Thursday, May 31, 2018

J. Crew Group cuts loss as Madewell surges

Chain Store Age
J. Crew Group took a big bite out of its loss in the first quarter thanks to the strong performance of its Madewell brand. But its namesake banner continues to struggle.

The retailer reported a net loss of $33.9 million for the quarter ended May 5, compared to a loss of $121.0 million in the year-ago period. 

Total revenues increased 3% to $540.5 million. Madewell sales increased 39% to $115.8 million. J.Crew sales decreased 7% to $391.9 million.. . . more

Wegmans continues to expand its footprint in Virginia

Chain Store Age
Wegmans Food Markets will open its eleventh store in Virginia on June 3. And more are in the works.

Located at The Field at Commonwealth, in Chantilly, the new 120,000-sq.-ft. supermarket features an array of services and special features, including a number of food options, from burgers and Margaritas served up at the family-friendly on-site The Burger Bar restaurant to authentic Italian pizza cooked in a brick-hearth oven to a made-to-order Mexican station. There is indoor and outdoor seating for nearly 300. . . . more

Dollar Tree disappoints

Chain Store Age
Dollar Tree joined Dollar General on Thursday in blaming bad weather for coming up short in its first quarter.

Net income decreased to $160.5 million and earnings per share was $0.67 in the quarter ended, compared to $0.85 in the prior year’s quarter.

Total same-store sales increased 1.4%, missing analysts’ expectations. Same-store sales increased 4.0% at Dollar Tree. Comp sales fell 1.1% at Family Dollar.. . . more

U.S. consumer spending accelerates; weekly jobless claims fall

U.S. consumer spending increased more than expected in April, a further sign that economic growth was regaining momentum early in the second quarter, while inflation continued to rise steadily.

Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, jumped 0.6 percent last month, the biggest gain in five months, the Commerce Department said. That followed a 0.5 percent increase in March.. . . more

Dollar General 1Q profit surges, but still short
Dollar General reported a surge in first-quarter profit, but inclement weather doused enough business to leave the retailer short of Wall Street expectations almost across the board.

Same-store sales were also disappointing and shares fell 6 percent before the opening bell Thursday. . . . more

Target shares jump as Bank of America calls it a top pick and a good bet on ‘aging millennials’

Target shares will rise as the discount retailer benefits from aging demographics, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

"We believe the company should benefit from the discount store cycle … given our view that TGT's efforts to turn around its US business should accelerate in 2018 and result in market share gains longer-term," analyst Robert Ohmes said in a note to clients Wednesday. "The Discount Store cycle that we expect to play out over the next 5-10 years [is] supported by … demographics as aging Millennials and Baby Boomers support growth of budget conscious consumers." . . . more

Sears to close another 72 stores as sales plunge

Boston Herald
Sears will close another 72 stores as sales plunge and losses grow.
The beleaguered retailer said that it has identified about 100 stores that are no longer turning a profit, and the majority of those locations will be shuttered soon. . . . more

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Nordstrom reportedly expanding its merchandise-free retail concept

Chain Store Age
Nordstrom plans to open two more Nordstrom Local locations in the Los Angeles market, and is also considering expanding the concept to other cities, including Manhattan, if it continues to be successful, reported the Puget Sound Business Journal.

Nordstrom debuted Nordstrom Local in October. The 3,000-sq.-ft. store is designed as a neighborhood hub where customers can access an array of services, including on-site tailoring, personal stylists, buy-online-pickup-in-store, manicures and a beverage bar— but has no dedicated inventory. . . . more

DSW tops Street

Chain Store Age
Footwear and accessories retailer DSW reported better-than-expected fiscal first-quarter earnings and revenue amid a flurry of strategic moves.

Revenue rose 2.9% to $712.1 million, above estimates of $681.9 million. Same-store sales rose 2.2%, also more than expected.. . . more

Chico’s Q1 sales, profits fall

Chain Store Age
On the heels of a disappointing first quarter, Chico’s FAS is betting on its partnerships with Amazon and QVC to help drive traffic and sales going forward.

Sales totaled $561.8 million, down from $583.7 million last year, but better than expected. Same-store sales fell 5.9%, a bigger decline than expected. By brand, same-store sales were down 5.5% at Chico’s, 6.6% at White House Black Market and 5.8% at Soma. . . . more

Upbeat mood prevails at 2018 RECon Show

Chain Store Age
“The Mall is Dead, Long Live the Mall!” read the cover line on issues of Chain Store Age distributed at last week’s big retail real estate trade show in Las Vegas, and it was an apt description of retailer sentiment at RECon 2018.

Developers across the show floor shared varying assessments of traffic levels at the show, but gave high marks to traffic quality. Meetings were more positive than at last year’s show, they reported, with retailers eager to work with developers to expand their brick-and-mortar networks. . . . more

Walmart's future may include in-store drone assistants and smart shopping carts

Walmart has been churning out a lot of ideas behind the scenes. The big box retailer recently published a slew of patent filings that could reshape the shopping experience as we know it.

While there's no guarantee any of these ideas will actually be brought to life, they offer a glimpse into Walmart's vision for the future of retail.

Here are six of Walmart's recently published patent filings: . . . more

Investors Anxious To See Walgreens U.S. Drugstore Of The Future

Walgreens Boots Alliance is under pressure to unveil a nationwide strategy and new format for its U.S. drugstores.

Walgreens is investing hundreds of millions of dollars in new systems and even more on rebranding hundreds of Rite Aid stores as Walgreens. But investors are now anxious for the next phase beyond partnerships, pilots and tests of new concepts.. . . more

Dick's Sporting Goods 1Q results top Street, raises outlook

ABC News
Dick's Sporting Goods' fiscal first-quarter performance topped Wall Street's view, bolstered partly by strong online sales. The sporting goods retailer also boosted its full-year earnings outlook.

Revenue increased to $1.91 billion from $1.83 billion, topping the $1.88 billion that Wall Street expected. Online sales jumped 24 percent.. . . more

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Many Americans unconvinced about buying groceries online

Supermarket News
For most U.S. consumers, it will take a big change in shopping behaviors and attitudes to shift their grocery purchases online, according to a new study by Morning Consult.

Of 2,000 U.S. adults polled, 67% have never purchased packaged food or beverage products online, the e-survey and market research firm said in its “Consumer Insights On The Food and Beverage Industry” report. Meanwhile, 65% of those who have never bought groceries online indicated that they have no interest in doing so in the future.. . . more

Medford Gym First Of 7 Planned For Area

Medford Patch
The man behind an upcoming gym on Salem Street in Medford, MA wants to open several more in the area in the coming years. Medford native Steve Stabile will open Blink Fitness' first location north of Boston at the former MG Fitness, 465 Salem St., in October.

Stabile plans to open six more over the next few years, according to the company, which did not specify where the gyms would be located. An entrepreneur for nearly 30 years, Stabile started franchising in 2005 with Fitness Together and Elements Massage.. . . more

Consumer confidence remains at ‘historically strong’ levels

Chain Store Age
Consumer confidence bounced back in May after a slight decline in April.

The Consumer Confidence Index now stands at 128.0, up from 125.6 in April, according to The Confidence Board. The “present situation” index increased from 157.5 to 161.7, while the “expectations” index improved from 104.3 last month to 105.6 this month.. . . more

Ready for Yet Another Food Deal, JAB Grabs Pret A Manger

The Wall Street Journal
The owner of Krispy Kreme and Panera Bread is deepening its bet on prepared food, saying it has agreed to buy Pret A Manger Ltd., the British sandwich chain that has been rapidly expanding in the U.S.

Privately held JAB Holding Co. Tuesday said it would acquire Pret, as the chain is commonly known, from private equity owner Bridgepoint Advisers Ltd. The deal values Pret at around $2 billion including debt, according to a person familiar with the matter.. . . more

Business groups staying mum on sales tax proposal, so far

Boston Business Journal
The state’s business lobbying groups like to argue that their members are getting hammered by ballot initiatives pushed by labor unions and their allies. This year, they’re facing separate proposals that would raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, mandate paid family and medical leave for workers, and raise taxes on business owners and others that make $1 million or more in a year.

There is one ballot proposal that’s sponsored by a business group, the Retailers Association of Massachusetts. That measure would cut the state sales tax from 6.25 to 5 percent and guarantee that for one weekend every year, Massachusetts retail customers can shop tax-free.. . . more

Adios, Sears And JC Penney. Mall Owners Are Putting Apartments, Hotels In Your Place
As department stores dwindle, mall owners are looking to fill those yawning gaps. How to do that is one of the biggest open questions in the retail real estate business, Green Street Advisors Managing Director Dirk Aulabaugh told CNBC at the annual ICSC RECon event this week.

The hard fact of the matter, according to Aulabaugh, is that filling the spaces will take time, even years, and the process will be on a case-by-case basis. . . . more

Eddie Bauer And Pacific Sunwear Consider Merging, Slashing Stores
Eddie Bauer and Pacific Sunwear of California are mulling a merger and the combined reduction of their store count, Reuters reports, citing anonymous sources.

No number of closures have been specified, but the two currently operate about 700 stores combined. 

The process would be facilitated by the fact that both retailers are controlled by the same investor, private equity firm Golden Gate Capital. The investor hasn't decided whether to go forward with the consolidation yet.. . . more

Friday, May 25, 2018

Grocery-anchored shopping centers get thumbs-up

Supermarket News
Amid headlines of retailer bankruptcies and shuttered stores, supermarkets are seen as a plus by the commercial real estate sector.

Shopping centers anchored by grocery stores “continue to exceed expectations” and are high on the list of desirable sites among retail property investors, according the May 2018 Retail Investor Sentiment Report from Real Capital Markets (RCM), a Carlsbad, Calif.-based commercial real estate marketplace. . . . more

Rise Biscuits Donuts Announces Bicoastal Expansion
Rise Biscuits Donuts, the nation’s fastest growing biscuits and donuts chain with over 160 units in development across the country, has announced a multi-unit franchise deal for Southern California that will officially stretch the brand from coast-to-coast. Franchisee Bill Propster, an industry veteran who built a career operating Domino’s locations for 6 years, is plotting locations for San Fernando Valley and Ventura County, hoping to open at least one Rise store per year. . . . more

Five Ways the Retail Fitness Industry Might Look Different in the Future

National Real Estate Investor
There are more than 36,000 health clubs, gyms and fitness centers in the U.S., and major markets have seen growth at a rate of 2.8 percent since 2013. But what does the future of the retail fitness industry look like? Many believe, as an internet-resistant sector, the future looks bright for fitness centers and gyms. And while that may prove true, growth in the next five to 10 years may look a bit different than what we’ve witnessed in the last decade. . . . more

Subway executive: ‘Pent-up demand’ drives global growth

Nation's Restaurant News
In July 2017, Walker became the company’s vice president of development, a new position that reports directly to chief development officer Don Fertman. Walker, who held executive-level positions at Baja Fresh, Cinnabon and Johnny Rockets, delivered a speech titled “Location, Location, Location”during the annual conference. . . more

The Burbs May Bring Value, But Some Boston Developers Simply Don’t Care

Bisnow Boston
Real estate investors may think the suburbs are an easier financial pill to swallow than urban Boston’s soaring prices. But the urban core is still a real estate necessity. . . more

Eastern Massachusetts Retail Report Preview

KeyPoint Partners
The 2018 KeyPoint Report for Eastern Massachusetts/Greater Boston, based on our proprietary GRIID™ retail database, is in production and should be available by the end of June. While you’re waiting, here’s a preview - but consider these results preliminary and subject to change:

Vacancy Rate: Eastern Massachusetts experienced a substantial rise in the vacancy rate to 9.4% this year from a level of 8.6% in 2017, reflecting a 10.4% increase in unoccupied space. At the same time total inventory ended the year at 196.4 million square feet, a gain of 1.0%, nearly the same square footage as the increase in vacant space. This resulted in a nominal positive absorption rate of only 104,000 square feet. A considerable number of large format store closings and chain liquidations were responsible for the disappointing outcome, which could have been even worse without a significant number of retail conversions to non-retail space cushioning the impact . . . more

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Lines continue to blur between restaurants and grocers

Supermarket News
A grocery store isn’t just a place to shop for packaged foods and produce anymore. And customers, particularly young ones, like it that way and want to see more foodservice at retail, according to Amanda Topper, associate director of foodservice research at market research firm Mintel. . . . more

Delayed spring takes a toll on Target even as customer traffic surges

Chain Store Age
A strong quarterly traffic gain was not enough for Target, whose profit missed Street expectations amid a late spring and higher costs. The discounter’s net income rose 5.9% to $718 million, or $1.34 a share. On an adjusted basis, it earned $1.32 a share, below expectations of $1.39 a share. Revenue rose 4.75% to $16.782 billion, topping analysts’ forecasts of $16.5 billion. Digital sales increased 28%, on top of 21% growth in the year ago period. Same-store sales rose 3%. Traffic increased 3.7%, its strongest quarterly performance in more than 10 years. . . more

Coffee, iPhones, Wi-Fi? If you thought this was Starbucks or Apple, surprise! It’s Comcast

USA Today
Curl up with a cup of coffee and enjoy the free Wi-Fi. Use a tablet computer to try out a mix of apps. Check out the latest big-screen TV.

Those experiences have become familiar at the local Starbucks or some electronics stores such as Best Buy or Apple. But there's a company offering those perks and more, one not generally thought of as a retailer.

It's Comcast . . . more

Nékter Juice Bar Accelerates National Expansion with Entry into Four New States by Early Summer 2018
The journey from proof-of-concept in 2010 to more than 100 high-performing restaurants across the country today has made Nékter Juice Bar the clear leader in the modern juice bar category . . . more

The Race Is On For Grocery Delivery, But Most Customers Still Want To Shop In Stores

In grocery retail, all eyes are on the prize of capturing the online grocery shopper. The Food Marketing Institute estimates online grocery sales will reach some $100 billion by 2025, or about 20% of the grocery retail market, though today only about 2% to 4.3% of industry sales originate online.

Target, Kroger, Vons/Safeway, Ahold-Delhaize (Giant and Stop & Shop), Foodtown, Harris Teeter, Trader Joe’s, H-E-B, Costco, Walmart and Sam’s Club are answering the call, as are services like Instacart, Peapod, FreshDirect, Google Express and . . more

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Three Major Changes Predicted To Reshape The U.S. Mall In The Next Five Years

U.S. retail is definitely not dying, but it is certainly evolving at an accelerated rate. Week by week, the brick-and-mortar retail landscape is changing rapidly—and, in some cases, belatedly—in response to shifts in how and where consumers shop. As Deborah Weinswig noted earlier in May, forward-thinking mall owners are already adapting their shopping centers to cater to changes in consumer behavior, and she predicts that three major factors will pressure them to further adjust their offerings in the next five years.

Prediction 1: One in Five Department Stores Will Close. . . more

Urban Outfitters’ profit more than triples, sales jump 12%

Chain Store Age
Urban Outfitters Inc. posted a strong start to 2018, with surging first-quarter sales online and off.

Total sales jumped 12.4% to $855.7 million, beating analysts’ average estimate of $838.1 million. Comparable retail segment sales increased 10%, driven by strong, double-digit growth in the digital channel and positive retail store sales.. . . more

Bargain-hungry customers help TJX beat sales estimates

TJX reported better-than-expected quarterly same-store sales on Tuesday, as deep discounts brought more bargain hunters into its T.J. Maxx and Marshalls apparel stores.

Online shopping has taken a toll on traditional brick-and-mortar stores but TJX, unlike other retailers, has not seen huge cuts in inventory and store closures. . . . more

Amid CEO change, Lowe's blames bad weather for disappointing results

The Charlotte Observer
A day after announcing its new CEO, Mooresville-based Lowe's reported first-quarter earnings Wednesday that fell short of Wall Street expectations, thanks in part to a cold start to the spring season.

Sales for the first quarter rose to $17.4 billion, up from $16.9 billion a year ago but still short of analysts' expectations. Same-store sales, a key industry measures of sales at stores open for at least one year, rose 0.5 percent during the quarter.. . . more

Target reaffirms 2018 outlook as it makes online push

Target Corp shares pared losses to trade down 5 percent on Wednesday as investors weighed a lower-than-expected quarterly profit against the retailer’s unchanged full-year outlook.

Price cuts and ongoing investments to ward off competition from Inc and brick-and-mortar rivals continued to hurt profitability in the first quarter even as comparable sales beat estimates and online sales accelerated from a year earlier.. . . more

Amazon cracks down on excessive returns

Boston Business Journal
More companies are using algorithms to track consumers’ shopping and return habits, leading retailers like Amazon to even ban some shoppers from if their returns are deemed suspicious or excessive.

Some Amazon customers have complained on social media that they were kicked off the shopping site without warning while others received a terse email letting them know that their business was no longer welcome, the Wall Street Journal reported. . . . more

Will J.C. Penney's turnaround ever end?

This year has been rough for J.C. Penney. Already in 2018, the department store retailer cut hundreds of jobs, disappointed investors in consecutive earnings reports and struggled to significantly improve apparel sales after taking dramatic steps to do so last year.

While some analysts still see the retailer as one of the stronger remaining players in the department store world, others are losing their patience with the company's turnaround efforts, which have yet to yield permanent positive profits or comparable sales growth. And that turnaround plan was just complicated by the sudden resignation of Penney's chief executive. . . . more

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The top five shopping center trends are…

Chain Store Age
Communal dining—or food halls—tops a list of breakout retail concepts in shopping center developments.

The list, from real estate firm Phillips Edison & Company , was released on Monday in conjunction with ICSC’s RECon event, which is occuring this week in Las Vegas. . . . more

Sears is closing 40 stores in 24 states

Business Insider
Sears is quietly closing at least 40 stores in 24 states, in addition to the 166 stores that the company previously said it would close this year.

Most of the stores on the new list will close in July and August.

Sears has not publicly announced many of the store closings slated for this summer. Business Insider confirmed the list of closing stores based on information from multiple Sears employees and local news reports.. . . more

Retail investment will pick back up in second half

Chain Store Age
Investment in retail assets plummeted by 46% in the first half of 2018, but JLL predicts a second-half comeback that should end up surpassing last year’s investment increases.

“We’re pragmatically optimistic of today’s market, and are seeing investors begin to rebuild their confidence in the sector as fundamentals strengthen,” said Naveen Jaggi, president of JLL Retail Advisory Services. “Vacancy is stabilized at under 5% nationwide and rents have reached pre-recession levels.” . . . more

Best Buy launches a Geek Squad fix-it subscription service
Best Buy Co. Inc. is rolling out a subscription service for its Best Buy tech support unit, betting that the growing complexity of smart homes and connected devices will create demand for offerings that go beyond the one-off repair job.

The service, which runs $200 per year, provides unlimited phone, online and in-store help on basic tasks like setting up home networks, car-stereo installation and basic data-recovery tasks. Home visits to install theater equipment or do more complex tasks will cost $50. . . . more

Kohl’s Climbs After Earnings Show Turnaround Gaining Steam

Kohl’s Corp.’s turnaround is gaining steam just as a new leader takes the reins.

Chief Executive Officer Michelle Gass, previously the company’s chief merchandising officer, is looking to distance Kohl’s from other mall-based department stores. Rather than closing underperforming locations -- a strategy adopted by Macy’s Inc., J.C. Penney Co. and Sears Holdings Corp. -- Kohl’s has been touting the fact that its stores have remained open. It’s reformatting many into smaller venues and using them to test partnerships with companies like Inc. and Aldi supermarkets. . . . more

What Retail Apocalypse? Brick-And-Mortar Retail Outlook Remains Positive
The doomsday scenarios about the retail industry’s demise that have made headlines are grossly overblown, experts say, and many expect retailers to continue to acclimate to the growing presence of e-commerce by shifting how they draw in consumers. Speakers at the International Council of Shopping Centers' RECon conference underway this week delivered reports and their assessment of the state of the industry.

“People still spend money,” JLL President of Retail Advisory Services Naveen Jaggi said at a breakfast panel with media Monday. “Consumer spending is still up. It is incumbent on the owner and retailer to shift and bring consumers in.”. . . more

J.C. Penney CEO Marvin Ellison resigns to become CEO of Lowe's

USA Today
Home improvement retailer Lowe's on Tuesday named the CEO of department-store chain J.C. Penney as its new boss.

Marvin R. Ellison has resigned as CEO of J.C. Penney to become the new CEO of Lowe's. . . . more

Monday, May 21, 2018

Sears gets financial boost to upgrade its credit card

Chain Store Age
Sears Holdings is upping the rewards for its credit card holders.

Citi and Sears Holdings on Monday announced a long-term extension of their 15-year co-brand and private label credit card relationship along with enhancements to the Shop Your Way Mastercard rewards program. In conjunction with the agreement, Citi will pay Sears $425 million ($400 million of which has been received).

Sears said its cardholders will now enjoy benefits every day that previously were only available on a promotional basis. . . more

President threatens to raise Amazon’s postal rates

Chain Store Age
President Donald Trump just threw another swing at Amazon in his ongoing feud with the company’s CEO Jeff Bezos.

President Trump personally pushed U.S. Postmaster General Megan Brennan to double the rate the United States Postal Service charges Amazon and other firms to ship packages, a dramatic move that probably would cost these companies billions of dollars, according to the Washington Post.. . . more

Coffee, iPhones, Wifi? If you thought this was Starbucks or Apple, surprise! It’s Comcast

USA Today
Consumers may love to hate their cable companies, but Comcast is betting its new retail stores with giant video screens and comfy couches will help strengthen its connection to customers. There will be zones where they can try out products ranging from Comcast's X1 video player to smart locks controlled with the tap of an iPad.

Comcast plans to set up shop in malls and shopping centers, sometimes moving into spaces that more traditional chains have left empty after struggling with slipping sales.. . . more

A.C. Moore to debut small-format store

Courier Post
A.C. Moore is launching a smaller-store format — and its first scaled-back shop will operate next to a mini Target in Haddon Twp, NJ.

The new format, to be called A.C. Moore Essentials, is expected to debut next month at Westmont Plaza. It will occupy about 12,000 square feet in the complex at Cuthbert and MacArthur boulevards, compared to 18,000 to 20,000 square feet for a conventional outlet.. . . more

A new policy at Starbucks: People can sit without buying anything

Boston Business Journal
On Saturday Starbucks announced that “any customer is welcome to use Starbucks spaces, including our restrooms, cafes and patios, regardless of whether they make a purchase.”

Previously it might have fallen to store managers to decide whether people could sit or use the restroom without buying anything, The Associated Press reported.. . . more

Return of ‘Open Newbury’ set to allow shoppers to walk this way with no cars

Boston Herald
Newbury Street will be closed to cars on the second Sunday in July, August and September this year in celebration of the city’s third “Open Newbury Street” concept.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s office released the Open Newbury Street schedule yesterday, reminding businesses that the full width of Newbury Street, from Arlington Street to Massachusetts Avenue, will be pedestrian-only from the hours of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.. . . more

Simon Partners With Marriott To Add 5 New Hotels To Shopping Centers
Marriott International and Simon Property Group are planning to develop at least five more hotels under various Marriott brands at Simon shopping centers over the next few years. Two will be in Florida, and one each in New York, Texas and Tennessee.

The thinking is that a more experiential property, with shopping but also dining and entertainment, needs a hospitality component to promote the shopping center as a destination.  . . . more

Friday, May 18, 2018

Lidl U.S. names new CEO

Supermarket News
Lidl U.S. announced Thursday that Johannes Fieber was named company president and CEO. He will replace Brendan Proctor, who has spearheaded the company’s U.S. efforts since 2015.

Proctor played a pivotal role in Lidl’s entry to the U.S., having been appointed CEO of the operation in June 2015, two years before the discounter opened its first stores. The company has seen its growth plans in the U.S. curtailed in the months since announcing them.. . . more

Dillard’s picks up steam in Q1

Chain Store Age
One day after Macy’s posted a strong first quarter, Dillard’s reported net income of $80.5 million, or $2.89 per share, for the period ended May 5, up from $66.3 million, or $2.12 per share, for the year-ago period.

Net sales were $1.456 billion, up from and $1.418 billion last year. Net sales includes the operations of the company’s construction business, CDI Contractors. Total merchandise sales (which excludes CDI) increased 2% to $1.409 billion. Same-store sales also increased 2%. . . . more

Nordstrom shares fall despite higher than expected quarterly profit

The Seattle Times
Nordstrom, putting its namesake family’s unsuccessful take-private effort in the rear-view mirror, reported a first-quarter profit that surpassed the expectations of Wall Street analysts. But other details in the Seattle retailer’s report prompted a 7 percent dip in its stock price after the earnings news.

The Seattle-based retailer remains under scrutiny as it invests in an ongoing digital transformation and expansions in New York City and Canada, all while trying to expand profit margins after five consecutive years of shrinkage.. . . more

Samuels proposes $350M mixed-use air-rights project over Mass. Pike

Boston Business Journal
Five years after getting approval from state transportation officials to develop on air-rights above the Massachusetts Turnpike, Boston-based real-estate development firm Samuels & Associates notified city planning officials that it intends to develop a $350 million project at the end of Boylston and Newbury streets.

The site, called Parcel 12, is located on Massachusetts Avenue across from the MBTA Hynes Convention Center Green Line station. It's there that Samuels is proposing a 237-foot office tower and a second 150-foot structure that could feature either residential space or hotel, as well as 70,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space. . . . more

Thursday, May 17, 2018

US e‑commerce accounts for 13.8% of total retail sales in the first quarter

Internet Retailer
U.S. online retailers generated $114.42 billion on the web in the first quarter, a 16.4% increase compared with $98.29 billion in Q1 2017, the Department of Commerce reported today.

The year is off to a good start for e-commerce, as this is a slightly higher growth rate than e-commerce for 2017 as a whole, when U.S. online sales rose 16.0% to reach $453.46 billion compared with $390.99 billion in 2016. . . . more

BJ’s aims to stock up on cash, filing IPO plan with feds

Boston Business Journal
Westborough-based BJ’s Wholesale Club Holdings Inc. on Thursday notified federal regulators of its intent to file an initial public offering after being privately held for the past seven years. The warehouse club operator will be listed under the ticker symbol “BJ.”

A valuation and number of shares has not been determined, but a federal filingindicates the maximum aggregate offering price would be $100 million. The Wall Street Journal in April reported that the company could be valued between $2 billion and $3 billion.. . . more

Kroger’s new partnership allows it to ‘leapfrog’ Walmart and Amazon

Chain Store Age
The recently announced partnership with Kroger Co. and British online grocer Ocado illustrates a shift in online grocery retailing for both players. And it will give Kroger a head-start in realizing true profitability in online grocery in the United States.

Since 2014, Ocado has been exploring selling its technology and logistics expertise in a service model with an external retailer. The move now seems to have just hit its stride as it has partnered with Sobey, Casino and now Kroger in recent months. . . . more

Macy's may have the winning retail formula

Macy's may have the winning formula in today's retail world. The department store giant beat earnings expectations Wednesday with a combination of reduced inventories, targeted market strategies and new merchandise.

"Macy's is investing for the future," Matthew Boss, retail analyst at J.P. Morgan, told CNBC on "Squawk Alley" Wednesday. . . . more

J.C. Penney's results fall short of expectations after sales tanked in a cold April

Dallas Morning News
J.C. Penney reported weaker-than-expected results blaming April's cold temperatures and rare snow in the Midwest and Northeast and the closing of 141 stores last summer and fall.

April apparel sales declined drastically following sales increases in February and March, said chief executive officer Marvin Ellison during a conference call with analysts Thursday morning. Sales declined 12 percent in the first week of April and declined 24  percent in the second week, he said. But recovered with the weather in the second half of the month, rising 9.5 percent in the third week and 10 percent in the last week. . . . more

Walmart's U.S. e-commerce growth rebounds

Walmart Inc, the world’s biggest retailer, posted a rebound in its U.S. e-commerce business on Thursday and beat profit and revenue expectations. 

Walmart’s e-commerce sales grew 33 percent during the first quarter ended April 30, above the 23-percent growth in the previous three months. It said it is on track to increase U.S. e-commerce sales by 40 percent for the full year. . . . more

Investors urge GameStop to overhaul retail strategy amid management upheaval
Retail giant GameStop is being urged by investors to conduct a strategic review following the sudden departure of CEO Michael Mauler.

According to a letter seen by CNBC, hedge fund Tiger Management described the recent upheaval as "an unprecedented opportunity" to overhaul the retailer's strategy and "revive shareholder confidence in the sustainability of the GameStop business model". . . . more

Target is ‘most popular’ in survey

Chain Store Age
A retailer’s popularity varies depending on whether a shopper values low prices or has expensive tastes.

That’s according to a survey by Internet-based market research and data analytics firm YouGov that ranks the most popular department stores in the United States. . . . more

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Ripple effect from big box blight

Real Estate Weekly
Across the country, big-box retailers are shuttering at a record pace but for landlords, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

When a Macy’s or Nordstrom goes dark as part of a nationwide cull it continues to pay rent so landlords don’t see an immediate loss of revenue.

However, these departures create ripple effects through co-tenancy agreements, lease clauses that can allow other tenants to pay reduced rent or close completely. . . . more

Amazon to give Prime members extra discounts at Whole Foods

Boston Herald
It's Prime time at Whole Foods: Amazon said it will give its Prime members extra discounts at the grocery chain.

The new benefits started Wednesday at Whole Foods stores in Florida and will expand nationwide this summer. Prime members get an additional 10 percent off sale items and exclusive deals on certain items. This week in Florida, for example, Prime members can get $2 off a pound of organic strawberries or save $10 a pound on wild halibut steaks. . . . more

‘Leery’ Customers Prompt Walmart to Shelve Self-Scanning Service

Walmart Inc. has ended a service where customers could ring up their own purchases, showing that old habits die hard even in the digital age.

The retailer had offered its so-called “Mobile Scan & Go” technology in about 150 Walmart stores, after a successful rollout across its Sam’s Club warehouse chain. But while the service worked in Sam’s -- which carries fewer products, all of which are prepackaged -- it confused some Walmart shoppers, who found that bagging, weighing and then scanning items including fresh fruit and vegetables was a hassle. . . . more

Macy's sees second straight quarter of boosted sales

The Cincinnati Inquirer
Macy's Inc. has broken free of its 11-quarter sales slump, posting its second straight quarter of increased earnings at its stores.

Macy's reported comparable sales were up 3.9 percent in the first quarter of 2018 at stores it owned, and up 4.2 percent when licensed stores were included. That's the second straight quarter of growing sales for the department store chain, which had seen nearly three years of declining sales. . . . more

Another first for Lord & Taylor: An online pairing with Walmart

Boston Business Journal
Lord & Taylor is teaming up with Walmart to create an online store on that will offer about 125 fashion brands, including Tommy Bahama, La La Anthony, H Halston and Effy.

Billed by both companies as a “premium” shopping destination, the new online store reflects Lord & Taylor’s desire to reach a wider audience and Walmart’s hope to attract a different type of customer. . . . more

Seaport eateries struggle to stay

Boston Herald
High rents are choking the food sellers in the booming Seaport say restaurateurs who are leaving or afraid they’ll be forced out of a saturated market they say is making business bad for everyone.

Salvatore’s, a fixture for more than a decade on Northern Avenue near D Street, closed at the end of April and owners of J. Pace and Son, a neighboring longtime tenant, are worried they may have to leave as well. . . . more

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

U.S. consumer spending picking up, gasoline prices a threat

U.S. retail sales increased marginally in April as rising gasoline prices cut into discretionary spending, but consumer spending appeared on track to accelerate after slowing sharply in the first quarter.

The Commerce Department said retail sales rose 0.3 percent last month after surging 0.8 percent in March. April’s increase was in line with economists’ expectations. Retail sales in April advanced 4.7 percent from a year ago. . . . more

The most trusted retail brand is…

Chain Store Age
A regional supermarket retailer enjoys a high degree of trust among consumers.

Wegmans took the No. 2 spot on Temkin Group’s 2018 Temkin Trust Ratings. Based on a study of 10,000 U.S consumers, the ratings, which are now in their eighth year, benchmarks the level of trust that consumers have with 318 companies across 20 industries. USAA’s banking business, with a rating of 81% earned the top spot, followed H-E-B (79%), credit unions (77%), and USAA’s credit card and insurance businesses (75%). . . . more

Mall for One and One for Mall

Chain Store Age
It’s a turbulent time for many American malls, and several owners and operators have had success reversing the fortunes of underperforming malls by transforming them into mixed-use destinations. This can radically change a mall’s fortunes – particularly those with great locations and favorable demographics – but it is not a magic bullet. Mixed-use redevelopments take time. They come with design and development challenges, new value calculations, and complex economic, demographic, and leasing considerations.

For retailers, the process can be extremely beneficial, but also incredibly disruptive. They need to be attuned to the signs that a redevelopment is needed and cognizant of what they can do to navigate the process once it begins. . . . more

Amazon Go stores are coming to Chicago and San Francisco

Amazon's cashier-free grocery store of the future is coming to San Francisco and Chicago.

The company is expanding its experimental Amazon Go store to the two US cities, but did not say when they would open. It has posted job listings for store managers in the cities on its own site, which were first noticed by the Seattle Times. . . . more

Walmart, Home Depot, Macy’s Earnings to Give New Pulse on Retail

Several of the largest consumer-facing companies report results for the first quarter -- the three months immediately following the critical holiday season that sets the stage for the rest of the year. Walmart Inc., Home Depot Inc. and Macy’s Inc. are three of the major chains scheduled to update shareholders on the state of their operations.

Their performance will give fresh perspectives into the health of brick-and-mortar retail and the strength of buyer sentiment in the U.S. So far this year, the consumer climate has been pretty strong. Although Americans aren’t running out to the mall in droves with their tax-refund dollars, they say they’re in the mood to ramp up spending. . . . more

The Time May Be Right for More M&A in the REIT Sector, Analysts Say

There are several large proposed REIT mergers in the books already in 2018, but analysts in the space say the activity may not be done yet.
Following a long slowdown of consolidation activity, the recent M&A announcements have spanned REIT sectors. First, General Growth Properties Inc., a mall REIT, in March agreed to a buyout  offer from Brookfield Property Partners. . . . more

Home Depot’s Sales Chilled by Long Winter With a Thaw Seen Ahead

The long and brutal winter didn’t just ruin your al fresco spring plans -- it also drove Home Depot Inc. to miss sales estimates at the start of what’s traditionally its biggest selling season.

But as temperatures heat up, revenue may too for the world’s largest home-improvement retailer, which is already seeing same-store sales in the double digits this month after missing analysts’ first-quarter predictions, according to Chief Financial Officer Carol Tome. . . . more

Monday, May 14, 2018

Sears moves to sell Kenmore
The struggling retailer announced Monday that it had formed a "special committee" to explore the sale of its in-house appliance brand.

The move comes less than a month after Sears CEO Eddie Lampert wrote a letter to the board urging it to sell the brand. He offered to buy it himself if necessary, along with other assets.

There is a good chance that Lampert will be the one buying Kenmore.. . . more

Ahold Delhaize sees rebound in U.S. same-store sales

Supermarket News
Ahold Delhaize reported improved same-store sales in its U.S. division as revenue edged up in the 2018 first quarter.

The Zaandam, Netherlands-based grocery retailer said Wednesday that sales for Ahold Delhaize USA came in at $10.86 billion, up 2.1% from $10.64 billion a year earlier and accounting for nearly 60% of the company’s overall sales in the quarter. Online sales showed stronger growth, rising 9.4% to $222 million from $203 million. . . . more

How a Startup is Helping Retail Landlords, Tenants Arrange Short-Term Leases

Men’s sportswear retailer Rhone recently participated in a growing retail trend. It booked a one-year, 368-sq.-ft. space in Brookfield Place, the retail concourse in New York City (still locally referred to as the World Financial Center), after renting space in three other shopping centers for even shorter terms.

In previous eras of retail leasing, a young company in a competitive segment such as apparel might not have hoped to attain such a deal. Yet these are extraordinary times in retailing. Bankruptcies and store closures are on the rise for anchors and specialty tenants, including the apparel sector, putting pressure on retail landlords to keep their common areas bustling with shoppers. . . . more

GameStop is on the hunt for a new CEO

Chain Store Age
After only three months on the job, GameStop’s CEO is stepping down.

Michael Mauler is resigning from his role as CEO, effective immediately. He is leaving for personal reasons, according to the company.

Board member and GameStop co-founder Daniel DeMatteo will serve as interim CEO during the search for a new chief executive. DeMatteo previously served as CEO from August 2008 to June 2010. . . . more

Tax Cuts, Gas Prices to Duke It Out in U.S. Retail-Sales Report

Two burning questions may be answered with Tuesday’s retail-sales report: How much are lower taxes boosting U.S. economic growth, and how much are higher gasoline prices hindering it?

The median projection in a Bloomberg survey of economists calls for a 0.3 percent rise in April retail sales from the previous month. A broad advance would indicate bigger take-home pay is more than compensating for a pickup in fuel costs to a level last seen in late 2014. However, higher receipts that are concentrated at service stations would indicate gasoline purchases are eating into discretionary sales at other merchants.. . . more

Amazon Doesn't Have to Be Retail's Worst Nightmare

For years now, it's been a common view in the retail world that a win for Inc. is a loss for some old-school retailers. But these days, that’s not necessarily the case.

Traditional brick-and mortar chains are starting to strike some innovative partnerships with their arch-competitor, turning to unconventional arrangements in the hopes of getting more shoppers back into their stores. If executed properly, there's a good chance these once-unthinkable alliances end up being a rare win-win scenario, with both the legacy retailer and Amazon getting something they need to unlock new growth. . . . more

Legoland Discovery Center in Somerville debuts virtual reality ride

Boston Herald
You are speeding down a racetrack, desperately trying to avoid your competitors, explosions, falling rocks and a cacophony of other obstacles, and cross the finish line first.

But this is no ordinary race. Your competitors are a ragtag group consisting of pirates, mummies and a wizard.

Also, everything is Lego, and you’re in virtual reality.. . . . more

Big Changes Proposed for Former Sears Location at Burlington Mall

There could be some big changes coming to the Burlington Mall.

Recently representatives of Simon Property Group, the company that owns the mall, were at the Planning Board meeting to discuss a proposed project for the former Sears and Sears Automotive sites. Those properties, once owned independently by Sears, were acquired by Simon Properties and they are now looking into ways to redevelop them to better fit the modern mall market. . . . more

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Duluth Trading aiming for 100 stores in 5 years

Retail Dive
As a public company (the retailer staged an initial public offering two and a half years ago), Duluth Trading Co. has grown newly ambitious about a cross-country expansion. The retailer, based in Belleville, Wisconsin, for years served as a small regional catalog-based retailer, catering to workmen and outdoorsy types like gardeners, but executives are confident that there's an enthusiastic consumer to reach well beyond its northern Midwestern base.

Sales are indeed up. In March, the company reported fourth quarter net sales rose 25% to $217.8 million from $174.7 million last year. Gross profit in the quarter was $116 million, or 53.3% of net sales, compared to $96.8 million or 55.4% of net sales last year. "The growth in the retail sales can be attributed to having 15 more stores as compared to last year," CFO Dave Loretta told analysts. . . . more

Sears CEO: The company is still ‘fighting like hell’

Chain Store Age
Sears Holding Corp.’s turnaround may be taking longer than expected, but chairman and CEO Eddie Lampert is committed to moving forward.

At the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting on Wednesday, Lampert said that Sears has “tried to incubate our own capabilities” instead of making major acquisitions — a strategy used by competitors, such as Target and Walmart, according to CNBC.

In the report, he added said that Sears “is on the right path, but we haven’t gotten over the hump. We need to convert our vision into reality, [which has been] made much more difficult because the operating performance isn’t where it needs to be.” . . . more

Wholesale club operator launches in-store pickup, and discounts

Chain Store Age
BJ’s Wholesale Club wants to get online orders into members’ hands faster — and cheaper.

The wholesale club operator now offers in-store pickup across all of its locations. The program, called Shop BJ’ — Pickup In-Club, enables members to choose from “thousands of items” online. After making an online purchase, members can pick up their order in any of BJ’s 215 clubs within two hours. . . . more

The Children's Place poised to win after Toys R Us liquidation

Retail Dive
Children's Place has been in the right place at the right time more than once in the past year. When rival Gymboree went bankrupt last year and closed hundreds of stores, Children's Place was only too happy to step in and fill the gap.

The retailer had stores open in more than half of the shopping centers where Gymboree has closed 326 of its stores, CEO Jane Elfers told analysts in March, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript of the call. . . . more

Company Costs Are Rising, but Getting Shoppers to Pay More Is Hard

Wall Street Journal
Higher input costs are pressuring U.S. companies to raise prices—a potential precursor to more consumer inflation—but shoppers are resisting their efforts to do so.

Businesses are facing higher costs for everything from fuel and freight hauling to steel to accounting services. Input price increases have outstripped consumer price increases since late 2016, with some pipeline costs rising at two or three times the rate of consumer inflation, according to Labor Department data released on Wednesday.

The challenge is particularly acute in the food industry. . . . more

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

It’s Survival Of The Fittest For Retailers & Their Landlords

Globe St
Brick-and-mortar retail is facing a fight for survival. There’s no news there. And their fortunes are tied in large part to the ability of their landlords to see over the next curling wave of technological change.

That, at any rate, is how InvenTrust Properties SVP of leasing Lance W. Billingsley sees it, and he notes that, headlines proclaiming the death knell for traditional retail aside, there are real and present challenges that face stores and their landlords at this phase in retail’s evolution. Their joint ability to rise to those challenges marks the difference between eating and being eaten. . . . more

The largest mall in America is getting closer to approval in Northwest Miami-Dade

Miami Herald
The largest mall in America moved closer to winning a key approval in Miami-Dade on Monday, as a county planning board gave a thumbs up to a $4 billion retail theme park that expects 30 million visitors a year.

American Dream Miami promotes itself as a local alternative to Disney World, and a shopping and entertainment destination spanning more than 6 million square feet and large enough to employ 14,000 people once it opens.. . . more

Best Buy gets new logo and marketing campaign focused on blue-shirt experts

Star Tribune
The yellow price tag isn’t going away, but it’s no longer front and center in an updated logo Best Buy is revealing Wednesday.

The first refresh of the logo in nearly three decades is part of a new marketing strategy as the Richfield-based electronics chain increasingly focuses not just on products and prices, but also the value espoused by its Best Buy 2020 strategy: helping improve customers’ lives through technology. . . . more

Walmart will pay $16 billion for majority stake in Flipkart

Chain Store Age
In the largest acquisition in its history, Walmart has agreed to acquire India’s leading e-commerce retailer, Flipkart.

After weeks of speculation, Walmart said on Wednesday it has signed a definitive agreement to buy an initial stake of approximately 77% in Flipkart for $16 billion. The remainder of the business will be held by some of Flipkart’s existing shareholders, including Microsoft, Tiger Global Management, Tencent Holdings and Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal. . . . more

Selling products on Amazon drives traffic to Chico's boutiques

Selling its products on Amazon is driving traffic to Chico's boutiques, CEO and President Shelley Broader told CNBC on Tuesday.

In April, Chico's FAS — the parent company to three brands, including the namesake, White House Black Market and Soma — announced the company's plans to offer Chico's brand apparel and accessories on Amazon. The move came at a time when many retail companies are concerned about the dominance of the e-commerce giant. . . . more

Hudson's Bay seeks to revive Lord & Taylor's fortunes

Hudson’s Bay Co is working with investment bankers and consultants to identify deals and new measures to turn around its Lord & Taylor department store chain, once the cornerstone of its retail empire, people familiar with the matter said. 

The move shows how the chain’s fortunes have diverged from Hudson’s Bay’s luxury Saks Fifth Avenue banner, which has managed to better weather the rise of online shopping sites including Inc and the resulting decline of brick-and-mortar stores. . . . more

H&M tries new strategies to reverse sales slump
H&M has been losing ground to rivals such as Zara or online stores such as ASOS, per BI, which have cut down supply chain times to as little as a week and can roll out new styles quickly. As customers look to other retailers for the latest designs, discounted clearance sections have become a common feature of H&M stores.

H&M reported a 61 percent decrease in profits in the first quarter of 2018, per CNBC, and shares were down 6.4 percent to a 13-year low. The drop in same-store sales has lasted 10 straight quarters.  . . . more

From Toys R Us to Pilates studios: Malls fill empty stores with latest fitness fads

USA Today
In the world of retail, it's increasingly out with the old — traditional department stores or aging fast-food chains — and in with new wellness-oriented gyms and eateries that are in vogue among consumers.

A growing number of Pilates studios, juice shops and other fitness- and health-focused businesses are filling the void as companies such as Sears, J.C. Penney, Toys R Us and Subway shutter locations. . . . more

Smith & Wollensky Will Close Back Bay Castle Restaurant
The Castle in Park Square will soon be sans filet mignon.

Smith & Wollensky announced it will close its Back Bay restaurant and focus on its two other local restaurants, one along Fort Point Channel and one in downtown Wellesley. The Medford-based company said it re-evaluated its Greater Boston space needs when its 15-year lease renewal at the Castle, a former armory dating to 1897, came up for renewal, the Boston Globe reports.  . . . more

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Amazon reportedly moving into body scanning

Chain Store Age
Results from Amazon’s body scanning study could be aimed to minimize one of online’s biggest problems: returns.

The online giant is using 3D technology to conduct a study that determines how bodies change shape over time, according to Business Insider, which cited The Wall Street Journal. . . . more

More than 230 Bon-Ton properties up for sale

Chain Store Age
The Bon-Ton Stores is in the final stage of winding down operations.

A&G Realty Partners has been retained to dispose all of the real estate assets of The Bon-Ton Stores on behalf of a joint venture between Great American Group (a subsidiary of B. Riley Financial), Tiger Capital Group, LLC and Bon-Ton’s Second Lien Noteholders.

Bon-Ton’s retail real estate assets include stores and leases in 23 states stretching across the Northeast, Midwest and upper Great Plains, from Idaho to New Hampshire. They include 22 fee-owned properties, seven ground leases and 194 leased locations with a significant amount of remaining term. . . . more

Barnes & Noble teeters in a post-text world
Barnes & Noble, that once proud anchor to many a suburban mall, is waning. It is not failing all at once, dropping like the savaged corpse of Toys “R” Us, but it also clear that its cultural moment has passed and only drastic measures can save it from joining Waldenbooks and Borders in the great, paper-smelling ark of our book-buying memory. I’m thinking about this because David Leonhardt at The New York Times calls for B&N to be saved. I doubt it can be.

First, there is the sheer weight of real estate and the inexorable slide away from print. B&N is no longer a place to buy books. It is a toy store with a bathroom and a cafe (and now a restaurant?), a spot where you’re more likely to find Han Solo bobbleheads than a Star Wars novel. . . . more

Amazon Returns Called ‘No-Brainer’ Buoying Kohl’s Traffic

For  Kohl’s Corp., a partnership with Inc. seems to be paying off.

Since the launch of an October pilot program to accept Amazon returns in some stores, traffic at participating Chicago Kohl’s stores has been about 8.5 percent higher than others, according to geolocation data analyzed by Gordon Haskett Research Advisors. . . . more

Boston REIT Grander Capital to buy iconic Baltimore retail property

Boston Business Journal
Boston-based real estate investment trust Grander Capital Partners LLC has inked a deal to purchase the 431,918-square-foot property that spans 111 S. Calvert St. and 200 E. Pratt St., multiple sources told the Baltimore Business Journal Monday.

The sale will not include the Renaissance Hotel that is part of the retail and office space that make up the prominent Gallery at Harborplace in downtown Baltimore. . . . more

Night Shift’s Huge New Boston Brewery Will Be Filled With Coffee and Food
“In terms of customer space, it’s going to be larger than ever,” Night Shift co-founder Michael Oxton told Eater.

Oxton, who started Night Shift with Mike O’Mara and Rob Burns, said that the Lovejoy brewery will have more than 300 seats, and during warmer months, there will be waterfront patio seating overlooking the Harborwalk. Of the 12,000 square feet within the new facility, about 25 percent will house brewing and production, while the other 75 percent will accommodate a kitchen, a taproom and seating area, and a cafe and retail space. . . . more

Monday, May 7, 2018

How Ulta Beauty evolved its merchandising strategy to compete in a crowded market
Ulta Beauty has to protect its castle.

The speciality retailer that sells makeup, skin-care and hair-care products from both mass and prestige brands is warding off competitors, new and old, from all angles. On the high end, Sephora has won over many beauty customers with bigger budgets. In the drugstore, Walgreens and CVS are revamping those departments to follow the Ulta and Sephora merchandising and layout strategies. And never sleep on Amazon: Amazon’s total beauty sales in the U.S. increased 40 percent year-over-year in 2017, according to One Click Retail, and its fastest-growing category within beauty was mass cosmetics, increasing by 60 percent. . . . more

Why It’s Not Crazy to Buy a Mall Giant in the Age of Amazon

Wall Street Journal
The company betting billions to create a trans-Atlantic shopping-mall giant is playing a riskier game than its investors are used to. In a riskier retail world, though, that may be no bad thing.

The mall deal hasn’t gotten much attention, but its dramatic size and breadth, and its timing, during a period of pessimism about traditional retailing, make it worth watching. Franco-Dutch mall giant Unibail-Rodamco, which owns $52 billion of retail real estate in Europe, is set to buy Australian developer Westfield, owner of a $22 billion mall portfolio in the U.S. and U.K. . . . more

Wilder acquires centers in Connecticut and Pennsylvania

Chain Store Age
The Wilder companies announced its acquisition of two market-leading retail centers that added more than 800,000 sq. ft. to its portfolio.

Silver Spring Square in Mechanicsburg, Pa., contains the only Wegman’s supermarket in the Harrisburg trade area. The 570,000-sq.-ft. center is shadow-anchored by Target and Kohl’s.
The Marketplace at Hamden in Connecticut, features one of the highest-volume Stop & Shop locations in the New England, along with T.J. Maxx, Old Navy, Petco, Pier One Imports, and TGI Fridays. The 235,000-sq.-ft. center was purchased in partnership with an institutional real estate fund and Silver Peak Real Estate Partners. . . . more

Report: Amazon will keep growing at ‘amazing’ rate

Chain Store Age
Amazon is poised to take an ever bigger share of the overall retail market.

The company’s investments in new and existing categories, including grocery, could help it grab nearly 10% of total retail sales within two years, reported CNBC. Citing a note that the Telsey Advisory Group wrote to clients, the report said that Amazon will continue to grow an “amazing” rate, putting the company’s retail industry market share at 9.6% by 2020. . . . more

Marijuana shops become legal in Massachusetts in less than two months. Here’s what to expect.
July 1 marks the earliest possible day that licensed businesses can legally sell recreational marijuana to adults over 21. Under the voter-approved legalization ballot measure, sales were originally slated to begin on January 1, but lawmakers decided to push back the date six months to allow the state more time to work out the nuances of regulating the new industry.

The new July 1 date is tied to April 1, which was when the Cannabis Control Commission could begin accepting and reviewing license applicants. The CCC has to make a decision on license applications within 90 days. . . . more

We shopped at TJ Maxx and Ross to see which was a better discount store — and the winner was clear

Business Insider
According to a survey by management-consultancy firm Deloitte, the most successful areas of retail are currently at the two extremes of of the spectrum: high-end and price-conscious stores. Stores that are trying to follow a "jack-of-all-trades" model are missing out.

The survey of 2,000 people showed that only 20% of consumers were better off in 2017 than they were in 2007, and 80% have less money to spend on shopping than they did in the past. . . . more

Is the beauty industry ‘Amazon-proof’?

Boston Business Journal
Beauty is booming, with the market set to grow to $750bn by 2024, according to Inkwood Research. People want to touch and see lipstick and concealers before opening their wallets, sending them through the doors of Sephora, the French cosmetics chain owned by LVMH, or Target.

Meanwhile an American obsession with “wellness” — valued at $3.7tn by the Global Wellness Institute and including segments such as nutrition, fitness and personalised medicine — has made make-up and skincare even more en vogue. . . . more

Nestle Bets $7 Billion on Starbucks to Revive Coffee Sales

In the third-biggest transaction in Nestle SA’s 152-year history, the Swiss food giant will spend $7.15 billion for the right to market Starbucks Corp. products from beans to capsules, marrying its international distribution network with the allure of arguably the biggest name in java.

Nestle won’t get any physical assets in the deal. Instead, Chief Executive Officer Mark Schneider is harnessing the name recognition of Starbucks, with its 28,000 outlets around the globe and massive draw in the U.S. Nestle has struggled there for years with its own products like Nespresso and Dolce Gusto.. . . more

Friday, May 4, 2018

What Will Happen To All That Failed Retail Real Estate?

Have you heard? Shopping malls are on the way out. Reports calculate that more than 90 million square feet of retail space is set to close in 2018, and closures may eventually surpass the 105 million square feet that shuttered in 2017. The slow death of America’s retail space is nothing new, unless you’ve been living under a rock. Shoppers just don’t shop like they used to. Empty retail malls liter the streets leaving many of us to ponder what can be done with all that prime — at one time — real estate up for grabs.

Developers are getting creative, retrofitting these empty stores in brilliant ways. Some have been successfully repurposed as new schools or additional campus space for local community colleges. Others are going for a much more productive approach. What can you expect in your community moving forward? . . . more

Fred's To Sell Specialty Pharmacy And Look At 'Options' For Retail Drugstores

Fred’s is evaluating options for its retail pharmacy portfolio and “actively pursuing a sale” of its specialty pharmacy business, the retailer said Friday, a year after the company failed to buy hundreds of Rite Aids.

The announcement Friday by Fred’s is the latest financial turnaround attempt for the retailer, which has 600 general merchandise and pharmacy stores, 12 franchised locations and three “specialty pharmacy-only locations.” Fred’s said its main goals are to eliminate debt and generate “significant positive” earnings and cash flow. . . . more

Indochino ramps up store expansion

Chain Store Age
Indochino, the digitally native made-to-measure menswear brand, is expanding its brick-and-mortar footprint by almost a third.

The Vancouver-based company, among the recipients of Chain Store Age’s 2018 Breakout Retailers Awards, will open eight new locations during the next four months, ranging from Newport Beach, California, to Short Hills, New Jersey (see list end of story). Bialow Real Estate represented Indochino on all of the deals. . . . more

Destination Maternity in proxy battle

Chain Store Age
The nation’s largest maternity apparel retailer is facing a challenge from an activist shareholder group at its annual meeting on May 23.

Destination Maternity is defending its slate of board nominees — and its overall strategy — amid a challenge from The Miller Group. The retailer on Friday sent a letter to stockholders in which it said Miller Group wants to take control of the company and replace Destination Maternity’s entire board of directors with a slate of “unproven and untested nominees” who lack “institutional knowledge” of the company. . . . more

A Fast-Food Problem: Where Have All the Teenagers Gone?

New York Times
A quarter-century ago, there were 56 teenagers in the labor force for every “limited service” restaurant — that is, the kind where you order at the counter.

Today, there are fewer than half as many, which is a reflection both of teenagers’ decreasing work force participation and of the explosive growth in restaurants. . . . more

Blue Apron is a lesson to meal kit companies that it's time to head to the grocery store

The old meal kit model is dead, and Blue Apron is proof that meal delivery companies need more than just an online presence to survive.

Blue Apron has struggled to hold onto customers amid growing competition and distribution issues. While it was able to grow subscribers by 5 percent from last quarter, the number of customers buying from the brand is down 24 percent from the prior year. . . . more

US adds a modest 164,000 jobs; unemployment down to 3.9 pct.

Boston Herald
U.S. employers stepped up hiring modestly in April, and the unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent, evidence of the economy's resilience amid the recent stock market chaos and anxieties about a possible trade war.

Job growth amounted to a decent 164,000 last month, up from an upwardly revised 135,000 in March, the Labor Department said Friday. The unemployment rate fell after having held at 4.1 percent for the prior six months largely because fewer people were searching for jobs.
 . . . more

Thursday, May 3, 2018

How Humana Already Benefits From Walmart Retail Store Traffic

Humana chief executive Bruce Broussard says customers from Walmart stores across the U.S. are already a key driver of seniors to the insurer’s Medicare drug benefits and Medicare Advantage plans.

The Humana-Walmart partnership dates back 13 years when the insurer began in 2005 putting Humana sales agents for Medicare Part D drug plans in all of Walmart’s stores , Sam’s Club locations and other neighborhood markets. . . . more

Why is Mixed-Use the Newest Gem in U.S. Development?

NREI Online
Mixed-use developments are rapidly becoming one of the most popular product types in U.S. development.

Developers and investors alike are increasingly seeking out opportunities to integrate product types in order to achieve the ultimate goal of creating destinations that draw residents, tenants, visitors and patrons to engage, interact, live, shop, work and play. . . . more