Friday, September 13, 2019

Old Navy to almost double the size of store fleet

Old Navy, which will soon be spun off by parent Gap Inc. as an independent public company, is feeling bullish on brick-and-mortar.. . . more

Walmart going national with ‘unlimited’ grocery delivery subscription program

Walmart is not ceding the lucrative grocery delivery subscription market to Amazon or other rivals.
The discount giant plans to expand its grocery delivery membership program, called “Delivery Unlimited,” to 1,400 stores later this fall. For a fee of $98 per year or $12.95 per month, customers can purchase groceries online and either have them delivered to their home or pick them up at a local Walmart store, with no per-order charge. Customers will continue to have the option to pay a per-delivery fee (typically $9.95), without a membership.. . . more

Gap Inc. to grow Athleta, Janie & Jack globally via franchising

Gap Inc. is expanding its already robust franchise business with the addition of two brands.

The retailer announced it will begin franchising its Athleta and Janie & Jack brands internationally, starting with online and in shop-in-shop formats. Gap Inc. said it will eventually open brick-and-mortar stores with proven partners. . . . more

Tru Kids taps toy industry vet to head joint venture to open Toys ‘R’ Us stores

Plans to revive the Toys “R” Us banner in the U.S. are gaining momentum with the appointment of a veteran from the bankrupt chain to lead the new initiative.. . . more

Beloved Nantucket Restaurant the Nautilus Is Adding a Boston Seaport Location

Boston Magazine
Next summer, Bostonians might not have to board a ferry to get a taste of one of Nantucket’s best restaurants. The Nautilus, which serves up vibrant small plates with a coastal bent on the tiny Massachusetts island, is opening a larger, second location in the Boston Seaport in spring 2020. Called the Nautilus Pier 4, the waterfront outpost will offer a similarly stellar wine and cocktail list and seasonal menu favorites as the Nantucket original. . . . more

Cape Cod Mall Announces Extensive Renovations

Simon announced that Cape Cod Mall will begin an extensive interior and exterior renovation complete with elevated finishes, modern décor, fresh landscaping featuring an outdoor gathering space, a new custom themed play area, and more. . . . more

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Amazon's inventory value up 25% as it begins next-day shipping

Retail Dive
Amazon's inventory value has ballooned over the last year compared to some of its retail competitors, increasing 25% up to nearly $18.6 billion in its latest quarterly report from more than $14.8 billion during the same period a year ago, according to a review by Supply Chain Dive.

The increase in inventory is a result of Amazon's plan to roll out next-day delivery, according to Moody's retail analyst Charles O'Shea. "In order to do next day delivery, you've got to have the stuff in the system," O'Shea said in an interview with Supply Chain Dive. "So you've got to buy more because you don't know how much you need.". . . more

Neighborhood Goods expanding; raises $11 million in funding

Chain Store Age
Neighborhood Goods is expanding its department store of the future concept.

The retail start-up will open its third location, in a new mixed-use development in Austin, Texas. The 10,000-sq.-ft. store is due to open in 2020.

Designed as a modern alternative to the traditional department store, Neighborhood Goods combines an ever-changing line-up of contemporary brands — many of them cult faves and/or digital natives — along with events and services. The company offers a variety of leasing and space options that make it easy for brands to set up shop and rotate in and out.. . . more

Anytime Fitness’ Parent Company Acquires The Bar Method

SGB Media
Self Esteem Brands, the parent company of Anytime Fitness, has purchased The Bar Method – a popular, low-impact fitness franchise with 123 studios across 30 states and Canada. Self Esteem Brands will initially offer new franchise territories throughout North America, while exploring additional franchising opportunities internationally.

“We’re excited to add The Bar Method to our rapidly-expanding portfolio of franchises, which also includes Anytime Fitness, the world’s largest and fastest-growing fitness chain, Basecamp Fitness, a high-intensity class-based fitness concept, and Waxing the City, a franchise devoted to the art of waxing,” said Chuck Runyon, Co-founder and CEO of Self Esteem Brands and Anytime Fitness.. . . more

Bondholders With $1.1 Billion Riding on N.J. Mall Get a Peek

Wall Street has over $1.1 billion riding on the success of New Jersey’s American Dream mega mall, the massive consumer utopia outside New York City that’s been in the works for nearly two decades.

So on Thursday, bondholders will get a sneak peek at the retail and entertainment hub to see what their investments helped create. . . . more

Hudson’s Bay Co losses widen on lower sales and heavy discounts

Ottawa Citizen
Canadian department store operator Hudson’s Bay Co reported a wider second-quarter loss on Thursday, hurt by several shuttered stores, heavy discounting and declining sales at the retailer’s namesake brand.

The Toronto-based company has been fighting a tough retail environment as e-commerce behemoth Inc and other department stores such as Macy’s and Nordstrom Inc continue to swoop up more customers with discounts.. . . more

At Home Rethinks Its No-E-commerce Strategy

After At Home Group Inc. lost half its market value in one day this June, its CEO Lee Bird decided to reconsider everything at the home decor chain of 200 stores across 40 states.

In response, the home-goods retailer has slowed its ambitious addition of 400 more stores, which now will gradually open over the next decade. The chain will also revamp marketing to tout what it claims are the lowest prices in the industry. And, crucially, after staying out of the e-commerce fray because the cost of implementation and shipping could hamper profit, the company now plans a full online offering by 2022.. . . more

Forever 21 says reports are wrong, company is 'not planning to file for bankruptcy Sunday'

USA Today
While reports are circulating that Forever 21 Inc. could file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as early as Sunday, the fashion retailer told USA TODAY that's not the case.

"The reports are inaccurate; Forever 21 is not planning to file for bankruptcy on Sunday," the company said in a statement. "Our stores are open and it is our intention to continue to operate the vast majority of U.S. stores, as well as a smaller amount of international stores.". . . more

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

New Tenant Mixes Drive Retail Redevelopments

A persistent need for a tenant mix that is resistant to e-commerce and which facilitates a unique, authentic experience is prompting owners of older retail centers and malls to assume high levels of risk and redevelop their properties.

While there can be a plethora of non-tenant-related factors that spur redevelopment projects — the basic need to charge higher rents, the structural and aesthetic deterioration over time, a desire to restore a public perception of vibrancy — the ultimate success of almost every retail redevelopment project hinges on the tenancy. . . . more

Millennials, Gen X are the most activist shoppers

Retail Dive
Aligning shopping with values is emerging as a hallmark of U.S. consumerism, with millennials aged 25 to 34 dominating that trend, according to a report emailed to Retail Dive from consumer intelligence platform Resonate.

Gen Xers also make their mark in what Resonate calls activist shopping, especially when it comes to a brand’s ethics. Those shoppers, mostly Gen X women with older children, favor companies "that treat their employees fairly, are honest and trustworthy, have truthful advertising and price products fairly," and are the largest segment Resonate found.. . . more

Francesca's shares rise on profit surge

Retail Dive
Francesca's on Tuesday said that second quarter net sales fell 6% to $106 million from $113 million in the year-ago quarter.

Comparable sales fell 5%, due to lower average unit prices from "deeper markdowns on legacy product," partially offset by higher conversion rates and average units per transaction, according to a press release.

Gross profit as a percent of net sales fell to 38.2% from 39% a year ago because the deeper markdowns lowered margins. Net income rose to $1.8 million from $0.5 million in the prior-year quarter. The company opened one store and closed five during the period for a total of 718.. . . more

GameStop to close up to 200 stores

Just two months after GameStop announced ambitious plans to breathe new life into its stores, the company has announced that between 180 and 200 stores around the world will be closing their doors for good before the year is out -- and more closures are coming.

The company's balance sheet has not looked healthy in recent times -- its second quarter global sales decreased 14.3 percent, marking an adjusted net loss of $32 million. As such, GameStop CFO James Bell announced that up to 200 "underperforming" stores will be closed between now and the end of the year. . . . more

L Brands promises an ‘evolution’ is ahead for Victoria’s Secret brand

If there was one clear theme at Tuesday’s L Brands’ investor day, it was that it was time to move beyond past mistakes — both personal and corporate — that have lopped off nearly a third of the company’s value over the past year.

“There’s a big belief in the company that we need to evolve,” said John Mehas, head of Victoria’s Secret Lingerie, speaking at the Hilton Columbus at Easton.. . . more

Amazon Probed by U.S. Antitrust Officials Over Marketplace

A team of Federal Trade Commission investigators has begun interviewing small businesses that sell products on Inc. to determine whether the e-commerce giant is using its market power to hurt competition.

Several attorneys and at least one economist have been conducting interviews that typically last about 90 minutes and cover a range of topics, according to three merchants. All were asked what percentage of revenue their businesses derive from Amazon versus other online marketplaces like Walmart Inc. and EBay Inc., suggesting regulators are skeptical about Amazon’s claims that shoppers and suppliers have real alternatives to the Seattle-based company. . . . more

J.C. Penney looks to outdoor sports enthusiasts to reel in more consumer spending

The Dallas Morning News
Plano-based J.C. Penney will be going up against sporting goods retailers such as Bass Pro Shops and Academy Sports + Outdoors for a piece of the men's outdoor lifestyle category.

Penney is expanding into the more rugged clothing with its own St. John's Bay brand, both online and in about 600 of its 830 stores starting Thursday. The new merchandise, which Penney's in-house product development and designers created, includes shirts, sweaters, jackets and pants in functional and durable styles.. . . more

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Lululemon’s first new brand, 10 years in the making, is here

Fast Company
For the last decade, Lululemon has been quietly tinkering with a luxury streetwear label called Lab. The $3.8 billion sportswear giant first piloted the concept in 2009, opening a store in Vancouver. Then, over the last three years, it opened two more Lab stores in New York. Until now, these were the only places to catch a peek at the project and buy a few limited-edition pieces. But today, Lab hits prime time: The newest 44-piece collection will be available online and at 45 stores across North America, Europe, and Asia.

Lab will exist as a separate brand from Lululemon, one that is both more expensive—items range from $80 to more than $500, prices that run approximately 30% higher than existing Lululemon products—and more exclusive, given that it will only be available at about 10% of Lululemon stores. . . . more

Kohl's president departs

Retail Dive
Kohl's on Friday said that President Sona Chawla will step down from that role in mid-October "to pursue new opportunities." The company didn't name a replacement, according to its press release.

Chawla's departure likely won't surprise many — in fact, some analysts have been more surprised that she stayed at Kohl's for as long as she did, considering that she was once viewed as taking over as chief executive herself.. . . more

Wendy's is launching breakfast nationwide in 2020 and will hire 20,000 new employees

USA Today
Wendy's is taking its breakfast menu nationwide in 2020 and will hire 20,000 new employees to support the morning meal, the company announced Monday.

The fast-food chain, which has been a holdout in the breakfast area among major national chains, currently has breakfast in 300-plus restaurants . . . more

Dollar Tree CEO on mitigating tariffs on Chinese imports: ‘We play hardball’

Dollar Tree
It might look easy, but Dollar Tree has used “a lot of discipline” over the past year to mitigate the impact of tariffs on the products the company sells, CEO Gary Philbin told CNBC on Monday.

He said the discount retailer has worked with vendors to adjust its approach to shipping products from China, where the U.S. earlier this month imposed a fresh round of duties on imports. Dollar Tree negotiated prices, canceled orders and diversified vendors in order to mitigate costs, Philbin said, and is keeping a watch on the impact of new tariffs.. . . more

Christmas Tree Shops exits a major sales channel

Chain Store Age
Christmas Tree Shops is making a significant change to its e-commerce strategy.

In an undated statement on its FAQ page, the retailer, best known for its bargain-priced home décor and seasonal items, says it is no longer selling products on its site. However, customers can still browse the site to find items sold in stores, as well as content such as product previews, trends and tips.

According to Christmas Tree Shops, customer desire for an exciting, unpredictable shopping experience led to its decision to curtail online sales.. . . more

Target to hire 130,000-plus workers for holidays to handle more online orders

While job growth has been slowing nationwide, Target Corp. is planning to once again boost its holiday hiring this year.

The Minneapolis-based retailer, one of the largest employers in the U.S., said Tuesday it will hire more than 130,000 seasonal workers in stores and distribution centers to help it stay on top of what it expects to be a busier holiday shopping season, especially when it comes to online orders.. . . more

Tractor Supply hits a store milestone

Chain Store Age
Tractor Supply Company’s expansion remains on track.

The rural lifestyle retailer has opened its 1,800 store, in Berkshire Township (Sunbury), Ohio. It is the 93rd Tractor Supply store in Ohio.

The company opened 80 new stores in 2018 and is continuing its strategic expansion in 2019, with 80 new store openings planned.. . . more

Monday, September 9, 2019

Amazon tops 53,500 local employees as it begins nationwide hiring push

Seattle Times
After a decade of torrid growth, Amazon now has more than 53,500 employees in its original headquarters region. It paid its local employees $9 billion last year.

On Monday, the commerce and technology giant is rolling out a new hiring push to fill some 10,000 openings in the Seattle area by 2020 — the majority for new positions rather than to backfill for attrition — as part of a larger national hiring initiative that includes job fairs next week here and in five other cities. . . . more

L Brands Investors Poised to Demand Answers After 35% Hammering

Many apparel retailers are having a rough go of it in 2019, but few have had as much trouble as L Brands Inc., the parent of embattled lingerie purveyor Victoria’s Secret.

From its outdated imagery to its stagnant sales, Victoria’s Secret was already in the hot seat with shareholders, culminating in a brief activist battle earlier this year -- and that was before founder Les Wexner’s ties to Jeffrey Epstein came under scrutiny.. . . more

Fred’s Bankruptcy Could Boost CVS, Walgreens Pharmacies

News Fred’s Inc. will sell its remaining pharmacy assets as part of its bankruptcy filing could benefit drugstore giants CVS Health, Walgreens Boots Alliance and potentially other retail pharmacy chains.

Fred’s Monday announced it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and will soon begin liquidating assets and selling off its pharmacies and related operations. The troubled Memphis retailer struggled to engineer a turnaround and failed to recover from an effort to expand deeper into personal healthcare under earlier management.. . . more

Macy's bets on 'Growth' stores

Retail Dive
Less than a month after reporting a bruising second quarter, Macy's said that it expects to fully complete the planned expansion of its Growth50 store remodels to an additional 100 locations this fall. CEO Jeff Gennette, speaking to analysts last month per a Motley Fool transcript, had promised the completion ahead of the holidays, noting that, all told, those 150 stores cough up half of the company's brick-and-mortar revenue.

The effort is part of the company's store strategy announced last year, a triad of concepts — flagships including its Herald Square icon, smaller neighborhood stores and the Growth "magnet" stores. . . . more

Target's back-to-school traffic hit 'torrid' pace in August

Retail Dive
Target's customer traffic is off to a "torrid" pace in the third quarter with sharp year-over-year spikes in the back-to-school season, according to research released this week by foot traffic analytics firm

The firm found that customer visits to Target the week of Aug. 12 jumped 27.5% above the retailer's baseline, well over the previous year's back-to-school bump.. . . more

The downside of tradition at Dillard's

Retail Dive
Dillard's, a relatively youthful department store at 81 years old compared to many of its peers founded in the 19th century, is a Southern institution with a support system that includes a loyal customer base, firm family control and a whole lot of real estate.

The Arkansas-based company runs 260 full-line stores and 29 clearance centers spanning 29 states, mostly in the South and Southwest. Like rival Nordstrom, Dillard family members (who have the added advantage of control through Class B stock) run the C-suite, with eight in key positions, including chief executive. Like Macy's and Hudson's Bay Co., it's a major property holder, owning some 44.3 million square feet out of the 49 million in its operations, according to its most recent annual report.. . . more

Neiman Marcus dreams up new e-commerce venture

Chain Store Age
Neiman Marcus Group is reportedly partnering with four luxury mattress brands for online sales.

According to the Dallas Morning News, the upscale department store chain is now selling exclusive selections from Aireloom, Royal-Pedic, Sferra, and Shifman via and its specialty furniture and décor site. Offerings include mattresses, which customers can also pair with complementary products such as pillows and pajamas. Mattress prices range from $2,000 to almost $20,000.. . . more

Friday, September 6, 2019

Ruby Tuesday closes more restaurants

Restaurant Business
At least nine Ruby Tuesday restaurants have closed in the past week, indicating the chain is still pruning weak stores from the system.

Most of the shuttered stores are located along the East Coast, from Massachusetts down to Delaware. Five are in New York. . . . more

Genesco’s Q2 earnings crush Street as Journeys continues to gain momentum

Chain Store Age
Footwear retailer Genesco Inc. reported second-quarter earnings and same-store sales that topped Street estimates, fueled by strong back-to-school sales at its teen-fave brand, Journeys.

The company, whose divisions include Journeys, Johnston & Murphy and Schuh, reported net income or $577,000 for the quarter ended Aug. 3, compared to a loss of $15,000 in the year-ago period.

Sales slipped to $486.6 million from $487.0 million, below estimates of $489.2 million. Same-store sales rose 3% ahead of Street expectations. Same-store sales increased 4% at Journeys and 1% at Johnston & Murphy. . . . more

Bed Bath & Beyond to refresh 160 stores in time for holiday; to announce new CEO soon

Chain Store Age
Bed Bath & Beyond detailed several short- and long-term initiatives as part of ongoing efforts to transform its namesake brand.

In a letter to shareholders, the struggling retailer said a “rapid refresh” of nearly 160 Bed Bath & Beyond stores is underway in advance of the upcoming holiday season. The company expect the “multi-million-dollar investment” to favorably impact the in-store shopping experience over the short term.

Bed Bath & Beyond also promised to close underperforming stores during the next couple of years to take advantage of its heavy lease expiration cadence.. . . more

For Many Retailers, Single Women Will Become the Make or Break Demographic, Morgan Stanley Study Finds

Single women might just single-handedly boost the success of retailers like Lululemon, Nike, TJ Maxx and Ulta Beauty, according to a new study by investment bank and financial services company Morgan Stanley. The study is called the “Rise of the SHEconomy.”

Morgan Stanley forecasts that by 2030, 45 percent, or 20.9 million, of U.S. women of prime working age (those between the ages of 25 and 44) will be single—the largest-ever share in history and up from 41 percent in 2018. . . . more

Macy's sees savings of up to $550 million from targeted promotions, better pricing

Macy’s Inc said on Thursday it aimed to save $400 million to $550 million annually in the next two to four years, as the department store chain cuts back on discounts, sending its shares up 5% in mid-day trading.

The 160-year-old company, which has been spending heavily on remodeling its stores and building off-price and online businesses, has relied on discounting to clear inventory, a move that has hurt its earnings. . . . more

Economy added disappointing 130,000 jobs in August, giving Fed another reason to cut rates

USA Today
Hiring slowed in August as employers added 130,000 jobs, further stoking recession fears and strengthening the Federal Reserve’s argument for another cut in interest rates this month.

The unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.7%, just above a 50-year low, the Labor Department said Friday.

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected 160,000 job gains.. . . more

Lululemon shares rise as growth in men's sales drives earnings beat

Lululemon on Thursday reported second quarter earnings that topped analysts’ expectations, sending the athletic apparel retailer’s shares up as much as 5% in after-hours trading.

The company also hiked its full-year outlook. CEO Calvin McDonald said in a statement he sees “significant runway” ahead, as Lululemon continues to push into new categories. . . . more

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Sears and Kmart keep shrinking. Here's what's left

CNN Business
Sears, the 133-year-old company that was once the jewel of American retail, continues its slow and precipitous decline. It keeps shuttering Sears and Kmart stores, even after emerging from a bankruptcy designed to salvage the company.

So far this year, Kmart has closed, or plans to close, about 60 stores, leaving fewer than 100 open. Sears has closed, or will close, more than 30 stores this year, reducing the number to fewer than 200. . . . more

American Eagle Outfitters’ Q2 beats Street amid strong Aerie sales

Chain Store Age
American Eagle Outfitters Inc. topped analysts’ estimates as its intimates brand Aerie marked its 19th consecutive quarter of double-digit growth.

The apparel retailer overcame a slow start to finish strong, but its same-store growth still came in below expectations and it offered weak guidance.. . . more

The Michaels Companies Announces Second Quarter 2019 Results

Yahoo Finance
Michaels net sales were $1,033.7 million compared to $1,053.3 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2018. The decrease in net sales was primarily due to the closure of the Pat Catan’s stores in fiscal 2018, partially offset by a 0.3% increase in comparable store sales and sales from the operation of 11 additional Michaels stores (net of closures) during the quarter. 

During the second quarter, the Company opened four new Michaels stores, closed two Michaels stores, and relocated one Michaels store. At the end of the second quarter of fiscal 2019, the Company operated 1,262 Michaels stores.. . . more

After 'bleak' Q2, prospects dim for department stores

Retail Dive
Moody's cut its forecast for department store profits after a "bleak" second quarter for the sector, according to a report released Tuesday and emailed to Retail Dive. The ratings agency now forecasts a 15% overall drop in operating income for the sector in 2019, after previously predicting a 10% decline.

Perhaps even worse, the sector's bad Q2 and predicted profit decline followed several department stores' "heavy investing to improve inventory efficiency and to build their online capabilities," Moody's analysts led by Christina Boni wrote in the report.. . . more

Apparel has an online returns problem

Chain Store Age
Returns are rampant in online fashion retail, but counterstrategies exist.

According to “Fashion Ecommerce Report: Consumer Trends & Strategies for Brands” from e-commerce marketing platform Yotpo, 88% of surveyed fashion shoppers admit to having returned fashion items purchased online in the past year, with 51% returning between 50 and 500 dollars’ worth of online fashion merchandise. Sixty-six percent of respondents say they order more items than they intend on keeping due to the ease of returns.. . . more

Duluth Trading CEO resigns for a top spot at Under Armour

Chain Store Age
There’s been a changing of the guard at Duluth Trading Company.

The men’s and women’s casual clothing and workwear brand announced that Stephanie Pugliese has resigned as president, CEO and board member (effective as of August 29). Less than 24 hours after Duluth Trading revealed that Pugliese had left, Under Armour announced that it had appointed Pugliese as president, North America.. . . more

The world’s largest Starbucks will open soon in Chicago

Chicago Tribune
The highly anticipated Starbucks Reserve Roastery Chicago is scheduled to open Nov. 15 on the Magnificent Mile, marking the last and largest of the chain’s grand coffee palaces.

The Chicago roastery, first announced more than two years ago, will open at 10 a.m. that day in a glassy 43,000-square-foot space formerly occupied by Crate and Barrel, at the corner of North Michigan Avenue and Erie Street.. . . more

Target tells suppliers to bear cost of Donald Trump’s tariffs

Boston Business Journal
Target has set the stage for contentious talks with the US retailer’s suppliers of Chinese goods, telling them it would refuse to “accept any cost increases related to tariffs” imposed by Donald Trump in his trade war with Beijing.

Hundreds of suppliers to the S&P 500 company received the warning in a memo sent last week, shortly before 15 per cent tariffs on $112bn of goods from China went into effect at the weekend.. . . more

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Walmart ending all handgun ammunition sales

Chain Store Age
Walmart has added more restrictions to its gun policy.

The world’s largest retailer announced that, after selling through its current inventory commitments, it will discontinue sales of short-barrel rifle ammunition such as the .223 caliber and 5.56 caliber. The ammunition, which is commonly used in some hunting rifles, can also be used in large capacity clips on military-style weapons.

In addition, Walmart will sell through and discontinue handgun ammunition, and discontinue handgun sales in Alaska, marking its complete exit from handgun sales nationwide.. . . more

Build-A-Bear leans on 2K Walmart stores for annual teddy bear event

Retail Dive
For the first time, Build-A-Bear Workshop will partner with 2,000 Walmart stores across the United States in celebration of its National Teddy Bear Day.

The celebration, which begins Saturday and runs through Monday, will include various activities and entertainment at locations around the globe and the release of a limited-edition plush bear, according to a company press release.. . . more

How quitting tobacco reshaped CVS

USA Today
CVS's move to quit selling tobacco products in September 2014 was the catalyst in a makeover for a corporation known historically as a drugstore chain.

The company has opened more than 1,100 in-store clinics through the MinuteClinic brand, adopted a new concept store model called HealthHUBs after a pilot in Houston and acquired health insurer Aetna.. . . more

Best Buy misses on Q2 sales, beats on earnings, tariffs loom

Chain Store Age
Best Buy had mixed results in the second quarter of fiscal 2020 and is preparing for the impact of upcoming Chinese tariffs.

Quarterly enterprise revenue equaled $9.54 billion, up 2% from $9.37 billion but short of analyst estimates of $9.6 billion. Same-store sales rose 1.6%, missing predictions of 2.1% growth. . . . more

Nearly 100 More Sears & Kmart Stores To Close, Including 2 Mass. Locations

CBS Boston
Nearly 100 additional Kmart and Sears stores could close in December or sooner. The latest round of closures includes two locations in Massachusetts.

The Brockton Enterprise reports that Kmart stores in Brockton and Webster are going out of business. . . . more

Trump said he wanted to save Christmas, but shoppers fear tariffs could ruin the holiday season

Six in 10 people are worried about tariffs impacting their holiday shopping, according to a new study.

President Donald Trump had said he chose to delay part of the taxes on $300 billion worth of Chinese imports from Sept. 1 until Dec. 15 “for the Christmas season ... just in case some of the tariffs would have an impact on U.S. customers. ” But consumers are still anxious.. . . more

Lego to open 160 new stores as other toy retailers suffer

Boston Business Journal
Lego is rapidly increasing the number of its own-brand stores and investing heavily into ecommerce as it seeks to navigate the turmoil in the toy industry.

Niels Christiansen, Lego’s chief executive, said on Tuesday it would open more than 160 new stores this year — an increase of almost 40 per cent, as the Danish toymaker draws the lessons from the collapse of Toys R Us and the Nordic region’s biggest toy retailer Top Toy. . . . more

Friday, August 30, 2019

Burlington Stores store remodels gaining traction

Home Textiles Today
By the end of this year, Burlington Stores will have remodeled over 60% of its store fleet.

During the company’s second quarter conference call this morning, executives for the 691-unit off-price chain reiterated the long-term strategy of getting to 1,000 stores in the US.. . . more

Ulta lowers guidance on weak cosmetics market

Retail Dive
Ulta, usually a top performer, unexpectedly lowered its guidance for fiscal 2019 on Thursday, citing "headwinds" in the U.S. cosmetics market, according to a company press release. CEO Mary Dillon said on a conference call with analysts that the cosmetics category, which makes up about 50% of the retailer's business, failed to live up to the company's expectations for the period, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript.

Nevertheless, net sales at the retailer rose 12% in the second quarter to $1.67 billion, compared to $1.49 billion in the year-ago period. Comparable sales also increased 6.2%, thanks to growth in the number and size of transactions, but down slightly from a 6.5% increase a year ago.. . . more

Store Closings Could Hit 12,000 By the End of the Year

The so-called “retail apocalypse” continues as massive U.S. retail chains, including Payless ShoeSource, Gymboree, Gap and Dressbarn have already announced 7,888 stores closures this year, according to global marketing research firm Coresight Research.

That number easily beats the 5,844 total store closures in all of 2018, which included all Toys ‘R’ Us stores, as well as hundreds of Sears and Kmart locations.

The record year for closures was 2017, with 8,139 shuttered locations. If the current frenzied pace continues, however, store closings could hit 12,000 by year-end, Coresight reports.. . . more

Consumer spending surges in July and low inflation paves way for Fed to cut rates

Americans boosted spending in July on recreational goods and vehicles as well as energy to run their air conditioners, but inflation remained low enough to give the Federal Reserve room to cut interest rates next month.

Consumer spending jumped 0.6% last month, the government said Friday, matching the MarketWatch forecast.

Incomes rose just 0.1%, however, marking the smallest gain in nearly a year. Americans had to dip into their savings to cover their expenses.. . . more

Check out Wayfair’s first permanent store

Chain Store Age
Wayfair continues its foray into brick-and-mortar with the opening of its first permanent, full-price store.

The online home furnishings giant opened a 3,400-sq.-ft. location at Natick Mall, in Natick., Mass. Wayfair previously operated a pop-up shop at the Natick Mall during the 2018 holiday season along with one at the Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey. . . . more

Walmart to pilot new health services in Georgia

Chain Store Age
The new Walmart Health clinic will reportedly offer low-cost mental and dental health services.

According to CNBC, Walmart is testing a new health clinic concept in a building located next to a store in Dallas, Georgia, starting Sept. 13, 2019. The clinic, called Walmart Health, will provide comprehensive services including primary care, dental, counseling, labs, X-rays, and audiology. The clinic will be located in a separate building from the neighboring store to ensure patient privacy, with online scheduling of appointments.. . . more

Big Lots beats Street with Q2 earnings, misses on same-store sales

Chain Store Age
For the second quarter in a row, after-tax charges bit into profits at Big Lots Inc.

The closeout retailer reported net income of $6.2 million during the second quarter of fiscal 2019, including after-tax charges of $14.5 million related to its ongoing strategic business transformation. This represented a roughly 75% decrease from net income of $24.2 million the prior-year period. However, adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of 53 cents per share beat Wall Street analyst expectations of 36 cents per share.

Net sales totaled $1.25 billion, up 2% from $1.22 billion a year earlier and in line with Wall Street predictions. Same-stores sales growth of 1.2% fell behind expectations of 1.9%.. . . more

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Tiffany Q2 earnings top Street but sales miss amid Hong Kong protests

Chain Store Age
Tiffany & Co. reported earnings that easily topped analysts’ expectations but its sales fell short amid protests in Hong Kong and a decline in tourist spending in the U.S.

Sales fell to $1.05 billion from $1.08 billion, missing Street estimates of $1.06 billion. Global same-store sales decreased 4%. Same-store U.S. sales fell 4%. Tiffany said it had “strong growth” in mainland China but “softness” in Hong Kong.. . . more

Five Below on track to open 150 stores in 2019

Chain Store Age
Five Below reported continued aggressive expansion in its second quarter along with earnings that just beat Street expectations as sales fell short.

Net sales rose 20.0% to $417.4 million, below analysts’ projections. Same-store sales increased 1.4%.

Five Below opened 44 stores in the quarter. It is on plan to open 150 stores in fiscal 2019. . . . more

Dollar General blows past Street estimates in Q2, raises guidance; names COO

Chain Store Age
Dollar General on Thursday reported a strong second-quarter performance, beating Wall Street’s earnings and sales expectations, and announced two key promotions.

Sales rose 8.4% to $7.0 billion, beating estimates of $6.9 billion. Same-store sales rose 4%, also more than expected.. . . more

Regis selling rest of company-owned salons

Regis Corp. plans to sell more than 3,100 salons in its transition to a full franchise business model.

In its last fiscal year, the Edina-based company has sold 767 salons to franchisees, making more than half its 7,145 salons franchises. It said Tuesday, as it released fourth quarter results, that it will sell almost all of the rest of the corporate-owned stores.. . . more

Gap to keep name after Old Navy spin-off

FOX Business
Gap Inc announced on Wednesday that it will keep its iconic name following the planned spin-off of its Old Navy brand Opens a New Window. .

The new public company, currently being called NewCo, will have the Gap Inc. name.

The new Gap Inc. will contain a portfolio of brands, including Gap, Banana Republic, Athleta, Intermix, Janie and Jack, and Hill City.. . . more

Greater Hartford, CT Report Preview

KeyPoint Partners
With the releases of the KeyPoint Reports on Eastern Massachusetts/Greater Boston and Southern New Hampshire behind us, it’s time to move on to the report for Greater Hartford, Connecticut, based on our proprietary GRIID™ retail database. As with the other reports, our modus operandi is to share some of the regional highlights while the complete version is still “baking.” In Greater Hartford, the 2019 retail market was a relatively stable one.. . . more

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Forever 21 reportedly preparing potential bankruptcy filing

Apparel retailer Forever 21 is preparing to potentially file for bankruptcy, Bloomberg reported Wednesday afternoon, citing people familiar with its plans.

The retailer has been exploring restructuring options to shore up its liquidity as it struggles with its business, CNBC previously reported. Those efforts though, have stalled, and the company’s focus has instead shifted to raising a so-called debtor-in-possession loan to fund a potential bankruptcy, Bloomberg reported. The newswire cautioned it is still possible it will be able to restructure its debt without filing for bankruptcy.. . . more

Lord & Taylor sold

Chain Store Age
The nation’s oldest department store company is being acquired by an apparel rental service that was founded some seven years ago.

Hudson’s Bay Company said it will sell Lord & Taylor to Le Tote for $100 million. The Canadian department store giant will be paid C$99.5 million (US$75 million) in cash after the deal closes and a secured promissory note of C$33.2 million (US$25 million) payable in cash after two years. In addition, Hudson’s Bay will receive an equity stake in Le Tote, two seats on its board and certain rights as a minority shareholder.. . . more

Simon Property Group Wants to Be More Than Just a Mall Operator

The Motley Fool
The retail apocalypse is in full force. Last year, Sears Holdings filed for bankruptcy and is liquidating stores. Earlier this year, Dressbarn (owned by Ascena Retail Group) made the decision to close all its stores. And these are just two examples of the dozens of struggling retailers that have been closing thousands of stores or are on the brink of insolvency.

A major loser in all of this (other than the individual retailers) are the real estate companies owed rent and facing higher vacancy rates in the malls they operate. Among them is Simon Property Group, a real estate investment trust (REIT) that operates 235 shopping centers around the world. While the company's business is holding up well, Simon is redeveloping much of its property to diversify its portfolio. . . . more

Hollister may be competing with Macy’s on Fifth Avenue soon

New York Post
Hollister is working on opening a store at 130 W. 34th St. opposite Macy’s.

The deal may or may not be complete, and it is unclear if the retailer leased the entire multistory building of 22,500 square feet that was being marketed as one unit, or just a floor or two.. . . more

Liberty Tax’s retail buying spree continues

Chain Store Age
Sears Hometown has sold its outlet business to a company with a rapidly expanding retail portfolio.

Liberty Tax announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire the Sears Hometown’s Outlet business and its group of 41 franchised Buddy’s Home Furnishings stores in an all cash transaction valued at up to approximately $132.9 million.

Liberty is the parent company of Liberty Tax Service and lease-to-own Buddy’s Home Furnishings and is in the process of acquiring The Vitamin Shoppe. The acquisitions are part of Liberty’s ongoing strategy to transform itself from a tax services business to an investment company specializing in franchised and related businesses. . . . more

Chico’s swings to Q2 loss; White House Black Market falls but Soma shines

Chain Store Age
Chico’s FAS’s continued to struggle in the second quarter amid plunging sales at White House | Black Market and a better-than-expected performance by its lingerie brand, Soma.

Revenue fell 6.7% to $508.4 million, below the $513.0 million analysts had estimated. The decrease was driven by a total same-store sales decline of 6.1%, more than the Street expected, as well as the impact of 53 net store closures since last year’s second quarter, the company said.

By brand, same-store sales fell 16.1% at White House Black Market and 5.6% at Chico’s. Same-store sales rose 10.9% at Soma. . . . more

Walmart's biggest-ever holiday toy list is dominated by kid influencers

Yahoo Finance
Walmart posted its biggest ever "hottest toy" list for the holidays yesterday.

The world's largest retailer dropped a list with 48 toys, rated by kids who tested and played with hundreds of products. The collection includes dolls, scooters, and games.

This season, Walmart will increase its exclusive toy offering in stores and online by 25% — and is adding over 40 new toys from kid-influencer brands.. . . more

Amazon appears to be cutting prices at Whole Foods again

Amazon appears to be cutting back prices at Whole Foods again, after rolling out a broader price hike earlier this year.

As of August, Whole Foods prices are down roughly 2.5% on average compared with last year, according to a note published by Morgan Stanley on Tuesday. The drop in price follows a 3% price increase in the first three months of this year, the note said.. . . more

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Boston Gaining On New York, San Francisco As Foreign Investors’ Market Of Choice

While the largest destinations for cross-border capital into the U.S. have lost momentum in recent years, Boston is gaining ground. . . more

Has the Last Remaining Tannery Store Finally Closed?

Boston Magazine
The store's owner had been battling bankruptcy, lawsuits, and discrimination charges. Now it looks like time to find a new place to score killer deals on heels.. . . more

Flywheel To Close 11 Studios

SGB Media
Flywheel Sports, the spin chain, is closing 11 of its 42 locations. The closings were reported in an e-mail to membership holders. . . . more

Target on track to remodel 1,000 stores by end of 2020

Target Corp. has passed two big store milestones.

The discounter recently cut the ribbon on its 100th small-format store, and also surpassed its 500th store remodel. And it’s not done yet: Target said it’s on track to remodel 1,000 stores by the end of 2020. . . . more

Krispy Kreme's Sweet Redesign Marks the Beginning of a New Era

Just outside of the main entrance of Krispy Kreme’s new store in Concord, North Carolina, sits a massive pink doughnut covered with sprinkles. This bright, Instagramable feature—which doubles as a patio bench—is just one of the new interactive features incorporated into the store’s innovative redesign. . . . more

BJ’s Wholesale Club expanding its retail footprint

BJ’s Wholesale Club continues to venture beyond its Northeast home base.

The warehouse club operator will open two new stores, including BJ’s Gas, in early 2020, in Pensacola, Fla. and Chesterfield, Mich. BJ’s is on track to to open its first two locations in Michigan this fall, in Taylor, and Madison Heights. The Pensacola location will be the company’s 33rd site in Florida. . . . more

Why more retailers who own their stores are doing sale-leasebacks

Is the chain you work for, like so many retail chains today, looking to lift net earnings in a challenging environment?

One thing to consider heavily if yours is a chain that owns a lot of its own properties is the sale-leaseback. A sale-leaseback is exactly what it sounds like: You sell your property, but you immediately lease it from the buyer so you can continue to operate your business. Why would you sell a property you still need to use? Generally speaking, you either want to get cash back out of your investment, possibly to put back into your business, or you want to end the headache that sometimes comes with owning the property where your business is located. . . . more

Monday, August 26, 2019

New Bedford set to get new 10,000-square-foot retail store

SouthCoast Today
The new Family Dollar on Orchard Street could be getting a new neighbor, but it’s unclear who exactly that would be. The city’s Planning Board has approved a site plan for the construction of a 10,000-square-foot retail store on the vacant lot directly adjacent to the dollar store, but no intended tenant is listed.

The site, which was previously part of a Goodyear Tire manufacturing facility, is set to be purchased by Lisciotti Development Corp., according to the site plan review application.. . . more

Costco hopes to succeed where other foreign retail giants failed by opening first Chinese store

South China Morning Post
The US retail giant Costco is diving into the thorny area of food retail in China with its first store opening this week, but analysts warn it faces a tough ride as it looks to succeed where a series of international retailers have failed.

China has proved a brutal battleground for overseas food retailers in recent years, with many failing to understand consumer habits and tastes and facing strong competition from local companies.. . . more

Forever 21 hires disposition company

Chain Store Age
The trendy mall teen fashion shop whose trendiness appears on the wane has hired RCS Real Estate Advisors to help it re-evaluate its 815-store portfolio.

Forever 21, a favorite of teen girls for most of the last decade, is suffering from a severe drop in traffic and is looking at closing under-performing locations and filing for bankruptcy.. . . more

Target teaming up with Disney for new in-store experience

Chain Store Age
Target Corp. is looking to bring the magic of Disney to its stores and e-commerce site via a pilot with the entertainment giant.

The discounter plans to open dedicated Disney Stores at 25 Target locations on October 4, with 40 more opening by October 2020. The in-store shops will feature more than 450 items, including toys, games, apparel and accessories —with more than 100 products that were previously only available at Disney retail locations. . . . more

Barneys exec explains why it's keeping the Madison Avenue flagship

Retail Dive
Just a few weeks after Barneys New York filed for bankruptcy, Chief Digital and Technology Officer and Executive Vice President Katherine Bahamonde Monasebian discussed some of the problems that forced the company into that position in the first place.

"Department stores used to be, in their heyday, the emporium. They were the center of the community. They were the place you went to find what you needed, perfectly curated. There was no retail without department stores," Monasebian said during a panel at the eTail East conference this week, noting that the model has had to evolve in a period of change. . . . more

Ross posts 6% sales increase, opens 27 stores in Q2

Retail Dive
Ross Stores second quarter sales grew nearly 6.5% year over year to nearly $4 billion as comparable-store sales rose 3%, against a tough comparison of 5% a year ago, the company said in a press release.

The off-price retailer opened a net of 27 stores between the end of Q1 and Q2. The company was on track to open 22 Ross and six dd's Discount stores in the quarter, with plans to add a total of about 100 this year, including 75 Ross locations, executives said Thursday.. . . more

Social media is making it even harder to work in stores and restaurants

Business Insider
You've probably seen the footage. A group descends on a local Walmart, Home Depot, or Target, intent on sowing chaos. The next thing you know, people are scaling the store's shelving, tossing themselves into displays, kicking around merchandise, incurring the ire of managers, and, occasionally, reducing employees to tears.

Of course, you're not watching the work of an out-of-control mob or an anti-retail vandal crew or some sort of destructive organized crime ring. These are social media creators at work. They're just looking for good content, and sometimes that means getting kicked out of a retailer or restaurant chain with a household name.. . . more

Friday, August 23, 2019

Foot Locker goes off track again in Q2

Chain Store Age
Foot Locker turned in a disappointing second-quarter performance with earnings and sales that missed expectations.

Sales fell 0.4% to $1.77 billion, below analysts’ estimates of $1.82 billion. Same-store sales edged up 0.8%, also below estimates. . . . more

Amazon spreads AmazonFresh north, south and west

Chain Store Age
Amazon is bringing ultrafast delivery of fresh products to major metro areas in Minnesota, Texas, and Arizona.

The e-tail giant is now offering its Amazon Fresh delivery service to Prime members in Minneapolis, Houston, and Phoenix. Online orders for tens of thousands of fresh products, including meat, seafood, produce, and everyday essentials, will be available for one- to two-hour delivery from AmazonFresh.. . . more

Tractor Supply Co. begins search for a new CEO

Chain Store Age
Tractor Supply Co.’s succession plan has gone a bit off track.

The nation’s largest rural lifestyle retailer announced that it extended the current employment contract of CEO Greg Sandfort for a period of up to one year while an executive search firm looks for a successor. The news came as Tractor Supply also said that president and COO Steve Barbarick, who has been with the company for 21 years, had resigned, effective immediately. It gave no reason for his departure. Barbarick, who added the title of COO last year, was widely viewed as next in line for the CEO spot. . . . more

Investors look at dollar stores as U.S. recession fears increase

More investors are watching the shares of discount retailers like Dollar General Corp and Dollar Tree Inc, which perform better during economic downturns, in the hopes of gauging changes in consumer behavior, though higher tariffs may erode the companies’ ability to act as economic bellwethers.

Fund managers and analysts say that they are looking for signs of a so-called “trade-down trade”, in which consumers forgo shopping at higher-end department stores or supermarkets in favor of the more limited selection but lower prices at deep discounters. Between December 2008 and December 2011, for instance, shares of Dollar Tree soared nearly 200% as consumers pinched pennies during the Great Recession, while the benchmark S&P 500 gained just 39% over the same time.. . . more

Gap same-store sales disappoint as Old Navy struggles

Yahoo Finance
Gap Inc posted quarterly same-store sales that fell short of analysts' estimates on Thursday, as Old Navy suffered its worst comparable sales figures in three years ahead of a planned spin-off of the brand.

Old Navy, which offers more affordable clothing and accessories, has been a bright spot for the company in the past. But quarterly same-store sales fell 5%, much worse than the 1.11% decline Wall Street expected, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. . . . more

Target has opened 100 mini stores and remodeled 500 bigger ones. And it’s paying off

Target is surpassing major milestones this week on its store investments, days after the retailer reported earnings that blew past analysts’ estimates and sent its shares surging to new highs.

Target announced Friday it has opened its 100th small-format location and finished remodeling its 500th location since it unveiled a $7 billion investment plan in 2017. . . . more

Dick's is still figuring out what to do with its gun business

CNN Business
Dick's Sporting Goods said it is still reviewing whether to continue to sell firearms as it weighs results from 135 stores which no longer carry guns.

The nation's largest sporting goods-only retailer reported strong results from its other businesses: athletic equipment, clothing and footwear. Its sales were not significantly hit in stores where it replaced its "hunt" business with other items.

Dick's pulled hunting products, including firearms, out of 10 stores last fall as an initial test. It expanded that test to 125 more stores earlier this year. It still has about 600 stores that sell hunting products, including firearms.. . . more

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Apparel is out of fashion

Retail Dive
Considering the number of apparel retailers on the ground and online, it would appear to be a winning category. But broad sales trends are not in the sector's favor.

Several apparel retailers are struggling. Ascena is regrouping as sales plummet, unloading its discount banners entirely. L Brands is propped up by its personal care brand Bath & Body Works as Victoria's Secret loses share. J. Crew is in disarray, hobbled by debt and putting its hopes into its much smaller Madewell brand.. . . more

BJ’s Wholesale’s Q2 earnings beat analysts’ estimates

Chain Store Age
BJ’s Wholesale Club Holdings Inc. swung to a profit in its second quarter with earnings that came in ahead of the Street.

Total revenue rose 1.2% to $3.345 billion, below Street estimates, as retail sales grew 1.1% to $3.271 billion and membership fee income increased 6.0% to $74.697 million.

Same-store sales, excluding gasoline sales, rose 1.6%, in line with expectations. . . . more

Should Landlords Worry About Drugstore Closures?

Neighborhoods will see fewer corner drugstores as Walgreens has revealed recently it will shutter 200 U.S. stores, and less than a day later, CVS announced it’s pulling back on the number of new store openings annually.

Is the drugstore sector undergoing a major transformation like other retail sectors?. . . more

L Brands second-quarter profit drops sharply as Victoria’s Secret lags

The Columbus Dispatch
L Brands said Wednesday that its second-quarter profit tumbled from the same period in 2018, dragged down by a one-time charge and continued struggles at Victoria’s Secret.

Revenue fell to $2.9 billion during the quarter from $3 billion in the same period in 2018.

The company said comparable store sales, an indicator of a retailer’s strength, fell 6% at Victoria’s Secret but rose 8% at Bath & Body Works. Overall, comparable store sales fell 1%.. . . more

Nordstrom beats profit estimates as it clears inventory faster and sells more online

Yahoo Finance
Upscale U.S. retailer Nordstrom Inc reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday as it said it had cut costs and cleared more inventory, sending its shares up 10% in extended trading.

The Seattle-based company, which sells everything from apparel and footwear to home decor, said digital sales rose 4% for the second quarter ended Aug. 3, although weaker sales at both its full-price department stores and off-price Nordstrom Rack stores dragged total revenue down 5% to $3.87 billion. . . . more

Retail earnings show big box, off-price brands are winning while mall stores struggle

The Dallas Morning News
The divide between retail winners and losers is widening.

That became even more evident Wednesday with the latest batch of earnings reports: Big-box stores and off-price retailers have been responding faster to shoppers' increasing shift online with expanded deliveries and better merchandise. But many mall-based clothing chains and department stores continue to suffer weak sales as they struggle to lure shoppers.. . . more

Physical stores fight Amazon with tech makeover

Boston Business Journal
At the Credo “clean beauty” store in San Francisco’s upscale Pacific Heights neighbourhood, McKenzie Hunt is racking up sales. She is chatting with a regular client — one of dozens in her “black book” — who wants advice on which shade of foundation best suits their skin tone.

The feat is all the more impressive given that, on this quiet Tuesday morning, no customers are in sight. Ms Hunt is chatting to a client in Boston, and their conversation is taking place on an iPad.

Welcome to the future of personal shopping. Ms Hunt’s black book chat app is powered by London-based Hero, a start-up bringing digital engagement tools into physical stores. . . . more

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Resale clothing company thredUP gets $175 million in funding

Online resale store thredUP said on Wednesday it received $175 million in funding which it will use to expand its platform to offer resale clothing services to retailers.

Last week, the department store chains J.C. Penney Company Inc and Macy’s Inc. announced partnerships with San Francisco-based thredUP intended to lure younger, more environmentally conscious shoppers into stores and to provide retailers fresh inventory of secondhand clothing and accessories. . . . more

Urban Outfitters in mixed Q2; Free People continues to shine

Chain Store Age
Urban Outfitters’ second-quarter earnings topped analysts’ estimates but its revenue fell short amid comp declines at its namesake and Anthropologie divisions.

Total net sales decreased 3% to $962 million, short of Street expectations of $982 million. Same-store sales also dropped 3%. By brand, comparable sales increased 6% at Free People and decreased 3% at the Anthropologie Group and 5% at Urban Outfitters. Wholesale segment net sales decreased 8%.. . . more

Lowe's Posts Strong Second-Quarter Earnings, Sales Top Forecasts

Shares of home improvement retailer Lowe's took off on Wednesday after reporting second-quarter earnings that beat analysts' forecasts as the Home Depot competitor continued to focus on luring home-improvement and renovation-focused customers through its doors.

Sales were $21 billion vs. $20.8 billion a year ago and above analysts' forecasts of $20.97 billion. Comparable same-store sales, a key metric among brick-and-mortar retailers, was 2.3%. Comparable-store sales for its U.S. home improvement business increased 3.2%.. . . more

CVS wants to expand MinuteClinics. But will it bring them to Boston?

Boston Business Journal
Retail clinics at drugstores, a low-cost option for a range of ailments, have proliferated across Massachusetts. But not in Boston.

The city’s dearth of retail health care may soon change, however, with CVS Health’s plans to bring its new "HealthHUBs" into Boston.. . . more

Target thrives in intense retail environment

The News & Observer
Target topped expectations in just about any way measureable during the second quarter as it pushed faster delivery for customers and invested heavily in new private label brands.

Comparable store sales, which include online sales, rose 3.4 % as customer traffic jumped 2.4%. The measure includes sales at stores open at least a year and online sales. Sales at established stores rose 1.5 %. Online sales soared 34%.. . . more

See inside Wayfair's first full-service retail home store
Boston-based online furniture retailer Wayfair will open its first full-service retail store at the Natick Mall on Wednesday, Aug. 21.

The Natick store will feature hundreds of items in its inventory that will be available for in-store purchase. It will also allow shoppers to use digital interfaces to plan out the layout of rooms in their home and customize the upholstery of furniture to match their needs, according to a statement issued by the company.. . . more

Quincy Developer Proposes $300M Casino, Horse Track For Wareham
Casino competition is heating up in the last Massachusetts region awaiting a gambling development. 

 Marina Bay and Granite Links Golf Club developer Thomas O’Connell is leading a development partnership, Notos Group LLC, for Wareham Park. The more than $300M gambling proposal includes a horse track, restaurants, a slots parlor, a hotel, a ballpark for the Cape Cod Baseball League’s Wareham Gatemen and other entertainment venues. . . . more

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Target’s new grocery brand gives it advantage over many other grocers

Chain Store Age
Over the past few years, Target has been a master of own brand development. Its labels in everything from fashion to party goods have been well-conceived, nicely executed and, most importantly, have resonated with consumers. They have also helped to differentiate Target from other retailers and have played a role in protecting margins as price comparison is more difficult with exclusive labels.

The one area where Target has been lacking, to date, is grocery. Aside from the simple store refreshes, this is an area that has not been advanced. As a result, while they are perfectly functional, Target’s grocery aisles feel neither innovative nor special. Target is hoping that its new brand, Good & Gather, will change that perception.. . . more

TJX Cos. Q2 sales disappoint

Chain Store Age
TJX Cos. reported total revenue and comp sales that missed analysts estimates increased competition in the off-price sector.

Net sales increased 4.8% to $9.78 billion, missing estimates of $9.90 billion. Consolidated same-store sales increased 2%, also missing estimates. By division, same-store sales rose 2% at Marmaax U.S. (TJ Maxx and Marshall’s), 1% at TJX Canada and 6% at TJX International.. . . more

Home Depot stock rises on better-than-expected profits even as the company lowers outlook on tariff worries

Home Depot shares climbed more than 3% Tuesday morning after the retailer released a mixed earnings report that investors attributed to a weakening housing market.

Home Depot’s fiscal second-quarter sales missed analysts’ expectations, and the company lowered its sales outlook for the year amid fears that the trade war will slow consumer spending. But its earnings topped estimates, and analysts say that positions Home Depot well for the back half of 2019.. . . more

Kohl's Rises After Posting Better-Than-Expected Second-Quarter Earnings

Department store chain Kohl's on Tuesday reported second-quarter earnings lower than a year ago but still ahead of analysts' forecasts as the company continued to focus on cutting costs while changing its product lineup to entice customers to walk through its doors.

Sales rang in at $4.43 billion for the quarter, down from $4.57 billion a year ago though ahead of analysts' forecasts of $4.31 billion. Comparable same-store sales dropped 2.9% vs. a gain of 3.1% in the same period last year.. . . more

Department stores may be having a bad ‘Kodak moment,’ one trader warns

Big retailers are getting in the check-out line to release earnings this week.

Home Depot, Kohl’s, Nordstrom, Target and some other big retail names will be reporting results this week. Those reports have a tinge of uncertainty following a rough earnings miss by Macy’s and a big beat by Walmart.. . . more

July’s 30+ Days CMBS Delinquency Rate Falls to New Post-Crisis Low

The all-property CMBS delinquency rate fell to a new post-financial crisis low in July, according to both Trepp LLC and ratings agency Fitch. Trepp calculated the 30+ day all-property delinquency rate at 2.62 percent, a 22-basis-point drop from where it was in June. The figure was also down 119 basis points compared to July of 2018.

The industrial sector saw a decline of 24 basis points, to 1.70 percent, and the retail sector posted a delinquency decline of 9 basis points, to 4.35 percent.. . . more

Monday, August 19, 2019

Kroger, Walgreens expand retail pilot

Supermarket News
The Kroger Co. and Walgreens Boots Alliance are broadening their retail partnership, including the launch of Walgreens health and beauty brands in Kroger stores.

Kroger and Walgreens said Monday that their expanded retail pilot, building on a test launched last October, will bring the Kroger Express curated grocery assortment and Kroger Pickup service to 35 Walgreens drugstores in the Knoxville, Tenn., market. In addition, Walgreens own-brand health and beauty products will be sold in a Walgreens-bannered section in 17 Kroger supermarkets in Knoxville. . . . more

Banana Republic hops on board the latest retail trend

Chain Store Age
Banana Republic has joined the growing ranks of retail companies that are letting consumers rent apparel.

Banana Republic on Friday said it will launch an online subscription rental service for women at the end of September, with the goal of adding men’s apparel at a later date. Called “Style Passport,” the service will allow customers to rent three items for the monthly fee of $85, with the option to purchase any piece. The plan includes free priority shipping, unlimited exchanges and returns, and complimentary laundering services.. . . more

Consumers grow wary as sentiment falls amid trade concerns

Chain Store Age
Consumer sentiment declined in early August to its lowest level since the start of the year.

The University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer sentiment survey fell 6.4% to 92.1 in August — the lowest level since January. Economists had predicted it would come in at 97.2.. . . more

Tailored Brands sells a division; lifts guidance

Chain Store Age
Menswear giant Tailored Brands has exited the corporate dress business.

The company, whose brands include Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank, said Monday it has closed on the sale of its corporate apparel business to a group led by the existing corporate apparel U.K. executive team for $62 million in cash. The company will use proceeds from the deal to reinvest in its core business and to pay down debt.

The company also updated its guidance for the second quarter. . . . more

Nordstrom Did So Much Right, but It’s Still in Trouble

The Wall Street Journal
Nordstrom Inc. invested heavily in e-commerce, didn’t open too many cavernous stores and has been quick to experiment with new types of shopping formats, including stores that don’t carry any clothes.

Yet, it’s suffering the same fate as department stores that innovated less, with year-over-year sales and profits expected to fall for the second consecutive quarter when it reports results on Wednesday. Its stock is the second-worst performing in the S&P 500 retail index behind shares of Macy’s Inc., falling 52% over the past 12 months through Friday’s close. During that period, the index was roughly flat. . . . more

In ‘disappointing’ decision, Weiner Ventures scraps air-rights tower at 1000 Boylston

Boston Business Journal
After years of planning and study, Boston-based real estate firm Weiner Ventures said it's cancelling plans to build an air-rights tower above the Massachusetts Turnpike.

Weiner Ventures originally planned to develop two towers at 1000 Boylston St. — a 33-story condominium tower and a 17-story apartment tower atop a 35,000-square-foot, six- to seven-story retail podium. At its highest point, the project was to rise 586 feet. The firm later scrapped plans to develop the apartment tower and reduced the overall project size by 36 percent.. . . more

Could Eminent Domain Be The Zombie Mall Slayer?
After 45 years in business, and recent years of struggle, the Swansea Mall in the town of Swansea, Massachusetts, closed its doors for good in April. 

A new owner is now trying to breathe life into the mall, but is blocked from being able to do much given a set of restrictive covenants Walmart imposed on the property in 2012 under previous ownership. Now, Swansea’s top elected officials are aiming to eliminate those restrictions by advocating the use of a power unique to governments, one that more and more municipalities around the country are looking to use: eminent domain. . . . more

Friday, August 16, 2019

Retail closures more than double openings

Retail Dive
Major retailers this year have announced 7,567 store closures as of July 31, according to the latest tracking information from Coresight Research. That is up from 5,524 closures in all of 2018, according to the report, which was emailed to Retail Dive.

Most affected are apparel specialty stores, which so far have announced 2,750 closures — 36% of the total, compared to 14% of 2018's closures. Footwear stores represent 28% of this year's announcements (8% last year) and general merchandise stores 14% (2% last year). Food retailers have announced just 23 closures.. . . more

Mall-based candy retailer files for bankruptcy; locked out of some stores

Chain Store Age
Things are not so sweet these days for Lolli & Pops.

Declining mall traffic and overexpansion have caught up with the San Francisco-based retailer, with parent company Mishti Holdings LLC filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on August 13. Prior to the filing, the company closed its 10 stores operating under the Candyopolis banner. (Lolli & Pops’s e-commerce site was shut down earlier this year.). . . more

Dillard’s Q2 loss widens; to close three stores

Chain Store Age
Department stores woes continued as Dillard’s posted a much wider second-quarter loss than expected.

The department store retailer reported a net loss of $40.7 million for the quarter ended Aug.3, compared with a loss of $2.9 million in the year-ago period.

Revenue fell to $1.427 billion from $1.468 billion in the year-ago period. Same-store sales fell 2%.. . . more