online grocery channel currently accounts for only 5% of online alcohol sales, “the channel’s relative irrelevance will not last long,” Rabobank said in the report. “We firmly believe it will develop into the most important driver of online alcohol sales.”. . . more

West Elm sells experiences to customers by sending them to other local stores

USA Today

A home furnishings store chain, West  Elm, has come up with a novel way to connect with customers: Sell them experiences that send them to other local businesses.

West Elm is launching workshops in five cities that will send participants on visits to local artists and entrepreneurs who will teach them skills ranging from art welding to coloring fabric with indigo dye.. . . more

Big Lots focused on furniture as sales dip

Retail Leader

It looks like furniture is turning out to be a winning focus for Big Lots, which reported a big boost in profits during the fourth quarter.

Big Lots reported that net income for the period ended Feb. 3 increased 16.4% to $104.8 million from $90.1 million in the prior year. In Q4, same store sales at Big Lots decreased 0.1%, compared to guidance of flat to an increase of 2%.. . . more

Big gain in retail jobs

Chain Store Age

February saw a significant uptick in jobs in the retail industry.

Retail industry employment increased by 46,400 jobs in February over January, the National Retail Federation said. The number excludes automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants.

“This substantial gain in retail jobs is a significant positive sign regarding the health and viability of the industry,” said Jack Kleinhenz, NRF chief economist.. . . more

Whole Foods calls meeting with key vendors as tensions flare

CNBC

Tensions between Whole Foods Market and some of the most important brands it sells in its stores will come to a head on March 19, when they will congregate for a recently announced summit.

The grocer notified certain vendors about the meeting by email last Saturday. It is set to reassure the brands of relations after Whole Foods' sale to Amazon. It comes after a rocky few months for the grocer, which has been trying to shift from a local orientation to a national one, without sacrificing the selection and relations that set it apart from larger peers like Kroger and Albertsons.. . . more

In new bill, Baker seeks a guaranteed tax-free weekend for retailers

Biz Journals

Gov. Charlie Baker has put forward an economic development package that would set aside one weekend annually to be free of sales tax, instead of allowing lawmakers to choose each year whether to hold the tax-free holiday.

Most years, Massachusetts lawmakers declare one summer weekend free of the tax, driving customers to stores and giving a boost to the state’s retailers. But lawmakers have not approved the holiday each of the past two years because of a budget crunch, drawing fierce criticism from a retail sector that says it’s losing significant business to online retailers that do not collect any sales tax.. . . more

Online Grocery Sales Skyrocketing Despite Dearth Of Warehouse Space

Biznow

The demand for home delivery of groceries ordered online is skyrocketing.

According to a recent report by the data measurement and analytics company Nielsen, online grocery sales reached $20.5B in 2016 and are expected to climb to $100B by 2025 and make up 20% of total grocery retail sales. . . . more

Friday, March 9, 2018

Bravo Brio to be acquired for $100M

Nation's Restaurant News

Bravo Brio Restaurant Group Inc. has agreed to be sold to Spice Private Equity Ltd., a Zug, Switzerland-based division of GP Investments Ltd., in a deal valued at about $100 million, the companies said Thursday.

The Columbus, Ohio-based parent to the Bravo! Cucina Italiana and Brio Tuscan Grille chains had been exploring strategic options since last February amid same-store sales and profit declines. The company’s largest shareholder, TAC Capital LLC, had pressed for changes at the company.. . . more

Claire's Plans Bankruptcy, With Creditors Taking Over

Bloomberg

Claire’s Stores Inc., the fashion accessories chain where legions of preteens got their ears pierced, is preparing to file for bankruptcy in the coming weeks, according to people with knowledge of the plans.

The company is closing in on a deal in which control would pass from Apollo Global Management LLC to lenders including Elliott Capital Management and Monarch Alternative Capital, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter isn’t public. Venor Capital Management and Diameter Capital Partners are also involved, the people said. The move should help ease the $2 billion debt load at Claire’s.. . . more

Taking the Temperature of Retail Real Estate in 2018

NREI Online

In light of recent headlines and store closing realities, it is not hard to surmise that retail is, in many ways, ‘under the weather’ and in dire need of a strong dose of direction and creativity. Credit Suisse predicts, in fact, that 25 percent of the 1,100 enclosed malls currently operating in the U.S. will shutter in the next five years. And though I don’t quite agree with that prognosticating and certainly not for luxury “A” malls in urban areas, there is a cautionary tale to heed—one that must entail a proper balancing act between three primary elements: bricks-and-mortar, e-commerce and delivery.

But isn’t bricks-and-mortar on the way out, you might say? Isn’t the Amazon factor completely destroying the traditional retail model? Not exactly. . . . more

American Eagle Outfitters tops same-store estimates

Reuters

American Eagle Outfitters Inc’s sales at established stores topped analysts’ estimates for the holiday shopping quarter, helped by robust demand for its Aerie line of lingerie.

The company’s comparable sales rose 8 percent in the fourth quarter ended Feb. 3, beating analysts’ average estimate of a 7.34 percent rise, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.. . . more

Boxed rejects Kroger Co.’s purchase offer

Chain Store Age

Boxed is staying private — for now, anyway.

The retailer that sells bulk groceries, household products and other items online rejected a $400 million acquisition offer from Kroger. As a result, the online retailer is pursuing a new funding round to remain private, according to Bloomberg.

A source told Bloomberg that Boxed’s board voted last week to reject the offer from the supermarket chain. While the company also has interest from Amazon, Target, and Costco Wholesale, Kroger was the only company to make a bid.. . . more

Hiring surge added 313K jobs in February, most in 1½ years

Boston Herald

U.S. employers went on a hiring binge in February, adding 313,000 jobs, the most in any month since July 2016, and drawing hundreds of thousands of people into the job market.

At the same time, average wages rose 2.6 percent over the past 12 months, a slowdown from January's accelerated pace, which had spooked investors because it raised fears of high inflation. Friday's jobs report from the government revised down January's year-over-year wage gain by one-tenth of a point to 2.8 percent.. . . more

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Toys ‘R’ Us Is Prepping to Liquidate Its U.S. Operations

Bloomberg

Toys “R” Us Inc. is making preparations for a liquidation of its bankrupt U.S. operations after so far failing to find a buyer or reach a debt restructuring deal with lenders, according to people familiar with the matter.

While the situation is still fluid, a shutdown of the U.S. division has become increasingly likely in recent days, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Hopes are fading that a buyer will emerge to keep some of the business operating, or that lenders will agree on terms of a debt restructuring, the people said.. . . more