Tuesday, July 31, 2018

J.C. Penney staying close to its roots in CEO search

Retail Dive
In searching for a new CEO, J.C. Penney is considering former CEOs with experience in apparel merchandising and big box retail, who are "in tune with today’s challenges of being both an online and store retailer," chairman Ron Tysoe told the Dallas Morning News. "We're not looking for someone to reinvent J.C. Penney," he also told the Morning News' Maria Halkias.

The department store retailer is in the awkward position of searching for a chief executive after the sudden departure of Marvin Ellison in May. Tysoe told the Morning News that the company is attracting a "number of high-caliber candidates," some of whom are seeking out the position and others who are being approached.. . . more

Furniture seller Heritage Home files for bankruptcy

Retail Dive
Furniture retailer and wholesaler Heritage Home Group, which owns the Thomasville & Co. retail and wholesale brand, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this week, hoping to sell off assets in the court process.

The company, formed out of the Furniture Brands' 2013 sale in bankruptcy to private equity company KPS Capital Partners, faced years of declining sales leading up to bankruptcy, Chief Financial Officer Robert Albergotti said in a court filing. Sales for the first five months of 2018 were down 27% year over year, he added.. . . more

Forest City to be acquired in mega real estate deal

Chain Store Age
Forest City, whose retail holdings include retail centers throughout New York City, is being acquired by a Brookfield real estate fund.

Forest City operates 2.2 million sq. ft. of retail space, including regional malls in key markets and specialty retail centers, primarily in New York City. . . . more

Is the retail collapse over? Shopping mall owners think so.

Bon-Ton, Toys R Us, Sears, Claire's, Abercrombie & Fitch and Sam's Club are just a few of the major retailers that have shut hundreds of locations altogether across the U.S. this year, leaving a glut of commercial real estate on the market.

It's allowed the few retailers that are still expanding as well as some "e-tailers" looking to plant some roots take advantage of the empty space and cheaper leases.

The new tenants, filling some of the millions of square feet of retail space that went dark last year, have helped to ease concerns about an uncertain 2018 for shopping center owners. . . . more

Why Amazon can't touch Ross and TJMaxx

CNN Money
As department stores, specialty stores and big box retailers retrench, discount chains are growing.

Ross, a clothing and home decor chain, recently opened 30 stores and plans to add 70 more this year. It's aiming for 2,500 stores eventually, up from about 1,500 today.

TJX Companies, the parent of TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and HomeGoods, is opening 238 stores this year, and Burlington Stores is opening up to 40.. . . more

Starbucks Has Seen the Future. It Looks Like a Drive-Through Window.


It’s been the big economic question of 2018: How much more room is there for growth before we hit supply bottlenecks and inflation becomes a concern? Starbucks, whose stock has struggled this year as they deal with saturation concerns of its own, brought us a little closer to an answer in its earnings conference call Thursday.

The company still sees opportunities for growth in the U.S., but increasingly not in the dense urban areas the company is known for. If Starbucks is any indication, one bottleneck has appeared, and economic growth may be largely tapped out in coastal markets for now. Whatever growth is left in this cycle will have to come from the central and southern U.S. . . . more

Consumer spending up solid 0.4 percent in June

Boston Herald
Consumer spending rose by a solid 0.4 percent in June, while a key gauge of inflation increased at an annual pace of 2.2 percent for a second straight month — the strongest back-to-back gains in six years.

The gain in spending followed an even better 0.5 percent rise in May, which was revised from a 0.2 percent initial estimate, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. Incomes rose a solid 0.4 percent in June, matching the May increase. . . . more

Monday, July 30, 2018

Boutique Fitness Company Focused On Rowing Docks In San Francisco As Part Of Nationwide Expansion

A boutique fitness chain focused on rowing is expanding into the San Francisco market. Irvine-based Row House will join single-sport boutique fitness companies such as SoulCycle, CycleBar and TITLE Boxing that also have been expanding in the Bay Area in recent years. 

The company’s entrance into San Francisco is part of its nationwide growth plans. It has already signed 47 franchise agreements in the last five months. New locations are set for Connecticut, Colorado, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.. . . more

What's really driving the future of retail?

Many predictions about the "future of retailing" have been made. These range from the supposed dominance of certain technologies, to increased use of data and analytics, the rising need for personalisation and customisation, and the transformation of physical spaces.

The challenge with specific predictions is that these are susceptible to becoming obsolete fast. Future technologies are likely to make the current cutting-edge redundant, and the methods by which customers can customise products are likely to look very different in the future.. . . more

J.C. Penney making a U-turn

Chain Store Age
J.C. Penney is going back to the future.

The department store retailer is looking to win back its core customer — middle-aged moms — after courting younger shoppers, according to Business Insider,which cited a report by The Wall Street Journal.. . . more

Following Its Rebrand, Joann Is No Longer Your Mom’s Fabric Store

Allow us to introduce you to Joann—yes, just Joann.

The craft and fabrics store, an omnipresent retailer in suburbs across the country is undergoing a major revamp, including a name change: Jo-Ann Fabrics is now simply Joann, sans dash and the word “Fabrics.” But the makeover isn’t just in name only. It will also include added technology to Joann’s stores, and a new mobile app.. . . more

Discounters stay hot as consumers search for deals

The Chicago Tribune
As retailers scramble to find solutions to the e-commerce-fueled bricks-and-mortar crisis, department store chains like Nordstrom and Macy’s are embracing off-price models. Last Chance, Nordstrom Rack and Macy’s Backstage — along with traditional discounters like TJ Maxx — have continued attracting shoppers with the promise of a treasure hunt, something online merchants can’t quite replicate. Sears, Carson’s and other onetime retail giants are closing stores or going out of business, but off-price chains have plans to open hundreds of new stores in the coming years.

However, some industry experts caution that a lack of emphasis on online sales, coupled with problems obtaining enough high-quality merchandise to meet demand, could disrupt the discounters’ momentum, which may already be slowing down. At Nordstrom Rack, TJ Maxx, Ross Dress for Less and Burlington Coat Factory, for example, sales at existing stores have been growing at a slower pace over the past three quarters.. . . more

Family Entertainment Centers Pull Out The Stops To Draw In Mall Traffic

Dave & Buster's, bounce houses, trampoline parks, escape rooms and glow bowling alleys, among many other interactive concepts, have become staples in malls and retail strips, bringing young adults and families into struggling venues.

“What these entertainment concepts bring is a new energy in shopping centers,” JLL Director of National Leasing Holly Rome said. “It provides customers reason to come and drives traffic because it’s an experience. You can only get that experience there. You can’t buy it online.” . . . more

Brookstone Reportedly Mulls Second Bankruptcy, Plans To Shutter Most U.S. Stores

Experiential retailing might not be enough to save gadget retailer Brookstone, which is reportedly considering a second bankruptcy that may shutter most, if not all, of its U.S. locations.

Currently, the retailer has 140 stores domestically, including 36 in airports. Now the company is preparing to close most of them via bankruptcy, perhaps retaining some airport locations, Bloomberg reports, citing anonymous sources. . . . more

Friday, July 27, 2018

Preview: Southern New Hampshire Report

SOURCE KeyPoints Retail Newsletter for July

While the 2018 KeyPoint Report for Southern New Hampshire, based on our proprietary  GRIID™ retail database, is in production, we will again share some of the early results:

Inventory and Vacancy Rate: The retail inventory in Southern New Hampshire included 29.8 million square feet in 2018, indicating no appreciable change from a year ago. Vacancy increased 41,200 square feet, equating to a vacancy rate of 9.3% compared to 9.1% last year. At the same time, the higher vacancy rate can be attributed to store closings involving just two retail firms, Toys R Us and Walmart. Toys R Us closed four namesake stores and two Babies R Us stores while Walmart closed two Sam’s Club units. Offsetting these store closings were store openings that filled a number of large format vacancies. Three vacant Sports Authority stores were, or will soon be, occupied by replacement tenants including HomeGoods and Sierra Trading Post in Nashua, Cost Plus World Market in Salem, and Guitar Center, Party City, and DSW in Manchester. BJ’s already opened in the vacant Sam’s Club in Manchester. A vacant Shaw’s anchored strip center in Merrimack is under redevelopment with Planet Fitness now open. Altitude Trampoline Park also will anchor this center, now known as Merrimack 360, and is expected to open later this summer.
 . . . more

Nine West, Authentic Brands and the future of apparel retail

Retail Dive
The Nine West brand is entering its second life. With its former parent company (which still bears the same name) in Chapter 11, Nine West has joined the likes of Nautica, Airwalk and Shaquille O'Neal — as well as Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe and a couple dozen more — at Authentic Brands Group.

The $340 million acquisition is a descriptive one for this moment in retail. Nine West the operator, struggling under a debt pile from a private equity buyout, suffered financially with the decline in department stores and mall traffic. The retailer and wholesaler went bankrupt, while the brand holding company that bought the Nine West name has found success in keeping its books relatively clean of assets — and the capital expenses that come with them. . . . more

Second-quarter GDP jumps 4.1% for best pace in nearly four years

Gross domestic product grew at a solid 4.1 percent pace in the second quarter, its best pace since 2014, boosting hopes that the economy is ready to break out of its decade-long slumber.

That's the fastest rate of the growth since the 4.9 percent in the third quarter of 2014 and the third-best growth rate since the Great Recession. In addition to the strong second quarter, the Commerce Department revised its first-quarter reading up from 2 percent to 2.2 percent.. . . more

Blink Fitness pumps up expansion plans with 17-unit lease agreement

Chain Store Age
Blink Fitness – a value gym brand that will have approximately 85 locations open and operating by the end of 2018 – and Seritage Growth Properties have formed a multi-property lease agreement that will bring 17 corporate and franchisee-owned gyms to major metropolitan areas across 10 states as part of the chain’s aggressive expansion plans.

Blink Fitness plans to enter additional markets, including Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan and Virginia, over the next year or so, according to CEO Todd Magazine. He expects Blink to surpass the 300-unit mark over the next five years, with strategic multi-unit real estate deals helping drive this rapid growth.. . . more

Chipotle’s Turnaround Gains Momentum as CEO Plots New Course

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. is demonstrating that its recent momentum may be more than a blip.

The restaurant chain posted same-store sales that beat estimates in the second quarter, as new Chief Executive Officer Brian Niccol starts to apply the lessons he learned at his former employer, Taco Bell. Chipotle also said margins improved at its restaurants and boosted the high end of its comparable sales forecast for the year.. . . more

RadioShack is back. Kinda

Radio Shack is being reborn, but it won't be as noticeable as before. Instead, it will be called "RadioShack Express," a store-within-a-store that will open in 100 HobbyTown stores across the United States.

HobbyTown sells specialty toys. The company said the partnership "will enhance the product selection and services" at its 150 locations. . . . more

Amazon Q2 earnings crush Street, but revenue off slightly

Chain Store Age
Amazon reported a huge jump in second-quarter earnings amid a 49% increase in sales of its extremely lucrative cloud-computing business and a big increase in North American retail operating profit. But its revenue fell short of what analysts had expected.

In North America, Amazon’s retail sales rose 44% to $32.17 billion, boosted in part by the addition of Whole Foods Market. Its North American retail business’ operating profit skyrocketed to $1.84 billion from $436 million last year.. . . more

Recreational marijuana sales still on hold until lab lands license

Boston Herald
State marijuana regulators approved three more applications for recreational pot shops yesterday, including the first in the Boston area, but still have not considered a single application for an independent testing lab, a mandatory step before any weed can be sold.

The board approved provisional retail licenses yesterday to New England Treatment Access in Brookline and Northampton, and to Alternative Therapies Group in Amesbury.. . . more

Thursday, July 26, 2018

The No. 1 reason people subscribe to Amazon Prime is…

Chain Store Age
The movies and shows available via Amazon’s video service generate lots of buzz, but they are by no means Amazon Prime’s biggest draw.

Seventy-nine percent of Amazon Prime users cite free shipping as the primary reason they subscribe to the service, according to research by The Diffusion Group. Only 11% cite Prime Video, with a collective 10% citing Prime Music, Photos, Reading, Twitch, or other benefits.. . . more

Growing Competition from Both National Chains and Neighborhood Coffee Shops Threatens Starbucks’ Supremacy

Amid slowing growth in an increasingly crowded market, coffee chain powerhouse Starbucks announced it will close 150 underperforming, company-operated U.S stores in 2019. Historically, the Seattle-based chain has closed about 50 stores per year. For now, the company, which pioneered the upscale coffee shop business, continues to dominate the U.S. market with 14,000 stores.

The upcoming store closings will take place primarily in urban markets that are “densely penetrated” with Starbucks locations. Most will be in major metropolitan areas.. . . more

Four predictions on how retailing will evolve

Chain Store Age
The retailers who flourish in the upcoming years will be those that re-imagine and align their stores with the digital age.

That prediction comes from a report by global analytics solutions provider Quantzig in which the company’s experts detail some of the key retail industry trends that will redefine the future of retail.. . . more

McDonald’s U.S. Sales Growth Slows as Fast-Food Rivals Muscle In

McDonald’s Corp. is feeling the heat from fast-food rivals in the U.S.

The world’s biggest restaurant chain by sales posted same-store growth in its home market that missed estimates in the second quarter, even as global growth continues at a steady clip. Slowing customer traffic in the U.S. offset positive comparable guest counts in all other regions, resulting in a global guest count drop of 0.3 percent.. . . more

In-store spending soars during BOPIS trips

Chain Store Age
Click-and-collect programs may be a convenient service for customers, but the offering is becoming increasingly valuable for retailers.

When it comes to “superconsumers” (shoppers who used buy online, pickup in-store [BOPIS] at least two times in the past 12 months), 51% made unplanned purchases when they picked up their online orders in-store, compared to 37% of all online shoppers that made additional purchases when retrieving their orders, according to “The Rise of the Click and Collect Superconsumer,” a study from OrderDynamics. . . . more

Walmart to transport shoppers in self-driving cars

Chain Store Age
Some of Walmart’s online grocery pickup shoppers are entitled to a new perk — a lift back home.

Through a partnership with Waymo, Google’s self-driving car project, Walmart is launching a pilot that will use Waymo vehicles to transport customers to and from a local store to pick up their groceries. The pilot, which is conducted out of one Walmart store in Chandler, Arizona, is being tested among a group of Waymo’s 400 daily users.. . . more

This 500-seat food hall is coming to downtown Boston next year

Boston Business Journal
Rockpoint Group, Rockhill Management and CANAdev are leasing a 22-vendor food hall that will be located in the shared atrium space between 160 Federal St. and 100 High St. in Boston’s Financial District.

When it opens next year, High Street Place will feature seating for 500, a large-format projection screen, an area for live music performances, and a green wall, a Rockpoint representative said in a statement. The food hall will take the place of a Freshii, a healthy fast-casual chain that opened in 2011.. . . more

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Analyst: Some warning signs in June sales

Chain Store Age
The retail economy ended the first half of the year on a positive note with a strong set of June numbers. Overall, retail sales rose by 6.3% on an unadjusted year-over-year basis. Below that headline figure, foodservice put in a good performance with a 9% increase over the same period last year, while automotive sales continued to advance with an increase of 5%. Sales at gasoline stations rose by a colossal 20.8%, the fastest increase since September 2011 — driven by both higher prices and some volume increases across parts of the country. . . more

Orangetheory Fitness: 1,000 Studios … and Counting

At a ribbon-cutting event held July 21st at the gleaming new studio's 888 SE 9th Avenue location in the Central Eastside'sBuckman neighborhood, special guests joined Orangetheory Fitness CEO & Co-Founder Dave Long in celebrating the company's unique trifecta of science, coaching and technology. After snapping photos on the appropriately themed Orange Carpet, they enjoyed, first-hand, the Orangetheory method for how to run, lift and sweat to become better versions of themselves – regardless of fitness level . . . more

Here's What The Woburn Mall Makeover Could Look Like

An architectural firm hired by Woburn Mall owner Edens LLC offered a first glimpse of a proposed makeover of the property, which includes 400 apartments, an eight-screen building and an open-air retail concept similar to those found in so-called lifestyle centers in Lynnfield, Dedham and Somerville. Hartford-based Amenta Emma Architects said Edens hopes to complete work on the makeover by November 2019 . . . more

The Death of Rollout: Reframing retail expansion

Chain Store Age
As the planned store closures by Starbucks and Chipotle makes clear, the pendulum certainly seems to have swung away from the growth of store counts simply for growth’s sake. With traditional retail rollout models in their waning days, here are a few considerations to keep in mind: . . more

Popular fast-food chain to test the meal-kit market

Chain Store Age
In a first for a major fast-food chain, Chick-fil-A will launch its own line of meal kits. The line, called Mealtime Kits, will be tested at 150 of the company’s locations across the Atlanta area, beginning Aug. 27. The limited-time test offer will be available until Nov. 17. (Customers outside the Atlanta area can express their interest in trying the kits by filling out an online form.). . . more

No Shirt, No Swipe, No Service

Cash is a miracle. So why are more businesses refusing it? Stores are eliminating cash registers and coin rolls in pursuit of what they say is a safer, more streamlined payment process—and one that most of their customers want to use anyway. . . more

Mall REIT CEOs See Their Total Compensation Drop as Sector Struggles

National Real Estate Investor
A new report from S&P Global Market Intelligence found that CEOs of Simon Property Group, Macerich Co., GGP, Taubman Centers, Washington Prime Group, CBL & Associates Properties and PREIT all experienced total compensation declines in 2017. . . more

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Moe’s Southwest Grill targets Massachusetts for expansion

The planned expansion of Moe's comes at a time when Bostonians have more and more options for a rice-bowl style meal. . . . more

Schlotzsky’s is Going Fine Casual

Schlotzsky’s is converting its 400-plus units to be fast fine, even adding “Austin Eatery” to its name.. . . more

Gold’s Gym Is for Sale

Club Industry
TRT Holdings, which owns Gold's Gym International, announced that it is looking for a buyer for the brand as it moves to focus more on operating its hotel business, Omni Hotels & Resorts.. . . more

Jennifer Furniture returns to growth mode

Furniture Today
Jennifer Furniture is expanding its brick-and-mortar and e-commerce footprints after a few years of post-bankruptcy struggle and work to reposition the brand as a full-line retailer...more

Starbucks to open its first U.S. ‘signing’ store

Chain Store Age
The coffee giant will open its first U.S. “signing store” in October, in Washington, D.C., near Gallaudet University. (The 150-year old institution is the world’s only university designed for deaf and hard of hearing students.) . . . more

Toys ‘R’ Us moves to sell 284 properties

Chain Store Age
The bankrupt toy retailer announced that its subsidiary, Toys “R” Us Property Company I (Propco), has hired private real estate investment and retail advisory firm Raider Hill Advisors to lead Propco’s efforts to maximize the value of the portfolios of Propco I and its subsidiaries. . . . more

Friday, July 20, 2018

Amazon bulks up its online grocery market share

Supermarket News
Amazon.com Inc. has captured 18% of U.S. online grocery sales since 2017, giving it the largest share by far of any single retailer, according to e-commerce intelligence firm One Click Retail.

In a report released Thursday, One Click Retail estimated Amazon’s second-quarter grocery sales at $650 million, up 40% year over year. That growth comes with “nearly every category attracting more and more grocery shoppers to Amazon,” according to report author Jacob Porter, director of global marketing at One Click.. . . more

Shopping malls want to make you pay for prime parking spots

New York Post
Malls across the country, having lost millions of customers to online rivals, hope to win shoppers back with a rather odd marketing plan: pay for parking.

In partnership with an app called MyPark, malls and outlet centers are starting to reserve the best parking spots — those nearest the stores — and will allow shoppers to reserve those spots, for a fee.. . . more

Rents keep dropping in New York as a new wave of retail moves in

Retail rents in New York keep dropping, opening up the door for a new wave of stores to move in.

Average rent prices in a dozen of 16 main retail corridors in New York fell in the past 12 months, according to a new report from CBRE. The average advertised rent fell by a little more than 12 percent to $658 per square foot and landlords are more willing to take less, the commercial real estate services firm found.. . . more

Walmart reportedly launching low-cost video-on-demand service

Chain Store Age
Walmart is entering the subscription-video space.

In a move that would compete with Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, Walmart plans to launch a low-cost subscription-video service. The streaming service will launch through the company’s digital-entertainment division, Vudu, according to Variety. . . . more

Discounter expands same-day deliveries in the Empire State

Chain Store Age
Target is leveraging its acquisition of Shipt to get online orders into the hands of New York customers faster.

On Thursday, the discounter announced that it is expanding its same-day shipping service through Shipt across stores in 10 regions within the greater New York City metro area. Customers will be able to order from more than 55,000 groceries, essentials, home, electronics, and toys, among other products.. . . more

NRF, White House make a ‘pledge’ to bolster retail career opportunities

Chain Store Age
The National Retail Federation is joining forces with the Trump administration to increase the skills of current and future retail workers.

On Thursday, the NRF signed the White House’s “Pledge to America’s Workers.” The move positions both the NRF Foundation’s Rise Up job training program, and student program that exposes college students to career opportunities in the retail industry to help create enhanced career opportunities for 250,000 individuals over the next five years.. . . more

Timeline: The Evolution of the Grocery-Anchored Sector Since Amazon's Acquisition of Whole Foods

The grocery-anchored sector has long been considered "Internet-proof." But with Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods roughly one year ago, some grocers have been racing to improve their omnichannel offerings. Meanwhile, some smaller players have stumbled. Here is a look at some of the changes over the past year.. . . more

Thursday, July 19, 2018

What’s the Outlook for the Grocery Sector in the Age of Amazon?

Nearly one year after Amazon’s acquisition of organic grocer Whole Foods, the grocery-anchored shopping center sector, typically viewed as more “Internet-proof” than other segments of retail, has taken greater strides to boost its omni-channel offerings.

So far, the acquisition has not been overtly disruptive to the grocery industry, experts say. However, some grocers are still working to hedge any long-term effects of the deal, particularly as smaller chains struggle to keep up with technological pressures and price competition intensifies. These factors could lead to continued consolidation of smaller grocers and increased investor scrutiny of grocer tenants, according to those in the industry.. . . more

Report: Schnatter discussed merging Papa John's, Wendy's before resigning

Louisville Courier Journal
Papa John’s founder John Schnatter recently held talks about merging the pizza giant with Wendy’s, but the discussions cooled after reports that Schnatter had used a racial slur, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, quoting unidentified people familiar with the matter.

Papa John's spokesman Peter Collins did not immediately respond to a Courier Journal request for comment on the reported merger talks, which the Wall Street Journal described as preliminary and said began before Schnatter stepped down as chairman of the company he founded. Columbus, Ohio-based Wendy’s also did not immediately respond to an email.. . . more

Monmouth Mall is approved for live-work-play remake

Chain Store Age
The owners of New Jersey’s fourth largest mall have received approval from the Eatontown Planning Board to add 700 residential units and transform the property into a mixed-use community.

Kushner Companies’ Monmouth Mall will re-emerge as The Heights at Monmouth. Plans call for the two-story, 300,000 sq. ft. wing that includes Boscov’s department store — a longtime anchor of the 1960s-era mall — to be demolished in the reconstruction. . . . more

Worcester signs first retail pot sale agreements

Worcester Telegram
The city has signed two community host agreements with companies wanting to operate adult-use marijuana retail stores here.

They are the first such agreements Worcester has reached for local licensed marijuana sales. . . . more

Hackers account for 90% of login attempts at online retailers

Selling stolen personal data is a big business for hackers: Somewhere on the dark web, your e-mail address and a few passwords are probably for sale (hopefully, old ones). Cyber criminals buy troves of this information to try to login to websites where they can grab something valuable like cash, airline points, or merchandise like expensive cheese. Yes, cheese.

Online retailers are hit the most by these attacks, according to a report by cyber security firm Shape Security. Hackers use programs to apply stolen data in a flood of login attempts, called “credential stuffing.” These days, more than 90% of e-commerce sites’ global login traffic comes from these attacks. . . . more

With Retail Vacancy at 9.5 Percent, Eastern Massachusetts to Continue to See the Brick-and-Mortar Fallout From the Shift Toward Online Shopping: KeyPoint Report

Boston Real Estate Times
With retail vacancy at 9.5 percent, Eastern Massachusetts will continue to see the brick-and-mortar fallout from the shift toward online shopping, according to a report released by Burlington, MA-based KeyPoint Partners, LLC.

This comprehensive The KeyPoint Report for Eastern Massachusetts/Greater Boston 2018 examines supply, occupancy, absorption, and retailer expansion and contraction for virtually every retail property in the region. This year’s Report features a special section of commentary and data on Malls in the region.. . . more

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Boylston Properties, The Wilder Cos. Secure $324M Construction Financing for Mixed-Use Redevelopment Near Boston

Real Estate Business
Developers Boylston Properties and The Wilder Cos. have secured $324 million in construction financing and joint venture equity for the development of Arsenal Yards, a six-building, mixed-use redevelopment of the former Arsenal Mall in Watertown.

HFF worked on behalf of the developers to source institutional investors advised by JP Morgan Asset Management as joint venture equity partners, providing $102 million of equity. HFF also arranged a $222 million construction loan from Wells Fargo Bank.. . . more

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Amazon breaks Prime Day records despite site crashes

Retail Dive
Amazon's first 10 hours of Prime Day outpaced the first 10 hours last year, with Prime members buying "millions" of Alexa devices, according to the e-tailer. More than three quarters (76%) of Prime Day prices beat Black Friday prices, according to an email from deals site BestBlackFriday emailed to Retail Dive. Sales will continue until 3 a.m. Eastern time.

The company acknowledged it had a rough start, with many shoppers unable to make purchases because of site problems, encountering error messages with cute puppies instead. . . . more

Awakening the Dream in the Meadowlands

New Jersey Monthly
For years, it hulked stagnant over the Meadowlands like a massive, forgotten Tinkertoy. But if you drive past it today on Route 3 or the New Jersey Turnpike, the mall once named Xanadu and now rechristened American Dream is rising anew.

But don’t call it a mall—not these days. Don Ghermezian, president of Edmonton, Canada-based Triple Five Worldwide, which took over development of the project in 2011, made that clear when he spoke to Bloomberg in late 2016. He refers to American Dream as “the center of the universe.”. . . more

Property Investors Scrounge Through Retail Ruins for Bargains

The Wall Street Journal
Many property investors these days recoil from owning retail-oriented real estate, worried that most shopping centers are on their way toward extinction.

Then there is Brian Kosoy.

The chief executive office of the Sterling Organization, a private-equity firm based in Palm Beach, Fla., said his firm is poised this month to close a nearly $500 million real-estate fund to invest in grocery-anchored shopping centers, street retail and other shopping centers across the U.S.
. . . more

Gap Sues Westfield Over Mall Expenses as Tensions Rise in Retail World

The Wall Street Journal
Gap Inc. is suing high-end-mall operator Westfield for allegedly overcharging the fashion retailer in an action that underscores the sometimes-tense relationship between landlords and tenants as e-commerce transforms the retail sector.

Other well-known U.S. retailers, such as Starbucks and Saks Fifth Avenue, have duked it out with landlords in court recently as they’ve sought to trim costs amidst a glut of shopping-center space. Mall vacancies in the U.S. recently hit a six-year high, with strip malls and neighborhood centers particularly hard-hit.. . . more

Alberstons narrows loss in Q1

Chain Store Age
Ahead of its planned acquisition of Rite Aid, Albertsons’ solid e-commerce and private label helped narrow its loss for the quarter.

For the period ended June 16, the Boise, Idaho-based company’s net loss was $17.7 million, down from 204.9 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2017.

Albertsons’ identical sales increased 0.2%, with a sales and other revenue increase of $18.7 billion, or roughly 1%, which it said was largely driven by a $154 million boost in fuel sales.. . . more

IHOP launches national delivery program through partnership with DoorDash

USA Today
Whether it's pancakes, burgers or something else, IHOP is launching a service to speed them to customers' doors.

The chain, once the International House of Pancakes before the name was shortened, announced a partnership Tuesday with food delivery service DoorDash.. . . more

Amazon’s Prime Day runs into early snags

Seattle Times
Amazon’s website ran into some early snags Monday on its much-hyped Prime Day, an embarrassment for the tech company on the shopping holiday it created.

Shoppers clicking on many Prime Day links after the 3 p.m. ET launch in the U.S. got only images of dogs — some quite abashed-looking — with the words, “Uh-oh. Something went wrong on our end.” People took to social media to complain that they couldn’t order items.. . . more

Monday, July 16, 2018

Grocery channel has private brand problem, study says

Supermarket News
Though 2017 was a comeback year for private label retail sales, grocery stores have seen some of that business siphoned away by other retailers, new research from the Food Marketing Institute and IRI reveals.

U.S. private-label sales rose 4.1% to $138 billion last year across multiple retail outlets, according to the FMI-IRI report “Power of Private Brands,” released this week. That compared with a 1.3% uptick to $929 billion for all brands.. . . more

Three weapons in the online grocery delivery war

Chain Store Age
The online grocery battle continues to heat up, and traditional supermarket operators are feeling the pressure.

Consumers expect faster, more convenient ways to shop for and receive their groceries. They want options that enable them to purchase weekly staples via laptop, mobile apps, or in some cases, by holding a conversation with a voice-enabled smart speaker. . . . more

Gymboree, a rare retailer to emerge from bankruptcy last year, launches its reboot on Amazon Prime Day

Monday, Gymboree is announcing its refreshed personality, product and digital presence. The retailer relaunched its websites and is debuting a new app this week with augmented reality features. In taking these steps, Gymboree hopes its makeover will fix some of the reasons it struggled: growing online competition, a debt-laden balance sheet and a need to woo shoppers with better value.

A quarter of Gymboree’s sales come from its websites, and the retailer is offering as much as 80 percent off on its three brands’ sites, coinciding with Amazon Prime Day. . . . more

Specialty retail vs Amazon: Is it the same old story?

Retail Dive
Specialty retailers might believe they’re superior fashion players, but they can’t ignore the apparel industry’s incoming Goliath. Amazon will soon dominate the $217 billion U.S. apparel market. Upending fashion conventions is one thing, volume and scale are another. Can specialty retailers survive Amazon’s rise in apparel?

Sometime this year, Amazon will become the biggest apparel retailer in the U.S. But when it comes to fashion, it’s just not a very good one. Neither is Walmart, by the way, which will be eclipsed by the e-commerce giant to claim the top spot. That’s the tough lesson for the apparel industry — Amazon doesn’t have to be better at fashion to upend the apparel world, it only needs to be 'just ok.'. . . more

Target going head-to-head with Amazon

Chain Store Age
Amazon isn’t the only retailer running big deals on Prime Day.

Add Target Corp. to the list of retailers who plan to give the online giant a run for its money with their own summer sales. Target’s one-day sales event, which is set to kick off on Tuesday, July 17, will run online, and no membership is required to shop. The sale will feature deals across most of its categories. Merchandise across private-label brands will also be included.. . . more

US bankers warn on commercial property risks

Boston Business Journal
US bankers have warned about mounting risks in commercial real estate, with figures showing they are putting the brakes on loans to buyers of office buildings, hotels and shopping malls.

Executives said they were refusing to sign off on as many property deals because they were worried about overheating, even as they extend more credit to much of the rest of corporate America.. . . more

US retail sales rise at a healthy 0.5 percent pace in June

Boston Herald
U.S. retail sales rose at a solid pace last month despite higher prices and modest wage gains, a sign of underlying consumer optimism.

The Commerce Department said Monday that sales at retailers and restaurants increased 0.5 percent in June, following a big 1.3 percent gain the previous month. May's figure was revised sharply higher from an initial estimate of 0.8 percent. . . . more

Friday, July 13, 2018

Newbury Street holds the retail throne

Boston Realty Advisors
You see it and hear it everywhere – retail is evolving. E-commerce giants have given consumers more convenient and affordable alternatives; but the reality is brick and mortar is keeping up. For evidence of this, you don’t need to look any further than Newbury Street, the epicenter of Boston’s retail.

Originally a residential neighborhood, Newbury has since pivoted into Boston’s quintessential shopping district, taking on a life and meaning far beyond its beginnings.. . . more

These are the retail brands that will be hurt most by Chinese tariffs

Among the retailers and brands that could be most impacted from the proposed 10% tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods are Best Buy Co. Inc., Michael Kors Holdings Ltd., and Coach parent Tapestry Inc., say analysts.

Raymond James analysts led by Dan Wewer think every company in its research universe will be hurt by the proposed tariffs, but say consumer electronics giant Best Buy and arts-and-crafts shop Michael Cos. Inc. are “the most vulnerable.”. . . more

Still Some Weeks To Go Before Retail Cannabis Sales In Mass. Begin

To date, the state Cannabis Control Commission has granted only five provisional licenses to two companies. Only one of those licenses is for a retail store. That license went to Cultivate Holdings in Leicester.

More are expected to come down the line, but the process has been slow, frustrating marijuana proponents, as well as one legislator who is a key author of the state’s marijuana law.. . . more

To gauge retail growth, follow the warehouses

Chain Store Age
Prime logistics rents — the top prices for quality warehouse and distribution center space — ratcheted up by 100 basis points in the year ending March 31. That’s a sure indicator of retail health, according to one of the world’s largest commercial real estate services firms.

A report from CBRE states that the 3.2% rent increase worldwide and the 4.8% rise in the United States resulted from strengthening economies and greater demand for goods — whether purchased online or in stores. . . . more

Soon there will be only one Blockbuster video store left in the US

USA Today
Two of the three remaining Blockbuster video locations in the U.S. will soon close, according to an announcement made Thursday.

Blockbuster Alaska announced the closure of its two Anchorage stores, saying inventory will be liquidated through the months of July and August.

The announcement, which came in a Thursday Facebook post, means there will be only one remaining location of the iconic franchise left in America: Bend, Oregon. . . . more

Investors Punish L Brands After Victoria Secret’s Weakness

The Wall Street Journal
Victoria's Secret, the flagship beauty and lingerie line for L Brands Inc., simply isn’t resonating with shoppers.

Revenue from Victoria's Secret products fell 1% for the five-week period ended July 7, compared with the same period last year, L Brands Chief Investor Relations Officer Amie Preston said in an audio message accompanying its latest sales report. Fewer customers visited stores for Victoria’s Secret’s semiannual sale, forcing the company to lengthen it by about two weeks and slash already reduced prices.. . . more

Activewear retailer Outdoor Voices opens in the Seaport

Boston Business Journal
Activewear retailer Outdoor Voices is opening a store in Boston's Seaport District on Friday, marking its first New England location and eighth in the U.S.

In an interview, Tyler Haney, CEO of the Austin, Texas-based company, said Outdoor Voices chooses new retail locations based a city's "recreational index" — an assessment of how active its residents are.. . . more

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Customer loyalty is key to driving holiday season sales

Chain Store Age
As retailers gear up for the biggest shopping seasons of the year, they are stepping up their customer loyalty game to encourage repeat traffic both in-store and online.

To earn customer loyalty, it’s critical for retailers to safeguard and protect personal information (76%); reward them with personalized discounts or special offers (73%); and interact with them through their preferred communication channel (55%), according to “Building Loyalty with Dynamic Shoppers,” a study from Valassis. . . . more

‘The retail-pocalypse is over’: Facebook unwraps holiday-ready AR, Instagram tools for merchants

The Drum
Facebook yesterday announced a group of new tools for retailers to cater to shoppers this holiday season.

In a blog post and accompanying presser at its NYC headquarters, the social platform gave brands a 123-day head start on reaching shoppers before, during, and after the holiday season. The Drum selected some of the highlights from Facebook’s new product offerings for retailers of all kinds.. . . more

Old Navy launches in-store pickup; rolls out new store experience

Chain Store Age
Gap’s value apparel brand is getting online orders into its shoppers’ hands faster. It’s also updating the look of its stores.

Old Navy has launched a buy online, pickup in-store service at all stores nationwide. After placing an order, customers have seven days to visit the store to pick up their purchase at a specially designated kiosk, according to a Gap Inc. blog.. . . more

J.C. Penney to expand in Big Apple

Chain Store Age
J.C. Penney is capitalizing on the growth of the New York City market.

The department store retailer announced the opening of a new location in Brooklyn, at Kings Plaza shopping center. The 75,000-sq.-ft. store, designed from the ground up for energy efficiency, will open on Aug. 10.. . . more

Target Drive Up service now offered in 25 states

Supermarket News
Target Corp. has rolled out its Drive Up curbside pickup service to 200 more stores in the Midwest.

With the expansion, more than 800 stores in 25 states now offer Drive Up service for online purchases of groceries, household essential items and other products. Target said it will launch curbside pickup in additional markets late next month.. . . more

The Net Lease Retail Market Is Showing a Shift, with Higher Cap Rates and More Listings

Cap rates for net lease retail properties have finally pushed upward.

The average retail cap rate for net lease properties during the second quarter of 2018 reached 6.2 percent, an increase of 10 basis points from first quarter, according to Second Quarter National Net Lease Report from the Boulder Group, a national net lease commercial real estate firm. The last time the rate increased that much was in the second quarter of 2011. . . . more

Sears laid off 200 more people at its corporate offices

More layoffs have taken place at the corporate offices of Sears Holdings in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.

According to a WARN notice filed in Illinois a few weeks ago that was obtained by CNBC, about 200 workers have been laid off from the department store chain, with about 150 of those working specifically at Sears’ Hoffman Estates support center. . . . more

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Nordstrom investors balk at 5-year plan

Retail Dive
Nordstrom has big ambitions for growth, but investors and analysts don't seem to be entirely convinced. The upscale department store retailer was downgraded by Cowen & Co. analysts early this month, citing pressures on full-line sales, store traffic and margins and a need to improve its off-price Rack division.

Executives on Tuesday acknowledged that women's apparel at Rack missed the mark in a big way and that they're attuned to what they need to do to execute better. Off-price comps grew just 0.4% in the first quarter of 2018, down from 4% growth in the fourth quarter of 2017. . . . more

Snapchat update reportedly hints at Amazon partnership

Chain Store Age
Snapchat could potentially make it easier for users to make a purchase from Amazon.

Code buried within the social media channel’s Android app update includes an unreleased “visual search” feature that connects users to Amazon’s product listings, according to TechCrunch.

Codenamed “Eagle,” the service encourages users to “press and hold” the camera feature to identify an object, song, or barcode. The data is then sent to Amazon, Shazam or other partners. Once an object’s data or barcode has been scanned, it is sent to Amazon. Users are then linked to the product on Amazon’s website, according to the report.. . . more

Oprah expands her food empire

Winfrey's latest investment is in True Food Kitchen, a healthy restaurant chain backed by celebrity doctor Andrew Weil. Specific terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but the Phoenix-based chain said she's also joining the restaurant's board of directors and will "collaborate and consult" with True Food Kitchen's leadership team.

True Food Kitchen has grown to 23 locations in 10 states since its founding in 2008. It plans to double its store count in the next three years with a focus on an East Coast expansion. . . . more

The end of Annie Sez: From off-price obsession to retail has-been

The Annie Sez slogan used to be "It's not just a store. It's an obsession." Soon, the New Jersey-based Annie Sez will no longer be a store and the brand will be a retail has-been.

The Canadian parent company of the brand is converting most of the Annie Sez stores to its sister chain, Mandee, and closing some stores as the leases expire.. . . more

Kate Hudson's Fabletics athleisure line plans to open 75 new stores in global push

As Fabletics celebrates five years as a fashion brand in the athleisure industry — athletic wear designed for working out or running errands — it's mapped out an aggressive growth strategy amid a competitive landscape that includes rivals Lululemon, Gap's Athleta, Nike and Tory Burch Sport.

The privately held retailer, owned by ShoeDazzle and JustFab parent company TechStyle Fashion Group, is planning to open 75 new stores across the U.S. and overseas, bringing its total to 100. . . . more

Walmart to open more convenience stores

The Dallas Morning News
Walmart has decided that it likes convenience stores and will be opening more of them in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Plano gets the next one. A 2,900 square-foot convenience store with eight fuel pumps will open at 6000 Coit Road in Plano on Wednesday.

Three more convenience stores are planned for Arlington, Lake Worth and Lewisville later this year, said Anne Hatfield, Walmart spokeswoman in Texas. . . . more

10 Up-and-Coming Retail Chains to Watch

There is no shortage of bad news when it comes to retail real estate. The sector is undergoing a lot of change, those in the industry admit. But behind the wave of store closures—there have been 4,146 major U.S. store closing announcements year-to-date in 2018, according to a recent tally from research firm’s CoreSight Research—there are many retailers that are growing their brick-and-mortar presence in the United States. Store opening announcements during the same time period totaled 2,042.

Here is a look at several up-and-coming and expanding retailers in the United States.. . . more

New Target store planned for Cape Cod

Boston Herald
The retail giant Target has announced plans on Tuesday to open a store in Hyannis' Cape Cod Mall in 2019.

The company has signed a lease with Simon Property Group for an 80,000-square-foot store.. . . more

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

U.S. retail CEOs expect M&A activity to drive bullish growth

Chain Store Age
The nation’s retail chief executives are bullish on growth.

That’s one of the findings of KPMG LLP’s 2018 U.S. CEO Outlook report, in which 83% of CEOs in the consumer and retail industry say they are very confident about the growth prospects of their companies during the next three years. Mergers and acquisitions were cited as the top (38%) growth driver, followed by third-party strategic alliances (23%). M&A activity is expected to transform retailers’ business models faster than organic growth, reduce costs, increase market share and on-board new technologies, according to KPMG.. . . more

Nordstrom expanding its inventory-free, small store concept

Chain Store Age
Nordstrom said it plans to open two more Nordstrom Local stores in Los Angeles, one downtown and one in the Brentwood section. (There are also plans to expand to Manhattan, according to reports.)

Nordstrom opened the first — and still only — Nordstrom Local in October, on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. The 3,000-sq.-ft. store is designed as a neighborhood hub that offers an array of services, including onsite tailoring and alterations, curbside pickup, and buy online pickup in store. . . . more

Iconic off-price fashion retailer highlights ‘best of best’ in new format

Chain Store Age
Century 21 has become the latest retailer to try on a smaller-sized concept.

The high-end, off-price fashion retailer, known for its discounted designer fashions, unveiled a small-store format, called Century 21 Edition, at Staten Island Mall, Staten Island, New York. It recently opened a second location, at Roosevelt Field Mall, Garden City, New York. . . . more

Shopping struggles: These 11 retailers may not survive 2018

USA Today
Many North American retailers were wiped out in the “retail apocalypse” which started in 2010. Amazon and Walmart’s growth, the rise of fast fashion retailers, reserved spending habits after the Great Recession, and dying malls crushed countless retailers.

Some retailers survived the downturn by closing stores and expanding their e-commerce presence, but others weren’t as lucky. Let’s examine eleven retailers which could struggle to remain relevant this year. . . . more