Wednesday, November 20, 2019

7 major store closure announcements from 2019 and why they matter

Retail Dive
By November of this year retail store closures were already nearly 55% higher than during the entirety of 2018. That's according to advisory firm Coresight Research, which put the number of closures at more than 9,000 as of Nov. 1.

The total announced closures could hit 12,000 by the end of 2019, Coresight estimates. "Initially it was something of a surprise, but I think you could see the momentum building as the year went on," John Mercer, head of research at Coresight, said of this year's closures. "It's up very strongly against last year." he added. "2018 was, in retrospect, maybe something of a lull in closures between two very strong years.". . . more

Saks Manhattan Flagship Sees Value Plummet in Retail Apocalypse

NREI
The value of Hudson’s Bay Co.’s Saks Fifth Avenue flagship store has plummeted over the last five years, pulled down by retail woes and sliding rents in a high-profile Manhattan shopping district.

The building at 611 Fifth Ave. was recently appraised at $1.6 billion, according to a filing by the Toronto-based company, dropping almost 60% from about $3.7 billion five years ago.. . . more

Breaking Down CBRE’s 2020 Market Outlook

NREI
CBRE provided NREI with an exclusive sneak peek at its 2020 Real Estate Market Outlook report.

CBRE sees more growth ahead for the U.S. commercial real estate industry in 2020, although the pace of expansion could slow thanks to already strong fundamentals that will be tough to improve upon combined with some broader economic headwinds as part of its 2020 Real Estate Market Outlook. . . . more

Urban Outfitters’ Q3 profit falls amid ongoing problems at namesake brand

Chain Store Age
Urban Outfitters’ reported a steep decline in the third quarter even as its total sales rose.

Sales rose 1.4% to $987 million, less than the $1 billion analysts were expecting. The increase was helped by the company’s latest initiative, rental subscription service, Nuuly, which launched last summer.

Same-store sales increased 3%, driven by growth in the digital channel, partially offset by negative retail store sales. By brand, comp net sales increased 9% at Free People, 4% at the Anthropologie Group and were flat at Urban Outfitters. . . . more

Lowe's calms nerves with profit forecast raise after Home Depot sales warning

Reuters
Lowe’s Cos Inc raised its annual profit forecast on Wednesday, helping ease concerns over the health of the U.S. consumer after larger rival Home Depot Inc cut its full-year sales estimates ahead of the all-important holiday season.

Fewer discounts lifted Lowe’s profit margins in the third quarter, while an increased assortment of industrial products like drills and power saws attracted more high-spending builders and handymen.. . . more

Walmart CEO says the biggest ‘hazard’ for in-home grocery delivery is dogs

CNBC
Running into dogs “big and small” has become a “new hazard of working at Walmart,” CEO Doug McMillon says.

Walmart last month started an in-home delivery option experiment in Kansas City, Pittsburgh and Vero Beach, Florida. It has said it plans to scale this $19.95 a month offering “aggressively.”. . . more

High-flying Target raises forecast going into holidays

StarTribune
Target's third-quarter results — including a 4.5% increase in comparable sales — showed that its investments in new brands and faster delivery seem to be paying off at a time when other retailers, such as department stores, continue to struggle.

Most notably, Target said apparel sales, which have been soft industrywide, rose more than 10% in the quarter, helping to not only boost overall sales but also to increase its profits since clothing tends to have higher margins. Executives noted the retailer also sold more apparel at regular price without having to discount it.. . . more

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

What department stores gave up when they gave up on the holidays

Retail Dive
Macy's Herald Square in New York City arguably launches the holidays, not just for the department store or even retail, but for a lot of people around the world.

Its Thanksgiving Day parade does the launching, that is — an event that has been televised since 1948, a year after the movie "Miracle on 34th Street" also helped seal its connection to the season, which remains strong decades on.​. . . more

3 retail turnaround success stories, and 3 turnarounds to watch

Retail Dive
Turnarounds — however you define them — are hard. That's especially true in retail, where tastes and the markets change quickly. If you are a retailer whose sales trends have turned negative, chances are your path back to greatness, or even stability, is steep.

"A lot of people think of retail as this boring business​. But it's not boring at all. It's incredibly exciting and it's changing all the time," said Joel Bines, managing director of consulting firm AlixPartners' retail practice.. . . more

A roundup of retail holiday deals

Retail Dive
Fourth quarter of 2019 is a make it or break it time for many retailers.

The stakes are high, especially with fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas making for a shorter shopping season, even though studies show that consumers started preparing for holiday gift-giving as early as July. That means retailers are focusing on ways to leverage promotions and go after market share. 

Below is a running list of what some of the biggest players in the industry are doing to compete.. . . more

Kushner Cos.’ Times Square Loan Heads for Workout Amid Rent Woes

NREI
A $285 million loan taken out by the Kushner Cos. will require a renegotiation of terms after the firm’s tenants broke their leases, the real estate company said Friday.

The loan was issued by Deutsche Bank AG in 2016 to allow the firm to refinance six floors of retail space in the former New York Times building. Rent income at the property is falling short of interest payments, according to an analyst note this week on behalf of Wells Fargo & Co., which is managing the loan. The loan was being transferred to a so-called special servicer, which typically oversees such deal talks, according to the note.. . . more

Same-store sales rise for Kohl's, but earnings guidance drops sharply and stock plunges

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Sales at established Kohl's Corp. stores rose modestly in the third quarter, but overall revenue was flat, earnings fell short of analysts' expectations and the company sharply lowered its projected annual profits.

The good news was a return to positive sales growth at stores open at least a year after two quarters of declines in the important retailing indicator. For the three months ended November 2, sales at such stores were up 0.4%.. . . more

TJX raises full-year profit forecast after beating quarterly estimates

Reuters
TJX Cos Inc raised its full-year profit forecast on Tuesday ahead of the holiday shopping season and reported better-than-expected quarterly same-store sales as the off-price retailer’s steep discounts brought in more shoppers.

TJX, which draws in price-conscious shoppers with the promise of sought-after and luxury brands like Dolce & Gabbana and Calvin Klein at discounts of up to 60%, has been steadily expanding with a program of new store openings and remodeling of existing ones.. . . more

Home Depot misses 3Q sales expectations, slashes guidance

Yahoo Finance
Home Depot missed top-line expectations in the fiscal third quarter and lowered its guidance for the full year, as sales results in the company’s home market fell short of expectations.

The nation’s largest home improvement retailer said impacts from tariffs, falling lumber prices and hiccups with its multi-year investment plan created a drag on results.. . . more

Monday, November 18, 2019

39% of consumers have ditched in-store purchases due to out-of-stocks

Retail Dive
Seventy-five percent of millennial shoppers have left a store without purchasing an item and instead bought the item online, according to the 12th annual Global Shopper Survey from Zebra Technologies. Fifty-three percent of Gen X shoppers reported doing the same.

The leading reason for leaving stores to purchase online was out-of-stock items; 43% of retail associates surveyed cited customer complaints about out-of-stocks as their biggest point of frustration, while 39% of consumers left a store without purchasing due to the issue. . . . more

Brookfield opens brand new mall in Connecticut

Chain Store Age
“This is pretty shocking,” announced the anchor on the local Eyewitness News broadcast in Connecticut recently. “Stores actually opened at a new mall in Norwalk.”

The SoNo Collection, so named because it actually resides in the upscale suburb of South Norwalk, is a brand new “contemporary shopping experience,” from Brookfield Properties that brings Nordstrom and Bloomingdales to Southern Connecticut.. . . more

Bloomingdale’s opens first new store in four years

Chain Store Age
Bloomingdale’s has officially opened the doors to its new location in Norwalk, Connecticut.

Located at the newly opened SoNo Collection shopping center, the full-line store is Bloomingdale’s first new store since it opened in Honolulu, Hawaii in 2015. It also is Connecticut’s exclusive Bloomingdale’s location.. . . more

Younger consumers more likely to shop during Thanksgiving weekend

Retail Dive
The NRF estimates that the holiday season will generate $727.9 billion and $730.7 billion in sales, a potential increase of between 3.8% and 4.2% from last year. Previous research from Adobe Analytics estimates that online sales between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday will account for 20% of total holiday revenue.

Even still, the holiday shopping season has technically already begun and will extend beyond Thanksgiving. A report from RetailMeNot found that shoppers began buying their holiday goods in July. Meanwhile, Profitero found that 45% of shoppers started shopping before November. . . . more

Haven’t Started Christmas Shopping? These People Are Already Done

The Wall Street Journal
As Thanksgiving-to-Christmas retail promotions batter inboxes and shout ever-louder from stores, some highly motivated shoppers are avoiding the frenzy altogether. The push to wrap up purchases before Thanksgiving is especially strong among mothers, who often still shoulder most of the holiday shopping within families. Fifty-one percent of moms said they started shopping before November this year, up from 47% a year ago, according to a National Retail Federation survey of nearly 8,000 consumers conducted last month. That compares with about 40% of all holiday shoppers in both years.

A shorter-than-usual period between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year is hastening the early push. Some big retailers are pushing marketing promotions earlier, hoping to coax dollars out of shoppers sooner. . . . more

REI Co-op To Open Four Stores On November 15

SGB Media
For the first time in its 81-year history, REI Co-op will open four new stores in a single day on November 15, bringing quality outdoor gear, experiences and expertise to Farmington, UT; Huntsville, AL; Oklahoma City and Williston, VT. By the end of the year, REI will have opened a total of eight new stores, relocated two existing stores to larger locations, and opened three new boathouses in 2019.

In addition to continuing to expand its brick-and-mortar locations, this year REI also grew its rental and used gear business and debuted a new in-store experience in North Conway, New Hampshire that combines retail, experiences and rentals. Over the last five years, REI has seen more than 27 percent growth in membership and 25 percent growth in revenue – much of that growth continuing to come from brick and mortar retail.. . . more

Friday, November 15, 2019

Rent the Runway and Nordstrom have big plans to reshape retail

Fast Company
Rent the Runway, the decade-old clothing rental platform now valued at $1 billion, is expanding its partnership with heritage department store Nordstrom. The two companies tell Fast Company exclusively that they will be blending their capabilities along many dimensions, including creating new products together and incorporating Nordstrom inventory into the Rent the Runway system.

For Rent the Runway customers, the most immediate and obvious shift is that they will be able to drop off their rentals at more Nordstrom locations. . . . more

How Prevalent are Rent Renegotiations for Ailing Retailers?

NREI
Fast-fashion retail giant Forever 21 will keep open 60 of its U.S. stores that previously were slated to be shuttered after the company filed for bankruptcy in September. That’s thanks to the struggling retailer securing rent cuts from its largest landlords, according to Bloomberg.

In September, Forever 21 said it would close up to 178 U.S. stores as part of its restructuring, as well as shutter most of its European and Asian locations. Now with the rent reductions, the retailer is looking at closing roughly 111 U.S. stores.. . . more

U.S. companies say consumer still strong even as broader outlook dims

Reuters
Walmart became the latest company to point to a strong U.S. consumer, adding to a raft of firms in recent weeks citing healthy demand at a time when spending is seen as an increasingly key support for the economy.

Several companies including banks and homebuilders have painted an upbeat picture of consumer health in conference calls this reporting season, even as many firms have offered more dour outlooks especially given the lingering U.S.-China trade war.. . . more

Wait. Is that ... hope for JCPenney?

CNN Business
JCPenney has a long way to go before it's a turnaround story. But the company had some rare good news Friday: It was able to trim its losses in the third quarter, and it raised its profit forecast, even as its sales continue to fall.

The company reported an operating net loss of $97 million in the quarter. That's 41% smaller than the loss it recorded in the same quarter a year earlier. In 2019, JCPenney has lost $300 million.. . . more

Thursday, November 14, 2019

As Gen Z turns away from makeup, beauty braces for an ugly holiday season

Retail Dive
Ulta is the poster child of beauty. So when analysts say things aren't going its way, you pay attention.

By the beginning of 2014, Ulta Beauty (which was then known as Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance) made $2.67 billion in net sales and had 675 total stores. Back then, CEO Mary Dillon was fresh on the job, having just joined the team that July.. . . more

Eight things to know about Starbucks’s massive new store in Chicago

Chain Store Age
Starbucks Coffee Company is opening its largest location ever, a 35,000-sq.-ft. location in Chicago, on Friday.

The new Starbucks Reserve Roastery, housed inside Crate & Barrel’s former flagship on Michigan Avenue, marks the company’s sixth location of its upscale roastery format, an experiential concept that specializes in premium small-batch roasting coffees. Designed to celebrate the company’s heritage, the roasting and craft of coffee and the locale, the five-floor Chicago outpost boasts three coffee bars, a cocktail bar and a bakery and cafe.. . . more

Brookfield Snaps Up JPMorgan’s U.S. Mall Stakes in Multi-Billion Deal

NREI
Brookfield Property Partners LP has boosted its bet on malls, adding exposure to a corner of the real estate market that some of the firm’s investment rivals are avoiding.

Brookfield recently bought JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s holdings in four U.S. shopping centers in which the firms were co-invested, said people familiar with the matter. New York State Teachers’ Retirement System also had a stake in two of the malls, one of the people said. In a simultaneous deal, JPMorgan and NYSTRS bought Brookfield’s stake in a fifth mall, the Bridgewater Commons in New Jersey.. . . more

Exclusive Research: Light at the End of the Tunnel?

NREI
In a seemingly interminable procession, one venerable retail chain after another shuts down stores, restructures under bankruptcy protection or closes shop entirely. (In some cases, it’s been all of the above.) Retail real estate owners and managers have struggled to cope. They scramble to restructure leases or find replacement tenants. The most creative have changed up tenant mixes, bringing in more entertainment or service-oriented tenants so their income streams are less reliant on the vagaries plaguing the retail sector.

The question looking ahead is whether more of the same is in store for the sector as more sales activity shifts online or if this painful stretch is nearing its end.. . . more

Walmart raises earnings forecast, expects strong holiday sales

Yahoo Finance
Walmart Inc reported better-than-expected third quarter U.S. comparable sales on Thursday as people spent more at its stores and website and the retailer picked up market share in food and other groceries.

Sales at U.S. stores open at least a year rose 3.2%, excluding fuel, in the quarter ended Oct.31. Analysts estimated growth of 2.9%, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Online sales rose 41%, higher than the previous quarter's increase of 37 pct and greater than the company's expectation of 35%.. . . more

Kraft Group to open esports arena at Patriot Place

Boston Business Journal
Esports league Boston Uprising and Helix eSports will open an 18,000-square-foot esports complex at Patriot Place in Foxborough this January, marking the first gaming center adjacent to a major professional sporting venue, the Kraft Group said Wednesday.

The Boston Uprising practice facility and Helix eSports gaming center will feature 100 gaming stations with personal computers, gaming and network infrastructure and 30 public gaming consoles open to the public. Kraft Group Overwatch owns and operates Boston Uprising, which is one of 20 esports franchises competing in the Overwatch League — a professional esports league for the team-based multi-player video game Overwatch. . . . more

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Grocery Outlet Taps Walmart Veteran to Lead East Coast Expansion

Winsight Grocery Business
Discounter Grocery Outlet has charged a former executive of Walmart and Boxed.com with awakening a sleepy store base in central Pennsylvania.

Heather Mayo, who recently was Boxed’s chief merchandising officer and spent 12 years with Walmart’s Sam’s Club division as an operations SVP, and before that more than a decade with BJ’s Wholesale Club, joined Grocery Outlet on Oct. 7 as EVP of the company’s East region. In this role, Mayo is expected to lead the expansion of a small pocket of independently owned discount stores to serve as a second front of long-term expansion for the Emeryville, Calif.-based company, which is currently doing most of its new-store growth in Southern California.. . . more

For Retailers, Toys Can Be A Holiday Gift, Or The Nightmare Before Christmas

Forbes
Toys can be a retailer’s worst nightmare before Christmas.

Having hard-to-find, bestselling toys in stock helps retailers draw holiday shoppers to their stores and websites. Those shoppers tend to make other holiday purchases, so luring them in with deals on toys is a smart move.. . . more

Amazon plans new grocery store in L.A. as it thinks about how to conquer the industry

The Dallas Morning News
Amazon.com Inc. said Monday that it plans to open a new type of grocery store in Los Angeles next year, another step in the e-commerce giant’s multi-pronged effort to capture a larger piece of the massive U.S. grocery business.

The company said the store in the Woodland Hills neighborhood would be distinct from Whole Foods Market Inc., the higher-end chain Amazon bought in 2017 that specializes in natural and organic groceries. . . . more

KKR Makes Formal Approach to Walgreens Boots on Record Buyout

Bloomberg
KKR & Co. has formally approached drugstore giant Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. about a deal to take the company private, in what could be the biggest-ever leveraged buyout, people familiar with the matter said.

The New York-based private equity firm has been preparing a proposal to potentially buy out shareholders of Walgreens Boots, said the people, who asked not to be identified because discussions are private. It’s unclear how feasible the transaction would be, given the need for large amounts of financing, and Walgreens Boots and KKR could decide against pursuing a deal, the people said.. . . more

Losing to win: Why major retailers need to close more stores

Retail Dive
It's been a banner year for store closing sales.

At first, that didn't seem likely. While retail closures were rife in 2017, that "slowed considerably in 2018," according to a Credit Suisse note updating its store closure index. But things have picked up again this year, and the firm has recorded the highest number "at this point in the year for any year" in the index's 24-year history: 7,600. . . . more

5 store concepts that no longer exist

Retail Dive
Sometimes even the best-performing retailers have bad ideas. And for the retailers that can't afford to make a mistake, missteps can be devastating.

On the surface some ideas appear to be good — expanding into growing categories, rolling out smaller stores with less expensive rent, etc. — but success boils down to execution and whether venturing beyond the core model is worth the risk.

According to Nick Egelanian, president of retail consultants firm SiteWorks, retailers that "get out of their lane have a very high failure rate when they try to get into another lane.". . . more

Friday, November 8, 2019

Burlington readies more store openings this month

Home Textiles Today
On track to add 50 new stores to its portfolio in fiscal 2019, Burlington Stores is set to grand-open three units this month.

This fall has been a period of growth for Burlington as the 736-unit chain approaches its goal to eventually reach a 1,000-store count.. . . more

Wegmans tops list of best places to work in retail

syracuse.com
Wegmans is the top place to work in retail on a national list once again.

Great Place to Work and Fortune magazine ranked the grocery store chain first on their list of top places to work in retail for 2019. It's the fourth year in a row Wegmans topped the list.

The rest of the top five included Publix, CarMax, REI and Nugget Market.. . . more

Though a Buyout Deal for Walgreens Is Far from Certain, it Would Make Sense for the Retailer

NREI
Drugstore giant Walgreens is looking to go private, Reuters and Bloomberg reported on Tuesday. Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., which reportedly has a market value of more than $55 billion, is following in the steps of other retailers including Hudson’s Bay in testing the going-private waters.

Walgreens, which operates roughly 9,200 drugstores around the U.S., has had informal talks with private equity firms, and Reuters reported that the company hired Evercore Partners Inc. to look into a possible deal. . . . more

A bad Rx for what ails Walgreens

Chicagobusiness.com
$55 billion in unproductive debt won't solve Walgreens' business problems.

But that's how much the Deerfield-based drugstore chain likely would borrow to fund a leveraged buyout CEO Stefano Pessina reportedly has tried to engineer. The current status of his efforts is unclear, but several media outlets report that he made the rounds of private-equity firms in recent months to gauge their interest in backing what would be the biggest such deal in corporate history. . . . more

Party City Just Lost Two-Thirds Of Its Value, But Don’t Blame Only On Helium Shortage Or Halloween Miss

Forbes
Party City has become its own party pooper: the stock slumped 67% on Thursday to its all-time low of $2 a share after the largest U.S. specialty party-supplies chain posted an unexpected third-quarter loss and cut its annual outlook.

The Elmsford, New York-based company reported a 2.3% drop in sales to $540.2 million, hurt by “headwinds from the helium shortage” that dented its balloons sales. Party City, which in September said it was adding about 25,000 temporary employees for its critical Halloween business, also blamed the costumes business shortfall at its stores. . . . more

Gap shares tumble after CEO Art Peck steps down and retailer issues weak forecast

CNBC
Gap Inc. shares tumbled in extended trading Thursday after the company said CEO Art Peck will be stepping down immediately, and be replaced by the founders’ son temporarily.

Gap, which has been struggling to revive its sales, also slashed its forecast for the year, citing a “challenging quarter.” 

Robert Fisher, currently the company’s non-executive chairman, will serve as CEO on an interim basis. He previously served as interim CEO in 2007. . . . more

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Sears to close 96 more stores; gets cash lifeline

Chain Store Age
The parent company of Sears and Kmart is lowering the boom — again.

Transformco will close another 96 Sears and Kmart stores, leaving the Sears/Kmart chain with a total of 182 locations. Store-closing sales will start on Dec. 2, with the locations expected to go dark by February.. . . more

Is the shortened holiday season just an excuse for retailers to post soft sales results?

Retail Dive
While Black Friday is still weeks away, several retailers have already begun rolling out holiday promotions in an attempt to make up for this year's shortened shopping season.

Target in October announced it would offer free shipping on "hundreds of thousands of items" beginning in November and running through Dec. 21. The mass merchant touted the fact that consumers can receive such benefits with no membership required, a move that takes direct aim at Amazon's Prime membership, which costs $119 annually. . . . more

Papyrus considers store closures as it negotiates with landlords

Retail Dive
Stationary retailer Papyrus is working to win rent concessions from landlords and could close some stores, according to an emailed Debtwire report. The retailer's owner, Schurman Retail Group, did not immediately respond to Retail Dive's request for comment.

The retailer, which last said on its website it had more than 260 stores, has hired A&G Realty as it looks to negotiate with its landlords, according to Debtwire.​. . . more

Under New Leadership, Will McDonald’s Grill Up a New Real Estate Strategy?

NREI
Steve Easterbrook became president and CEO of McDonald’s Corp. in March 2015, just eight months before the fast-food chain rejected the idea of spinning off its vast real estate holdings into a REIT. But now that Easterbrook has been ousted as the head honcho of McDonald’s, will the country’s No. 1 fast-food chain as measured by revenue revisit the REIT route?

Don’t count on it, experts say. It’s about as likely that McDonald’s would launch a REIT spin-off as it would be to spot the new president and CEO, Chris Kempczinski, chowing down on a Burger King or Wendy’s hamburger.. . . more

CVS adds to store closings and announces plans to shutter 22 stores next year

USA Today
After closing 46 stores this year, CVS Health announced it plans to shutter another 22 locations in 2020.

The upcoming "planned closure of 22 underperforming retail pharmacy stores" cost CVS about $96 million as a "store rationalization charges" in its third-quarter earnings report released Wednesday.. . . more

Food halls drive mall traffic, not clothing sales

RetailWire
Food courts and halls are attracting traffic to malls around the country, according to a new survey by UBS. They are not, however, proving successful in helping retail stores in those same shopping centers sell more clothing.

UBS’s research, CNBC reports, finds that consumers are increasingly going online to buy clothing rather than visiting malls. Today, 25 percent of all apparel is bought online, according to the investment bank, which forecasts that 31 percent of clothing sales will be purchased through digital channels by 2023.. . . more

Costco and Instacart team up with free one-hour Rx deliveries

CNBC
Costco is teaming up with delivery start-up Instacart to test free delivery of prescription drugs to members.

The pilot program is limited to California and Washington state, according to two people familiar, and it includes delivery to a Costco member’s home or office. One Costco member who has used the service told CNBC that he received a text earlier this month to offer him the medication delivery option as an alternative to picking up the meds in store. . . . more

Facing shorter holiday season, U.S. retailers rev up faster delivery, early deals

Reuters
U.S. retailers are rushing in with faster-than-ever delivery deals and earlier Christmas promotions in hopes of easing the impact of this year’s shorter holiday selling season, a period that can be make-or-break for retailers.

Thanksgiving, the traditional kick-off of the U.S. holiday shopping period, falls on Nov. 28 this year, a week later than last year’s Nov. 22, leaving retailers with six fewer days to drive sales between Thanksgiving and Christmas day.. . . more

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Walmart overtaking Amazon? Not so fast

Retail Dive
Purchase frequency and even Prime membership at Amazon is declining, while Walmart is on the rise, according to a consumer study from retail analytics firm First Insight emailed to Retail Dive. In 2017, 80% of consumers shopped Amazon six or more times each month, but that has declined, to 49% last year and 40% this year, according to the report. Meanwhile, those shopping at Amazon twice a month or less has risen from 11% in 2017 to 33% last year and 39% this year.

Walmart is on the opposite trajectory, with the percentage of those making more than four trips there each month edging up from 58% in 2018 to 63% in 2019.. . . more

Brilliant Earth continues retail store expansion

Chain Store Age
Brilliant Earth opened its eighth physical location, a showroom in the heart of Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Square. The 2,000-sq.-ft. showroom, in the penthouse suite of 1701 Walnut Street, is designed to provide a low-pressure environment with an appointment model that allows for a more hands on, personalized interaction tailored to customers’ individual preferences. 

The new Brilliant Earth features contemporary architectural elements, including high ceilings and glass walls, juxtaposed with exposed brick that evokes the building’s historic nature. It joins the brand’s existing spaces in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, San Diego, Denver, and Washington, D.C.. . . more

Mastercard SpendingPulse: Holiday sales to rise 3.1%; lists top 10 shopping days

Chain Store Age
A just-released holiday survey is not quite as robust as most others.

U.S. retail sales are expected to grow 3.1% (excluding automotive) between November 1 and December 24 this year over last, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse. By comparison, the National Retail Federation forecast holiday sales to increase between 3.8% and 4.2% over 2018. . . . more

Pier 1 gets new CEO — and more time from NYSE

Chain Store Age
Pier 1 Imports has tapped its finance head to do double duty.

The struggling home décor retailer named Robert Riesbeck as CEO and a director of the company. Riesbeck, who joined Pier 1 in July as CFO, will also continue to serve in that position. As CEO, he replaces Cheryl Bachelder, who has acted as interim chief since December 2018. She will remain a member of the board.

Pier 1 also announced that the New York Stock Exchange has accepted the company’s plan to regain compliance with NYSE continued listing standards. . . . more

UPS and CVS deliver prescription medicine via drone to US residential customers

TechCrunch
UPS is rolling along with its drone delivery program, working with partner CVS Pharmacy to deliver prescription drugs to customer doorsteps via its newly deployed commercial drones. UPS delivered medications to two paying customers on November 1 using the Matternet M2 drone system that the logistics company is using in partnership with Matternet.

UPS received approval last month from the FAA to fly its fleet of commercial drones in service of customers, and now it plans to iterate its drone delivery program “in the coming months,” with the aim of ensuring that it can deploy UAVs in a commercial capacity at increasing scale. It also launched “UPS Flight Forward,” a dedicated division focused on autonomous drone delivery.. . . more

Check out the Seaport's long-awaited first grocery store

Boston Business Journal
Popular California-based grocery chain Trader Joe's is now open in Boston's Seaport District – the long-awaited first grocery store for the booming neighborhood.

The store is located at 44 Thomson Place, a brick-and-beam former warehouse that's part of the Thomson Place retail corridor — a block of three historic warehouses that had served as offices for Thomson Reuters prior to its redevelopment by Invesco Real Estate and Crosspoint Associates Inc. Margulies Perruzzi Architects designed Thomson Place, which Lee Kennedy Co. built.. . . more

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Walgreens Boots Alliance reportedly considers going private

Drug Store News
Walgreens Boots Alliance is looking into whether or not it should take the company private, according to a report from Reuters. The company, which has a roughly $55 billion market cap, has been in preliminary talks with large private equity firms, the report said, noting that it would constitute the biggest leveraged buyout ever.

Reuters cited anonymous sources who said the company has retained Evercore Partners to see whether a deal would be possible, and added that several firms have been reticent, citing concerns around funding the deal and the company’s future business prospects. . . . more

Wedding gown retailer David’s Bridal reaches deal to remain in business

The Dallas Morning News
Wedding gown retailer David’s Bridal Inc. reached a debt deal that would head off a second trip to bankruptcy court, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The company held talks with lenders and equity holders from its previous bankruptcy including Oaktree Capital Group, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. . . . more

Kroger projects momentum for same-store sales, improved profit for 2020

Supermarket News
The Kroger Co. is updating investors today on how its Restock Kroger framework is repositioning the company to create value for shareholders, customers and associates at its Investor Conference being held at the New York Stock Exchange.

Under its two-year-old Restock Kroger program, the company has been focusing on private label brand growth and merchandising, rearranging store layouts and expanding services such as home delivery and self-checkouts.. . . more

UPS expects 26% jump in returns this peak season

Retail Dive
UPS projects returns will peak on Jan. 2 with 1.9 million returns, representing a 26% bump from the peak return day in 2018, according to a press release.

Returns volume before Christmas day will be even more intense in aggregate, however, with UPS projecting 1.6 million returns per day in the week preceding the holiday. . . . more

NYC’s Fifth Avenue Sees Steep Rent Decline as Tenants Struggle

NREI
A few blocks makes all the difference when it comes to rent on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue.

Lower Fifth Avenue, an area between 42nd and 49th streets, saw the biggest asking rent decline among Manhattan’s prominent retail corridors in the third quarter, falling 25% from the same period last year, according to a report by Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. In contrast, rents along upper Fifth Avenue, a swanky shopping district that runs from 49th Street north to Central Park, slipped just 0.7% over the same period.. . . more

Costco unveils holiday savings with early Black Friday deals, discounts on Apple MacBook, TVs and more

USA Today
Costco has released its "holiday savings offers," including some of its Black Friday doorbusters with deals on televisions, electronics, gaming systems, jewelry, food and more.

The members-only warehouse club is holding its sale in five windows, with some deals set to begin three weeks ahead of Thanksgiving and others to continue through Cyber Monday. . . . more

Shake Shack Cuts Key Sales Forecast, Stock Plunges

Investor's Business Daily
Shake Shack trimmed its same-store sales outlook for the full year to around 1.5%. That's down from the company's earlier expectations for around 2%. However, Shake Shack ratcheted its forecast for total revenue higher, to $592 million to $597 million.

Shake Shack defines same-store sales as sales at stores open at least two years.

For the third quarter, that metric grew 2%. A bump in consumer traffic and a menu prices helped that increase. But the figure was below Consensus Metrix forecasts for a 2.9% gain. . . . more

Where Boston ranks among places with the most franchises

Boston Business Journal
Boston is among the nation's top 50 metro areas where franchising is most popular, according to a recent report by LendingTree.

“A lot of people think about doing franchises as an easier way to get into business ownership,” said Derek Miller, senior research analyst with LendingTree. “Obviously, franchises can provide support and branding that business owners need when they get started. But it’s good to know in an area when you’re starting, is the market already saturated? Is there demand for this sort of thing?”. . . more

Monday, November 4, 2019

6 of the biggest blunders from industry history

Retail Dive
Every now and then in retail, decisions turn out so badly that leaders can't even blame the weather. Or "fashion misses."

To be fair, in many segments the industry is fiercely competitive and rapidly changing. It's hard to get right. Margins are thin. Retail businesses are complex. Predicting future trends is speculative work. Consumer taste and loyalty can be fickle. The business world (and media) tend to applaud risk-taking, until a losing hand is drawn.

But there are times when a decision, or its execution, or both, are so flawed or ill-fated that they change the trajectory of a year, or two, or a company's entire future. These stand as cautionary tales for the entire industry. . . . more

Holiday weather outlook looks good for retailers

Chain Store Age
The weather is not expected to play all that big a role in holiday sales this year.

That’s according to a forecast by AccuWeather, whose meteorologists are forecasting no major snowstorms for major cities in the Northeast corridor and for temperatures to be higher than last year from Thanksgiving to Christmas in Eastern cities, such as New York and Philadelphia, and Southeastern cities like Atlanta and Miami. . . . more

Price wars, investment costs dampen Moody's outlook on retail

Retail Dive
This year has been hard-fought for retail after it made gains in 2018. As the Moody's analysts tell it, "[R]etailers have been locked in a battle of mounting competition for market share — waging pricing wars while plowing more cash into necessary investments for future growth."

Beyond general price pressures, specific sectors have been struggling with their own troubles. Slowing housing markets are weighing on home improvement stores, apparel and specialty retailers have been hit by continued foot traffic declines and discounting, and drugstores are dealing with pressure on reimbursement rates. . . . more

Olympia Sports Selects Agent To Conduct Closing Sale For 76 Stores

SBG Media
Olympia Sports, the Maine based athletic footwear and apparel chain, has selected SB360 Capital Partners LLC (www.sb360.com), as their exclusive agent to conduct “Store Closing” sales in 76 stores. Olympia, which was recently acquired by sports retailer JackRabbit, will continue to operate its remaining 75 stores under the Olympia Sports’ banner.

The 76 closing stores were not part of the acquisition.. . . more

Bed Bath & Beyond reverses longtime tradition and will be open on Thanksgiving for first time

USA Today
Bed Bath & Beyond is bucking its longtime tradition of staying closed on Thanksgiving.

For the first time, the New Jersey-based home goods retailer will kick off its in-store Black Friday sale on the holiday.

Stores will be open on Thanksgiving from 5 p.m. to midnight and then will reopen at 6 a.m. on Black Friday. The 25% coupon will be available through noon local time Nov. 29.. . . more

Barneys' Madison Avenue store to remain open for at least a year

Reuters
Barneys New York Inc’s flagship Madison Avenue outlet in Manhattan will remain open for at least another year in a slimmed-down form while the buyer of the luxury retailer’s brands negotiates with the store’s landlord.

A bankruptcy judge approved the sale of Barneys brands and other intellectual property to Authentic Brands, a firm that acquires and licenses brands, on Thursday. The deal closed on Friday, Authentic Brands said.. . . more

Walmart appears to be gaining ground against Amazon

CNBC
Less shopping is happening on Amazon, and consumers are favoring Walmart, according to a new survey.

The frequency of people buying items on Amazon six times or more per month has dropped to 40% this year from 80% in 2017, according to surveys by First Insight, a retail analytics firm that collects data to help retailers such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, Crocs and Kohl’s make product decisions.. . . more

Friday, November 1, 2019

Iconic luxury retailer Barneys will likely close after bankruptcy judge approves its sale

ABC News
Famed luxury retailer Barneys New York is expected to be sold for $270 million following a federal bankruptcy court decision Thursday.

No other offer materialized by the time Judge Cecilia Morris approved the sale of Barneys to Authentic Brands Group, which had signaled it would close stores, including the Madison Avenue flagship, and license the name to Saks and other rivals.. . . more

HomeGoods adding new stores across eight states

Home Textiles Today
HomeGoods is opening nine new stores and reopening an updated existing unit across eight states in November – just in time for the holiday selling season.

And among these is the TJX Companies nameplate’s first location in Seattle. . . . November 3rd scheduled openings include:
  • New Hampshire: Riverside Plaza, 354 Winchester Street in Keene
  • more

'Cyber Week' will generate 20% of holiday revenue

Retail Dive
The five days between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday will drive $29 billion in online shopping revenue, according to a report from Adobe Analytics. That "Cyber Week" revenue will account for 20% of total holiday revenue, and total online holiday spending is expected to surpass $143.7 billion — a 14.1% increase year over year.

Large e-commerce retailers saw a revenue increase of 65% during November and December in 2018, while smaller retailers only saw a 35% boost, the report noted.. . . more

Forever 21 Plans to Close About 60 Fewer Stores After Rent Cuts

NREI
Forever 21 Inc. will keep open more than 60 U.S. stores previously set to shutter as part of the company’s bankruptcy restructuring after the retailer secured rent concessions from its biggest landlords, according to people with knowledge of the situation.

It’s an early win for the fast-fashion company after it filed for Chapter 11 protection in September as talks with mall operators about a possible rescue broke down. The company had no plan for reorganization when it filed, and said it would close at least 178 U.S. stores and dozens more internationally as it worked toward a turnaround.. . . more

Honey Baked Ham to launch store remodeling program — inside and out

Chain Store Age
The Honey Baked Ham Company is giving its stores a makeover.

A year after unveiling its new brand identity, which featured a revamped logo and new burgundy and warm orange color palette, the company announced plans to launch a major remodeling program across its network of 435 HoneyBaked locations. In addition to updating the look of the stores, the initiative also aims to provide an enhanced customer experience. . . . more

J.C. Penney creates the store of its wishes in Hurst, settles on using it as a lab

The Dallas Morning News
J.C. Penney chief executive officer Jill Soltau has a ways to go to get the Plano-based retailer out of the trouble it’s been in for a long time.

But she has ideas as big as her own closet, which she describes as overflowing with new clothes that she’s been buying at Penney’s.

Soltau ended her first year leading the company by officially unveiling a department store experience that she said came straight from Penney customer research.. . . more

Hudson's Bay going private deal faces Catalyst hurdle

Reuters
Hudson’s Bay Co shareholder Catalyst Capital Group Inc has opposed an agreed deal by the struggling Canadian department store operator with a group led by executive chairman Richard Baker to be taken private.

Catalyst and other investors holding about 28.24% of shares of Hudson’s Bay intend to vote against the agreement, the private equity firm said on Thursday.. . . more

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Edible Arrangements parent launching C.B.D. line, new retail concept

Food Business News
Edible Brands Inc., parent company of Edible Arrangements, is ramping up its physical retail operations. The company is rolling out several new programs, including Incredible Edibles, a line of hemp C.B.D. (cannabidiol) products set to launch in traditional Edible Arrangement stores and newly branded Gifts & Treats Edible stores later this year.

Edible Brands also has plans to introduce its first Incredible Edibles store, which will focus on natural health and wellness, next year. The store’s inaugural product will be a hemp-based, non-psychoactive C.B.D. powder.. . . more

6 numbers that explain the fate of department stores

Retail Dive
Department stores were the 20th century's marvelous shopping destination. Retailers that were filled with varied and often unique merchandise, offering high levels of convenience and attentive customer service.

That heyday is over. The model, which went from dominating city downtowns to dominating malls, is beset by outside forces and in some cases by the retailers' own missteps. It's not clear yet whether it can be successfully updated for the 21st century — players like Nordstrom, Macy's and Saks are trying.

Here are six key metrics that serve as clues into department stores' woes:. . . more

Rite Aid downgraded over weak market position

Retail Dive
Rite Aid is "structurally disadvantaged," with regional concentration but a lack of national scale like its largest competitors, according to Fitch. Fitch analysts noted that competition is intensifying in the drugstore retail space as existing players like CVS and Walgreens enlarge themselves through acquisitions and partnerships. Amazon, too, is a possible future threat, they noted.

The company's retail operations are also under pressure. For the first half of the year, Rite Aid's front-end sales were down 1.1% and down 1.8% for the second quarter.. . . more

All Dressbarn stores to close by year-end; will sell online under new owner

Chain Store Age
Dressbarn has begun the final stages of its planned wind down, but the brand is not disappearing completely.

Parent company Ascena Retail Group said that store-closing sales at all of Dressbarn’s remaining 544 locations will start on Friday, Nov. 1. . . . more

CEO of biggest US mall owner says retail industry is ‘reaching the bottom’ of bankruptcies

CNBC
The CEO of the biggest mall owner in the U.S., Simon Property Group, says the retail industry looks to be “reaching the bottom” of a tumultuous wave of bankruptcies.

“We are having a high bankruptcy year. ... There’s no denying that,” David Simon told analysts during a post-earnings conference call on Wednesday morning.. . . more

Starbucks comp store sales growth beats expectations

Yahoo Finance
Starbucks delivered fiscal fourth-quarter results on Wednesday that met analysts’ expectations, but same store sales growth that exceeded.

The closely-followed same-store sales number came in at 5% globally. In the U.S., Starbucks posted same-stores sales growth of 6% versus expectations of 4.6%, while the China/Asia Pacific business saw an increase of 5% versus expectations of 3.3%. . . . more

Bankrupt Forever 21 is closing 200 stores

CNN Business
As part of its restructuring after filing for bankruptcy last month, Forever 21 will close 200 stores, leaving the fast-fashion chain with a smaller footprint to help it emerge from Chapter 11.

Burdened by expensive store leases, unprofitable markets and continuing disruption from online shopping, the teenage clothing emporium became the latest casualty in a retail industry that is reeling from store closures and bankruptcies.. . . more

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Mapping the physical locations of DTC brands

Retail Dive
At this point, it’s no longer a surprise to hear that a direct-to-consumer (DTC) brand, started as a pure-play e-commerce business, is moving into physical retail.

It started with some of the front-runners — think: Warby Parker and Bonobos which now have over 100 and 60 stores respectively in the U.S. Since then, other DTC brands have jumped on board, opening their own form of physical retail, whether it be showroom-style or a more traditional (albeit usually smaller square footage) format.

As evidence of that movement, one JLL study from last year noted that digitally native brands were set to open 850 stores in the next few years. . . . more

Primark to expand U.S. store footprint

Chain Store Age
Fashion retailer Primark is adding a high-profile location to its fledgling U.S. portfolio.

The value-focused brand has signed a lease to open a 34,200-sq.-ft. store at the corner of 11th and Market Streets in Fashion District Philadelphia.

In addition, Primark expects to open previously announced stores at American Dream, New Jersey; Sawgrass Mills, Florida; and State Street, Chicago, over the next 18 months.. . . more

Black Friday retail outlook is challenging

Chain Store Age
There is good news and bad news for retailers about Black Friday.

The good news is slightly more consumers say they intend to go into physical stores on Black Friday this year than in 2018 – 39%, up 2% from the response in a similar consumer survey last year, according to a report by Genesys.

However, 61% of U.S. consumers said they do not plan to shop in-store on Black Friday and, of that total, 33% said they simply "never" go. In a challenge for retailers, 28% claim they used to go shopping on Black Friday but have stopped.. . . more

Consumer confidence dips in October

Chain Store Age
Concerns over business conditions and employment prospects took a bite out of consumer confidence in October.

The Conference Board’s closely-watched Consumer Confidence Index decreased marginally in October, following a decline in September. It now stands at 125.9, down from 126.3 in September and lower than the 128 reading economists had expected. The October metric was the lowest since June, when confidence fell to 124.3.. . . more

Walgreens To Open More ‘Small Stores’ In Big U.S. Cities

Forbes
Walgreens Boots Alliance is developing more than 30 “small store” pharmacies largely in urban areas that the chain says will have a health and wellness focus in the location’s front end.

As Walgreens examines its future real estate needs and sheds costs and corporate jobs to be more competitive in the future, look for smaller stores that the retailer will open “in the big cities,” company executives disclosed this week. . . . more

Sick of seeing Christmas decorations before Halloween? Blame 40% of America

Courier Journal
Frost hasn't yet settled on the pumpkins on your porch, but that hasn't stopped hordes of shoppers from getting a jump start on purchasing gifts for the winter holidays.

Roughly 40% of consumers begin their holiday shopping before Halloween, according to the National Retail Federation's 2019 holiday forecast. Further, a full 19% are "early bird" shoppers who started in September or earlier.. . . more

Shake Shack sets Downtown Crossing opening date

Boston Business Journal
Burger chain Shake Shack will open its 3,014-square-foot downtown Boston location this Sunday.

Shake Shack has 330 locations in the U.S. and abroad, including five locations in Greater Boston. They are in the Seaport and Chestnut Hill, as well as on Newbury Street and in Cambridge's Harvard Square and Dedham's Legacy Place. . . . more

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Amazon is dominating the holiday price war

Retail Dive
With the holiday sales season underway, Amazon is pricing 20% below other online retailers on average in key product categories, according to a study by Profitero, which provides e-commerce performance analytics.

Walmart was the closest behind Amazon, with prices 4.1% more on average than the e-commerce giant's. Target was 10.6% more expensive than Amazon overall. Walmart's Jet unit was 11.3% more expensive, according to the study, which was emailed to Retail Dive.. . . more

Nordstrom family ends latest effort to take control

Retail Dive
Nordstrom on Monday stated that its board of directors and co-Presidents Pete and Erik Nordstrom said that they had "terminated by … mutual agreement" a proposal that "certain members of the Nordstrom family" would boost their share of common stock from about 31% to slightly more than 50%, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The notice puts to rest any notion that the family would retake firm control of the business, something they had also attempted two years ago with a take-private offer that the board last year eventually deemed insufficient. . . . more

Analysts Predict Boom in Cannabis Retail as Operators Seek National, Multi-State Expansion

PR Newswire
The increasing legalization of cannabis retail products is entering a new phase of development, shifting from establishing sustainable single-state business models and market share, to national, multi-state expansion according to From Dispensaries to Superstores: Opportunities in Cannabis Retail, a new report from Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics. Currently, however, only four states (Oklahoma, California, Colorado and Oregon) make up 80 percent of the total active retail licenses nationally — a clear indication of the legal cannabis industry's relative immaturity as a consumer retail channel.

With this imminent shift, the report found that single-state operators are in a prime position to leverage early-market share into broader national expansion while still maintaining margins and fending off new competitors. . . . more

Retailers can win against Amazon this holiday season

Chain Store Age
Amazon is the top choice among online holiday shoppers, but has weak points.

According to “Holiday Online Shopping Trends 2019: Retailers Win with Customer Centricity,” a survey of more than 4,500 global online shoppers from Episerver, 42% of respondents expecting to purchase all or most of their gifts via Amazon this year. And 32% of respondents start their holiday shopping on Amazon, followed by Google.

However, more consumers turn to a retailer's website first for apparel shopping (43%) than Amazon (30%) or Google (29%), due to more complete content via the brand versus a marketplace or search engine. . . . more

Welcome back, Toys R Us. Your market is tougher than ever.

Retail Dive
What happens to a retail category when its largest retail specialist disappears? Toys offers perhaps the clearest answer to that question.

This year's holiday sales season marks the second without the big box version of Toys R Us. It could be even more important than the one before to secure market share and win over displaced Toys R Us shoppers looking for a new go-to shop for toys. . . . more

Walgreens lays off employees at Deerfield HQ, scraps annual bonuses and boosts cost-cutting goal to $1.8 billion

The Chicago Tribune
Walgreens laid off employees at its Deerfield headquarters last week and won’t pay annual bonuses this year as it works to increase its cost-cutting goal to $1.8 billion annually.

The actions come as Walgreens, which has 18,750 stores worldwide, grapples with changes including how consumers use pharmacies.

Walgreens also previously announced plans to close 200 of its stores, starting this fall.. . . more

Amazon offers free grocery delivery to Prime members

Boston Business Journal
Starting Tuesday, Amazon.com Inc. will offer one- and two-hour grocery delivery to local Prime members for no additional cost in hopes of tapping into a quickly expanding niche.

Those paying for the $119-a-year Prime subscription previously had to fork over an additional $14.99 a month for the same-day grocery service, Amazon Fresh. Along with D.C., this service will be available to the roughly 2,000 cities and towns where Amazon delivery already occurs.. . . more

Monday, October 28, 2019

Sears is reportedly exploring potential asset sales, including its DieHard brand

CNBC
Sears’ current owner is exploring potential assets to sell off, including its DieHard brand, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Transform Holdco, the retailer’s parent, has hired investment bankers to advise on the potential asset sales, people familiar with the situation told the Journal.. . . more

Allbirds co-CEO says company plans to open 20 stores next year

CNBC
Allbirds is planning to continue its brick-and-mortar expansion with 20 stores next year, the company’s co-founder and co-CEO Tim Brown said Monday.

“We’ve got nearly 15 stores at the moment — 14 soon to be 15,” Brown said. “We’ll add 20 stores next year. Many of them in the states — we’ve got some overseas in China and the U.K. and in New Zealand.”. . . more

New American Dream 'mall' has much more than retail

Yahoo Finance
On October 26, eight miles west of Manhattan in East Rutherford, New Jersey, the doors swing partially open to a mega, don’t-call-it-a-mall, entertainment and retail venue betting that it can sidestep the “Retail Apocalypse.”

“We have spent about $2 billion worth, plus we had another $3 billion dollars that had been spent by prior developers, so all-in, you’re looking at a magnificent $5 billion dollar project,” Paul Ghermezian, general partner of Triple Five Worldwide, the developer of American Dream, told Yahoo Finance during an on-site preview of the property.. . . more

What do people want this holiday season? Gift cards

Retail Dive
The NRF's findings on how much consumers plan to spend is higher than other research, including Tinuiti's findings that consumers plan to spend more than $500 and The NPD Group's forecast of a little more than $700. The NRF survey also found that 73% of consumers will use their smartphone or tablet to shop online; mobile video ad network AdColony's survey published a similar finding.

The survey findings also point to younger shoppers as the source for holiday shopping growth, because they're purchasing goods for friends and colleagues. Per the report, more than half of shoppers ages 25 to 34 (52%) expect to buy gifts for co-workers, and 82% of shoppers between 18 and 24 plan to purchase gifts for friends.. . . more

Giant Food Stores’ new Heirloom Market store to 'tap' into two fast-growing trends

Chain Store Age
Giant Food Stores is adding a little something extra to its new urban-focused Giant Heirloom Market format.

The supermarket company will open its third Heirloom Market store on Friday, Nov. 15, in the Northern Liberties neighborhood of Philadelphia. The two-level 13,000-sq. ft. location will feature the grocer's first-ever taproom and gaming area, with customers able to order via touchscreen.. . . more

Authentic Brands Group claims Barneys IP

Retail Dive
Authentic Brands Group called itself "the successful bidder" of Barneys New York's intellectual property, with a stalking horse bid worth more than $270 million​ that also included backing from investment bank B. Riley Financial and other affiliates. A sale hearing is scheduled for Oct. 31. ABG said an emailed press release Thursday that it expects the deal to close Nov. 1.

Lawyers for Barneys said in court papers Thursday that it canceled an auction for its IP. Despite that, Barneys said it is working with a group led by entrepreneur Sam Ben-Avraham that hasn't given up on a rival deal. While so far the rival offer reportedly fell short, Ben-Avraham said this week that it's superior because his plan would keep open five Barneys stores, according to Women's Wear Daily. . . . more

Popeyes, Burger King parent Restaurant Brands posts strong Q3 sales

Yahoo Finance
It was a big quarter of partnerships and menu innovation for Restaurant Brands. During the third quarter, Burger King rolled out its Impossible Whopper nationwide, Popeye’s sparked the chicken sandwich wars — which helped spark the chain’s best sales in almost 20 years — and Tim Hortons collaborated with plant-based meat maker Beyond Meat.

Burger King’s nationwide rollout of the Impossible Whopper in August boosted food traffic significantly for the burger chain, with Restaurant Brands CEO Jose Cil boasting 15% international sales growth and 5% comp sales domestically — the company’s best since 2015.. . . more

Louis Vuitton and Tiffany Are Talking About Tying the Knot

Fortune
LVMH, the French owner of Louis Vuitton and Givenchy, said it has held preliminary discussions with jeweler Tiffany & Co. on a possible takeover.

There’s no assurance that the discussions will result in any agreement, the French luxury giant said.

Bloomberg reported earlier that LVMH has offered about $14.5 billion for the jeweler in a deal that would expand its access to U.S. luxury shoppers.. . . more

Walgreens to close down all its healthcare clinics

KCTV5
Walgreens has told employees big changes are coming as it prepares to shut down its healthcare clinics.

KCTV5’s investigative team learned about this after a tip was sent in and Walgreens has now admitted it’s true.. . . more

Friday, October 25, 2019

Can the restaurant industry learn from retail's mistakes?

Fast Casual
The "ugly middle" never lasts. Not in retail, and not in restaurants. What we're seeing right now is a very similar situation that the retail industry faced in 2008 — too many options and not enough money to go around. Those that survived this over saturation in retail were split on one of two sides of the spectrum: either they focused on speed and efficiency or on delivering an elevated experience.

Now, as Eugene Lee, the chief executive of Olive Garden's parent company recently reported, we have restaurants growing at twice the rate of the population. A similar contraction is likely. . . . more

Amazon predicted to pass Walmart as largest retailer

Supermarket News
Amazon’s sales momentum has it poised to end Walmart’s reign as the largest U.S. retailer in 2022, according to market research firm Packaged Facts.

Rockville, Md.-based Packaged Facts said Thursday that its projection is based on the expectation that Amazon’s sales will continue to grow at a much faster rate than Walmart’s.. . . more

Walmart kicks off holiday discount festivities early

Retail Dive
Walmart is launching what it says is its earliest-ever blitz of holiday deals to make up for a shortened shopping season before the Thanksgiving weekend.

Discounts start on Friday and are spread across electronics, gaming, toys, home and sporting goods, according to a company press release.. . . more

Duluth Trading to open new concept store

Chain Store Age
Duluth Trading Co. is holding on to its irreverent style as it continues to expand.

The men's and women's casual clothing and workwear brand will debut a new concept, called "The Museum of Man Area and Underwear Shop," on Nov. 7, at Mall of America, Bloomington, Minn. The store is designed to Duluth Trading's underwear styles for men, with sections dedicated to its four main product lines. . . . more

Amazon Q3 profit falls and misses Street

Chain Store Age
Heavy investments in Prime’s one-day delivery roll-out and other initiatives, including its cloud business, took a toll on Amazon’s profit in the third quarter.

Net profit fell to $2.1 billion in the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with net income of $2.9 billion in the year-ago period.

Net sales increased 24% to $70.0 billion, boosted by a record Prime Day. Analysts had expected sales of $68.73 billion. . . . more

Walmart wants robots in stores. Target doesn't

CNN Business
Walmart and Target are taking different approaches to adding robots in stores, a split that will have an impact on the companies' massive workforces and shape the future of automation in retail.

Both of these legacy brick-and-mortar companies are testing robots in their warehouses. Walmart, the country's largest retailer and private employer, expects to add self-driving robots that scrub floors to 1,860 of its more-than 4,700 US stores by February. It will also add robots that scan shelf inventory at 350 stores and bots at 1,700 stores that automatically scan boxes as they come off delivery trucks and sort them by department onto conveyer belts.. . . more

After 15 years, dream mall finally becomes a reality

Boston Business Journal
It has taken 15 years, three owners, two names and hundreds of millions of dollars worth of taxpayer incentives, but a giant mall built on a former swamp in the Meadowlands — and less than 10 miles away from the shopping haven of Manhattan — is finally opening Friday.

Sort of.

The $5 billion development, formerly known as Xanadu and now called American Dream, will eventually feature roughly 3 million square feet of stores, waterslides, a caviar bar and an indoor ski slope that promises man-made snow even in the height of a New Jersey summer. . . . more

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Amazon adds more brick-and-mortar locations for its in-store pickup service

Chain Store Age
Amazon is expanding its network of dedicated pickup counters to three new retail chains.

The Counter service, which is available to all Amazon customers at no extra cost, provides the option of picking up Amazon packages in-store at a retail partner location. Initially launched in the U.S. in June in partnership with Rite Aid, Amazon is now rolling out the service in GNC, Health Mart and Stage Stores. . . . more

High street rents decline in New York City

Chain Store Age
For upwardly mobile brands desiring a showcase on Broadway in SoHo or on Madison Avenue in New York, now’s the time to grab a space.

Rent decreases on both of those high streets were the main drivers of a 5.7% decline in asking rents in Manhattan over the past year, according to a report from CBRE. The average asking price of $756 per sq. ft. marked the eighth consecutive quarter of rental rate decline in the city.. . . more

Sears, Out of Bankruptcy, Continues Shuttering More Stores. Can It Survive?

NREI
The number of Sears and Kmart store closures continues to escalate.

Sears, which was weighed down by billions of dollars of debt and filed for bankruptcy last October, will close more stores following continued weak performance.

The troubled retailer has already boarded up hundreds of stores in the past few years. According to the Wall Street Journal, roughly a quarter of the approximately 425 Sears and Kmart stores brought out of bankruptcy by former CEO Eddie Lampert have closed or are scheduled to close later this year or in early 2020.. . . more

Amazon’s big investment in free one-day delivery is expected to spark growth in the third quarter

CNBC
Amazon is expected to show more signs of growth when it reports its third-quarter earnings results on Thursday, after having spent over $800 million in speedier delivery for two straight quarters.

Analysts estimate Amazon to report revenue of $68.8 billion in the third quarter, up 21.6% from the year-ago period, according to Refinitiv. . . . more

Chipotle to build 60 Chipotlanes by year's end

Restaurant Dive
Chipotle's mobile pickup lanes, dubbed Chipotlanes, are driving strong digital sales and highly profitability, so the company shifted its real estate strategy to seek more sites that can accommodate them, CEO Brian Niccol told investors during a Tuesday earnings call.

Of the over 80 restaurants currently under construction, about half will feature a Chipotlane, resulting in about 60 Chipotlanes by the end of the year. In 2020, the company expects to open 150 to 165 restaurants, and more than half will include Chipotlanes. . . . more

One family built Forever 21, and fueled its collapse

Boston Business Journal
When Forever 21 filed for bankruptcy last month, the fast fashion chain described its history in documents that read, at times, like a pitch for a memoir or a Netflix special.

Photos of the company’s husband and wife founders, Do Won and Jin Sook Chang, and their two daughters appeared under headings like “Forever Striving: A Story of Grit, Determination, and Passion.” . . . more

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

How much does Halloween actually matter?

Retail Dive
Halloween may not gather the same amount of attention from retailers as the larger holiday season does, but it's in the top five most important holidays for the industry, Bill Lewis, a director in the retail practice at AlixPartners, said. He places it behind Christmas, Thanksgiving, back to school and Valentine's Day (although NRF places it 9th of the top 10 events in terms of consumer spend).

"The pure-play Halloween retailers like say a Party City or Spirit Halloween may start planning store locations literally Nov. 1, and it's an all-year-round type of thinking for the right real estate and for products," Lewis said, though that number is probably closer to nine months for retailers less focused on Halloween. "But Halloween is one of those holidays that there's pretty much year round activity associated with it.". . . more

The top five retailers where consumers plan to holiday shop are…

Chain Store Age
Holiday shoppers are fairly consistent when it comes to their favorite stores.

Amazon (38.1%), Walmart (36.2%) Target (29.6% ) ranked as the top three stores where consumers across all income groups plan to do their holiday shopping, followed by Kohl’s (10.1%) and Macy’s (8.0%), according to JLL’s 2019 Holiday Shopping Survey. . . . more

Cumberland Farms acquired by U.K. firm

Chain Store Age
A well-established player in the European convenience store market has expanded its presence in the United States.

The United Kingdom-based EG Group has completed its acquisition of Cumberland Farms, which operates 567 c-stores in seven Northeast states and Florida.. . . more

Chipotle crushes earnings estimates, says accelerated drive-thru plans may delay some store openings

CNBC
Chipotle Mexican Grill on Tuesday reported quarterly earnings that topped analysts’ expectations and announced plans to accelerate its introduction of drive-thru lanes, which could slow down its store openings.

Sales at stores open at least a year grew by 11% during the quarter, in its biggest jump in more than two years.. . . more

Costly new Manhattan emporium is not just a wild gamble, Nordstrom tells investors

The Seattle Times
Nordstrom has sunk more than $500 million into its seven-story New York City flagship, but executives say it’s not just about one posh location close to other high-end retailers and Central Park. They paint the massive investment as a cornerstone of their multipronged strategy, a jumping-off point for future growth.

“Our intent wasn’t to out-Bergdorf Bergdorf, or out-Saks Saks. Our intent was to make the most modern, relevant Nordstrom store possible,” co-president Pete Nordstrom told investment analysts gathered at the New York Stock Exchange Tuesday.. . . more

Brideside, direct-to-consumer bridal fashion retailer, to open two Boston stores

Boston Business Journal
Chicago-based Brideside, a direct-to-consumer bridal fashion retailer, will open two locations on Boston’s Newbury Street.

A bridesmaid gown showroom named Brideside Bridesmaid will open a 2,000-square-foot location this Thursday at 73 Newbury St. Brooklyn-based creative agency Worn Creative designed the space, which was previously occupied by luxury fashion brand Vera Wang.

A second location for bridal gowns, named Brideside Bride, is scheduled to open at 81 Newbury St. in January. . . . more