Monday, April 23, 2018

This brewery is slated to open next to TD Garden later this year

A Night Shift Brewing truck in Boston's Downtown Crossing.Night Shift Brewing is opening a 12,000-square-foot brewery and restaurant near Boston's North Station.

The Everett-based brewery said it has signed a lease at Lovejoy Wharf next to TD Garden, though it can’t yet disclose the exact location. The brewery is currently going through the licensing process, and hopes to open later this year.. . . more

Amazon Has a Top-Secret Plan to Build Home Robots

Image result for amazon home robotTen years ago, Amazon introduced the Kindle and established the appeal of reading on a digital device. Four years ago, Jeff Bezos and company rolled out the Echo, prompting millions of people to start talking to a computer.

Now Inc. is working on another big bet: robots for the home.
The retail and cloud computing giant has embarked on an ambitious, top-secret plan to build a domestic robot, according to people familiar with the plans. . . . more

Main Insights from ULI’s Semi-Annual CRE Forecast

chart-improvingReal estate economists and analysts see strength in the U.S. economy over the next few years, which should translate into strong—albeit moderating—results for the commercial property sector.

The Urban Land Institute (ULI) presented the findings of its semi-annual economic forecast on Wednesday. The forecast was based on a survey of industry professionals, who were questioned on 27 economic and real estate indicators and represented 36 firms. It took place in March.. . . more

Experts Talk RECon; Retailer Expansion Plans And New Store Openings Abound

There is a great deal of new and existing retailers executing aggressive “new store openings” nationwide. That is according to Brandon Duff, regional director at Stan Johnson Co., one of the many we spoke with recently about the upcoming ICSC RECon event, held in Las Vegas.

Duff says that in recent years, most investors assumed a continued low interest rate environment for the foreseeable future. “But now that rates are seemingly on the rise, I anticipate more discussions centered around the capital markets environment and how it might impact investment strategies going forward.”

Naveen Jaggi, president of retail at JLL, tells that there is still likely to be a high level of overall activity, but it is vastly different than 12 months ago the last time the industry convened in Las Vegas. “I think we will see a lot of re-tenanting or re-working of existing pads as the recent rash of bankruptcies will likely cast somewhat of a pall on the conference this year.”. . . more

Marijuana goes upscale in Big Apple with high-design store

A rising marijuana retailer has opened a stylish-looking store in a pricey real estate district.

MedMen has made its Manhattan debut, opening a medical marijuana dispensary on Fifth Avenue, across the street from Lord & Taylor. The 2,000-sq.-ft. shop has a sleek, upscale design with an overall aesthetic that recalls an Apple Store, reported CNBC, complete with red-clad “geniuses” and iPads.. . . more

Toy mogul plans new deal to save U.S. Toys 'R' Us

Toy mogul plans new deal to buy U.S. Toys 'R' Us storesThe CEO of Bratz doll manufacturer MGA Entertainment Inc. says he will formulate a new deal to buy more than 200 U.S. stores from bankrupt retailer Toys 'R' Us after a Toronto company reached a tentative agreemet to buy the retailer’s Canadian stores for $237 million.

Los Angeles toy mogul Isaac Larian and an investor group submitted a $675-million bid for 274 Toys 'R' Us locations in the United States and $215 million for stores in Canada, but the bid was rejected as inadequate, per The Los Angeles Times.. . . more

Eddie Lampert's firm offers to buy Kenmore from Sears

FILE - In this July 20, 2017, file photo, the Kenmore Elite Smart French Door Refrigerator appears on display at a Sears store in West Jordan, Utah. Private equity firm ESL Investments is offering to buy struggling Sear’s Kenmore brand and home improvement unit. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
            Lampert's hedge fund, Sears' biggest shareholder, has asked the struggling retailer to sell the Kenmore brand and the chain's home improvement business.

The private equity firm ESL Investments said that it might buy the assets if the company is willing to sell, sending shares of Sears Holding Corp. jumping 8 percent at the opening bell.. . . more

From new tenant mixes to new store concepts, NH retailers getting creative

"Retail has to get creative," said Nancy Kyle, president and CEO of the New Hampshire Retail Association, which represents retailers big and small. "Anything to get people in the door."

Bob Sheehan, whose Massachusetts firm, KeyPoint Partners, does an annual report on the retail health of southern New Hampshire, said the off-price retail segment has been a successful format as shoppers look for bargains for name brands.. . . more

Friday, April 20, 2018

Pier 1 prepares for ‘urgent change’ after dismal Q4

On the heels of a disappointing fourth quarter, Pier 1 Imports unveiled a three-year plan to improve its business in the long-term. It also said it is ceasing its dividend payments.

The plan, called “Pier 1 2021: A New Day,” features a number of initiatives and organizational changes to drive growth, including targeting niche groups of consumers, refining the merchandise mix, and new marketing strategies. Pier I said it will reimagine the shopping experience, leveraging and strengthening its omnichannel platform.. . . more

Bon-Ton Stores begin going-out-of-business sales

The Bon-Ton Stores will be dark by fall.

The embattled department store retailer announced that going-out-of- business sales will begin Friday, April 20, in its 212 stores and e-commerce websites. The liquidation sales are expected to run for approximately 10 to 12 weeks.

Bon-Ton currently has 250 locations, 38 of which are already in liquidation from a previously announced store closure process.. . . more

The top apparel retailer for 2018 will be…

Amazon is on pace to make a big name for itself across the apparel industry this year.

According to Morgan Stanley, the online giant is poised to become the number one player in the U.S. apparel industry in 2018, reported CNBC. . . . more

Group predicts boom times for local toy stores

The departure of Toys “R” Us from the retail landscape will give a boost to neighborhood toy shops.

That’s according to the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association, which predicted that 2018 will be the best year yet for neighborhood toy stores nationwide as consumers flock to these stores in the wake of the closure of Toys “R” Us.. . . more

What Shopping in the Future Will Look Like

Image result for online world is interacting with brick-and-mortar storesThe online world is interacting with brick-and-mortar stores in radically new ways, fueling a revolution in how people shop, said Connie Chan, a partner at the Silicon Valley venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

Ms. Chan said retailers are scooping up more data about shoppers and their habits than ever before, in both online and real-world settings, helping them fine-tune the ways they match buyers with products.

“The offline world is being optimized by the online world,” Ms. Chan said at The Wall Street Journal’s D.Live conference in Hong Kong on Friday.. . . more

Victoria’s Secret has a brand image problem

Image result for victoria's secret storeVictoria’s Secret has a #MeToo problem.

The lingerie giant’s sales have been sinking for more than a year as its pricey push-up bras and other fashions fall out of favor — but the #MeToo movement is also taking a toll on its brand, according to a YouGov poll.

Among 18-to-49-year-old women, the brand’s buzz score — whether consumers are hearing positive or negative things about a brand — dropped more than 3 points over the past six months, to 23.
In 2016, the company’s buzz score was 31. By comparison, Amazon was the No. 1 brand in 2016, with a buzz score of 36.. . . more

As Bon-Ton’s Fortunes Shift, Investors Brace for Liquidation

Bon-TonAbout one week ago Bon-Ton Stores appeared to have escaped the spiral of bankruptcy and liquidation that haunts so many retailers these days, after it got an offer from a group of investors including REIT Washington Prime Group, fund manager DW Partners and Namdar Realty to buy the company.

By Monday evening, however, the Milwaukee-based department store operator’s fortune shifted dramatically after reports emerged that only a couple of bidders turned up at its liquidation auction, according to industry observers. Instead of a buyout, the discussion has now turned to liquidating Bon-Ton Stores for good.. . . more

Thursday, April 19, 2018

CARSTAR Opens More than 30 New Stores in First Quarter

CARSTAR is continuing to expand its footprint in the United States and Canada with more than 30 new store openings so far in 2018.

CARSTAR facilities feature state-of-the-art repair equipment, expert painting, towing assistance, vehicle pickup and delivery, and a nationwide warranty, according to the company. . . . more

This is the one retail category that doesn’t have too many stores

The number of home improvement retail locations actually fell 1.1% year-over-year, according to UBS analysts, serving as one of the few examples of retailers who have a good handle on supply and demand when it comes to their fleet of stores.

Home Depot Inc. and Lowe’s Cos. Inc. account for about 45% of the subsector’s sales, with both expected to continue to show strength in the topline.

Analysts say that auto parts retailers like Advance Auto Parts Inc. and AutoZone Inc. are close to “saturation.”. . . more

Bon-Ton Stores headed for liquidation

The end is in sight for The Bon-Ton Stores.

The bankrupt, 160-year-old department store chain is headed to liquidation after it received a winning bid from a joint venture, including Great American Group and Tiger Capital Group, to acquire its inventory and certain other assets. The winning bid by the liquidators was estimated to be worth $775.5 million, according to Reuters. It is subject to approval by U.S. Bankruptcy Court.. . . more

Toys ‘R’ Us rejects bid from toy mogul

A last-minute bid by a billionaire toy tycoon to keep some Toys “R” Us stores up and running has fallen flat.

The retailer rejected an offer from Isaac Larian, founder and CEO of toy maker MGA Entertainment Inc., to buy 274 U.S. Toys “R” Us stores, reported CNN Money. The $675 million bid reportedly was too low.

The funds to purchase the stores would have come from Larian’s own coffers, additional investors and bank financing, the privately held MGA stated.. . . more

Physical Retail Isn’t Dead: It’s Working With Tech to Be More Human-Focused

Image result for bricks and clicks
The retail industry conflict is too often framed as physical retail versus online retail. Statistical analyses of the growth of ecommerce almost always get coupled with a story surrounding the decline of physical retail, with a heavy focus on the closure of malls. These two things are undoubtedly linked, but experts often communicate this as a zero-sum game. This ignores a fundamental human truth: People now and into the future will continue to leave the house and shop in physical retail. In fact, over 75–80 percent of purchases made today are still through physical retail channels.

Then why are people panicking?. . . more

Amazon reveals it has more than 100 million Prime members

Image result for amazon prime membershipAmazon has more than 100 million Amazon Prime subscribers around the world, Jeff Bezos revealed in a letter to shareholders on Wednesday.

Bezos has always been a little cagey about sharing Amazon statistics. This is the first time he's publicly stated how many Prime members the company has signed up. Previous estimates by outside analysts pegged the number at 90 million in 2017. . . . more

The amount of retail space closing in 2018 is on pace to break a record

A shopper exits a Kmart store scheduled for closing.The amount of retail space going dark in 2018 is on pace to break a record, as companies with massive floorplans are either trimming back their store counts or liquidating entirely.

Since 2008, commercial real estate services firm CoStar Group has been tracking the amount of retail square footage slated to close annually. Already in April, more than 90 million square feet of space is expected to be vacated, including Bon-Ton's stores, in 2018. That's easily on track to surpass a record 105 million square feet of space shuttered last year, said Suzanne Mulvee, a senior real estate strategist at CoStar. All it will take is another handful of closures.. . . more

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Wayfair creates its own shopping holiday

Wayfair is hosting an event that promises to offer prices and shipping perks that rival those offered on Black Friday.

The online furniture retailer will launch Way Day on Wednesday, April 25. The shopping event, which kicks off at midnight, will offer Black Friday-level prices for 24 hours on 70,000 products across the home furnishings, d├ęcor and home improvement categories.. . . more

Retail Rivals Amazon and Best Buy Team Up to Sell Smart TVs

Image result for best buy and amazonRivals Inc. and Best Buy Co. are joining forces to sell television sets powered by Amazon’s Fire TV operating system.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly revealed the partnership on Tuesday at a Best Buy store in Bellevue, Wash. The companies will sell 11 models, starting this summer with TVs by Toshiba and Best Buy house brand Insignia. Best Buy will feature the Amazon-powered TVs in its stores and on its website, and also become a merchant on Amazon’s website, where it will sell these TV sets exclusively.. . . more

Hockey retailer expands footprint

Image result for own the moment burlington ma storePure Hockey, the largest hockey retailer in the U.S., is getting a bit bigger.

The company announced that it has acquired both of Bauer Hockey’s “Own The Moment” stores. With the acquisition, Pure Hockey will operate 53 retail locations under the Pure Hockey and HockeyGiant brands in 18 states, as well as three e-commerce sites focused on hockey and goalie equipment.. . . more

Look for the Whole Foods rewards program to be folded into Amazon Prime

Whole Foods Market has sent an email to members of its loyalty program announcing that it will discontinue its rewards program and digital coupons starting May 2, indicating that it will soon be folded into the Amazon Prime program.

Jefferies analysts warned that any changes will be a hurdle for competing grocers.

“Having already observed reasonable success with recent actions, not to mention robust media coverage, investors should be mindful that pending announced of a Prime-based program would carry obvious headline risk for grocers and serve as a reminder of how competitive the market has become,” analysts led by Christopher Mandeville wrote in a note.. . . more

Supreme Court worries about abandoning online sales tax rule

The Supreme Court sounded concerned Tuesday about doing away with a rule that has meant shoppers don’t always get charged sales tax when they hit “checkout” online.

The justices were hearing arguments in a case that deals with how businesses collect sales tax on online purchases at sites from to Zappos. Right now, under a decades-old Supreme Court rule, if a business is shipping a product to a state where it doesn’t have an office, warehouse or other physical presence, it doesn’t have to collect the state’s sales tax. Customers are generally supposed to pay the tax to the state themselves if they don’t get charged it, but the vast majority don’t.. . . more