Friday, November 30, 2018

Young women like Victoria's Secret, but will they buy?

Retail Dive
Consumer sentiment toward Victoria's Secret's brand has risen since April among U.S. women aged 18 to 49, according to new data from brand research firm YouGov. Its "buzz" score rose from 23 to a high of 29 in early October, but then it dipped to 26 after controversial comments in Vogue from L Brands marketing chief Ed Razek, according to the report.

Women aged 18-49 who report buying from the brand gradually rose to 24% up from 17% in mid-April, and satisfaction with the brand rose from 29 to 37, according to YouGov's 19,000 interviews between January 2016 and November 2018.. . . more

Coming to a city near you: Ikea, new and (maybe) improved

Retail Dive
Ikea has big plans to lure urban millennials to its stores.

The Swedish retailer recently announced it will open around 30 urban store concepts over the next two years. These stores will differ from the big-box warehouses many have come to associate with the company. Instead, they will have a more experiential concept, creating mock ups of rooms within the store to showcase products.. . . more

Holiday’s hot toys already in short supply at big-box retailers

New York Post
The disappearance of Toys ‘R’ Us has left a big, empty hole in the US toy industry — and retailers are already falling behind in a scramble to fill it.

Toy supplies at Walmart, Target and Amazon are looking spotty six months after the nation’s biggest toy chain closed its doors for good — and just days into the kickoff of the crucial holiday shopping season, sources told The Post.. . . more

J. Crew cuts loss; to discontinue low-priced Mercantile unit

Chain Store Age
Earlier this month, J. Crew dismissed its CEO, James Brett, over reported disagreements with the board. Some of the programs he put in place are being discontinued, while others are being retooled. J. Crew is currently being run by an “office of the CEO” made up of four senior J. Crew executives.

In news first reported by The Wall Street Journal, J. Crew plans to discontinue its budget apparel division, Mercantile.

In an internal memo that was cited by the Journal, the company told employees its priorities are to “return the J.Crew brand to profitable growth” to focus on growing its lower-cost “factory” business online and in stores. . . . more

Under The Tree For Retailers: More Efforts To Combine Online, In-Store Shopping
This holiday season, retailers are implementing strategies to draw online shoppers into stores, reward their loyalty in new ways and ensure that toys are available at every turn, according to a new report from CBRE. 

CBRE’s annual Holiday Retail Trends Guide outlines trends that will shape the season. Consumer spending growth is exceeding expectations and with a positive turn in retailer earnings over the first half of the year, holiday sales forecasts are optimistic. Retailers are expected to push their omnichannel strategies more than ever during this holiday season and encourage shoppers to buy across channels. . . . more

GameStop cuts full-year profit forecast

GameStop Corp cut its full-year adjusted profit forecast, as the world’s largest video game retailer struggles with weakness in used games from developers launching streaming services of old titles, sending its shares down 11.3 percent.

The company, which is exploring a potential transaction after receiving a buyout interest, last week said it would sell its Spring Mobile business to Prime Communications LP for $700 million.

“We are evaluating all aspects of our business, including our store and omni-channel experience, cost structure, strategic and economic partnerships ...,” Chief Financial Officer Robert Lloyd said in a statement on Thursday.. . . more

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Chico’s president out as sales plunge

Chain Store Age
The president of Chico’s is departing after a tough third quarter in which same-store sales fell 10.2%.

Total same-store sales fell 6.8%, driven by declines in transaction count and average dollar sales. By brand, same-store sales fell 10.2% at Chico’s and 5.1% at White House | Black Market. Same-store sales rose 2.4% at Soma, Chico’s intimate apparel division.. . . more

Abercrombie & Fitch shares soar on earnings beat, retailer expects to close fewer stores than expected

Abercrombie & Fitch shares soared 20 percent Thursday morning after the teen apparel retailer reported quarterly earnings and sales that topped Wall Street expectations, fueled by growth of its Hollister label and momentum in the U.S.

Sales at stores open for at least 12 months were up 3 percent, better than the 1.6 percent increase forecast by analysts who cover the company. Same-store sales at Hollister were up 4 percent during the quarter, while those at Abercrombie were up 1 percent. In the U.S., same-store sales were up 6 percent, while they were down 3 percent internationally. . . . more

CVS plans changes to stores after Aetna deal

USA Today
CVS Health plans to reduce the amount of store space devoted to retail and shift more to health care after its $70 billion acquisition of Aetna.

CVS CEO Larry Merlo told USA TODAY that the company will begin using a greater portion of the floor space in its nearly 10,000 locations to provide medical services.. . . more

Sears Entertaining Offers From Liquidators as ESL, Cyrus Prepare Takeover Bid

The Wall Street Journal
Sears Holdings Corp. is considering offers from liquidators that would result in the closure of all its stores while Chairman Edward Lampert and Cyrus Capital Partners prepare a bid that would keep the bankrupt retailer in business, according to people familiar with the matter.

Mr. Lampert, who believes a slimmed-down Sears can emerge from bankruptcy, and Cyrus are expected to make an offer for roughly 500 of Sears’s best-performing stores, the people said.. . . more

Top-Tier Mall REITs Post Solid Performance in the Third Quarter

While the retail sector continues to face challenges, REITs that own top-tier malls are posting solid performance numbers and respectable earnings.

Despite record numbers of retail bankruptcies and store closures over the last couple of years, several big mall REITs, including Simon Property Group, Macerich and Taubman Centers, reported increased store sales and occupancies in third quarter, solid measures of how their properties are performing.. . . more

Former Urban Big-Boxes, Class-B Office Buildings Are Being Converted to Last Mile Industrial Space

The limited supply of urban industrial inventory available for “last mile” e-commerce distribution space is causing investors and end-users to get creative by repositioning other types of real estate with failed uses or shrinking demand, according to a JLL report, Urban infill: the route to delivery solutions.” The report notes that annual total e-commerce deliveries have more than tripled over the past five years, but development of new urban industrial infill assets has remained relatively flat.

Older office buildings, underused parking structures, abandoned strip centers—even former churches—are now among properties being repositioned as last mile fulfillment centers. . . . more

Leasing Nightmares: Avoiding Lease Problems Before Opening for Business

Modern Restaurant Management
While much thought and consideration during lease negotiations is given to protecting a tenant from its landlord’s acts or omissions during the lease term, some of the most commonly-encountered issues after lease execution pertain to the earliest stages of the landlord-tenant relationship, specifically the phase where the parties are preparing and exchanging plans for the premises, obtaining construction and use permits, and building out the space for the tenant’s use – all of which should occur well before a tenant actually opens for business at the premises and begins paying rent.

If a tenant’s lease is not carefully negotiated, a tenant may find itself bound by lease for premises in which it can’t successfully operate or it may be required to start paying rent well before it’s open for business and generating revenues. . . . more

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Just How Apocalyptic Is It?

KeyPoint Partners
If you haven’t read a story - make that ten stories - about the retail apocalypse by now, then possibly you’ve been living under a rock. The “thrashing” of brick-and-mortar retailers by online sellers over the past decade has taken a toll on shopping centers throughout the country, including our home region: retail vacancy in Eastern Massachusetts during that period quickly climbed from the mid-single digits to double digits and has been hovering around the 10% mark for the past few years. However, while the fallout is far from over, there are signs that the worst may be behind us.

To help put the current retail environment into perspective, we used our proprietary GRIID™ retail database to analyze the vacancy patterns of 270 shopping centers in Eastern Massachusetts. . . more

Dick’s Sporting Goods turns in mixed Q3 results as sales fall

Chain Store Age
Dick’s Sporting Goods beat profit expectations and raised its earnings outlook amid disappointing sales.

The sporting goods retailer reported that its net income rose 2% to $37.8 million in the quarter ended Nov. 3 from $36.9 million.

Net sales fell 4.5% to $1.86 billion, slightly below estimates of $1.88 billion. Same-store sales, based on an unadjusted calendar, declined 6.1%. (Adjusted for an extra week in 2017, same-store sales fell 3.9%.) . . . more

Burlington Stores crushes Q3 earnings estimates

Chain Store Age
Burlington Stores blew past third quarter earnings estimates and raised its full year guidance.

Revenue rose to $1.64 billion from $1.44 billion, also better than expected. Same-store sales rose 4.4%, topping the 3.1% analysts had expected.. . . more

Kids clothing retailer Gymboree weighs closing half its stores

Gymboree Group Inc, a U.S. retailer of infant and children’s clothing, is considering closing more than half of its approximately 900 stores, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

The move would be a setback for Gymboree after it emerged from bankruptcy last year. It was one of the few brick-and-mortar retailers that managed to escape liquidation in a wave of bankruptcies that swept the sector, amid the rise of online shopping.. . . more

Amazon, Mass Merchants Win on Black Friday; Malls and Guns Lose

The presents may not yet be wrapped and under the tree, but at least they’re in transit with a tracking number. With spending increasingly moving online, a new set of winners is emerging as the Black Friday holiday shopping weekend comes to a close.

“We are seeing a fundamental shift in who’s considered winners and losers coming out of Black Friday this year,” Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Jennifer Bartashus said. “Whether you’re talking about department stores, mass merchants or specialty apparel chains, consumers are voting with their online spending and driving this evolution.”. . . more

Methuen welcomes Chick-fil-A, no problem

Boston Herald
While Boston has bawked at Chick-fil-A, the controversial chicken sandwich chain is getting a warm welcome in the Merrimack Valley, where Methuen Mayor Jim Jajuga gleefully posed in a filet-flipper’s paper hat with the trademark “Eat Mor Chikin” cow character — and residents say they are looking forward to the tasty burger alternative.

The restaurant will be the 12th Chick-fil-A in Massachusetts and the first in the Merrimack Valley when it opens tomorrow on Pleasant Valley Street.. . . more

Tops Markets Emerges From Chapter 11 Reorganization

The Shelby Report
Tops Markets LLC has successfully completed its financial restructuring and emerged from Chapter 11. The company, which reorganized with the support of its secured creditors and the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors, says it is emerging with “enhanced financial flexibility and (is) well positioned for long-term success,” adding that it will invest in its stores to create an “even more exceptional shopping experience.”

The Williamsville, New York-based company is emerging from Chapter 11 with a substantially stronger balance sheet, reducing its debt by approximately $445 million and with more than $100 million in liquidity. It also emerges having resolved the labor and pension issues that it faced at the commencement of the Chapter 11 cases, the company says.. . . more

Indoor Golf Concept That Takes Vacant Department Store Space Gets Private Equity Backing
Cain International has bought a stake in the company behind indoor crazy golf concept Swingers, and will help it to expand in the U.K. and U.S.

Cain said it made a "significant investment" (but didn't disclose how much) in Competitive Socialising, which was founded in 2014 by Matt Grech-Smith and Jeremy Simmonds. Competitive Socialising will be targeting more launches for Swingers in the U.S. and also launching a second concept in the U.K.  . . . more

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Amazon reports biggest shopping day on Cyber Monday

Retail Dive
Cyber Monday was Amazon’s single biggest shopping day in its history, with more products ordered worldwide than any other day, according to a company press release. Amazon customers globally ordered more than 18 million toys and more than 13 million fashion items on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the company said.'s best-selling Cyber Monday items included its new Echo Dot, an AncestryDNA ethnicity test, Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones for Apple, Michelle Obama's memoir, Jenga and the 6-Quart Instant Pot, the company said. . . . more

10 digitally native brands to watch

Retail Dive
There's perhaps never been an easier time to launch a digitally native brand. Venture capital money is fueling e-commerce consumer brands in nearly every category, from beauty and apparel to footwear and mattresses. And social media is making it even easier for companies to cut through the noise and foster a direct relationship with consumers.

Vertical integration, nimble supply chains and promises of free and fast delivery are all also helping boost the reputations of lifestyle brands like Casper, Glossier and Away among shoppers seeking convenience and authenticity. Many traditional retailers are also looking to these types of young brands to inject new life into their businesses and reach young, urban customers. . . . more

Canadian athletic apparel retailer opens U.S. flagship

Chain Store Age
RYU Apparel has landed in New York City.

The Vancouver-based brand, which specializes in stylish athletic tech apparel for men and women, has opened a flagship in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, New York, as it continues its expansion into the United States. . . . more

Cyber Monday breaks online sales record

Chain Store Age
Cyber Monday sales were even better than expected, fueled by a surge in mobile commerce.

The online shopping event was on track to hit a record $7.9 billion by the end of the day, representing a 19.7% increase over last year, according to data from Adobe Analytics (data is as of 7:00 p.m. ET.) Mobile transactions surged 55.6%.. . . more

5Qs for Yaromir Steiner on retail transformation

Chain Store Age
Born in Istanbul and educated as a civil engineer in France, Yaromir Steiner brought a fresh outlook to the American retail real estate industry he joined with the inception of Steiner + Associates 25 years ago. His notion of building an outdoor center with streets and plazas and metered parking in front of store entrances was a radical departure when Easton Town Center opened in Columbus, Ohio, in 1999. Now his privately held company serves as a model for an industry in flux. We recently asked Steiner about his personal highlights of the past quarter century.. . . more

Dunkin' execs reveal why they want customers to 'order through a robot' in the near future

Business Insider
As Dunkin' rolls out its rebrand to new and existing locations nationwide, executives say the coffee empire isn't afraid to embrace automation.

The rebrand, which started with a name change to just Dunkin', also includes new features like cold brew taps, brand-new espresso machines, and an emphasis on mobile ordering and pickup. . . . more

CVS set to close $69B Aetna merger after final state approvals

Boston Business Journal
CVS Health Corp. and Aetna Inc. are set to close on their $69 billion merger this week after receiving final regulatory approval for the deal on Monday.

CVS said in a federal filing that it expects the deal with Aetna to close on Wednesday. The announcement comes almost a year after the merger agreement was first announced. . . . more

Monday, November 26, 2018

The winners and losers of Black Friday 2018

Retail Dive
Thanksgiving isn't going to take over Black Friday anytime soon, but the holiday did smash expectations and set the sales weekend up for success.

Adobe Analytics disclosed that $6.22 billion was spent online by the end of Black Friday, an increase of 23.6% year over year, according to sales results emailed to Retail Dive. More importantly, this holiday season retailers aligned sale prices across multiple days and multiple channels, giving consumers choices of when to spend. Customers can now engage in traditional brick-and-mortar shopping, or they can start early in the comfort of their own homes.. . . more

Steinhoff's U.S. unit Mattress Firm exits bankruptcy, shuts 660 stores

Steinhoff International said on Thursday its Mattress Firm Inc unit, the largest U.S. mattress retailer, emerged out of bankruptcy with access to $525 million in exit financing, within two months of filing for Chapter 11 protection.

Mattress Firm also closed about 660 underperforming stores, said Steinhoff, which has been working on a deal to restructure the debt of some units after revealing multi-billion-euro holes in its balance sheet.. . . more

Gap looking to close hundreds of namesake stores

Chain Store Age
Gap Inc. is set to take drastic action with regards to its ailing namesake division — and sooner rather than later.

Speaking on the chain’s quarterly call with analysts, Gap CEO Art Peck said that the biggest challenge with the Gap brand has to do with certain “legacy elements,” notably real estate obligations that currently “encumber” the business. The company operates 775 Gap stores globally, and “the range from the very best to the very worst is extremely broad,” Peck added. . . . more

Analysis: Strong but not stellar Black Friday weekend as demand ‘pulled forward’

Chain Store Age
Retailers enjoyed a solid but not spectacular Black Friday shopping weekend, as online and in-store promotions proliferated earlier in the week and on Thanksgiving, cannibalizing sales that once occurred on Saturday and Sunday, the “demand pull-forward” phenomenon.

Combined with an early Thanksgiving, the demand pull-forward will also shift the traditional early December lull to a late November shopping lull. The good news is that plunging gasoline prices—down $0.35/gallon since mid-October—are giving a mid-season boost to available discretionary spending. . . . more

UPS’s Christmas Wish: A Delivery Surge It Can Handle

The Wall Street Journal
United Parcel Service Inc. is hoping that billions of dollars in system improvements this year will help it avoid shipping problems during the online shopping surge of the holiday season.

The Atlanta-based company expects to handle nearly 800 million packages between Thanksgiving and Christmas, delivering an average of 31 million each delivery day—more than double the average daily volume. That is up from 762 million packages during last year’s peak period. . . . more

Looks like another record-setting Cyber Monday

Boston Business Journal
It’s likely to be another record-setting Cyber Monday, and e-commerce businesses have prepped for a big boost in online traffic.

Shipping and courier delivery services company DHL surveyed 14,000 U.S. e-commerce businesses to find out how they were preparing for Cyber Monday 2018. More than half — 52 percent— said they are expecting an increase in sales of more than 21 percent compared with 2017, while almost one-fourth expect an increase of more than 40 percent. . . . more

Lord & Taylor prepares to say goodbye to Fifth Avenue

Boston Herald
For generations, the Lord & Taylor on Fifth Avenue helped define Christmas in New York. It was the city's first department store to turn its big sidewalk windows into animated, theatrical holiday displays. Tourists lined up to see them transformed into enchanted forests, gingerbread palaces and wintry cityscapes.

Lord & Taylor plans to close its longtime flagship in January after one last blowout sale. Next year, the 11-story, Italian Renaissance-style building covering a whole city block will be taken over by WeWork, the workspace leasing company.
. . . more

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Online lingerie startup begins retail store push

Chain Store Age
The fast-growing Adore Me has big plans for brick-and-mortar.

The digitally native retailer has opened a store at Bridgewater Commons mall, in Bridgewater, N.J. The 3,600-sq.-ft space is the brand’s second physical store to date and double the size of its first location (photo above), which opened in June, at Staten Island Mall, in the Staten Island borough of New York City.. . . more

Foot Locker plays hard in Q3

Chain Store Age
Athletic footwear giant Foot Locker turning in a winning third quarter, with sales and earnings that topped Wall Street expectations.

Total third quarter sales decreased 0.5% to $1.86 billion this year, topping estimates. (The 53rd week shift impact reduced sales by approximately $60 million during the third quarter.) Same-store sales increased 2.9%, better than expected.. . . more

Ross Stores Q3 profit tops expectations but outlook disappoints

Chain Store Age
Off-price retailer Ross Stores has lowered its outlook for holiday sales gains in anticipation of a “fiercely competitive” retail market.

Third quarter sales rose 7% to $3.5 billion, just short of expectations. Same-store sales rose 3%. . . . more

At J.C. Penney, Everything’s on Sale. Will That Be Enough?

Walk into a J.C. Penney and it’s a sea of red stickers. Almost everything is marked down, from apparel, jewelry and home goods to Christmas decor, bedding and appliances. And it’s not even Black Friday yet.

Even for a retailer whose identity is built on promotions and discounts, there’s an urgency to this holiday season. J.C. Penney Co.’s bonds are near record lows, its stock has slid toward a buck a share, and brand new Chief Executive Officer Jill Soltau is pushing her team to shovel out the dated goods that she says make the stores feel “over-assorted and heavy on inventory.”. . . more

Walmart and Target are grabbing a bigger piece of online sales heading into the holidays, but it's come at a cost

Retailers such as Walmart and Target have been pouring money into their online businesses to fend off rival Amazon as the companies look to capture an even greater share of U.S. e-commerce sales.

While Amazon's reported sales growth each quarter includes that taken in from its other businesses, such as Amazon Web Services, the company is expected to capture nearly 5 percent of total U.S. retail sales by the end of this year, according to eMarketer. . . . more

Who wants to shop on Thanksgiving Day?

Boston Business Journal
Most Americans oppose stores opening on Thanksgiving Day, though the younger you are, the more likely it is that you'd like to hit the mall after your turkey dinner.

According to a new poll by Morning Consult, 58 percent of women and 52 percent of the 2,200 adults surveyed overall said they think stores should be closed until Black Friday.. . . more

'We don't just want to be normal': Danish retailer Flying Tiger expands in Mass.

Boston Business Journal
Stepping into Flying Tiger Copenhagen's Downtown Crossing store, shoppers are met with neon unicorn lamps, plush Santa decorations and boldly colored reading glasses. It's a random assortment of goods — and that's how CEO Mette Maix likes it.

"We want our stores to have things you get inspired by," Maix said. "Each store gets at least 300 new products every month, so it is a bit like a treasure hunt.". . . more

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Sears is just one of five retailers that have no room for error this holiday season

Despite all the changes in retail, one thing remains constant: The holidays are the most crucial season of the year.

Many retailers can ring up a third or more of their sales during the holiday quarter. The extra shoppers give retailers such as Walmart, Amazon and Target a chance to test new technologies and tout new experiences — and hopefully win a customer's loyalty into the new year. But for those that have been struggling, the pressure is on to earn enough cash to support the business so it can make investments to reinvent the brand, stave off a bankruptcy filing or simply stay alive.. . . more

Blue Apron halts retail program with Costco

Supermarket News
Back in May, Blue Apron made news with its first foray into retail store distribution in a highly publicized partnership with Costco. Now, six months later, the meal kit company is putting the brakes on the relationship — at least temporarily.

During its earnings report last week, Blue Apron announced that its pilot program with Costco will shut down indefinitely as the holidays approach. Costco needs shelf space for holiday offerings, and Blue Apron customers are typically less engaged during the holiday season, Blue Apron CEO Brad Dickerson said on the earnings call.. . . more

Lowe’s plans more cost-cutting despite better-than-expected earnings

The Charlotte Observer
Mooresville-based Lowe’s reported better-than-expected earnings and sales for the third quarter on Tuesday. But the company said it will exit its Mexico business as part of its ongoing effort to improve profitability.

Sales for the quarter were $17.4 billion, up 3.8 percent from a year ago and above the $17.33 billion estimate from Wall Street analysts. Same-store sales, an industry term that gauges the health of the retailer and refers to sales at stores open at least a year, rose 1.5 percent. Same-store sales in the U.S. rose 2 percent. . . . more

Kohl's raised profit view misses estimates, shares slip

Department store operator Kohl’s Corp forecast full-year earnings largely below estimates, a dire signal ahead of the all-important holiday shopping season, sending its shares down 8 percent on Tuesday.

Retailers are hoping that the upcoming shopping season will help rekindle sales after years of declines because of intense competition from online rivals.. . . more

Best Buy sales, earnings beat Street

Chain Store Age
Best Buy Co. reported better-than-expected third quarter sales and earnings as it heads into the crucial holiday season.

The consumer electronics giant reported net income of $277 million for the quarter ended Oct.28, up from $239 million in the year-ago period. 

Total revenue rose 2% to $9.59 billion. Analysts had expected $9.57 billion. Same-store sales rose 4.3%, also more than expected, driven by gains in mobile phones, gaming, appliances, wearables, headphones and smart home items. Tablet sales declined.. . . more

Target shares fall 10 percent after it misses profit expectations

Minneapolis-based Target spent heavily on store remodeling and on backroom operations to improve shipping times, delivery options and faster in-store pickup times. That spending contributed to a 3.3 percent decline in its operating profit.

Same store sales grew 5.1 percent during the third quarter. Digital orders — from people buying from the company's website or various mobile phone apps — contributed to more than a third of that growth.

Overall, online sales jumped 49 percent compared to last quarter. . . . more

Mattress Firm Is Days From Emerging From Bankruptcy, 600-Plus Stores Lighter
With the blessings of a Delaware bankruptcy court, Mattress Firm is expected to complete its bankruptcy reorganization soon. 

The Houston-based mattress retailer got court approval for its reorganization plan late last week and was expected to emerge from bankruptcy “in the coming days,” the company stated in a press release. . . . more

Monday, November 19, 2018

Men will be the big spenders this holiday season

Men, not women, are expected to be the big spenders this holiday season.

Males are expected to head to the malls and browse the web, spending more than they have in the past, because they have more to choose from, and they're not afraid to open up their wallets a little wider — for others and for themselves — thanks to a strong economy, according to a new survey.. . . more

Lidl to Acquire Long Island-Based Grocer

Arlington, VA-based Lidl US is acquiring Best Market, a chain of 27 grocery stores in New York and New Jersey.

Terms were not disclosed. Lidl said it expects the deal to close in the coming months. . . . more

Sears seeks approval to give top execs ‘millions’ in bonuses

Chain Store Age
Despite filing for bankruptcy and struggling to stay afloat, Sears Holdings Corp. is seeking court approval to pay executives quarterly bonuses.

The struggling department store retailer is seeking approval to pay executives as much as $19 million in quarterly bonuses. Three top executives could get nearly $1 million each if the company goes out of business. If Sears remains in business, they could get nearly $500,000 each for hitting the top performance targets, according to . . . more

These perks will help retailers win Black Friday weekend shoppers

Chain Store Age
Incentives from flexible payment options to free shipping will make retailers more attractive to holiday shoppers — especially Millennials.

This is according to new data from installment payment solution provider Splitit, which revealed that retailers can draw consumers to their sites and away from industry behemoths like Amazon I using a variety of incentives such as the ability to try out an item before paying for it (50%). Additionally, nearly 46% of consumers said that free shipping would encourage them to spend more money. . . . more

New concept opens that aims to reinvent department stores

Chain Store Age
A retail start-up has unveiled its take on the department store of the future.

Neighborhood Goods has made its retail debut, at Plano’s Legacy West, a $3.2 billion, 255-acre open-air retail and restaurant development in fast-growing Plano, Texas. The Dallas-based company was created as a “modern alternative” to the traditional department store, combining a revolving selection of brands, events, and social experiences.. . . more

J. Crew CMO to exit as CEO departs

Ad Age
J. Crew CMO Vanessa Holden is leaving the brand, just two months after a relaunch designed to win back lapsed shoppers. She joined the New York-based retailer last year, and recently resigned, a company spokeswoman confirmed on Saturday.

Also on Saturday, J. Crew announced the departure of Chief Executive Jim Brett, effective immediately. . . . more

David's Bridal files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Boston Business Journal
David’s Bridal has filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the District of Delaware.

The court-supervised process is expected to be completed by early January.

The company said in a statement that the voluntary bankruptcy filing and a planned financial restructuring will have no impact on its customers’ experiences and that brides will receive their dress orders on time. . . . more

Friday, November 16, 2018

David’s Bridal is reportedly inching closer to a bankruptcy filing

Chain Store Age
The wedding apparel retailer is close to reaching an agreement with lenders that would reduce its debt through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, Bloombergreported. David’s, which operates more than 300 stores, is saddled with a debt load of about $760 million stemming from its 2012 acquisition for more than $1 billion by private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice.. . . more

Ikea-anchored malls set sights on U.S.

Chain Store Age
Ingka Centres, the shopping center unit of Ikea that was formerly known as Ikea Centres, has announced a major worldwide expansion than includes the United States.

The company wouldn’t name specific metros its targeting here, but a company spokesperson told Chain Store Age it would be a “handful of the most high-profile cities in the U.S.” . . . more

It’s not over yet for Sears Holdings Corp.

Chain Store Age
The retailer’s plan to auction off at least 400 stores won approval Thursday at a bankruptcy court hearing. Sears plans to use the proceeds from the sale to stay in business — at least for the time being. . . . more

Boloco takes bite out of Chick-fil-A bid

Boston Herald
Chick-fil-A’s bid to open in Boston may be hitting a new snag — after the Boloco burrito chain signaled it isn’t ready to surrender its lease for the targeted Boylston Street location.

“Related to the rumors of Chick Fil A taking over our Copley location, there is not yet any agreement for Boloco to leave,” Boloco said on Twitter yesterday. “We have a lease thru 2020 and a decade of options after. We are working with landlord to find a solution based on what we’ve read.” . . . more

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Is the road to bankruptcy paved by private equity?

Retail Dive
Last year, during the height of the so-called retail apocalypse — when retail bankruptcies outpaced those during the Great Recession — all eyes turned to Amazon, the industry's favorite bogeyman. The e-tailer often became shorthand for the reasons behind retrenchment and consolidation in the industry.

And it wasn't just outsiders. In Chapter 11 filings last year, retail CEOs and chief financial officers at bankrupt companies almost universally pointed to a shift toward e-commerce and declining traffic to physical stores when explaining why they were seeking court protection from creditors. . . . more

A fight is brewing over Sears' survival in bankruptcy

Retail Dive
The Sears bankruptcy is already taking on an adversarial climate, which is not unusual and not unexpected in the case of Sears. But the squabbles are not limited to how money gets moved around, as was the case with Claire's Stores, where warring parties each saw value in the retailer as a going concern. Rather, the fight between Sears' unsecured creditors and ESL is over the retailer's very existence, and the outcome could determine its fate.

Specifically, the creditor group pointed to Sears go-forward plan to cut out two-thirds of its administrative costs to return to profitability. The group described that as "a feat [Sears] could not accomplish in the six years leading up to" Chapter 11, adding that Sears has not provided the "basic qualitative data necessary" to evaluate the structure of a reorganized Sears or the sale process. . . . more

This is the fastest growing retail channel among Americans

Chain Store Age
Mobile commerce (m-commerce) continues its rapid adoption among Americans, but its growth is poised to reach even farther.

This was according to “WorldPay’s 2018 Global Payments Report” which revealed that m-commerce is growing at 15% annually in the United States, making it the fastest growing shopping channel.

The U.S. is not the only place where m-commerce is primed for growth. Currently accounting for 38% of the more than $1.3 trillion in global e-commerce sales, m-commerce is set to grow a staggering 19% during the next five years. . . . more

U.S. consumer prices post largest rise in nine months
U.S. consumer prices increased by the most in nine months in October amid gains in the cost of gasoline and rents, pointing to steadily rising inflation that likely will keep the Federal Reserve on track to raise interest rates again next month.

The Labor Department said on Wednesday its Consumer Price Index rose 0.3 percent last month after edging up 0.1 percent in September. In the 12 months through October, the CPI increased 2.5 percent, picking up from September's 2.3 percent rise. . . . more

Coming soon to Bloomingdale's: LG TVs, washing machines and refrigerators

USA Today
Bloomingdale's, known for selling chic clothing to shoppers with champagne tastes, is about to sell TVs, washing machines and refrigerators for the first time.

The upscale retailer is teaming up with electronics maker LG, which will have a shop inside Bloomingdales' Manhattan flagship starting Nov. 19. The boutique will sell LG's premium Signature line, and its TVs, dishwashers, and other large appliances will also be for sale on . . . more

Macy's Smashes Q3 Earnings Forecast, Boosts 2018 Outlook Ahead of Black Friday
Macy's Inc. posted much stronger-than-expected third quarter earnings Wednesday, and boosted its full year profit guidance, as same-store sales growth numbers continue to point to a robust holiday shopping season for the iconic U.S. retailer.

 Comparable store sales rose 3.3% on an owned-plus licensed basis, Macy's said, adding it now sees full-year sales to rising between 0.3% and 0.7%.  . . . more

E-commerce may outpace brick-and-mortar this Thanksgiving

Boston Business Journal
This could be the year that e-commerce outstrips visits to brick-and-mortar stores as nearly 100 national retailers have announced plans to be closed on Thanksgiving Day.

Thanksgiving weekend gift shopping visits to brick-and-mortar stores were down slightly last year compared to 2016, but still outpaced e-commerce, data from market research company Numerator showed, with physical stores attracting more shoppers than websites on each day except Cyber Monday.. . . more

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

One part store, one part lab: Mall owner debuts BrandBox, a new way to fill vacant space

One of the nation's biggest mall owners has come up with a way to fill empty storefronts, and it's offering young brands plenty of perks to move in.

Macerich this weekend is launching a concept known as "BrandBox" at Tysons Corner Center just outside Washington, D.C., one of the most valuable shopping malls in the U.S. There, it will house six brands, including apparel retailer Naadam and makeup company Winky Lux, for six to 12 months. Each brand will have its own mini store inside an 11,000-square-foot space, with new retailers funneling in and out each year. . . . more

Tops readies for Chapter 11 exit

Supermarket News
Tops Markets LLC has gained court approval for its reorganization plan and said it “shortly” expects to come out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The Williamsville, N.Y.-based supermarket chain, which operates under the name Tops Friendly Markets, said Thursday that the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York has confirmed its restructuring plan, which is slated to be completed soon.. . . more

US consumers to spend an average of $554.90 during Thanksgiving weekend

Fashion United
This holiday season looks promising for US retailers. A new survey conducted by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) with over 1,000 American consumers revealed they intend to spend an average of $554.90 over the Thanksgiving weekend, with $207.30 going towards gifts for other people. Another study by mobile payment company Square Inc. with 2,000 US adults said they are looking to spend $1,300 during the entire holiday period, including Christmas.

According to the first survey, omnichannel retailers will benefit the most from the Black Friday weekend, as 93 percent of surveyors plan on using a combination of online and brick and mortar shopping on those days. . . . more

Walmart to open new type of tech lab

Chain Store Age
Walmart is preparing to launch what it calls an Intelligent Retail Lab (IRL). The lab, which is located inside its store in Levittown, New York, will test both associate and customer experiences, according to TechCrunch.

In addition to using artificial intelligence (AI) to better identify when items are running low, and proactively replenishing stock, Walmart also envisions using the technology to identify spills, better understand when shopping carts are running low near the entrance, and identify when items are on the wrong shelf, the report explained. . . . more

Once-Online-Only Brands Will Open 850 Brick-And-Mortar Stores Over Next Five Years

JLL Research recently put out a report noting that the top 100 digital-native brands they looked at have announced plans for at least 850 stores over the next five years.

Leading the charge are mattress retailer Casper, which will open 200 stores, and women’s intimates retailer Adore Me, which is planning 300 additional stores. But it’s not just sheer volume of store fleet, but also store size that some of these retailers are after. Allbirds, the wool sneaker company, recently opened a 4,800-square-foot New York flagship in SoHo as a launch to its store expansion, which will consist of opening additional stores in four other cities next year alone.. . . more

Creditors urge Sears to shut down all its stores, calling its plan for survival 'wishful thinking'

Business Insider
Sears' creditors are demanding that the company shut down all its remaining stores.

The retailer's plan to survive bankruptcy is "nothing more than wishful thinking" and "an unjustified and foolhardy gamble with other people's money," a group of unsecured creditors has declared in a new filing. . . . more

What's next for the Suffolk Downs redevelopment site

Boston Business Journal
Last October, Tom O’Brien, one of three principals at The HYM Investment Group and the former director of the since-renamed Boston Redevelopment Authority, stood in front of the Revere City Council and said that his firm would develop Suffolk Downs “with or without Amazon.”

Now, more than a year later, O’Brien hasn’t changed his tune. . . . more

Monday, November 12, 2018

Retailers jostle for the lead in online grocery

Supermarket News
Amazon’s pricing edge in online grocery is narrowing as Walmart and subsidiary have closed the gap.

Meanwhile, Walmart has eclipsed Amazon in e-grocery shopper share, and supermarkets and other food stores have increased their online customers. And not to be left out is Target, which is more than holding its own in providing an omnichannel grocery experience versus Walmart and Kroger.. . . more

Retail Industry Has High Expectations for Black Friday, Holiday Sales Season

With Black Friday and the holiday shopping season just around the corner, it’s crunch time for many retailers and mall operators.

The season is critical for retailers because it can account for as much as 30 percent of annual sales.

And shoppers come out in mass. The National Retail Federation estimated that 174 million people shopped in stores and online during last year's five-day Thanksgiving weekend, which ends with Cyber Monday.. . . more

Holiday sales poised to be best since Great Recession

Retail Dive
Holiday sales this year will be the best since the Great Recession, according to a new report by B. Riley FBR emailed to Retail Dive.

Analysts led by Susan Anderson with the investment bank predict same-store sales at retailers they cover will rise 2.2% this holiday season, versus 1.6% in 2017 and 0.2% in 2016. They also anticipate an increase in gross margin of 45 basis points on average. In their analysis, the best-positioned retailers include Carter's, The Children's Place, American Eagle Outfitters, Guess, Urban Outfitters, Chico's, PVH Corp., G-III Apparel Group, L Brands, Hanesbrands and Hasbro.. . . more

Amazon’s pickup service through Whole Foods grows to more markets

Chain Store Age
One of Whole Foods Markets’ time-saving online delivery options is picking up steam.

The online giant on Wednesday said it has launched free two-hour delivery from Whole Foods through Prime Now across eight more cities, including Birmingham, Colorado Springs, Long Island, Milwaukee, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, Tacoma and Tulsa. The curbside service enables Prime members to pick up their order at a local Whole Foods Market store within an hour — without leaving their car. . . . more

The 'explosion': When private equity money came for retail

Retail Dive
Fifteen years ago, Moody's analyst Charlie O'Shea was giving a talk at a conference when he mentioned having worked with private equity in his previous career in the banking world. Someone in the room asked him about the acquisition potential in retail.

"I said, 'You know … there's roughly $150 billion lying fallow in private equity funds right now,'" O'Shea told Retail Dive, recalling his 2003 talk. "'My guess is, we're going to see heightened activity, because this money has to be deployed somewhere." Soon after, the retail industry started to see an "explosion of buyout activity," he said.. . . more

Hot online beauty brand opens flagship

Chain Store Age
Glossier is wading deeper into physical retail, trading in its New York City “shoppable showroom” for a permanent location.

The start-up beauty brand, a Millennial fave, has opened Glossier Flagship in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood, on the same site where the company was founded and had a showroom. The two-level, 3,000-sq. ft. space, awash in the company’s signature pale pinks and red, encourages customers to experiment with product, complete with embedded sinks called wet bars.. . . more

Ulta Beauty makes first-ever acquisitions; to slow store expansion

Chain Store Age
Ulta Beauty's digital strategy is moving into high gear as it starts to slowly pull back on its aggressive brick-and-mortar expansion and build a “digital innovation ecosystem. In a release, Ulta said it has invested in digital workflow partner Iterate, and an online booking tool called Spruce. The company also has acquired two technology start-ups in artificial intelligence and augmented reality — QM Scientific and GlamSt — which the retailer said will allow it to better build out its AR and AI capabilities, especially as they relate to personalization.

On the brick-and-mortar front, Ulta reduced its U.S. store target by 200 stores, scaling back from 1,700 stores to 1,500. (As of Nov. 3, the retailer operated 1,163 locations across 50 states.). It plans to open 80 stores in 2019, 75 in 2020 and 70 in 2021, in sync with “a stronger focus on optimizing the store portfolio.”. . . more

Friday, November 9, 2018

Black Friday weekend store visits, spending is expected to surge

Chain Store Age
Omnichannel retailers are positioned to benefit the most from Black Friday weekend.

This was according to “The ICSC Holiday Intention Forecast Survey” from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), which revealed that consumers plan to spend an average of $554.90 Thanksgiving weekend. They will dedicate $207.30 of this budget to holiday gifts. Overall, nearly half (46%) of the weekend’s shoppers plan to spend more this year than they did last year.. . . more

This holiday season could seal Barnes & Noble's fate as the bookseller considers selling itself

This could be the most crucial holiday season in Barnes & Noble's history.

Its sales have been in a decline for six years as the bookseller cedes market share to Amazon and consumers turn to their phones or portable tablets instead of books. There's been a revolving door in the retailer's C-suite, and activist investors have piled on. Now, Barnes & Noble is considering a sale of its business after receiving interest from a handful of parties, including its founder and executive chairman, Leonard Riggio, and reportedly, U.K. retailer W.H. Smith.. . . more

11,000 UPS Freight Drivers May Go on Strike Monday, as Holiday Shopping Season Looms

Ahead of early holiday shopping, United Parcel Service Inc. has been warning UPS Freight customers of potential delays. That’s because on Monday, some 11,600 UPS Freight workers, who are also members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters union, may go on strike.

UPS posted a warning on its website and confirmed to Fortune in a statement that the company has already taken precautions against shipping delays by ceasing to accept new pickups and emptying its network of freight by Friday, Nov. 9. UPS Freight picked up new heavy shipments until yesterday, Nov. 7, and only guaranteed delivery of ground freight shipments through Nov. 8.. . . more

Sears lowers the boom on more stores

Chain Store Age
Sears on Thursday said that 40 locations — 29 Sears stores and 11 Kmart units — will close their doors in February 2019. Liquidation sales at the 40 stores are set to begin late next week.

The new closings are on top of the nearly 200 stores the company previously said it plans to shutter in the coming months. Combined, the closures are expected to leave Sears with fewer than about 500 store locations. The beleaguered retailer had previously estimated it has about 400 stores that could be profitable on their own if it survives bankruptcy.. . . more

Chick-fil-A intends to open its first Boston location

Boston Business Journal
Chick-fil-A Inc. says it intends to open its first Boston location at 569 Boylston St. in Copley Square, which is currently home to a Boloco restaurant.

The Atlanta-based fast-food franchise already has 11 locations across Massachusetts, including in Burlington, Hyannis and Dedham, with another restaurant opening later this month in Methuen. . . . more

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Amazon continues its price war with online competitors

Chain Store Age
Amazon may still be the online price leader, however it is losing its lead in certain categories.

This was according to “Price Wars: A Study of Online Competitiveness,” a study from Profitero that revealed Amazon is averaging 13% less expensive than other major online retailers in the United States.

Overall, Amazon had the lowest prices on the broadest selection of popular items, winning 11 out of 15 categories studied. Walmart had the most competitive prices to Amazon’s, with prices averaging 2.3% higher. Jet had prices 4.2% higher than Amazon, while Target averaged 11.9% higher. . . . more

Retail Industry Has High Expectations for Black Friday, Holiday Sales Season

If this year’s forecasts are accurate, it could turn out to be a very joyous holiday season for many retailers and mall owners.

A healthy economy is driving the projected higher sales.  Consumer sentiment is high, unemployment is at record lows, and the wage gains are increasing. . . . more

Investment Sales Rise in the Third Quarter, Full-Year Volume May Beat 2017 Numbers

Investment sales volume in the U.S. continued to grow in the third quarter. And the expectation is that deal volume for 2018 will end higher than last year.

Retail was the strongest sector for deal volume during the period, as volume shot up 90 percent year-over-year, according to RCA, likely a result of Brookfield’s acquisition of GGP. Still, the firm found that single-asset retail sales also picked up. . . . more

After long wait, 1st legal pot shops on East Coast to open

Boston Herald
With its youthful vibe and eclectic mix of culture, a small Massachusetts city seems a logical site for the nation's first legal recreational marijuana sales east of Colorado.

An existing medical marijuana dispensary in Northampton — nestled in Massachusetts' scenic Pioneer Valley — plans to open its doors within days to anyone 21 or older looking for products ranging from pre-rolled joints to cannabis-infused edibles, creams, lotions and cooking oils. A second store in the small town of Leicester could also open at or around the same time, while dozens of other retail applicants await final licensing approval from state regulators. . . . more

How Whole Foods has affected the grocery business one year after the Amazon deal

Boston Herald
It’s been more than a year since e-commerce giant bought Whole Foods Market Inc. for $13.7 billion, a deal many expected would upend the grocery industry, especially in the hotly competitive Southern California region.

Given Amazon’s record of aggressively using lower prices, technology and vast, efficient distribution to revolutionize retail sectors such as books and electronics, there was speculation Amazon would have the same impact on grocery sales. For instance, Amazon rolled out free two-hour delivery of Whole Foods products to Amazon Prime members in April and four months later added curbside grocery pickup at Whole Foods stores. . . . more

Are Food Halls A Magic Elixir For Retail Owners?
The concept of the food hall has taken deep root in U.S. retail properties, with scores up and running and hundreds in the pipeline.

Though a popular addition for struggling retail properties, celebrity chef Todd English said that without the right approach, food halls are not always the solution for owners.

He warned that some food halls are merely "glorified food courts with better options." He further called food halls a WeWork model, a kind of coworking space that "has to be about more than just food." . . . more

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

KeyPoint Partners Represents Buyer in Sale of West Bridgewater Plaza, West Bridgewater, MA

KeyPoint Partners
KeyPoint Partners, LLC (KPP) has negotiated the sale of West Bridgewater Plaza, a retail property in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts. KPP Vice President of Leasing Don Mace represented the buyer in the $3.4 million sale.. . . more

Giant Food Stores to buy five Shop ‘n Saves

Supermarket News
Giant Food Stores plans to acquire five Shop ‘n Save supermarkets from Supervalu Inc.

Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. Carlisle, Pa.-based Giant said late Tuesday that it will convert the Shop ‘n Save stores — in Smithsburg, Md.; Greencastle, Pa.; Berryville, Va; and Hedgesville and Martinsburg, W.Va. — to its Martin’s Food Markets banner.. . . more

Stow voters say no marijuana retail shops, cultivators

Wicked Local
Stow voters overwhelmingly approved zoning bylaw amendments to ban retail marijuana establishments at the Nov. 6 local election.

Questions 1, 3, 4 and 7, on the local election ballot, asked voters to ban craft marijuana cultivator cooperatives, marijuana cultivators, marijuana microbusinesses and marijuana retail establishments, respectively.. . . more

Dollar Shave Club plans vending machines in high-traffic areas

Retail Dive
Dollar Shave Club next week will debut vending machines with trial-size versions of its products, the company told Retail Dive in an email. The machines will feature six kits, for $12 each, of various products including shave, shower, hair care, skin care, freshen up and "greatest hits," with the most popular product from each product line. Dollar Shave Club members will get an app notification when they're near a machine, the company said.

The machines will be installed in high-traffic areas, including mass transit hubs like airports and train stations and "hyper-retail" shopping centers like malls and stadiums that feature entertainment and dining as well as retail, the company said.. . . more

Amazon expands newest brick-and-mortar format

Chain Store Age
Amazon has opened its third Amazon 4-star location.

The store is located on Fourth Street in Berkeley, Calif. The online giant introduced the concept in September, in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood. A second location opened in Lone Tree, Col., in early November.. . . more

Camuto Group purchase finalized

Chain Store Age
Authentic Brands, a global brand development, marketing and entertainment company, announced the purchase of a majority stake in the intellectual property of the Camuto Group’s proprietary brands including Vince Camuto, Louise et Cie, Sole Society, CC Corso Como, Enzo Angiolini and others, in partnership with DSW Inc. The acquisition links ABG to one of the largest footwear authorities in North America and boosts the value of its portfolio of global brands to more than $8.7 billion in annual retail sales. The deal was announced in October.

As part of the acquisition, ABG assumes the marketing, business development and licensing functions the Camuto Group’s proprietary brands. DSW takes on the Camuto Group operation including its design, sourcing, production and wholesale infrastructure.. . . more

Sears boss Eddie Lampert accused of possibly profiting from retailer's decline

USA Today
Sears Holdings chairman and investor Eddie Lampert may have profited from the company's plunge into bankruptcy, a group of creditors alleged Tuesday.

A committee organized to represent the retailer's unsecured creditors in court accused Lampert and his hedge fund ESL Investments of potentially structuring deals to gain an unfair edge as the company declined.. . . more

Retailers scramble for toy sales without Toys ‘R’ Us

Boston Herald
It’s shaping up to be a rock ’em sock ’em holiday in the nation’s toy aisles.

The liquidation of Toys ‘R’ Us has retailers on every front fighting for customers. They have added inventory, beefed up their websites and scheduled special in-store playtime events for kids.

The gloves are off among the surviving Big 3 toy sellers. Target has nearly doubled its merchandise from last year. Walmart is pumping up its stock by 30 percent in stores and 40 percent online. Amazon is expected to print its first toy catalog and market heavily to convert current non-Prime members.. . . more

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Destination Maternity to close 117 stores amid turnaround

Retail Dive
Destination Maternity last week said it will close 117 store and leased shops by the end of this year, with plans to shutter between 42 to 67 stores in fiscal 2019. The closures are part of a multiyear strategic plan, according to a press release.

The company expects to save between $2.3 million and $2.5 million from lease renewal negotiations this year, plus another $1 million from a new performance-based executive compensation scheme, CEO Marla Ryan said on a conference call.. . . more

Brookfield To 'Future-Proof' GGP Malls By Turning Them Into 'Mini Cities'
Brookfield has hinted at its plans for the malls it acquired late in the summer when it bought GGP in a $15B takeover. 

According to Brookfield CEO Brian Kingston during the company's recent Q3 earnings call, some assets might be sold — about 25 — but most will be redeveloped.

"... [W]e do think within that 100-or-so core portfolio of assets on a longer-term base, introducing other uses and effectively turning them into mini-cities is really how to future-proof all of these assets," Kingston said, though he didn't go into detail about what constitutes a "mini-city.". . . more

David's Bridal Said to Weigh Bankruptcy as Debt Deadline Looms

David’s Bridal Inc. is making preparations for a bankruptcy filing if the retailer can’t reach an out-of-court deal with its creditors, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The goal is to ease the chain’s debt load of about $760 million with a pre-negotiated restructuring plan either in or out of court, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private. Either way, David’s has no plans for major store closures or liquidations, and the business would keep operating regardless of a court filing, the people said. . . . more

Barnes & Noble’s Mystery Suitor Was U.K. Retailer WH Smith

The Wall Street Journal
When Barnes & Noble Inc.’s former chief executive sued the company in August over his dismissal, a tantalizing detail stood out in his complaint.

The struggling book retailer was on the verge of selling itself this past spring, he said, and had even accepted an offer. For months, people in the publishing industry wondered about the identity of the mystery would-be buyer.

People familiar with the situation say it was WH Smith PLC, a U.K. retailer that sells books, stationery and other products.. . . more

US Christmas sales predicted to surpass $1 trillion for the first time this year

Christmas holiday retail sales in the U.S. are expected to climb above the $1 trillion mark for the first time this year, on the back of low unemployment, solid income growth and higher consumer confidence, according to a study released Tuesday.

Total retail sales in the U.S. will hit $1.002 trillion during the holiday period — which it defines as spanning November 1 and December 31 this year — an increase of almost 6 percent from the previous year, marking the "strongest growth since 2011," data from market research firm eMarketer showed.. . . more

CVS results beat on demand for prescription drugs, beauty products

CVS Health
CVS Health Corp’s third-quarter profit beat analysts’ estimates on Tuesday, as it benefited from higher sales of prescription drugs as well as consumer health and beauty products.

Quarterly same-store sales at front-end stores rose 0.8 percent in contrast to analysts’ expectation of a 0.8 percent drop despite brick-and-mortar drugstore chains like CVS coming under increasing pressure from consumer shift to online options.. . . more

Monday, November 5, 2018

Sears nears bankruptcy financing deal without Lampert's hedge fund

Sears Holdings Corp is nearing a deal with new lenders to increase a bankruptcy financing package to as much as $600 million, from $300 million, without Chairman Eddie Lampert's hedge fund contributing, people familiar with the matter said on Monday.

The deal, which may come as soon as this week, could provide enough money for the beleaguered U.S. retailer to keep its shelves stocked during the holiday shopping season and retain sufficient support from creditors and vendors to emerge from bankruptcy proceedings.. . . more

Papa Gino's selling company, files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

Boston Herald
The parent company of Dedham-based Papa Gino's Pizzeria and D'Angelo Grilled Sandwiches announced this morning it has reached an agreement in principle to sell its fast-food chains to a portfolio company and today filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The proposed sale to Wynnchurch Capital would require court approval; however, PGHC Holdings, Inc., said in a statement it will solicit competing offers "to maximize the ultimate value of the sale, for both the company and its stakeholders."

The announcement comes after PGHC Holdings yesterday stunned employees and customers alike by abruptly shuttering 95 restaurants.. . . more

7 retailers that made pivotal deals in 2018

Retail Dive
Last year, retail and consumer deals remained relatively steady. But the pause in merger and acquisition activity is likely short lived, according to global strategy and management consultancy A.T. Kearney. In a report published earlier this year, the firm predicted more deals to occur as legacy brick-and-mortar players attempt to grow into new markets and find new customers. The firm also anticipated global M&A to heat up and private equity to continue its buying spree.

Retailers have not disappointed. This year, Walmart made its largest deal ever — $16 billion to acquire Indian e-commerce business Flipkart — Amazon made moves in the pharma and smart doorbell spaces, and Macy's picked up popular store concept creator Story.. . . more

Dollar Tree’s $9 Billion Problem: Family Dollar Isn’t Paying Off

The Wall Street Journal
Dollar Tree Inc.  won a hard-fought battle to buy Family Dollar more than three years ago, beating out Dollar General Corp. for the roughly 8,200-store chain that caters to low-income shoppers by selling everything from $40 wireless speakers to 55-cent cans of Vienna sausage.

Dollar Tree at the time was the smallest of the three discount retailers, and sought more heft to compete with Dollar General and the likes of Walmart Inc. and Target Corp. But now Dollar Tree executives are trying to prove the nearly $9 billion cash-and-stock purchase wasn’t a mistake. . . . more

After A Cautious Start, Dollar General Poised To Invade Cities With Its DGX Concept
As a budget chain, Dollar General has had its best success in rural and suburban markets, but now the chain is looking to make deeper inroads into cities, even into gentrifying urban cores better known for hipster boutiques. The chain has rolled out a new concept to do so: DGX.

So far there are only three DGX stores nationwide, compared with about 15,000 standard locations. But Dollar General Corp. CEO Todd Vasos wants to open another 13,000 stores in the coming years. . . . more

Destination Maternity closing up to 67 stores while boosting online sales

USA Today
Destination Maternity Corp. will trim its retail network – and shrink some stores – as part of a turnaround plan, the company’s top executive has announced.

“We intend to close between 42 and 67 stores and leased shops by year-end 2019,” CEO Marla Ryan said, noting the troubled firm wants to reduce brick-and-mortar expenses while boosting online sales.. . . more

Home improvement giant Lowe's slates sites for closure; Quincy on list

Boston Herald
Lowe's on Thomas Burgin Parkway in Quincy is one of 20 underperforming stores the home improvement chain announced this morning it will close by Feb. 1 across the United States.

Another 31 stores are being shuttered in Canada, Lowe's said.

Only one other Lowe's in New England, located in Orange, Conn., made the hit list.. . . more

Friday, November 2, 2018

Then and Now: Decade of Change?

KeyPoint Partners
This is a time of great change in the retail industry. Everyday there’s a new headline about the so-called “retail apocalypse” as we hear of another venerable old-school retailer closing up shop.
In that light, if I were to ask you how much a list of the Top 25 Retailers by Store Count in a given region of the country had changed in the last ten years, what would you say – the list had changed a great deal, somewhat, or not very much, really?

We decided to use our proprietary GRIIDTM retail database to see how much change this region (Eastern Massachusetts/Greater Boston) has experienced during the past 10 years. To do so, we listed the top 25 retailers by store count in 2008 and in 2018.. . . more

Sale date for retail pot uncertain

Sentinel & Enterprise
Marijuana regulators could issue another six so-called final licenses for marijuana businesses when they meet today, but the retailers who have already been given final approval still have not pinned down when they will open to customers.

The Cannabis Control Commission met Thursday afternoon to consider granting six final licenses, including one for a Pharmacannis Massachusetts retail store in Wareham. But as the legal marijuana marketplace continues to take shape in Massachusetts almost two years after being approved by voters, final does not necessarily mean final.. . . more

Holiday spending set to rise 5.8%, FTI says

Retail Dive
Total discretionary holiday spending this year is set to increase by about 5.8% over the 2017 holiday season, with in-store sales expected to rise almost 4% over last year's holiday period and online sales anticipated to grow about 15.5%, according to FTI Consulting's Holiday Retail Forecast.

FTI projected that about 60% of total U.S. retail sales growth this holiday season will be store-driven, with the remaining 40% happening through online channels, a departure from last year's holiday season sales breakdown, which saw closer to a 50/50 split between these channels, FTI said.. . . more

Kohl's is sweetening its rewards program this holiday season

It will be a challenge for the retailer to top last year, when same-store sales climbed nearly 7 percent, making it Kohl's best holiday quarter ever, CMO Greg Revelle said Thursday during an event with the media. But he said the retailer is expecting to benefit from a slew of rival retailers such as Bon-Ton filing for bankruptcy and shutting stores.

As part of its strategy, Kohl's said it will be giving back more of its "Kohl's Cash" than ever before, including a pre-Black Friday event Thursday where shoppers can get $15 to use for every $50 spent. The same deal will run again from Nov. 19 to Nov. 23, according to Kohl's, and again on Cyber Monday. Shoppers are able to later redeem "Kohl's Cash" in stores and online on specific dates.. . . more

Walmart’s Jet adds two hot brands

Chain Store Age
Walmart-owned has beefed up its assortment and appeal to younger consumers.

Jet has opened dedicated shops on its website for Nike and Bonobos. (Walmart acquired men’s apparel retailer Bonobos in June 2017.) Jet is offering free shipping over $35 and free returns for both brands.. . . more

The holiday shopping season is expected to be a record-setter for online retail

Yahoo Finance
It’s November, and that means the holiday shopping season has officially begun, and this year is expected to be a record-setter.

According to a research report from Adobe Analytics, online shopping will hit new highs in November and December. Adobe is forecasting that U.S. shoppers will spend $124.1 billion online during those two months, up from $108.2 billion, or an increase of about 14.8% year-over-year. That works out to be more than $1 out of every $6 spent during the holidays overall.. . . more

Starbucks sales surge in fourth quarter on strength in the U.S., but profit shrinks

The Seattle Times
After reporting record fourth-quarter sales Thursday, Starbucks executives seemed confident that they had weathered a tumultuous year and put in place a clear, long-term plan focused on streamlined operations, returning cash to shareholders and growing in the U.S. and China.

The Seattle company said sales at existing U.S. stores rose 4 percent during the quarter, the strongest performance in more than a year for that closely watched measure of retail health. Embedded in that growth, however, was a 1 percent decline in transactions, more than compensated for by a 5 percent increase in the average value of each transaction.. . . more

Custom suit retailer Indochino opening second Boston location

Boston Business Journal
Custom suit retailer Indochino is opening a showroom in Boston’s Seaport District early next year, another example of the “clicks to bricks” trend that has swept the burgeoning neighborhood.

The location at 79 Seaport Blvd. will be the brand’s second bricks-and-mortar location in the city. Indochino sells made-to-measure suits, shirts, blazers, chinos and overcoats, with a style guide walking customers through a number of customization options including lapels, buttons, linings and monograms. The garments are then shipped to the customer’s home. Custom suit prices start at $399, and shirt prices start at $79.. . . more

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Amazon’s second ever 4-star store opening in Denver

The Denver Post
Stores that offer customers a unique experience are all the rage in the retail industry these days. It’s not just about what you buy, it’s how much you enjoy visiting the place where you buy it.

With that in mind, the experience offered by the 4,000-square-foot Amazon store that opens Thursday inside the Park Meadows mall is best described as the physical equivalent of walking into the homepage.

The store is just the second Amazon 4-star in the country, trailing one that opened in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood by a few weeks. Plenty more are likely. A Berkeley, Calif., location has already be announced.. . . more