Wednesday, October 31, 2018

CVS is testing a membership program as Amazon pushes into prescription drugs

CVS is piloting a program in Boston that includes free delivery on most prescriptions and online purchases, access to a pharmacist helpline, a 20 percent discount on all CVS-branded products and a monthly $10 coupon. Called CarePass, a membership costs $48 annually or $5 monthly, less than half the price of a Prime membership.

Though still just a pilot in one city at this point, CarePass is a bold attempt to fight Amazon — and may even put the retailer ahead. CarePass bundles prescription drug delivery with everyday items — something Amazon doesn't yet do. . . . more

The Container Store’s swings to profit in Q2, but earnings miss Street

Chain Store Age
Despite launching a merchandising campaign that missed the mark among customers, The Container Store still increased revenues and sales during the second quarter.

The home storage products retailer reported net income of $3.2 million for the period ended Sept. 29, compared to a net loss of $0.9 million a year ago. . . . more

Four trends shaping the holiday season

Chain Store Age
Retailers will seek to cap a strong year this holiday season by doubling down on strategies to draw online shoppers into stores, reward their loyalty in new ways, and ensure that toys are available at every turn.

That’s how CBRE sees the upcoming season unfolding in its annual “Holiday Retail Trends Guide.” The report found a common theme connecting several of retailers’ strategies for the holiday period: Enhanced capabilities to seamlessly cater to shoppers in stores, online and on their mobile devices.. . . more

Two more private-equity firms join competition for Papa John's buyout

Louisville Business First
Two more private-equity firms reportedly are vying for the opportunity to acquire Papa John's International Inc.

CNBC reported Tuesday that Bain Capital and CVC Capital Partners are among private-equity firms competing to take over the ailing pizza company, which had a rocky third quarter after a series of scandals.. . . more

Barnes & Noble alleges ex-CEO 'sabotaged' sale

Retail Dive
 Barnes & Noble has snapped back at a lawsuit filed in August by ex-CEODemos Parneros, alleging the executive (who was fired in July for violating the company's conduct code) "intentionally sabotaged a potential acquisition of the Company to further his own self-interests, in direct contravention of the Board's clear instruction to proceed with negotiations and facilitate the potential transaction," according to court documents filed Tuesday.

According to the countersuit filed by the company, the potential acquirer (described as a book retailer) met with executives including Parneros multiple times in February and March. During one of those meetings, Parneros allegedly described Barnes & Noble as "spiraling" and "ugly," and refused several additional informal meetings with the potential acquirer's CEO. . . . more

More US adults plan Halloween treat as spending hits $9bn

Boston Business Journal
More than 100m Americans are estimated to spend an average of $87 per head on Halloween, a scare for personal finances but a positive omen for the US retail industry ahead of the festive shopping season.

Traditionally celebrated by children, more young adults are embracing Halloween and splashing out on elaborate Instagram-friendly outfits and adorning their homes with pumpkins, cobwebs and orange and black knick-knacks.. . . more

Developers want to double this Brighton Whole Foods — and build 270 apartments

Boston Business Journal
Kimco Realty Corp. has plans to redevelop a 2.3-acre site at 15 Washington St. in Brighton by adding 270 apartments to the site — more than doubling the size of the existing Whole Foods grocery store and shrinking an existing Citizens Bank branch by half, according to documents filed late last week with the Boston Planning and Development Agency.

The project would feature four building components, including two main residential buildings with ground-floor retail space topped by surface parking and apartments. . . . more

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Even More Stores To Close - Sears Bankruptcy Update

Seeking Alpha
More Sears and Kmart store closings could be announced by November 1 as part of the “Secondary Store Rationalization”, which could also mean additional store leases will be rejected by Sears Holdings. More vendors, including a filing by Whirlpool, for the reclamation of their goods.

According to the DIP loan agreement (docket 7 page 33 of 307), Sears has developed a “Go Forward Plan” that includes plans to close stores under the “Initial Store Rationalization” and close additional stores under a second round.. . . more

Study: one third of discretionary income is now spent online

Retail Dive
One third of consumers' monthly discretionary income is now spent online, according to a new report from BigCommerce. The report also found that 39% of the global respondents to the survey went to the website of a brand before committing to buy a product in a brick-and-mortar store, and 33% went online to compare prices.

The survey reported that over the last six months, 78% of respondents bought something on Amazon, while 65% purchased in a physical store, 45% on a branded online store, 34% on eBay and 11% on Facebook. . . . more

Amazon unveils more private label home decor lines

Retail Dive
Amazon continued its private label push and home decor merchandising with two new brands — "Ravenna Home" (launched Monday) and "Now House by Jonathan Adler" (launched Oct. 18). Amazon didn't immediately return Retail Dive's request for more information.

Ravenna is positioned as "classic style" at "great value," TJI Research founder Justin Smith said in a blog post, noting that Ravenna sofas are priced between $799 and $849.. . . more

Victoria’s Secret and Gap among the retail brands that have reached peak revenue

Victoria’s Secret, Pink, Gap and American Eagle Outfitters have reached their North American revenue peaks, according to an Instinet analysis.

Instinet found that direct-to-consumer (DTC) companies tend to “cap out” at $3 billion in North America, while wholesalers reach a threshold of about $5 billion. But those figures are declining.. . . more

Value retailer to make New York City debut

Chain Store Age
Five Below is about to open the doors to its first store in the Big Apple.

The value-retailer, which targets tweens and teens with all merchandise sold for $5 or less, will open a flagship on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan on Nov. 2. The store, which will be approximately 11,000 sq. ft., will be located between 44th and 45th Streets.. . . more

Vacation raffles, kayaks and 'glamour' bundles are just some of the perks retailers are using to attract holiday help

Vacation raffles, cash bonuses, kayaks and diamond earrings are just some of the perks U.S. retailers are offering to attract holiday workers amid one of the tightest labor markets in decades.

Retailers, e-commerce and logistics companies are looking to hire 704,000 holiday workers this year — the most since 2014 when unemployment stood at around 6 percent, according to job placement and coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.. . . more

Whirlpool to Sears: We want our appliances back

Chicago Tribune
Whirlpool has demanded that Sears send back products the appliance-maker shipped in the weeks before the retailer filed for bankruptcy protection.

Benton Harbor, Mich.-based Whirlpool, which stopped selling its branded products at Sears last year but makes appliances under Sears’ Kenmore brand, asked the department store chain to return all merchandise it received in the 45 days before its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing on Oct. 15. . . . more

Discount retailer files bankruptcy, may close Dorchester store

Boston Business Journal
Discount retailer National Wholesale Liquidators says it may be forced to close all 11 of its locations, including one in Dorchester, after filing for bankruptcy.

The West Hempstead, New York-based company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week, citing liquidity issues after negotiations with potential investors and buyers fell through.. . . more

Monday, October 29, 2018

Walmart to transform supercenters into 'town centers'

Retail Dive
Walmart plans to lease underutilized land and parking acreage to restaurants, gyms and other businesses to create community centers built around its sprawling supercenters, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle. The announcement came at an International Council of Shopping Centers event in Atlanta.

Walmart's "Town Center" concepts are planned for more than a dozen stores across the country in states like Washington, Missouri, California, Texas and Arkansas. Plans vary by location and include in-store dining, food halls and food trucks as well as green spaces, skateboard parks and other amusements aimed at drawing more shoppers and inviting them to stay for long periods of time.. . . more

Salad Chain Sweetgreen Aims to Become a Unicorn Through Fidelity-Led Investment

Sweetgreen, a fast-casual salad chain, is hoping to join the recent herd of mostly tech-focused startups that have raised big money in private rounds at valuations of $1 billion or more.

The company is nearing a $200 million investment, led by Fidelity Investments, that would value it above $1 billion, CNBC reported Friday.

Founded in Washington, DC, in 2007, Sweetgreen relocated its headquarters to Los Angeles in 2016, while expanding to nearly 90 restaurants from California to New York. . . . more

Sears' 'tragic' bankruptcy turns to opportunity

U.S. mall owners see Sears' bankruptcy as "tragic," dumping millions of square feet of empty real estate on a market already marked by store closures and staggering vacancy rates.

Still, the "ultimate, unfortunate demise" of Sears came as no surprise to Simon Property Group, the largest mall owner in North America, according to CEO David Simon. It's been planning for it for some time — talking to up-and-coming retailers and hotel companies as possible replacements, as well as disposing under-performing assets, Simon told analysts on a conference call Thursday. The real estate investment trust, which operates more than 100 malls globally, is putting Sears "in the rear-view mirror," he said. . . . more

Xponential Fitness Acquires Pure Barre

SGB Media
Xponential Fitness, owned by Anthony Geisler and Snapdragon Capital, announced the addition of Pure Barre to its family of brands. With the addition of Pure Barre, Xponential Fitness becomes the largest provider of boutique fitness in the world.

As part of the transaction, L Catterton, which invested in Pure Barre in 2015, will contribute its investment into the acquisition. Pure Barre joins six other Xponential Fitness brands including Club Pilates, CycleBar, StretchLab, Row House, AKT and Yoga Six.. . . more

US consumer spending up inflation-adjusted 0.3 percent

Boston Herald
U.S. consumer spending rose by an inflation-adjusted 0.3 percent in September, led by increased spending on health care services and motor vehicles.

The Commerce Department also said Monday that the Federal Reserve's preferred measure of inflation returned to the central bank's 2 annual percent target after having been slightly elevated in prior months. In addition, personal incomes rose 0.2 percent in September — the smallest gain since June 2017. Roughly half of that increase was wiped out by inflation. . . . more

Landlords push up US retail rents to post-crisis highs

Boston Business Journal
Landlords have pushed up rents for US retailers to new post-crisis highs in spite of the competitive onslaught from Amazon, with asking figures in the hotspots such as Miami rising more than 10 per cent in the past year.

The 4 per cent average rise, to be disclosed by property broker CBRE this week, is the latest sign that confidence in bricks and mortar stores is recovering, especially in better-off parts of the country, ahead of the crucial Christmas shopping season.. . . more

U.S. Retail Set To Bounce Back, Moody's Estimates
What comes after a retail apocalypse? Maybe a renaissance, if Moody's Investors Service is correct in revising its outlook for the industry from stable to positive.

This is the first time Moody's has had a positive outlook on the industry since mid-2015. . . . more

Friday, October 26, 2018

Getting shoppers into stores takes more than inventory

Boston Business Journal
In 2018, as many as 12,000 stores are expected to close in the United States, according to Cushman & Wakefield, a commercial real estate firm. Nine thousand storefronts shut down last year.

Yet despite this very real reckoning, countless retailers are not only surviving but also thriving.

The secret to their adaptive success? Almost anything, it seems, that keeps shoppers on their toes is viable. That includes exclusive merchandise (will this location carry that handbag?), pop-up shops (will this store be here next week?) and experiences (can I eat or drink or post as well as shop?).. . . more

Sears directors tap Evercore to examine former CEO Lampert's deals

Two Sears Holdings Corp board directors have hired investment bank Evercore Inc to scrutinize deals that were led by former Sears Chief Executive Eddie Lampert with the U.S. retailer before it filed for bankruptcy protection, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

The deals, including separations of Sears’ businesses and real estate, may come under examination in bankruptcy proceedings, with creditors claiming the transactions stripped the retailer of valuable assets. Billionaire Lampert is the largest shareholder and creditor of Sears through his hedge fund, ESL Investments Inc. . . . more

Amazon’s Q3 profits skyrocket, but sales and outlook disappoint

Chain Store Age
Amazon’s third-quarter earnings blew past Street expectations amid surging profit from its North American retail and cloud computing businesses. But it came up short on sales and its holiday outlook.

For the quarter ended Sept. 30, Amazon’s net income increased to $2.88 billion compared with net income of $256 million in the year-ago period. Net sales jumped 29% to $56.58 billion from $43.74 billion. . . . more

Brookline pot plan not ‘good fit’ for area, opponents say

Boston Herald
Brookline residents are protesting a proposed retail pot shop they say is too big and too close to local schools.

About 50 people rallied last night outside 1032 Beacon St. — where Ascend Massachusetts plans to open a 6,200-square-foot shop it says would be the nation’s largest retail marijuana store.. . . more

Suffolk Downs transformation draws closer

Boston Herald
Developers behind the Suffolk Downs site say the process is chugging along, launching one of the largest land redevelopment projects in New England that could see shovels on the ground as early as next year.

Situated on approximately 161 acres, HYM Investment Group proposes to build upwards of 10,000 housing units, 500,000 square feet of retail and 8 million square feet of office space.  . . . more

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Return of retail? Healthy US economy boosts sector outlook

FOX Business
Prospects for U.S. retailers are brightening, according to Moody’s Investors Service, which raised its outlook for the sector to positive for the first time since 2015.

“For the first time since July 2015, we are raising our outlook to positive from stable for the U.S. retail industry,” analysts wrote. “This marks a big change from just a year ago, when swaths of the retail industry were still slogging through a rising tide of distressed names and defaults.”. . . more

Sears' future in doubt as Chairman Eddie Lampert looks for more protections

Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert seemingly swooped in once again to save Sears, with a plan to pay to support it through its bankruptcy operations. Now, though, there is a new catch. He will only put in more money if his investment is further protected.

If that catch isn't resolved, it could cast Sears' future in serious doubt and lead to the end of the famed retailer.. . . more

David's Bridal negotiates with lenders as comps fall 6.5%

Retail Dive
David's Bridal has been actively negotiating with its lenders over proposals to restructure its debt load to reduce leverage on the wedding apparel retailer, according to an Oct. 22 report from Reorg emailed to Retail Dive. As of Friday, four days after the retailer skipped a debt payment, two proposals were floating, one from the company and a counterproposal from an ad hoc group of term loan lenders, according to Reorg.

While the proposals differ on interest rates and terms, both include a debt-for-equity swap through an $80 million rights offering, a new $80 million loan and repayment on $80 million of an existing term loan from the rights offering, Reorg reported.. . . more

Bed Bath & Beyond downgraded as struggles persist

Retail Dive
S&P Global Ratings on Wednesday lowered its issuer credit rating on Bed Bath & Beyond to BB+ from BBB-; the outlook is negative, according to a press release from S&P emailed to Retail Dive.

The retailer's highly promotional stance and the growing expense of its omnichannel services are likely to vex the company in the next 12 to 24 months, S&P said. "We believe the company's competitive position has eroded, as measured by a cumulative double-digit decline in EBITDA and 530 basis points (bps) of erosion in margins over the last two years.". . . more

Amazon’s delivery, pickup service through Whole Foods is picking up steam

Chain Store Age
Whole Foods Markets is expanding time-saving online delivery options to 10 more markets.

The online giant on Wednesday said it has launched free two-hour delivery from Whole Foods through Prime Now across Albuquerque, Birmingham, Boise, Charleston, Colorado Springs, Hartford, Kansas City, Providence, Salt Lake City and Stamford. It will also be expanding into more areas across Boston and Cincinnati.. . . more

Macy’s begins store upgrade program

Chain Store Age
As previously announced, Macy’s plans to upgrade 50 of its best locations. Among the first sites to get the makeover were two Macy’s stores in Texas, at NorthPark Center in Dallas, and Stonebriar Center, in Frisco, reported Dallas News.

New cosmetics brands have been added to both stores, along with such high-tech tools as a virtual mirror where customers can “try on” makeup, according to the report. The stores also have new LED lighting, flooring and remodeled fitting rooms and restrooms. . . . more

The Downfall Of Sears Both Helps And Hurts JC Penney

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

And time is running out for JC Penney to get its Tale together.

The ongoing meltdown of Sears – whether it’s just the closing of another hundred or so stores or the complete liquidation of the entire caboodle – could cause some good things for JC Penney but also has the potential to make life even more miserable for the Plano-ites.. . . more

Neiman Marcus Starts Talks to Restructure Debt and Avert Bankruptcy

The Wall Street Journal
Neiman Marcus Group Ltd. started talks in recent weeks with a group of creditors that could lead to a debt restructuring that will push out looming debt maturities and avert a bankruptcy filing, people familiar with the matter said.

Almost all of $4.7 billion in debt comes due in 2020 and 2021. The company’s goal in the talks is to extend the debt maturities and possibly reduce the overall amount of debt without a bankruptcy filing, the people said.. . . more

As High Street Retail Deals with an Uptick in Vacancies and Rent Declines, Investors Zero in on Class-A Assets with Long-Term Leases

Even though a lot of retail is flailing, much of U.S. high street retail is still drawing both shoppers and investors, boasting extremely high rents and catching the attention of new retailers and brands.

New York City’s famous Fifth Avenue, Chicago’s North Michigan Avenue and Beverly Hills’ posh Rodeo Drive are some of the toniest and highest-trafficked retail streets in the country. They feature retailers like Versace, Armani and Tiffany & Co., as well as popular urban brands like Zara and the Apple Store.. . . more

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Mall Kiosks Find New Life As ‘Studio Shops’
The beloved mall kiosk, or the more formally named retail merchandising unit (RMU), had its humble beginnings in Boston. When the (former) Rouse Company was developing its Quincy Market-Faneuil Hall property in the 1970s, the firm turned to the center’s roots as an open-air market, bringing carts into the iconic marketplace to offer flowers and crafts.

That development started a trend of shopping centers bringing in small carts or kiosks into their properties. In the 1990s, the International Council of Shopping Centers reported that 75 percent of the shopping centers in the U.S. had them. The carts, which also ended up at places like the Prudential Center and Grand Central Terminal, offered shoppers the chance to peruse items ranging from specialty goods to foods and jewelry.. . . more

Don’t shutter that store! Bricks impact clicks

A new International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) report echoes earlier studies showing how retailers get a boost in web traffic from having physical stores. But a much larger payback was found this time to come from store openings and a smaller drawback from closings.

The study, “The Halo Effect: How Bricks Impact Clicks,” found:
  • Opening a store leads to a 37 percent average gain in overall traffic to a retailer’s website and increases its share of web traffic within that market by an average of 27 percent;

  • For emerging brands (less than 10 years old), store openings drive an average 45 percent increase in web traffic following a store opening versus a 36 percent boost for established retailers.. . . more

Sears's Losses Could Become Retailer's Most Valuable Assets

The losses that drove Sears Holdings Corp. into bankruptcy could end up being a valuable multi-billion dollar asset because of tax breaks -- especially for its most notable creditor and Chairman, Eddie Lampert.

As of the retailer’s bankruptcy on Oct. 15, Sears estimated it had net operating losses it could use to offset $5 billion of future taxable income, and separate tax credits of around $900 million. These are the most valuable assets Sears has, and under U.S. tax law, they could disappear in bankruptcy if another company or investor takes the company over.. . . more

Amazon branded women's sales languish, report finds

Chain Store Age
Amazon's scatter-shot attempt to shake up women's fashion by launching a barrage of private label brands isn't going so well, according to a report by Jungle Scout, a data-research firm for merchants on the e-commerce website.

Apparel makes up 88 percent of all Amazon private label brands, but only 1 percent of all private label sales, according to the report. Women's fashion, which makes up most of the company's clothing brands, is struggling the most, with more than 4 of 5 Amazon women's clothing brands selling fewer than 100 items per month, according to the report.. . . more

Target takes on rivals with free two-day shipping for holidays

Chain Store Age
Target for the first time ever will offer free two-day shipping to all customers, with no minimum purchase and no membership requirement. The service, which will start Nov. 1 and end Dec. 22, will comprise “hundreds of thousands” of eligible items.

The program will complement Target’s same-day deliveries supported by its acquisition of Shipt — a service that is now available “in hundreds of markets” across 46 states, the retailer said. Meanwhile, the company’s Drive Up service will be available through nearly 1,000 stores by the end of October.. . . more

Dental concept expanding its retail format

Chain Store Age
Invisalign is setting up shop — sorta — in the nation’s retail centers.

Align Technology, famous for its Invisalign clear aligner orthodontics, is expanding its “brand experience” initiative with plans to open eight locations at malls or outdoor lifestyle centers in major U.S. cities in the fourth quarter of 2018. The Align centers are designed to provide an interactive environment where consumers can learn about the Invisalign treatment and connect with Invisalign doctors in their communities. The locations do not directly sell the treatment.. . . more

Uber's Online-Only Restaurants: The Future, Or The End Of Dining Out?

There are now about 800 virtual restaurants in the U.S., often created when enough customers look through the Uber Eats app for a certain type of food in their area that they can't find.

So Uber Eats approaches an eatery and suggests creating a virtual side restaurant, with those dishes people are craving but can't get.

Uber says doing this helps restaurants grow their business and cater better to customers. But there are mixed feelings in the industry about whether these virtual restaurants are a good thing. While they can boost business, Uber takes a cut of their profits. Plus, delivery fees raise the cost for customers.. . . more

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Evolution of the Health Club as a Tenant in Retail and Mixed-Use Developments; Pros and Cons

National Law Review
A health club used to be an unwelcome tenant in any retail shopping center. The traditional thinking was that health club patrons occupied the parking areas at peak shopping times and for extended periods, and then left without shopping at the other retail stores in the center. The number of people with a membership to a fitness center or health club continues to grow, with 60.87 million in 2017, up from 32.8 in 2000, approximately an 85% increase. As personal fitness has become the rage, the health club has become not only mainstream, but the anchor store and a requirement in both retail shopping centers and mixed-use and residential developments.

The move for more fitness centers has coincided with the transformation of the shopping center with traditional big box retail anchors into destination centers with restaurants, green open space, retail stores, and of course health clubs and health related uses focused on personal fitness and group related activities – all things one cannot do on the internet. . . . more

These brands score big with teens

Chain Store Age
Amazon, Nike, Sephora and Ulta Beauty are among teens’ favorites. But food is their top wallet priority.

That’s according to a semi-annual survey from Piper-Jaffray in which 47% of teens said that Amazon is their preferred shopping website (up from 44% last spring). Nike was a distant second at 5%, followed by American Eagle and Urban Outfitters, both at 3%, and PacSun, at 2%.. . . more

Leasing Nightmares: My Landlord Can’t Do That, Right?

Modern Restaurant Management
Whether the issue involves a landlord requesting a tenant to shut down its restaurant to perform maintenance and repairs during a busy holiday weekend, placing scaffolding and conducting construction work in a manner that inhibits pedestrian access and parking for months on end, replacing signage or awnings on the façade of the shopping center or constructing a new store blocking the visibility of the premises, clients approach us with the same question stated in numerous exasperated ways: My landlord can’t do that, right? Unfortunately, if you signed your landlord’s lease form without the assistance of a skilled attorney, the answer is almost certainly: Wrong. Almost any lease form provided by a landlord will provide extremely broad and unfettered authority to both change and/or renovate the shopping center and perform repairs and maintenance within and/or around the premises and shopping center.

To prevent or at least mitigate this Leasing Nightmare, it is important to negotiate provisions in the lease which provide adequate protections in the event of maintenance, repairs and renovations of the shopping center and premises.. . . more

Warby Parker Is Coming to a Suburban Mall Near You

Chain Store Age
Stores are so 20th century.

At least that’s what many online brands believed. Companies like Warby Parker, Bonobos and Casper didn’t need physical locations to win over millennials and steal market share; a well-designed website was more than enough. And who could fault their logic? Given the brick-and-mortar carnage across America, the evidence seemed overwhelming.

Then a funny thing happened on the way to the retail apocalypse. Stiffening competition, surging online advertising costs and cheap mall space have prompted these so-called digital natives to embrace what they call “offline” in a big way. In their push to become retail’s next household names they’re venturing beyond the coasts and major cities into suburban America. . . . more

Supervalu off stock market for first time since 1967 as United Natural Foods completes $2.9 billion deal

United Natural Foods Inc. closed its $2.9 billion purchase of Supervalu Inc. on Monday, with Supervalu shares disappearing from the New York Stock Exchange as the first sign of the completed takeover.

In coming months, United Natural aims to sell Supervalu's grocery store chains, including Cub Foods, and narrow its business to wholesale distribution similar to its own.. . . more

Sears chairman Eddie Lampert is seeking a partner for a $300 million bankruptcy loan for the bankrupt retailer

Business Insider
Sears Holdings Corp Chairman Eddie Lampert is in discussions with at least one potential partner to contribute to a $300 million bankruptcy loan the U.S. retailer is seeking, people familiar with the matter said on Sunday.

Lampert's hedge fund, ESL Investments Inc, has held discussions with Cyrus Capital Partners LP, an investment firm that holds some of Sears' existing debt, about sharing the burden of funding portions of the $300 million loan, which would be separate from another $300 million bankruptcy loan that Sears' banks have offered to provide, the sources said.. . . more

Bedding company in store expansion

Chain Store Age
Tempur Sealy International is expanding its retail footprint.

The company has opened its 38th store, a Tempur-Pedic flagship in Roseville, Calif. An additional flagship is on track to open in the next few weeks, in Albuquerque, N.M., which is home to one of Tempur’s state-of-the-art production facilities. A 40th store is scheduled to open before the end of the year.

More stores are in the works. Tempur Sealey is targeting 60 to 80 company-owned locations by the end of 2019. The company is currently evaluating a number of markets and properties, and is in active negotiations with landlords of certain locations previously occupied by Mattress Firm, which recently filed for bankruptcy protection. . . . more

Monday, October 22, 2018

Tuscan Village proposal passes $1 billion mark with addition of second hotel

Union Leader
Tuscan Village in Salem has added a second hotel to its plans as it pushes past a $1 billion price tag for the sprawling mixed-use development, according to its developer.

“We’ve been moving at a pretty rapid pace,” Tuscan Brands CEO Joe Faro said in an interview last week.

Faro said the 170-acre development will include not one but two hotels.. . . more

Why stores are key to Walmart's online grocery plan

Retail Dive
Online grocery has quickly become a critical battleground for rivals Walmart and Amazon, and their ventures have created a ripple effect in the market for grocers and e-commerce players alike.

Today, Amazon commands about 18% of the share of online grocery, according to a study from One Click Retail, while Walmart grabs about half as much. But, Walmart has a few powerful competitive advantages that Amazon and other e-commerce players don't.. . . more

Fast Food: It’s What’s for Dinner. And Lunch. And Breakfast.

The New York Times
More than a third of adults in the United States patronize fast-food restaurants and pizza parlors on any given day. And the higher their income, the more likely they are to do so.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released data on fast food consumption gathered from 2013 to 2016 in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, or Nhanes, a program that continuously monitors the health and nutritional status of Americans.. . . more

Check out Starbucks’ new bakery café concept

Chain Store Age
Starbucks Corp. is expanding its fledgling Princi format with an outpost in New York City.

The coffee giant’s third freestanding Princi location will make its official debut on Oct. 25, on the corner of 51st and Broadway in Manhattan, just minutes away from bustling Times Square. A large window on Broadway provides passers-by with views of freshly baked items coming out of the oven. . . . more

Sears stops the presses on iconic holiday catalog

Chain Store Age
A struggling department store retailer is once again offering its holiday Wish Book catalog in a digital format — but that’s it.

Sears Holdings Corp. will not publish a printed version of its iconic catalog this holiday season, one year after bringing it back into circulation for some members of its loyalty program, according to The Chicago Tribune.. . . more

Untuckit invests in physical store network

Chain Store Age
After establishing its brand online, Untuckit is now working to enhance the store experience at its growing brick-and-mortar portfolio.

The fast-growing brand, whose signature shirts are made to be worn untucked, is adding a platform that will help its stores adopt more scalable omnichannel capabilities. Using NewStore’s omnichannel-as-a-service architecture, Untuckit can support clienteling, endless aisle, mobile checkout, and omnichannel fulfillment. . . . more

Analysis: Scaled-down Sears could live on

Chain Store Age
Sears declared bankruptcy this week, bringing the company to a new low after several years of steady decline. In order to avoid going out of business altogether, Sears will close at least 142 Sears and Kmart department stores by the end of 2018, which – along with 46 closures already planned for November – will bring the company’s total number of stores in operation to fewer than 500.

Many of the remaining locations have so far been profitable, so a scaled-down Sears could conceivably go on indefinitely. . . . more

Friday, October 19, 2018

The most expensive item in Neiman Marcus’ 2018 Christmas catalog is…

Chain Store Age
Neiman Marcus’ annual Christmas Book catalog — now in its 92nd year — is famous for offering a selection of over-the-top, outrageously priced offerings and this year is no exception.

The most expensive item in the 2018 book is a one-of-kind, 74-ft. yacht described as “the largest solar-powered yacht in the world.” With a chic interior inspired by Neiman Marcus fashion director Ken Downing, the cruiser sleeps up to 12 and boasts a fully functional kitchen, a state-of-the-art music and entertainment system, satellite TV, Wi-Fi, and ample closet space ( the gift includes a Neiman Marcus shopping spree). Price tag: A cool $7.1 million. . . . more

Famous Footwear parent in $360 million brand acquisition

Chain Store Age
Footwear giant Caleres is expanding its portfolio with a brand that counts Oprah Winfrey among its biggest fans.

The parent company of Famous Footwear, and such brands as Sam Edelman, Naturalizer, LifeStride and Dr. Scholls and others, has acquired Vionic Group for $360 million. The comfort footwear label, which has posted a compound annual growth rate of 20% for the past six years, has appeared on Winrey’s popular “Oprah’s Favorite Things” list for two consecutive years. Approximately 25% of its revenue during the past year came from online. . . . more

David's Bridal flirts with possible bankruptcy after skipping debt payment

USA Today
The nation's leading wedding retailer is flirting with the possibility of bankruptcy protection, which often involves some store closures, after skipping a key debt payment.

David's Bridal, whose tight grip on the wedding business has loosened in recent years amid digital competition and declining marriage rates, failed to make a key loan payment Monday.. . . more

J.C. Penney Needs to Prove It's Not Next

This holiday season, a bankrupt Sears Holdings Corp. will be fighting a likely futile battle to keep its Sears and Kmart chains from having to liquidate in 2019. But it's not the only retail giant with a lot to prove during the industry's most crucial months: J.C. Penney Co., a chain with mounting struggles and a new CEO at the helm, also faces a crucial test.

Investor doubts about the troubled department-store giant are already piling up. Its short interest is about where it was during the worst of the Ron Johnson era, when that former Apple Inc. executive became CEO and made unpopular changes that devastated sales. It was even higher earlier this summer:. . . more

Sears’ Edward Lampert was a wizard. Now he’s coming to terms with failure

Boston Business Journal
At 28, Edward S. Lampert was the subject of a front-page profile in The Wall Street Journal headlined “The Climber.” His hedge fund’s 29 percent annualized return landed him on the cover of Businessweek in 2004. Forbes pegged his net worth at $3.5 billion in 2005, ranking him 61st on its annual list of the richest Americans.

Then he bought Kmart out of bankruptcy and merged it with the venerable Sears. . . . more

Bay State takes major step toward debut of retail pot outlets

Boston Herald
The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission approved licenses for two testing labs, a crucial step that moves retail pot shops an inch closer to opening.

State regulators yesterday gave the green light for two marijuana testing facilities — CDX Analytics of Salem and MCR Labs of Framingham — to begin testing cannabis products that consumers could soon get in their hands.. . . more

Thursday, October 18, 2018

These are the coffee shops competing for customers in Boston

Boston Business Journal
Competition is brewing between a handful of new coffee shops in Boston and the ubiquitous Dunkin' and Starbucks chains — not to mention some other well-known brands with a presence in the city.

The battle of the beverages has been going on for a while now in Boston, and it seems there are more coffee shops popping up around downtown every day. Some are larger chains, but more of them are brands with just two or three locations. . . . more

Here’s where online customers will begin their holiday shopping

Chain Store Age
Amazon is on pace to dominate the holiday season, followed by Walmart.

This is according to “The 2018 U.S. Holiday Shopping Forecast” from CPC Strategy, which revealed that 80% of holiday shoppers will start their hunt for gifts on Amazon this year. This is a jump from 72% of respondents in last year’s study.

Walmart also has a sunny outlook this holiday season, with 57% of online shoppers planning on visiting the site for their holiday shopping. The likelihood of shopping at Walmart increases with age and gender, as 70% of 45-54-year-old women plan to shop at the discount giant.. . . more

Coldwater Creek making brick-and-mortar comeback

Chain Store Age
Coldwater Creek is once again opening physical stores.

The women’s specialty apparel retailer has opened a store at Market Street in The Woodlands, Texas. The location is the company’s fifth since it filed for bankruptcy and closed all its stores in 2014.

Coldwater Creek re-entered physical space in 2017, in Burlington, Mass.. . . more

Retail isn't dead: Most of your favorite stores are actually still around

NBC News
The recent bankruptcy filing by American icon Sears after 125 years in business sent a shudder through the retail sector. But does it mark the end of old-fashioned stores where shoppers can browse? Not at all. Consumer habits are changing, but one that hasn't is the interest in going to an actual store.

E-commerce sales have steadily climbed since the Census Bureau began tracking them in 1999. But the latest figures from early in 2018 show that online purchasing is still only about 10 percent of all retail.. . . more

The Retail Apocalypse Can’t Keep Tractor Supply Co. Down

Tractor Supply The 80-year-old business has seen sales grow 56 percent in the past five years, to $7.3 billion. Since 2012, the 80-year-old business has added 723 locations, and it plans to open 500 more in the U.S. over the next decade. Apparently the retail apocalypse hasn’t hit the hinterlands.

Tractor Supply’s profits have increased at an annual average of 9 percent since 2012, revenue at stores open more than a year has risen for eight consecutive years, and the company now collects $257 in annual sales per square foot of store.. . . more

Sears Will End Up in Liquidation, Say Experts, Proving a Mixed Blessing for Mall Landlords

Sears Holdings’ Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing on Monday has some mall landlords excited about the opportunity to finally re-tenant Sears and Kmart stores that were paying below-market rents with healthy tenants, which could drive more revenue and shoppers.

The storied retail chain plans to reorganize around a smaller store base. It will continue to operate the financially healthier stores while it reorganizes and negotiates with its creditors. . . . more

Sears: How a pioneering brand found itself left on the shelf

Boston Business Journal
As sometimes happens, Donald Trump said it best. “[For] somebody that is of my generation, Sears Roebuck was a big deal,” he told reporters on Monday, discussing the “sad” news that the retailer had filed for bankruptcy protection.

The US president is 72, and that is the biggest problem facing Eddie Lampert, the hedge fund manager who has run Sears since merging it with Kmart 13 years ago: most subsequent generations of Americans don’t remember a time when it was a big deal.. . . more

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Fallas discount department store chain closing all Massachusetts locations

Fallas, a discount department store chain that touts cheap prices on school supplies, backpacks, lunchboxes and school uniforms, will close its Massachusetts locations in the last week of December.

Fallas parent National Stores is closing 184 Fallas and Factory 2-U locations in 12 states and Puerto Rico following a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, according to a news release from the consultants and investors assisting the family-owned chain through its Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.. . . more

Target achieves Vermont. Finally.

It took a while, but this week Target will achieve a long-elusive milestone: Vermont.

After nearly a decade of scouting missions and courtship, the retailer on Wednesday will open a store in South Burlington, finally establishing footing in the state known for covered bridges, rolling hills and a distaste for large, cookie-cutter, big-box retail.

The small-format store in Vermont’s largest metro area means Target now has a location in all 50 states, bragging rights that rival Walmart claimed after a bitter battle with environmentalists in Vermont in 1995.. . . more

Dollar Tree gets a familiar investor

Chain Store Age
Dollar Tree is reportedly entering into a new deal.

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn is accumulating a “significant stake” in Dollar Tree. Details of the deal were not disclosed, according to The New York Post.

In 2014, Icahn built a stake in Family Dollar, and pressured it to seek a buyer. His firm made a profit of about $200 million on its investment when Family Dollar was acquired by Dollar Tree for $8.5 billion in cash and stock, the report revealed.. . . more

Sears Liquidation Would Cost Seritage Half Its Rent Income

A Sears liquidation would cost its real estate spinoff 47 percent of its annual rent income, or about $84 million in cash flow, according to regulatory filings.

Seritage Growth Properties, a real estate investment trust, was created in 2015 by Sears Chief Executive Officer Eddie Lampert to be the property owner and landlord for select locations of Sears and its sister chain, Kmart. . . . more

Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert pleas to employees: We need 'material progress' to avoid liquidation

Former Sears CEO Eddie Lampert gave 1,000 employees a rallying cry at a town hall meeting Tuesday as the company gears up for a do-or-die holiday season.

"We need to show material progress over the next few months to establish to our senior lenders that a reorganization of the company is realistic and to avoid a shutdown and liquidation," Lampert said at the retailer's headquarters in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, according to exclusive audio obtained by CNBC.. . . more

Check out Target’s new toy experience

Chain Store Age
Target Corp. is looking to fill the void left by the exit of Toys “R” Us with an expanded assortment, more dedicated in-store space and more advertising this holiday season.

By Nov. 2, Target will have added 250,000 sq. ft. of additional space for toys, reallocating space across nearly 500 locations. . . . more

Ross opens 40 more stores

Retail Dive
Ross Stores on Monday announced that, with the opening of 30 Ross Dress for Less and 10 dd's Discounts stores in 19 states in September and October, the company has completed its store expansion plans for fiscal 2018.

In all, the retailer has added 99 new locations this fiscal year, according to a company press release. Ross now operates almost 1,500 Ross and over 230 dd's Discounts stores, Jim Fassio, Ross president and chief development officer said in a statement. . . . more

Downfall of Sears may boost a major development project at CambridgeSide

The Boston Globe
The Sears in East Cambridge will soon close. But while its demise marks the end of an era, the closing also means something new may rise in its place.

The fading retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday and marked another 142 Sears and Kmart stores for closing by early next year, including the Sears at the Natick Mall.. . . more

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Sears bankruptcy may hurt mall owners for years

Finance & Commerce
As Sears Holdings Corp. goes through bankruptcy, retail landlords wondering how they could be impacted might want to look at a 2015 deal.

Mall owner Macerich Co. struck an agreement that year with the struggling department-store operator to redevelop a 300,000 square-foot store at Kings Plaza Shopping Center, a high-traffic mall in Brooklyn, New York. Three years and $100 million later, Macerich finished work on the space, which has been subdivided and leased to Burlington, J.C. Penney, Primark and Zara.. . . more

As Sears goes bankrupt, JC Penney, Walmart and others set to benefit

With Sears Holdings filing for bankruptcy protection and planning to shutter another 142 stores before year-end, that leaves some market share up for grabs among the retailers' rivals, especially those in the business of selling appliances and tools.

Though the department store chain has been teetering on the brink of collapse for years already, its Sears and Kmart divisions still recently had about $14 billion in sales annually. Despite shelves that have been increasingly barren, customers still ventured to stores for well-known brands like DieHard and Kenmore. . . . more

Physical stores have ‘halo’ effect on online sales

Chain Store Age
Retailers with physical stores experience higher Web traffic, attract new customers and increase brand awareness in the market.

That’s according to a recent ICSC study, “The Halo Effect: How Bricks Impact Clicks,” which found that opening a physical store leads to a 37% average gain in overall traffic to a retailer’s website and increases its share of web traffic within that market by an average of 27%. The opposite is also true as web traffic tends to fall when stores close.. . . more

CVS doesn’t intend to leave room for Amazon to disrupt healthcare

Chain Store Age
CVS Health has no intention of giving Amazon any leeway when it comes to competing in the healthcare segment.

Larry Merlo, CVS Health’s CEO isn’t “lying awake at night worrying about Amazon,” but he also has no intention of leaving any room for disruption, according to CNBC, which cited an interview Merlo had with David Rubenstein, president of the Economic Club of Washington, D.C. . . . more

Walmart teaming up with Advance Auto Parts

Chain Store Age
Walmart continues to strengthen its omnichannel offerings via partnerships and acquisitions.

On the heels of its acquisition of online retailer Bare Necessities, the discount giant announced it has entered into a partnership with Advance Auto Parts to create a specialty auto parts store on The site, expected to begin rolling out in the first half of 2019, will provide customers with access to Advance’s extensive assortment of aftermarket automotive parts, accessories and maintenance items.. . . more

Best Buy could gain in appliance sales with Sears' bankruptcy

In the dog-eat-dog world of retail, Monday's Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by Sears Holding Co. means competitors will jockey mightily to pick up some customers.

Among the potential winners is Best Buy, which for years has been picking up market share in home appliances from Sears, along with Home Depot and Lowe's.. . . more

How The Rest of Retail Will Fare With Sears’ Bankruptcy
According to the bare bones plans the retailer laid out, it will close 142 stores, leaving it with approximately 580, according to a CBRE Marketflash report, which cited locational data provider AggData.

CBRE writes that mall owners have anticipated Sears’ potential closure for several years and have made contingency plans that could mitigate the increased supply of available space.

Still, though, the journey ahead will not be easy for many landlords. “For mall or strip center owners facing the imminent shuttering of a Sears or Kmart, recovery will be a protracted process,” according to CBRE.. . . more

Monday, October 15, 2018

7 major moves Kroger made in 2018

Springfield News-Sun
Here are seven major moves that Kroger made in 2018:

1. Kroger sells off convenience store business for $2.15B

Kroger has sold off its convenience store business unite to EG Group for approximately $2.15 billion. EG Group, a privately-held petrol forecourt convenience store retailer in the United Kingdom, agreed to purchase the chain form Kroger. The deal includes 784 stores operating across 18 states, including 66 franchise locations. . . . more

30 minutes with Casper's head of marketing

Retail Dive
In just four years, Casper has become a major force in the mattress space, going from an e-commerce only retailer to one that has partnered with Target, experimented with pop-ups and now plans a store fleet of 200 by 2021. But as anyone at Casper would tell you, it's not a mattress company — it's a sleep company.

That designation has informed a lot of the choices Casper has made, from how the retailer designs its stores to why it opened a pilot store in New York that sells naps ($25 for a 45-minute snooze). If you ask Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Brooks, who's finishing up his first year at the company, that different approach to mattress selling is why the company has been so successful. . . . more

Sears filed for Chapter 11 with plans to close 142 stores — now what?

Retail Dive
As previously expected, Sears Holdings filed for Chapter 11 in the early hours on Monday as a $134 million debt payment came due at a time of stark liquidity restraints.

The event marks a turning point for the 125-year-old department store retailer after having shrunk its physical footprint by 75% over the past decade, sold critical assets and laid off thousands from its corporate and store workforces. . . more

U.S. retail sales rise modestly; consumer spending strong

U.S. retail sales barely rose in September as a rebound in motor vehicle purchases was offset by the biggest drop in spending at restaurants and bars in nearly two years.

But other details of the report from the Commerce Department on Monday were upbeat and suggested that consumer spending ended the third quarter with strong momentum, which should provide a boost to economic growth despite anticipated drags from weak exports and a struggling housing market.. . . more

Why Walmart Just Bought Bare Necessities, Its Second Purchase This Month

In its bid to fight against Amazon, Walmart has once again stepped on its acquisition pedal: on Friday, the world’s largest retailer said it has bought online lingerie retailer Bare Necessities, following its purchase earlier this month of online plus-size fashion retailer Eloquii.

Walmart said Bare Necessities will bring it “deep category expertise” in the intimate apparel space, an area that it said has seen fast growth online but one that has “complex sizing and highly specialized products.” . . . more

Five Takeaways from WD Partners’ Research on the Future of Malls

It’s no secret that malls are in need of vast transformations. WD Partners, a branding and design firm, recently released “Apocalypse to Relevance,” a white paper that discusses what tomorrow’s malls might look like to consumers. More specifically, WD’s research seeks to answer the question: which concepts would work best to fill large, vacant anchor spaces? Here are some key points from the piece.

Food is king. Farmers’ markets, food halls and grocery stores were popular answers to the researchers’ question of which concept would most influence a shopper’s decision to visit a mall. Seventy-eight percent of survey respondents said a farmer’s market would sway their decision to go to a mall, compared to 71 percent who chose food halls. Third on the list, following green spaces, were grocery stores.. . . more

Sears Files for Bankruptcy That’s Been Years in the Making; Lampert Steps Down as CEO

It’s official: Sears Holdings Corp. has declared bankruptcy and plans to close 142 unprofitable stores, in addition to the store closings announced earlier this year.

CEO Eddie Lampert has also stepped down from his post.

Sears filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of the Southern District of New York.. . . more

Friday, October 12, 2018

KeyPoint Partners Releases Hartford, CT Retail Real Estate Report

KeyPoint Partners
KeyPoint Partners, LLC has released The KeyPoint Report for Greater Hartford, CT 2018, Bob Sheehan, Vice President of Research, announced today. This comprehensive retail real estate Report examines supply, occupancy, absorption, and retailer expansion and contraction for virtually every retail property in the region.

According to the Report, the inventory of retail space in Greater Hartford totals 37.6 million square feet, with a vacancy rate of 10.6%, a significant drop from last year’s rate of 11.1%. . . . more

Allbirds rakes in $50M to fuel store expansion

Retail Dive
Trendy, digitally native footwear brand Allbirds on Thursday announced it has raised $50 million of Series C venture capital funding in a deal led by T. Rowe Price.

With the fresh funding, Allbirds plans to debut new stores in the U.S., U.K. and Asia, according to multiple media reports.. . . more

Sears CEO eyeing key assets in bankruptcy scenario

Retail Dive
Sears Holdings CEO Eddie Lampert is mulling a bid for some Sears assets and business units in bankruptcy, according to a Reuters report that cited unnamed sources.

Among those assets are the Kenmore appliance brand, Sears' home improvement unit and certain real estate, according to the report. Lampert previously made an offer to Sears for the Kenmore and home services businesses, and urged the divestment of some owned real estate in a recent proposal to restructure and reduce the company's debt load.. . . more

Walgreens expanding in-store healthcare services

Chain Store Age
Walgreens and diagnostic testing company LabCorp are expanding their collaboration.

The two companies have agreed to open at least 600 LabCorp patient service centers at Walgreens stores across the U.S. during the next four years. The total is inclusive of the 17 locations the companies opened since the initiative was launched in June 2017. . . . more

Amazon to face higher shipping charges under proposed Postal Service prices hikes

Chain Store Age
The last mile of package delivery is likely to be get more expensive come the new year.

The U.S. Postal Service is seeking record price hikes, including up to a 12.3% increase in shipping charges for the parcel select delivery service used by Amazon and such companies as FedEx.

The USPS proposed a 9.3% increase on the service for packages weighing over one pound and a 12.3% increase on lighter packages.. . . more

Macy's will kick off its Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Day

Business Insider
Macy's is opening its stores during Thanksgiving.

The department store will be open between the hours of 5 p.m. and 2 a.m. on Thursday, November 22.

This is the third year in a row that Macy's has opened during the holiday. The 5 p.m. opening time in 2016 marked the retailer's earliest Black Friday kickoff in history.. . . more

Sears Exit Would Leave Big Holes in Malls. Some Landlords Welcome That.

The Wall Street Journal
The prospect of Sears Holding Corp.’s imminent bankruptcy threatens to widen the gap between the more successful shopping centers and the struggling ones.

Mall owners with trendy retailers, lively restaurants and other forms of popular entertainment have continued to prosper. Many of these landlords would welcome Sears’ departure, mall owners and analysts said. The department store’s exit would allow them to take over a big-box space and lease it to a more profitable tenant.. . . more

In battle with Amazon, Walmart pushes deeper into entertainment

Boston Business Journal
The world’s largest retailer, in a constant battle with its rival Amazon, said this week that it was teaming up with two entertainment companies, one old school and the other on the industry’s cutting edge.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer has agreed to create short-form original series for Walmart’s ad-supported streaming service, Vudu. Those are expected to debut early next year. It is the first of many studios that Walmart expects to work with in creating new content for Vudu, a spokesman for the retailer said Wednesday.. . . more

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Chick-fil-A Testing New Restaurant Model With Delivery-Focused Locations
Atlanta-based chicken sandwich purveyor Chick-fil-A, which has been expanding nationally at a rapid pace in recent years, is testing a new approach: locations without dining rooms that are focused on catering and delivery.

Delivery in the retail sector is becoming increasingly important as not only restaurants but also grocers and other segments in the sector explore delivery models to compete with online retailers, including such offerings as delivered beer. Chick-fil-A is on the verge of opening two prototype stores, one each in Nashville, Tennessee, and Louisville, Kentucky, that will not feature places to eat.. . . more

Mattress Firm gets green light to close stores, pay vendors

Retail Dive
After filing for bankruptcy Oct. 5, Mattress Firm noted in a press release that it has received court approval for all first day motions, including access to an initial portion of its bankruptcy financing — up to $150 million, per court documents.

Mattress Firm's plan for store closures has also been approved by the court, allowing the retailer to shutter 209 underperforming locations (or those too close to other Mattress Firms) by the end of October, according to court documents.. . . more

Survey: Discount stores attract all ages, incomes

Chain Store Age
Everyone loves a bargain.

Nearly all U.S. consumers regularly visit discount retailers to find a bargain, according to the latest issue of the quarterly Consumer View report by the National Retail Federation. In a survey of more than 3,000 U.S. adults, 89% said they shop at various types of discount retailers, ranging from dollar stores to thrift stores to off-pricers. Of those, 58% reported shopping at dollar stores, 50% at off-price stores like Ross or T.J. Maxx and discount grocers like Aldi or Lidl, 44% at outlet stores and 36% at thrift stores.. . . more

L Brands pursuing “all” options for La Senza

Chain Store Age
L Brands’ La Senza intimate apparel brand is on the block.

The company said it is pursuing “all alternatives” for its La Senza brand as it looks to focus on its larger core businesses. La Senza, which was founded in Canada and purchased by L Brands in 2006, operates 126 company-owned stores in North America, and 188 non-company-owned international stores. L Brands estimates that La Senza’s 2018 revenues and operating loss will be approximately $250 million and $40 million, respectively. . . . more

Big Lenders Make Push to Liquidate Sears

The Wall Street Journal
Sears Holdings Corp. met with its lenders Wednesday night to discuss emergency financing for the embattled retailer, according to people familiar with the matter. The meeting ended without an agreement that would keep Sears operating as a going concern, according to one of the people.

A group of lenders, including Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co. and Citigroup Inc.,are pushing for the company to liquidate its assets under a chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, as opposed to reorganizing the business under chapter 11, this person said.. . . more

Can Toys ‘R’ Us and Bon-Ton Come Back from the Dead?

Few details have emerged regarding how the retailer’s revival would work, including how many stores would open and in what locations. However, the company will be starting from scratch, because Toys ‘R’ Us has sold most of its real estate including stores and distribution centers.

Toys ‘R’ Us owners also could decide to license the name and brand to another group and let them tackle the huge job of revitalizing a brand.. . . more

What This Analyst Expects To Happen With A Sears Bankruptcy
Eddie Lampert is reportedly fed up. Or possibly he no longer sees the point. Either way Lampert, the hedge fund manager who controls Sears, is reportedly not going to lend the company money to repay $134 million in debt, which is due next week, according to multiple news accounts that have cited people familiar with the matter. He has bailed the retailer out multiple times already and most recently, proposed a major restructuring of the company’s debt and retail operations.

Assuming these accounts are true, what will happen to the retail landscape under a Sears bankruptcy?. . . more

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

CVS gets preliminary OK from DOJ for acquisition of Aetna—with some conditions

Chain Store Age
A blockbuster deal that has the potential to transform the nation’s health care industry has been given the green light by the U.S. Department of Justice.

CVS Health announced that it has entered into an agreement with the DOJ that allows it to proceed with its proposed $69 billion acquisition of Aetna. DOJ clearance is a key milestone toward finalizing the transaction, which is also subject to state regulatory approvals, many of which have already been granted, according to CVS. The deal was also approved on the condition that Aetna sells its Medicare Part D prescription drug plan business — a move that Aetna has already announced. . . . more

Sears, once the world's biggest retailer, now faces bankruptcy

Sears, which was once the largest retailer in the world, is now reportedly facing bankruptcy.

The company, which hasn’t turned a profit since 2010 and is $134 million in debt, recently approached several banks to prepare for bankruptcy filing, CNBC reported Wednesday.. . . more

Digitally native brands set to open 850 stores in 5 years

Retail Dive
Digitally native brands are making their mark on the brick-and-mortar landscape, set to open 850 stores in the next five years, according to a report on over 100 top online retailers from commercial real estate firm JLL that was emailed to Retail Dive.

JLL cites plans from mattress retailer Casper to open 200 stores in North America within three years, lingerie startup Adore Me for up to 300 in five years, and athleisure footwear company Allbirds for stores in four cities in the next year. . . . more

Newburyport City Council OKs marijuana retail for Storey Ave., traffic circle

The Daily News
The City Council voted on Monday night to approve an ordinance that allows marijuana retail shops to open on Storey Avenue and at the Route 1 traffic circle.

Buffer zones established by the ordinance prevent marijuana shops in both areas from opening within 100 feet of a residential district. The ordinance also prohibits marijuana retail businesses from opening within 250 feet of any school, daycare, library or other facility where children gather. . . . more

Orangetheory on fast-track with 260 new sites in 2018

Chain Store Age
Orangetheory is on a roll. The fast-growing fitness company with a devoted following is opening locations throughout the globe — including U.S. malls.

As to the secret of the company’s success, it may have to do with the fact that Orangetheory is not your typical fitness studio. It offers a science-based, full-body workout that uses technology to measure performance so members can track their performance.. . . more

Grocery Chain Giant To Take The Urban Grocery Trend Even Smaller
In order to both penetrate deeper into urban markets and integrate further with e-commerce, grocery chain Giant is going small.

The chain, a subsidiary of international conglomerate Ahold Delhaize with 171 locations, will open a 9,800 SF location called Giant Heirloom Market in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood within greater Center City, Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Business Journal reports. . . . more

Early signs of Christmas make people crabby

Boston Business Journal
It’s only October, but Christmas decorations are already in stores — and a lot of people find that annoying.

According to a new Coinstar Holiday Survey, more than a third - 36 percent - of people surveyed say it's irritating that retailers put up holiday decorations and merchandise as early as September or October, although CBS reported some studies show that people who put up their Christmas decorations early are healthier and happier than those who don’t.

For those who are out of sorts it may be because the decorations remind them they have a lot of shopping to do. And for one in five people, just thinking about holiday shopping stresses them out. . . . more

Weed bars years away in Bay State

Boston Herald
The days when marijuana users will be able to congregate at an establishment in Massachusetts and socially consume the drug are years away, cannabis regulators said yesterday, and it is likely that any social consumption will be limited to vaping and edibles.

The Cannabis Control Commission has the authority under the 2016 voter law legalizing adult-use marijuana to license social consumption sites — things like marijuana cafes or marijuana licenses for movie theaters — but regulators have opted to delay that part of the industry while they study how other states and cities are handling it. A final decision is expected by early 2019.. . . more

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Stop & Shop Reinvention Begins in Hartford

Winsight Grocery Business
Ahold Delhaize’s Stop & Shop brand unveiled a new look, layout and features at 21 stores in the Hartford, Conn., market that officials said would test a comprehensive reinvention of the entire chain.

The $70 million investment includes the introduction of a retro-inspired “traffic light” logo that moves away from the “wedge” design that Ahold rolled out to all its Stop & Shop and Giant-Landover stores a decade ago, and reflects the brand’s heritage and independence under the new decentralized structure of Ahold Delhaize.. . . more

Here's who is making moves in 2018 holiday hiring

Retail Dive
NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said at an Oct. 3 press conference that the association estimated that retailers would hire 650,000 seasonal workers for the holidays in 2018, up more than 10% from last year's hiring.

In September, outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas noted that retailers and logistics companies were gearing up for a "huge shopping season," and predicted a strong economy would likely push up holiday hiring for the year. . . . more

Mattress Firm Bankruptcy Is a Corporate Nightmare

Just two years after Steinhoff International Holdings NV paid a whopping $3.8 billion to acquire Mattress Firm Inc., its U.S. bedding subsidiary has filed for bankruptcy.

Steinhoff, a South African retailer that is itself struggling for survival after a massive accounting scandal, had already booked more than 1.6 billion euros ($1.9 billion) of impairments in relation to Mattress Firm before Friday’s Chapter 11 filing. Now, Steinhoff will be forced to surrender half of the U.S. store chain’s equity in return for $525 million of financing provided by Steinhoff bondholders. Another goodwill writedown looks likely. . . . more

Canada’s Indigo Books and Music makes U.S debut

Chain Store Age
The largest bookstore chain in Canada has opened its first-ever U.S. store.

Indigo Books and Music has made its long-awaited U.S. debut with a 30,000-sq.-ft. store at The Mall at Short Hills, Short Hills, N.J. The space is designed around Indigo’s “cultural department store” for booklovers concept which combines typical book store categories such as books, magazines and stationery with such non-traditional ones as toys, home décor, wellness and other lifestyle products. It will also offer in-store events for kids and adults. (An in-store café is due is still under construction.). . . more

Papa John's Activist-Fund Trian Is Mulling a Papa John's Takeover

Papa John’s ugly year of turmoil may finally bring shareholders some welcome news: Trian Fund Management, a hedge fund led by activist investor Nelson Peltz, is evaluating a takeover of the pizza chain, the Wall Street Journal reports. The news caused Papa John’s stock to surge 12% late Monday.

Other parties, including companies and private-equity funds, have also expressed interest in buying Papa John’s, the Journal said. Trian is a notable suitor because of its experience investing in the food industry and because it’s known for working with the management of struggling companies.. . . more