Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Store closures pass 9K in 2019

Retail Dive
Store closures this year have surpassed 9,000 in the U.S., according to the latest estimates by Coresight Research.

The firm put the exact figure at 9,302 by Dec. 20, nearly 60% more than the 5,844 stores that closed during 2018.
Closures have also far surpassed the 4,454​ store openings this year, according to Coresight. That is more than 1,000 more store openings than there were in 2018.. . . more

Top-Tier Malls Are Latest Victim of Retail Headwinds

The Wall Street Journal
For years, the prime malls with the best locations escaped much of the havoc being wrought in the retail world by internet competition.

But now, even they are beginning to feel the pain, setting off new alarm bells on Wall Street. Some of the landlords of the most highly trafficked malls are warning of slowing income growth as they try to come up with new ways to cope with changing consumer behavior and billions of dollars of sales shifting online.. . . more

Why Is There a Coffee Shop in So Many Stores?

The New York Times
The joke used to be that there’s a Starbucks on every corner in New York City. Now there’s coffee in the corner of almost every store.

At Lichen, a boutique in Williamsburg that sells home goods and furniture, you can pick up Danish glass cups for $7, an Italiana Luce lamp for $85 or a marble chair for $12,000. But like more and more stores of all types — plant shops, bike shops, barber shops — there’s also a coffee bar tucked into the side.. . . more

Three predictions for retail relevancy in 2020

Chain Store Age
Heading into a new decade, savvy retailers are firming up their strategies for success — especially when it comes to driving customer engagement at store-level.

As 2020 approaches, retailers are ready to innovate and adopt new concepts — from innovation to immersive experiences — to improve their customer relevancy going forward. . . . more

Lee Delaney to become CEO of BJ’s Wholesale Club

Supermarket News
BJ’s Wholesale Club will have a new CEO at the helm early next year with the promotion of President Lee Delaney.

Effective Feb. 2, current BJ’s Chairman and CEO Christopher Baldwin is slated to become executive chairman, and Delaney will take the reins as chief executive as well as join the board of directors.. . . more

A New Forecast for 2020 Predicts Pop-Ups and Interactive Tech Will Dominate Retail

Footwear News
Over the last decade, the retail landscape has been transformed by the growth of e-commerce and by shifting consumer expectations. Retailers have therefore needed to find new ways to succeed in a changing environment. A new trend report by retail data company EDITED predicts that, in 2020, retailers will focus on short-term pop-ups, human-centered technology and sustainable applications.

Rising rents, combined with the efficiency of e-commerce shipping, has led to many store closures in the last few years. However, a new kind of physical retail emerged that EDITED expects to dominate in 2020: the pop-up.. . . more

Fastest retailers fulfill orders in fewer than 2 days

Retail Dive
Top retailers fulfill orders in an average of just 1.8 days, according to a test of 137 retailers on Cyber Monday by Kurt Salmon, part of Accenture Strategy, that was emailed to Retail Dive. The firm measured shipping speed, order accuracy and delivery costs. The average time for the top 10 retailers — which included CVS, Office Depot, Amazon (through its Prime subscription), Best Buy and Cabelas — improved 18% over last year, from 2 to 1.7 days.

Sixty-four percent of retailers delivered an entire order within one week, compared to 63% in 2018 and just 50% in 2017. When evaluating buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) orders on Black Friday, 88% were processed on time, compared to 72% in 2018.. . . more

Monday, December 23, 2019

Super Saturday lives up to its name

Chain Store Age
Move over, Black Friday and Cyber Monday - Super Saturday just broke single-day U.S. sales records.

According to figures from retail consulting and research firm CGP, Super Saturday sales on Dec. 21, 2019 reached a record $34.4 billion, marking the largest single day in U.S. retail history. The stunning sales broke the old record of $31.9 billion on Super Saturday 2018, and represents a slight increase from CGP’s forecast of $34 billion for the day, including both store and online sales.. . . more

Seven CRE Economists Offer Their Predictions for 2020

NREI
As we get ready to greet another year, NREI asked seven industry economists and researchers about their predictions for 2020. For the most part, they expect the U.S. commercial real estate market to remain stable, bolstered by strong employment, positive consumer sentiment and low interest rates. But some experts we interviewed caution against political headwinds and a potential global slowdown.. . . more

Toys-R-Us' relaunch bets big on 'experimental' new style of store

FOX Business
Toy stores have long offered activities and interactive elements, like the floor piano at FAO Schwarz that Tom Hanks danced on in “Big.” Toys R Us, in its heyday, drew crowds for its Pokemon tournaments, but its appeal faded with Amazon's rise.

Now a new generation of toy stores hopes to capitalize on the demise of the old Toys R Us by emphasizing playtime. They are fighting for a chunk of the $28 billion U.S. toy market, which today is spent mostly at Amazon, Walmart and Target.. . . more

Walmart’s Secret Weapon to Fight Off Amazon: The Supercenter

The Wall Street Journal
After years of internal debate about how to compete with Amazon.com Inc., Walmart Inc. boss Doug McMillon took the stage at a recent strategy meeting and revealed the centerpiece of his plan to thrive in an e-commerce era: giant stores.

Walmart, he told executives at the meeting, wasn’t going to win by building an unprofitable e-commerce operation or other stand-alone ventures. Instead, its supercenters could be the heart of a web of businesses all working together to attract shoppers and drive profits.. . . more

Forever 21 hires expert to help with brand transformation

Chain Store Age
Forever 21 has hired a marketing expert to lead its efforts to redefine and transform its brand.

The struggling fast-fashion retailer said it has retained Marisa Thalberg, former global chief brand officer of Taco Bell and current strategic advisor to Yum! Brands (parent of Taco Bell), in a short-term project to lead its efforts in redefining and transforming the Forever 21 brand. Thalberg is working directly with Linda Chang, Forever 21 executive VP, on shifting the brands’ position in the market, and establishing a stronger brand purpose, strategy and messaging, the company said.. . . more

Stephen Lebovitz on transforming the enclosed mall

Chain Store Age
Here’s the understatement of the year: retail leasing is changing.

CBL has responded by actively executing our redevelopment strategy. We are transforming our properties from apparel-based, enclosed malls to market-dominant, suburban town centers featuring a diversity of users. Our redevelopments and leasing efforts are delivering a variety of uses customized to the local market that range from entertainment to hotels to casinos to fitness. . . . more

Online holiday returns could hit $41.6 billion

Chain Store Age
Retailers and shippers this holiday season will handle more returns than ever of goods bought online.

That’s according to a new report from CBRE, which forecasts that online returns could total as much as $41.6 billion this holiday season. CBRE calculates a maximum value for this season’s returns of online purchases at $41.6 billion by applying the standard percentage range for online returns – 15% to 30% – to this year’s projected holiday retail sales of $138.5 billion. In contrast, the average return rate for merchandise bought in stores is roughly 8%.. . . more

Friday, December 20, 2019

Construction wraps up on New Jersey's $6B American Dream project

Retail Dive
Since its inception more than 20 years ago, American Dream Meadowlands has been a work in progress.

The project has outlived two developers and at least two general contractors, several lenders, the Great Recession and the rise of e-commerce, which has revolutionized the way Americans shop. First envisioned in 1996 as Meadowlands Xanadu, the concept has evolved over the last two decades to keep up with changing consumer tastes.. . . more

Kohl's expands in-store beauty departments

bizjournals.com
Kohl’s is expanding a concept that doubles the space dedicated to beauty products to 12 stores across the country after a successful pilot in the company’s home state of Wisconsin.

The “reimagined” beauty departments will feature interactive technology, wider aisles, brighter lights and updated fixtures. Trained beauty advisors will be available to answer shoppers’ questions, provide samples and educate customers on new brands or beauty trends.. . . more

Competition Keeps Getting in Dave & Buster's Way

The Motley Fool
Dave & Buster's recently announced earnings results that did little to change the investing picture that has taken shape over the last few quarters. The restaurant stock is still struggling in a competitive landscape, and those challenges hurt sales growth and customer traffic. Annual earnings, meanwhile, are on pace to decline for a second straight year despite the chain's growing store base.

Those negative trends are countered by good news on the financial front, and by the fact that operating trends aren't deteriorating as much as investors had feared. With that big picture in mind, let's take a look at the third-quarter results. . . . more

Shipping companies struggle to deliver holiday packages on time

CBS News
Hanukkah and Christmas are less than a week away and it's crunch time for holiday deliveries. But some major shipping companies are struggling to deliver packages on time.

FedEx, UPS, and other delivery services are expected to deliver more than two billion packages this holiday season. Overall shipping volume is up more than 21% this year. But all that cargo, coupled with recent storms, has delayed on-time deliveries.. . . more

'Super Saturday' brings extended store hours at Apple, Best Buy, Macy's, Target and more

USA Today
About 147.8 million people, up from 134.3 million last year, plan to take advantage of Super Saturday sales and extended store hours, according to the National Retail Federation’s new survey.

Since 2014, Black Friday has yielded its mantle as the busiest shopping day of the year to Super Saturday. RetailNext, which analyzes traffic and other metrics at brick and mortar stores says that based on historical data and current trends, Super Saturday will again have the highest tally of overall sales.. . . more

Rite Aid swings to profit, beats Street in healthy Q3

Chain Store Age
The drugstore retailer reported net income of $52.3 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2019, compared to a net loss of $17.3 million during the same period a year earlier.

Same-store sales from retail pharmacy decreased 0.1%, with a negative impact from new generic introductions. Retail same-store pharmacy sales consisted of a 0.1% increase in pharmacy sales and a 0.5% decrease in front-end sales. Front-end same-store sales, excluding cigarettes and tobacco products, increased 1%. . . . more

How Amazon squeezes the businesses behind its store

Boston Business Journal
In more than 60 interviews, current and former Amazon employees, sellers, suppliers and consultants detailed how Amazon dictates the rules for those businesses, sometimes changing those rules with little warning. Many spoke on the condition of anonymity, for fear of retaliation by Amazon.

Amazon punishes the businesses if their items are available for even a penny less elsewhere. It pushes them to use the company’s warehouses. And it compels them to buy ads on the site to make sure people see their products.. . . more

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Retail will be ‘driving force’ of Greendale Mall project

Worcester Telegraph
The redevelopment of Greendale Mall may include housing and office space, but retail will shape the mixed-use complex envisioned by the developer.

“At the end of the day, the new mix of retail will be the driving force,” said Todd Finard, CEO of Finard Properties, which purchased the 22-acre site at 7 Neponset St. for $7.1 million.. . . more

5 Bold Retail Predictions For 2020, For Walmart, Amazon And More

Forbes
Predicting the future is a fool’s pursuit, it’s been said, but sometimes the need to do so overwhelms any amount of common sense or logic.

That’s even more the case at the end of the year, when forecasting what’s likely to happen in the new year seems to be epidemic. It’s even worse when the decade turns.. . . more

L Brands downgraded as changing tastes present 'significant risk'

Retail Dive
Moody's downgraded L Brands and put the company on review for further downgrade, according to a Tuesday press release.

Analysts lowered the company's corporate family rating from Ba1 to Ba2, citing "continued negative comparable store sales and operating margin compression at Victoria's Secret," Moody's Vice President Christina Boni said in the release.. . . more

Amazon expands free return policy to ‘millions of items’

The Verge
Amazon is expanding its free return policy to include millions of products not previously eligible, including electronics, household items, and kitchen appliances. The products must be sold and fulfilled by Amazon, and they must weigh under 50 pounds.

For the holiday season, the new policy kicks in retroactively, so it applies to any products purchased on Amazon starting November 1st and remains active for any product purchased up until December 31st. Customers will have until January 31st to return a product delivered in that time frame for free. Amazon says you can return an eligible item for any reason whatsoever and get a full refund.. . . more

The 7 Best Retail Stocks of the Decade

The Motley Fool
The 2010s have been a rough decade for the retail industry.

The rise of e-commerce has pressured business models like department stores and malls and has forced once-ubiquitous retailers like Borders, Radio Shack, and Sears into bankruptcy.

Despite the challenges, there have been more than a few winners in the sector over the last decade, and a number of retail stocks rebounded strongly from the depths of the financial crisis a decade ago. Below are the best seven retail stocks of the decade, based on their performance starting on Jan. 1, 2010.. . . more

More than 9,300 stores closed in 2019

CNN Business
2019 was another bruising year for many American retailers, despite healthy consumers and a strong economy.

This year, US retailers announced 9,302 store closings, a 59% jump from 2018 and the highest number since Coresight Research began tracking the data in 2012. Bankruptcies in the retail sector intensified this year and many struggling chains cut stores. That led to a spike in closings. . . . more

Ascena tries to avoid delisting with reverse stock split

Retail Dive
Ascena Retail Group has taken a step to avoid getting kicked off the Nasdaq stock exchange. The apparel retailer's board approved a 1-for-20 reverse stock split, aimed at raising its price per share by reducing the number of shares traded on the exchange, according to a Thursday press release. After the reverse split, Ascena will go from having 199.4 million shares outstanding to just under 10 million.

The company can regain compliance with Nasdaq if its shares trade above $1 for 10 consecutive days ahead of Jan. 27.. . . more

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Developer Plans To Transform Dying Mall In Worcester Into Mixed-Use Complex

bisnow.com
Worcester stands to gain another mixed-use development in the Central Massachusetts city’s ongoing revitalization. Finard Properties bought the Greendale Mall in Worcester for $7.1M in a deal that closed Monday, according to the Worcester County Registry of Deeds. The previous owner, a subsidiary of Irving, Texas-based C-III Capital Partners, bought the mall at a 2016 auction for $11.6M. Finard plans to redevelop the more-than-300K SF, nearly defunct shopping complex into a mixed-use project. . . . more

Saturday before Christmas expected to be the biggest U.S. shopping day of 2019

Reuters
U.S. retailers are expected to ring up record sales on Super Saturday this year, as fewer days than usual between Thanksgiving and Christmas have squeezed shoppers to finish their purchases. 

In recent years, the Saturday before Christmas has seen a late surge in shopper traffic. With retailers maintaining deep discounts late into the holiday season, total sales on Super Saturday have edged closer to Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving which traditionally kicks off the season in November.. . . more

Walmart Taps ‘SWAT Teams’ to Handle 500 Store Remodels a Year

Bloomberg
American retailers remodel thousands of stores each year, but the process is rarely smooth. Now imagine the headaches for Walmart Inc., which overhauls 500 locations annually on its own.

In the past year, the retailer has quietly rolled out “SWAT teams” -- small groups of remodeling specialists who go from store to store in big markets such as Atlanta and Dallas, near where Barnes’s outlet is located. Working at night, they tackle jobs such as building fixtures to display apparel and moving counters so new floors can be installed. (General contractors do the more specialized jobs like electrical work.) There are 1,000 SWAT team members now, and the squad will rise to 1,700 by the end of next year as it expands to 13 new markets.. . . more

Bed Bath & Beyond's new CEO just laid off nearly his entire C-Suite

CNN Business
It took new Bed Bath & Beyond CEO Mark Tritton less than two months to clear out nearly the chain's entire executive suite.

On Tuesday, Bed Bath & Beyond announced that six members of its C-Suite were leaving, including its chief merchandising officer, chief marketing officer and chief digital officer. Three of the six had been with Bed Bath & Beyond for more than 20 years.. . . more

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

What holiday delivery can tell us about the future of retail

Retail Dive
Delivery will make or break this holiday season.

Early Black Friday results showed that retailers landed $7.4 billion in online purchases, while Cyber Monday was the biggest shopping day on record in the United States, with $7.9 billion in sales. All of that spending is fantastic for retailers. But someone has to deliver the merchandise.

Delivery companies have been anticipating the surge of parcel volume throughout the season. The United States Postal Service forecasted that it would deliver 800 million packages between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.. . . more

Deep discounting is running rampant before Christmas

Yahoo Finance
A shopper gushed over the weekend about a $5 flannel shirt she scored at Kohl’s a few days earlier. It was marked down several times, much like most other apparel at my mother’s favorite store, she noticed.

Ultimately what’s good news for my mom’s wallet during her holiday spending travels is likely to be bad news for Kohl’s come fourth quarter earnings report day sometime in March 2020. And Kohl’s probably won’t be alone — after a strong start to the holiday shopping season on Black Friday, apparel retailers of all kinds have been swept up into a profit-busting discounting vortex. . . . more

November's sluggish retail sales aren't worrying the industry yet

Retail Dive
Retail sales rose 0.2% to $528 billion in November and were up 3.3% from a year ago, according to U.S. Commerce Department estimates.

With automobile dealers, gas stations and restaurants excluded, retail sales were up 0.1% for the month and 2.1% year over year, according to the National Retail Federation's analysis.. . . more

Hudson’s Bay Group Said to Consider Shelving Takeover Offer

NREI
Hudson’s Bay Co. Chairman Richard Baker may scrap an offer to take the struggling retailer private after regulators delayed a vote on the deal following complaints from a minority shareholder.

The investor group that controls the owner of Saks Fifth Avenue is “evaluating next steps, including terminating the transaction,” according to a memo sent to advisers. The group plans to make a final decision in a week or so, according to the note. Until then, it’s “pens down” until further notice, meaning no work is to be done on the deal.. . . more

It’Sugar unveils massive new store at American Dream

Chain Store Age
It’Sugar has opened what it calls the “world’s first department store of candy” at American Dream, the new 3 million-sq.-ft. mega-retail and entertainment center in East Rutherford, N.J. A three-story-tall replica of the Statue of Liberty covered in more than 1.5 million Jelly Belly beans stands guard outside the entrance of the three-level, 22,000-sq.-ft. store.

On the inside, shoppers can explore the first floor’s centerpiece, an immersive lollipop garden filled with nearly ten-thousand lollipops. Some 5,000 sq. ft. of candy bins housing an endless variety of sweets surround the garden. The second floor is home to dozens of branded shops, including Sour Patch Kids, Nerds, Starburst, Reese’s and others. . . . more

Jared opens new format

Chain Store Age
Two jewelers are sharing the same roof.

Jared opened a new concept store in collaboration with digitally native James Allen. The store, at Francis Scott Key Mall in Frederick, Md., combines the best of the two retailers, both of which are owned by Signet Jewelers Ltd.’s portfolio.. . . more

Holiday retail sales up 3% so far

Chain Store Age
Total retail sales have risen 3% so far this holiday season (Nov. 1-Dec. 6).

That’s according to Mastercard SpendingPulse, which tracks overall retail spending trends across all payment types, including cash and check. The increase is in line with Mastercard’s holiday forecast, which calls for an overall holiday increase of 3.1%. . . . more

Monday, December 16, 2019

Retailers on the brink of the brink

Retail Dive
In spring of 2018, Pier 1 was still profitable, but its top-line and comparable sales were deteriorating. Wayfair, TJX Cos and other competitors were taking ever-bigger pieces of the home goods market for themselves. In May of that year, S&P downgraded Pier 1 to B-. It's not a great rating to be sure, but not one indicating a near-term risk of default or bankruptcy.

Less then a year later, S&P rated Pier 1 deep in junk territory, with a CCC- grade, on the increasing possibility of a bankruptcy or out-of-court debt restructuring. Today its sales are falling in double digits and its profits have turned negative. . . . more

Top 10 e-commerce trends for 2020

Chain Store Age
Amazon and shopping malls may both see their fortunes shift in the coming year.

For the sixth straight year, e-commerce agency Absolunet has released its list of the top 10 e-commerce trends to watch for in 2020. Since 2015, Absolunet says it has predicted the top 10 e-commerce trends for the upcoming year with an 87.5% accuracy rate.. . . more

Hudson’s Bay Company postpones big meeting

Chain Store Age
The battle to take Hudson’s Bay Company private drags on.

The department store conglomerate, whose holdings include Saks Fifth Avenue, has postponed its special meeting of shareholders called to consider the agreement by a group of investors led by Hudson’s Bay executive chairman Richard Baker to take the retailer private. The meeting had been scheduled for Dec. 17, 2019. . . . more

Amazon can now deliver half of its own packages, to the tune of 2.5 billion packages and growing

Techspot
In the past year alone, Amazon’s American delivery capacity has more than doubled. They’ve gone from fulfilling 20% of their orders to about 50%, despite an uptick in sales and the introduction of one-day Prime shipping – FedEx and UPS better watch out.

CNBC reports that Morgan Stanley analysts are predicting a 68% compound annual growth for deliveries between 2018 and 2022, bringing them up from 2.5 billion packages delivered this year to 6.5 billion in 2022. . . . more

Retailers open and trade NYC stores despite tough conditions

New York Post
For retail, the “new normal” has become constant reinvention for brands and business owners alike.

“The conversation is, ‘What is the future of retail?’ We are settling into what is that future,” says Brandon Singer of Cushman & Wakefield.. . . more

Everything we know about Amazon’s new grocery store in LA

Yahoo Finance
Amazon’s highly anticipated new grocery store chain is likely to open in February, Yahoo Finance has learned.

The new concept is located in a building that used to inhabit a Toys “R” Us. It’s situated in a typical plaza found in suburbia, complete with a nail salon, See’s Candies, Citibank, Office Depot, AT&T, and a new deli called “Old New York Deli & Bakery.”

Although the new grocery store is only 1.7 miles from the closest Whole Foods store (also owned by Amazon), the neighborhood mirrors typical locations for the high-end grocery chain — on a highly trafficked street in an affluent community. . . . more

US retailers hit by ‘worst year since 2008’ for discounting

Boston Business Journal
US department stores and clothing retailers, trying to weather the continued onslaught of online shopping, are resorting to some of the biggest discounts since the 2008 crisis to woo consumers, heightening concerns of a squeeze in profit margins.

With less than two weeks before Christmas, industry data show special offers have lasted long beyond the traditional Black Friday promotional period and are also steeper than in previous years.. . . more

Friday, December 13, 2019

Michaels downgraded after Q3 exposes 'weakening' competitive foothold

Retail Dive
S&P Global downgraded Michaels Companies to B+ from BB-, putting the craft retailer's rating closer to C-territory.

The downgrade follows a third quarter that fell below S&P analysts' expectations, "leading us to believe the company's competitive standing is weakening," S&P said in a press release on Wednesday.. . . more

The founder of Bonobos was supposed to help reinvent Walmart. 2 years later, he’s leaving.

Vox
Andy Dunn, the founder of menswear brand Bonobos, is leaving Walmart two years after selling his company to the retail giant for $310 million, according to a source.

Dunn was most recently overseeing what was, at one point, supposed to be a key component of Walmart’s digital reinvention: a collection of digital-native brands like Bonobos and Eloquii that were meant to connect with a different demographic of shoppers and provide Walmart with more merchandise that customers couldn’t find on competing sites like Amazon. . . . more

The Retail Apocalypse Confronts a New Crop of CEOs

NREI
Many of the retail industry’s challenges in 2020 will be familiar, such as adapting to the rise of e-commerce and trade-related uncertainty from Washington. But the lineup of CEOs navigating those conditions will include many new faces.

There were more CEO exits in the retail industry in 2019 than in any year since at least 2010, according to data from Challenger, Gray & Christmas.. . . more

Seven Takeaways from ICSC New York Deal Making Conference 2019

NREI
The overall mood at the ICSC New York Deal Making Conference was positive, with industry insiders expecting an uptick in investment sales activity next year. Here are some main takeaways from the conference.

1. Despite there being a real “dry spell” in terms of investment sales activity in the retail sector in recent months, expect deal volume to increase in 2020, says CEO of regional mall REIT PREIT Joseph Coradino.. . . more

It’s the last Christmas for some Forever 21 stores. Here’s why the retailer went bankrupt

CNBC
Forever 21 has long been a staple in America’s shopping malls. But after this holiday season, more of its stores will go dark.

The fast-fashion retailer’s rapid expansion internationally took a toll on the company and contributed to Forever 21′s decision to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September. At the time, it had more than 800 stores worldwide.. . . more

Retail sales fall short of forecast in the early stages of the holiday season. Poor omen?

MarketWatch
Sales at U.S. retailers rose slightly in November and mostly benefited a few merchants such as auto dealers and internet stores, suggesting the holiday season got off to a sluggish start.

Retail sales edged up 0.2% last month, the government said Friday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a 0.5% increase.

One potential reason sales fell short of Wall Street’s forecast: A late Thanksgiving pushed the first big weekend of holiday spending into December. Cyber Monday took place on Dec. 1.. . . more

Allston Yards project gets city OK

Boston Business Journal
Allston Yards, a 1.23 million-square-foot mixed-use development on 10.6 acres of parking lots and a Stop & Shop grocery store adjacent to the Massachusetts Turnpike, has been approved by the Boston Planning and Development Agency.

The project has been substantially revamped since its initial proposal. Quincy-based Stop & Shop Supermarket Co., whose parent company is Dutch food retailer Ahold Delhaize, initially pitched 1,010 residential units on the 10.6-acre Allston Yards site in February 2017. A year later, Stop & Shop had brought on New England Development as the project’s master developer, pitching up to 1,050 residential units and a half-acre community park, among other features.. . . more

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Teens could be a saving grace for malls, new research says

CNBC
Millennials may have fled the malls, but brick-and-mortar retail is apparently more appealing to Generation Z.

People born between 1997 and 2010, particularly the teens in that group, are becoming big spenders, and they like to do a lot of that spending in actual stores, according to new research from commercial real estate firm CBRE.. . . more

Why Store Closures in 2019 Were a Sign of Efficiency, Not a Retail Apocalypse

Footwear News
U.S. retailers have announced a staggering number of store closures this year: more than 9,200 as of late November, according to Coresight Research, compared with just over 5,800 for all of 2018.

While this may seem like evidence of dire circumstances for the industry, insiders suggest it may also be a sign that retailers are finally right-sizing their brick-and-mortar fleets for the way consumers shop today, and that they are armed with better data with which to do so.. . . more

Store Concept of the Year: Nordstrom Local

Retail Dive
In a category frequently criticized for its inability to evolve, Nordstrom stands out among department stores for its innovative approach and generally positive earnings results (though there have been some bumps).

At the forefront of this innovation is Nordstrom Local, the department store's merchandise-free concept store, which first opened in October 2017. Experts point to Local as a smart differentiator for Nordstrom and, potentially, its savior, as department stores struggle for relevance.. . . more

Children’s Place stock plummets 23% after analyst says Target could derail Gymboree relaunch

MarketWatch
Shares of The Children’s Place Inc. plummeted 23.1% on Wednesday after GlobalData Retail proposed that Target Corp. could derail the relaunch of Gymboree in spring 2020.

“Target, for example, has made significant share gains in kidswear and has a strong overlap with the customer base of The Children’s Place,” Neil Saunders, managing director at GlobalData Retail, said.

One of Target’s children’s brands, Cat & Jack, is a billion-dollar label. . . . more

Former Snap exec Imran Khan’s retail site Verishop has teamed up with a US mall owner to open stores

CNBC
Verishop, a shopping website and brand incubator launched earlier this year by former Snap exec Imran Khan and his wife, has struck a deal with U.S. mall owner Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield to open 14 stores through next year. That will include a mix of pop-up shops and permanent locations, the companies said.

Verishop’s first space, for its own skin-care brand Ghost Democracy, opened in October at Westfield Century City in Los Angeles. Other stores, which will be for a variety of Verishop’s in-house brands, are slated to move into Westfield World Trade Center, Garden State Plaza and San Francisco Centre, among other properties. . . . more

Chinese 'dumping' has slashed mattress prices, but at a cost to the U.S. bedding industry

USA Today
Dozens of Chinese companies flooded the American market with super-low-priced mattresses in recent years, selling them to retailers for as low as $18 in a bid to grab market share quickly, according to trade officials and mattress makers.

Consumers purchased the mattresses under brands like MLily and Linenspa at household national chains, online businesses, local retailers and mattress stores.

The dumping has further roiled an industry that has been bedeviled by disruption in recent years, including thousands of job losses, multiple bankruptcies and hundreds of store closures. . . . more

Lululemon's new product investments hit holiday quarter profit forecast

Reuters
Lululemon Athletica Inc forecast holiday quarter profit largely below analysts’ expectations on Wednesday, as the athleisure pioneer invests heavily to launch new products to fend off intensifying competition.

The company’s shares fell a little over 4% in extended trading. They have nearly doubled in value this year as a big push into menswear and online helped the company beat revenue estimates for the first three quarters of the year.. . . more

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Pet Supplies Plus Reportedly Expects to Surpass $1 Billion in Sales

Pet Business
According to a recent report in Crain's Detroit Business, Pet Supplies Plus expects to surpass $1 billion in sales in 2019.

The article goes on to say that the chain plans to open 50 to 70 new locations annually for the next several years, with 150 locations currently in the pipeline. While it is noted that 55 percent of current Pet Supplies Plus stores are franchised, CEO Chris Rowland is said to expect franchised locations to eventually make up as much as 90 percent of the chain.. . . more

Walmart will test driverless grocery deliveries in Houston

engadget
Walmart is about to experiment with autonomous grocery delivery in a big way. The big-box retailer is launching a pilot program in Houston that will use Nuro's self-driving R1 vehicle to shuttle food from "select" stores to customers who've opted into the program. The companies didn't outline how customers would enroll, but Houstonians can expect service to start in the "coming weeks."

The test run will help Nuro and Walmart "develop and refine" their services, including providing the best "end-to-end" experience for shoppers. . . . more

Moody's slashes outlook for department stores — again

Retail Dive
Moody's Investors Service on Monday cut its forecast for department stores, saying now it expects the sector to record a 20% operating income decline this year. That is worse than their previous expectations of a 15% decline and the second time analysts have slashed their forecasts since September.

Off-price and discount retailers continue to take share, thanks in part to their popularity among millennials, according to a report emailed to Retail Dive​. The trend helped Nordstrom, which was able to take advantage through its Rack stores, where sales rose 1.2%, while full-line store sales fell 4.1%, Moody's noted.. . . more

Marquee Brand's $50M bid for Destination Maternity prevails after canceled auction

Retail Dive
Marquee Brands' proposal to take over Destination Maternity's intellectual property and other assets, and liquidate the retailer's stand-alone stores, emerged as the winning bid after Destination Maternity canceled an auction, according to court papers. The bid is subject to court approval and will be considered at a hearing scheduled for Dec. 12.

Destination Maternity entered bankruptcy in late October with 436 stores as its turnaround efforts failed and the retailer ran out of money to pay its landlords and vendors. The retailer had plans at the time to close nearly half its footprint but keep the rest of its stores operating as it looked to sell itself in bankruptcy. . . more

IHOP introduces new restaurant, Flip’d by IHOP, with faster service and Pancake Bowls

CNBC
IHOP is launching its first fast-casual restaurant in Atlanta next year.

The Dine Brands’ chain will launch Flip’d by IHOP in April. IHOP is also exploring additional sites in New York, Washington, D.C., Denver, Chicago and San Francisco. IHOP’s President Jay Johns said he thinks the chain will be opening several more locations in 2020. . . . more

GameStop’s sales plunge 26% in third quarter and its stock price follows suit

The Dallas Morning News
Grapevine-based GameStop Corp., the ailing video-game retailer, plunged in extended trading Tuesday after posting a third-quarter loss that was larger than even the most dire Wall Street estimate.

Sales plummeted 26% from a year earlier to $1.44 billion, and GameStop also reduced its forecast for the year.. . . more

Home Depot forecasts 2020 sales growth below expectations

Reuters
Home Depot Inc on Wednesday forecast tepid sales growth for next year, pointing to more weakness at the No.1 U.S. home improvement chain, just weeks after it cut its outlook for the 2019 fiscal year due to disappointment over an online overhaul.

The company has been investing heavily in its e-commerce business by adding automated lockers in its stores to keep shoppers from moving online and has developed a more user-friendly website under its “One Home Depot” program.

Home Depot is also ramping up its supply chain to speed up delivery as it wrestles with competition from smaller rival Lowe’s Cos Inc, which has been gaining market share in a tough retail environment.. . . more

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Growing discount grocery retailer will acquire Shoppers locations in Maryland and Virginia

Supermarket News
Hard discount grocer Lidl is acquiring six Shoppers Food & Pharmacy from United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) stores, following Friday’s announcement that UNFI reached deals to sell 13 of its 43 Shoppers Food & Pharmacy stores to three grocery operators.

Crystal City, Va.-based Lidl US, a division of the German retail chain, will purchase five Shoppers locations in Maryland, in Annapolis, Oxon Hill, Brooklyn Park, Takoma Park and Wheaton. In Virginia, Lidl will take over a location in Burke.. . . more

Over a quarter of US shoppers have purchased counterfeit goods

Retail Dive
According to a report from the digital brand protection software firm Incopro, 26% of American consumers have accidentally bought at least one counterfeit product in the past year, and 52% of U.S. consumers have lost trust in a brand after buying a fake good online.

Per the report, 64% of consumers said they will lose trust in an online marketplace after buying fake goods, and 51% of shoppers said the same after buying fake goods found via search engines.. . . more

You Have Three Years to Save Lord & Taylor. What Do You Do?

NREI
Near the entrance of the Lord & Taylor store in Yonkers, New York, a new mini-store appeared out of the blue a few weeks ago. It bore a name—Le Tote—perhaps unfamiliar to the department store’s regular shoppers, and contained clothing racks with the words "Rent. Return. Repeat.”

It’s the first step in a lengthy transformation process planned by Le Tote. The internet-based apparel subscription service acquired Lord & Taylor from Hudson’s Bay in a deal that closed earlier this month. For about $75 million in cash, Le Tote now has rights to the Lord & Taylor brand, its inventory and control of its e-commerce site, along with the chain’s 38 stores, five of which will shutter. . . . more

Industrial REITs Are Expected to Continue Outperforming Their Peers in 2020

NREI
Against the backdrop of this year’s Cyber Monday generating record-shattering online sales estimated at $9.2 billion, commercial real estate experts envision e-commerce-fueled industrial REITs being a shining star of the REIT show in 2020. Meanwhile, in tandem with the e-commerce explosion, regional mall REITs will continue to face challenges next year, experts say.

“The e-commerce-driven demand … that has allowed industrial to stay in the sweet spot has pushed most retail into recession,” Green Street Advisors Inc., a Newport Beach, Calif.-based provider of real estate research and advisory services, noted in a November 2019 commercial real estate outlook. . . . more

Hudson's Bay Co. quarterly loss widens on heavy discounts

CBC
Canadian department store operator Hudson's Bay Company reported a bigger third-quarter loss on Tuesday, hit by higher discounts at luxury chain Saks Fifth Avenue and weak sales at its namesake stores.

The company has been trying to fend off fierce competition from e-commerce retailers including Amazon.com as well as from other department stores Macy's and Nordstrom.. . . more

ShopperTrak puts blame on snow for store shopping decline

Chain Store Age
A winter storm in the Northeast took a big bite out of shopping in stores during the holiday weekend.

Store traffic for the 2019 Black Friday weekend (Thanksgiving Day through Sunday, Dec. 1) was down 4% compared to 2018. Store traffic on Saturday, Nov. 30, resulted in a 2.6% decrease and traffic on Sunday, Dec. 1, resulted in a 7.5% decrease, according to Sensormatic Solutions’ latest ShopperTrak recap.. . . more

Boot Barn eyes Northeast with plans to double store count

Chain Store Age
Boot Barn sees plenty of room to grow its store count.

The California-based retailer of western and work-related footwear, apparel and accessories for men, women and children currently operates nearly 250 stores across the nation — with the exception of the Northeast. But that is about to change.. . . more

Monday, December 9, 2019

One last Black Friday at the Hanover Mall

Patriot Ledger
Black Friday was more of a trickle than a blitz at the Hanover Mall this week.

Nearly 50 years after the Hanover Mall first opened its doors in time for the holiday season, the shopping center off Route 3 - once the largest of its type in the region - saw some of its final crowds this week before it shuts down for good at the end of January. . . . more

The Retail Dive Awards for 2019

Retail Dive

Retailer of the Year: Walmart

The retailer became the largest in the world by focusing on its core business and retail fundamentals. Why try to be something it's not at this point?

Executive of the Year: Michelle Gass, Kohl's

Under its CEO, 2019 was a year of innovation for the retailer as it pushed for increased foot traffic, streamlined its supply chain and rolled out new partnerships. . . . more

Pier 1 hires financial advisers

Retail Dive
Pier 1 has brought on financial adviser, Guggenheim, according to a Debtwire report citing unnamed sources. Neither Pier 1 nor Guggenheim immediately responded to Retail Dive's requests for comment.

Prior to bringing on Guggenheim, the retailer brought on AlixPartners for operational assistance and CreditSuisse to explore strategic alternatives, according to the report.. . . more

Hudson's Bay special committee 'disappointed' with ISS recommendation

Reuters
Hudson’s Bay Co’s special committee said on Monday it was disappointed with proxy adviser Institutional Shareholder Services’ recommendation to vote against the takeover bid by a consortium led by the retailer’s chairman, Richard Baker.

ISS last week recommended shareholders to vote against the Baker-led consortium’s C$1.9 billion deal, which was topped by Toronto-based buyout firm Catalyst Capital Group Inc.. . . more

What the holidays could do to department stores

Retail Dive
Department stores once owned the holidays, staging celebrations that seemed above the sales hustle while simultaneously making the season lucrative for themselves.

These days the holidays own them.

Department stores aren't alone in their dependence on the fourth quarter; the period is critical for many, if not most, retailers. And they remain popular on Black Friday: The National Retail Federation this year found that half of the 189.6 million who shopped during that five day shopping weekend visited a department store.. . . more

Friday, December 6, 2019

RTW to shutter up to 30 stores in coming weeks

Retail Dive
RTW Retailwinds, formerly known as New York & Co., said Thursday it will shutter up to 30 stores in coming weeks.  Plans are to open one New York & Co. store and close 27 stores (19 New York & Co., four Fashion to Figure and four outlets), executives said. For the year, RTW expects to have opened nine stores and closed 31.

The brick-and-mortar contraction comes amid disappointing third quarter results, including a 5% net sales decline to $200.1 million from $210.8 million last year.

A 4% store comp decrease furthered that drop, as did last year's closure of 14 stores, according to a press release. . . . more

J. Jill CEO steps down as sales fall nearly 5% in Q3

Retail Dive
J. Jill CEO Linda Heasley has stepped down from the position as well as her board post, the women's apparel seller said in a press release Thursday. The company did not disclose a reason for her departure.

Board member James Scully has taken over as interim CEO while the company searches for Heasley's permanent replacement. The board has already begun the search, and Scully is set to stay in the position until the process is complete, the company said.
Also on Thursday, J. Jill reported that third quarter comparable sales fell 7% and top-line sales fell 4.6% to $166.1 million. Net income fell by more than 64% to $2.4 million.. . . more

A downbeat Michaels crafts disappointing quarter

Chain Store Age
The Michaels Companies reported third-quarter earnings and sales that fell below analysts’ estimates and lowered its guidance for the fourth quarter and full year.

Net sales fell to $1.22 billion from $1.27 billion, missing estimates of $1.26 billion. Michaels attributed the decrease primarily due to a 2.2% decrease in comparable store sales, the closure of its Pat Catan’s stores during the fourth quarter of 2018, and a decrease in wholesale revenue. . . . more

Big Lots narrows loss

Chain Store Age
Big Lots beat analysts’ expectations in its third-quarter and sounded an optimistic note about the coming year.

The close-out retailer reported that its net income totaled $126.98 million compared to a loss of $6.6 million in the year-ago period. 

Sales rose 1.6% to $1.17 billion, better than analysts expected. Same-store sales were down 0.1%.. . . more

Ulta delivers another solid quarter of top-line growth

Chain Store Age
Ulta Beauty reported better-than-expected earnings for its third quarter even as its sales fell short of estimates amid ongoing weakness in a core category.

Net earnings totaled $129.7 million in the quarter ended Nov.3, compared with $131.2 million in the year-ago period.

Net sales rose 7.9% to $1.68 billion, just missing estimates.. . . more

Dollar General maintains edge over rivals

Chain Store Age
Against a backdrop of a more difficult demand environment and the challenge of cost increases, including tariffs, it would have been reasonable for Dollar General’s results to have softened.

However, the company has bucked these negative trends to post very solid increases on both the top and bottom lines. In our view, this underlines how well Dollar General is managed and the fact it continues to expand its reach in terms of both customer segments and the geographies it serves.. . . more

Kimco’s Ross Cooper Discusses the Future of U.S. Shopping Centers

NREI
While not bullet-proof to the struggles of the overall retail sector, open-air and neighborhood shopping centers haven’t faced the same immense struggles that enclosed malls have. Experts agree they’re a different animal, with a tenant mix that’s typically more e-commerce-resilient. Of course, they’ve been hit by bankruptcies like those of Kmart and Toys ‘R’ Us, which left big vacancies to backfill.

Such store closings, however, pose an opportunity to land stronger-performing tenants, says Ross Cooper, president/chief investment officer of Kimco Realty Corp.. . . more

Partnerships Are Key To Drugstore Transformation, Says Walgreens CEO

Forbes
Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Stefano Pessina said partnerships remain the most cost-effective way for the global drugstore chain to remain competitive and grow in the future.

In an interview on stage Thursday at the 2019 Forbes Healthcare Summit in New York, Pessina didn’t address speculation Walgreens is considering going private via leveraged buyout. But Pessina indicated the partnership strategy with myriad companies including those already announced in the grocery, healthcare and technology spaces will continue.
. . . more

How discount chain Aldi is giving those fancy grocery stores a run for their money

The Chicago Tribune
As a spruced-up Aldi climbs toward its goal of having 2,500 stores by 2022 — which would make it the third largest grocer in the nation by store count — converts are putting aside old perceptions of the brand and embracing the no-frills ethos that allows Aldi to sell quality products for cheap. Though behemoths like Walmart and Kroger dominate the market, they are watching their backs as the German-born chain reshapes expectations of the shopping experience.

Known for cost-saving measures such as requiring customers to bag their own groceries and pay a quarter deposit to access a grocery cart, Aldi says its customer base has swelled as it modernizes its digs and broadens its selection to include items like fresh salmon, organic strawberries and artisan cheeses.. . . more

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Lululemon could reach Nike-like profits, Cowen analysts say

Retail Dive
Analysts with Cowen & Co see a path for Lululemon Athletica to someday reach a $40 billion market cap, generate a Nike-esque $1 billion in cash flow a year and reach a return-on-investment rate of 44%, which would stand as the highest in softlines retail, according to an emailed report.

The analysts cited as growth factors Lululemon's "consistent innovation, luxury-like brand positioning and a community-based model."

They also pointed to potential growth in menswear and international sales, as well as targets for $4.3 billion in women's apparel that would "put the brand in line with Nike and Adidas women's current global apparel businesses.". . . more

Retail, Office Trends Influence Apartment Development Strategies, Says InterFace Panel

REBusiness Online
Much of today’s new apartment projects feature a ground-floor retail component. But developers at the 10th annual InterFace Multifamily Southeast actually expressed concern about this type of development approach.

“The overall retail market is just not what it once was,” said Richard Aaronson, CEO of Atlantic Residential. “A lot of municipalities are recognizing that ground-floor retail in a residential building is not ideal.”. . . more

Target plans to open a store in New York’s Times Square in 2022

CNBC
Target has signed a lease for a small-format store in Manhattan in the heart of Times Square, on 42nd Street between 7th and 8th Avenues.

When it opens, it will be Target’s 10th small-format location in the New York area.. . . more

At Home Group Inc. Announces Third Quarter Fiscal 2020 Financial Results

BusinessWire
At Home Group Inc. opened 12 gross and 9 net new stores in the third quarter of fiscal 2020 and ended the quarter with 213 stores in 39 states. The Company has opened a net 40 stores since the third quarter of fiscal 2019, representing a 23.1% increase.

Net sales increased 19.3% to $318.7 million from $267.2 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2019 driven by the net increase in open stores. Comparable store sales decreased 2.0% compared to an increase of 5.2% in the third quarter of fiscal 2019, primarily driven by unfavorable customer response in certain categories to tariff-related strategic price increases.. . . more

Macy’s exec takes top spot at Tractor Supply

Chain Store Age
Tractor Supply Company has named Hal Lawton as its president, CEO and a member of the board, effective January 13, 2020. Lawton, who is currently president of Macy’s, will succeed Greg Sandfort, who previously announced his intent to retire. Sandfort has led Tractor Supply since December 2012, and previously served as president and COO.

Lawton, 45, has served as president of Macy’s since September 2017, responsible for all aspects of the Macy’s brand, including merchandising, marketing, stores, operations, technology and consumer insights and analytics. . . . more

Dollar General lifts profit forecast, tops third-quarter expectations on sales

Reuters
Discount store operator Dollar General Corp raised its full-year profit forecast on Thursday after reporting its best quarterly same-store sales rise in nearly five years, benefiting from a wider selection of products and revamped stores.

The retailer has been aggressively opening hundreds of new stores, creating private label and adding food, health and beauty products to its existing outlets as it tries to better compete with other retailers and grocers.. . . more

Six more retailers take space at 170-acre Tuscan Village

NH Business Review
On the heels of the announcement that outdoor retailer L.L. Bean will be opening a 15,000-square-foot “experiential” lakeside store in the 170-acre Tuscan Village mixed-use development in Salem, six more retail tenants have signed on to take space in the South Village section of the project.

The six other retailers, according to a press release from developer Joe Faro, are Old Navy, Ulta Beauty, JPMorgan Chase Bank, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Salem-based fitness company Drive Custom Fit and Nashua-based Pressed Café.. . . more

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

How Dick’s Sporting Goods’ Controversial Gun Move Proved Positive for Business

Footwear News
When Dick’s Sporting Goods initially made the controversial decision last year to pivot away from the firearms market, there were concerns — including from the company itself — that its top line would shoulder some of the backlash.

But today, roughly 21 months since the deadly shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., that spurred Dick’s gun policy change, the Pittsburgh-based retailer has only strengthened its stance and is reaping the rewards of taking a firm stand.. . . more

Cyber Monday was Amazon's biggest shopping day ever

Retail Dive
Cyber Monday was "once again the single biggest shopping day in the company's history, based on the number of items ordered worldwide," Amazon said in a press release on Tuesday. The announcement came amid Adobe's report of record Cyber Monday sales of $9.4 billion in wider retail.

The e-commerce giant avoided specifics in noting, for example, that it sold "tens of millions of toys" ("more toys this Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined​ than ever before​"), and that its Marketplace sellers "sold more items during Cyber Monday 2019 than any other 24-hour period in the company's history.". . . more

These three brands accounted for 45% of visits made to off-price retailers in Q3

Chain Store Age
Off-price retail, the dominant segment in malls and shopping centers, is also dominated by three brands.

Nearly 50% of customer traffic at off-price stores during Q3 moved through Kohl’s (15.4%), T. J. Maxx (15.3%), and Ross Dress for Less (14.9%), according to Placer.ai, a data analytics service that provides data based on cell phone location data.. . . more

Six predictions for retail & technology in 2020 and beyond

Chain Store Age
Retail technology will see innovations in areas including sustainability, mobile shopping, and automation in the coming year.

Sustainability will be the new standard

Dramatic environmental protection initiatives may still be more theory than reality, but next year consumer brand companies and retailers will begin to ditch plastic in earnest and move toward paper garment bags, alternatives to plastic clothes hangers, and paper apparel covers for shipping clothing via e-commerce. . . . more

Thanksgiving weekend draws nearly 190 million shoppers, spending up 16 percent

NRF
A record 189.6 million U.S. consumers shopped from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday this year, an increase of 14 percent over last year’s 165.8 million, the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics said today.

Shoppers spent an average $361.90 on holiday items over the five-day period, up 16 percent from $313.29 during the same period last year. Of the total, $257.33 (71 percent) was specifically spent on gifts. The biggest spenders were 25- to 34-year-olds at $440.46, closely followed by those 35-44 at $439.72. . . . more

Package theft soars across the U.S.

The New York Times
Around the country, more than 1.7 million packages are stolen or go missing every day — adding up to more than $25 million in lost goods and services, according to an analysis for The Times by José Holguín-Veras, an engineering professor and director of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Center of Excellence for Sustainable Urban Freight Systems.

In a new survey by insuranceQuotes.com, an online insurance service, nearly 1 in 5 respondents nationally reported having had a package stolen. . . . more

Sears limps into the holiday season with dingy shops, sparse shelves

NBC News
Nearly 10 months out of bankruptcy, Sears is limping into the holiday shopping season.

Eddie Lampert, the hedge fund billionaire who promised to save 425 Sears and Kmart stores and roughly 45,000 jobs when he bought the company out of bankruptcy, has seen his $5.2 billion lifeline wither.

While there were plans for new small stores centered on appliances, only three have opened. The chain is still shrinking. By February, the store count will be down to 128.. . . more

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Madewell IPO gets the green light from lenders

Retail Dive
J. Crew on Monday said in an earnings call that it had reached an agreement to spin off its Madewell denim brand and take it public some time in the first quarter of next year.

The announcement came as the apparel retailer also reported a 1% third quarter revenue rise to $625.6 million, with J. Crew sales falling 4% to $415.8 million and Madewell sales rising 13% to $151.6 million, according to a company press release. Digital sales drove more than half of that, executives said on a conference call.. . . more

J.C. Penney escapes NYSE de-listing threat

Retail Dive
J.C. Penney is back in compliance with the New York Stock Exchange, the company reported Monday. The NYSE warned Penney in August that it was at risk of being dropped from the exchange following a dip in the company’s average share price below $1. The retailer regained compliance after its stock rose above the dollar mark for more than 30 consecutive trading days.

Penney shares got boosts this fall as it announced it was launching an outdoor private label apparel line for men, unveiled a re-imagined store and reported improved profit metrics in the third quarter. . . . more

Cyber Monday spending breaks all records at $9.4 billion

Chain Store Age
A late-night spending spree gave a big boost to Cyber Monday sales.

Based on data from Adobe Analytics, a record $9.4 billion was spent online by the end of Cyber Monday, an increase of 19.7% over last year, making it the largest online shopping day of all time in the U.S. and easily beating last year’s record of $7.9 billion. Between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. ET, consumers spent $2.9 billion online, which was nearly a third of the day’s total revenue.. . . more

First two Long Island Lidl stores to open next week

libn.com
Lidl, the German discount supermarket chain, will open its first two Long Island stores next week.

Lidl opened its U.S. headquarters in Arlington County, Va. in June 2015. The company operates more than 11,000 stores and is active in 32 countries, employing around 287,000 employees globally.. . . more

Target, Best Buy and Lululemon were Thanksgiving weekend retail winners, analysts say

MarketWatch
Target Corp., Best Buy Co. Inc. and Lululemon Athletica Inc. are among the winners from the record-breaking holiday shopping weekend, analysts say.

About 160 million people went to stores over Thanksgiving weekend, spending an average of $504, up 50% from last year, according to data from the International Council of Shopping Centers.. . . more

Destination Maternity approves stalking horse bid; would close all remaining stores

Chain Store Age
A brand acquisition and licensing firm has made an offer to buy the brand name, online business and other intellectual assets of Destination Maternity for approximately $50 million.

The agreement provides for the buyer to sell or otherwise designate the disposition of inventory, fixtures and equipment and the designated assets through store closing sales at Destination Maternity’s 235 stores where closing sales are not already in process, and will oversee the wind down of Destination Maternity’s leased stores.. . . more

Monday, December 2, 2019

The winners and losers of Black Friday 2019

Retail Dive
Retailers went into the Black Friday kickoff on edge, in some cases rattled by spending slowdowns in the third quarter. Many, like Macy's and Kohl's, were dropping prices well before the Thanksgiving turkey came out of the oven, in hopes of grabbing early sales in a year when there are six fewer days between that holiday and Christmas.

Adobe Analytics estimates that the sales for the full weekend (Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday) will top $29 billion, or 20% of total revenue for the full holiday season, up from 19% last year.. . . more

Cyber Monday poised to net record $9.4B in the US

Retail Dive
Cyber Monday online sales globally are on pace to rise 12% above last year to $30 billion (from $26 billion last year), according to Salesforce research emailed to Retail Dive. In the U.S., the day's digital sales are expected to grow 15% year over year to $8 billion from $7 billion last year, according to the report.

Adobe Analytics, which measures transactions from 80 of 100 major U.S. online retailers, tops that, forecasting a new record of $9.4 billion in sales, an 18.9% increase over last year. By 9 a.m. Eastern time Cyber Monday, merchants had already done $473 million in online business, Adobe said. . . . more

Best Buy, Old Navy, Dick's Sporting Goods see foot traffic gains in 2019

Retail Dive
According to foot traffic analytics platform Placer.ai, Dick's Sporting Goods experienced a 4.5% bump in traffic during the first 10 months of 2019 compared to the same timeframe in 2018, and an 11.1% increase from 2017.

Best Buy saw a 7.7% increase in visitors in August 2019 above the baseline for the period (July 2017 to October 2019), a 4.3% bump in August 2017 and a 0.3% decrease in 2018, per Placer.ai's report. 

Old Navy had a slight uptick in foot traffic, of 1.5%, compared to its third-quarter in 2018, the report found. However, that increase was contrasted by steep visit declines in September and October.. . . more

Black Friday shopping at brick-and-mortar stores down 6.2%

Chain Store Age
There is more evidence that Black Friday is losing its attraction — among store shoppers, that is.

Shopper visits to brick-and-mortar stores and shopping centers dropped 6.2% on Black Friday versus last year, according to data from ShopperTrak (part of Sensormatic Solutions). However, traffic increased 2.3% onThanksgiving Day. Shopper visits resulted in a combined 3% decline for the two-day period compared to last year.. . . more

Citi Trends in big merchandise shift; will open 25 to 30 stores annually

Chain Store Age
Citi Trends is accelerating its move away from apparel. And it’s still looking for a CEO.

As part of a previously announced comprehensive strategic initiative, the value-priced urban fashions retailer said it is moving “aggressively” to more gift-giving merchandise during the holiday season and expanded home assortments throughout the year.

In line with its new strategic initiative, Citi Trends aims to open 25 to 30 new stores annually and complete major remodels in 50 existing stores each year. Citi Trends currently operates 566 stores in 33 states.. . . more

Chico’s swings to loss but Soma maintains momentum

Chain Store Age
Chico’s FAS saw top- and bottom-line losses in its third quarter but still managed to beat Street estimates.

Net sales fell to $484.7 million from nearly $500 million last year. Analysts had expected revenue of $473.2 million.

Total same-store sales were down 2.2%. By brand, same-store sales fell 3.6% at Chico’s and 5.7% at White House | Black Market. But same-store sales jumped 11.3% at the company’s intimates brand, Soma, on top of 10.9% growth last quarter. It was Soma’s fifth consecutive quarter of growth.. . . more

Target, Walmart and other major retailers are a threat to Amazon this Cyber Monday

CNBC
Amazon has become a huge threat to big-box stores in recent years, but those retailers may be making a comeback this Cyber Monday.

Walmart and Target had bigger jumps than Amazon in online customer spending during the first two weeks of November compared with the same period last year, according research firm Edison Trends, which looked at more than 1.2 million transactions.. . . more

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Department stores fight for relevance ahead of Black Friday

Boston Business Journal
As department stores head into the busiest shopping period of the year, the outlook for them is bleak. IHS Markit forecasts US department store sales will drop 6 per cent in November and December, worse than the 2.8 per cent decline in the 2018 season. This bucks the wider trend in US retail, where IHS expects sales to rise 4.6 per cent year-on-year during the two months, to reach more than $730bn.

“In the old days [department stores] acted as a curator of other people’s products under one roof,” said Peter Williams, former chief executive of Selfridges in the UK and now chairman of Superdry. “The internet has blown a hole in that process.” He added: “All the products are available elsewhere and they don’t have a strong enough identity as destinations in themselves.”. . . more

Dollar Tree Dives Most Since 2012 as Tariffs Erode Outlook

NREI
Dollar Tree Inc. shares fell the most intraday since 2012 after the budget retailer trimmed its outlook on 2019 profit, saying tariffs on Chinese imports are driving up costs.

While tariffs drove the forecast reduction, Dollar Tree also cited higher wages in its distribution centers, a global helium shortage and more sales of lower-margin items, among other issues.. . . more

Chasing Amazon, retailers are in a never-ending arms race

Boston Business Journal
Retailers are trying everything they can to keep up with Amazon. Macy’s offers same-day delivery and in-store returns for online purchases. Black Friday deals are already starting at Kohl’s. And craft cocktails are served in the women’s shoe department at Nordstrom.

By one measure, these strategies are working. After years when it seemed as if Amazon was swallowing the industry, many large old-school chains like Kohl’s and Macy’s have largely stabilized their lagging sales.. . . more

Best Buy, on strong financial footing, has its holiday playbook set

StarTribune
Best Buy is riding high heading into the holiday-shopping season with a suite of new tools at its disposal including free next-day delivery on thousands of items and dozens of new pickup locations inside of CVS and UPS stores across New York City.

Better-than-expected sales and profits from August to October and increased confidence about the holiday season led Best Buy to raise its profit outlook for the year. The results helped solidify its position of one of the winners in retail along with Target, Walmart and Amazon, while department stores and mall-based specialty retailers are floundering.. . . more

Dick's Sporting Goods Kicks It in Third Quarter, Shares Surge

The Street
Dick's Sporting Goods on Tuesday reported third-quarter earnings and revenue that blew past analysts' forecasts and also raised its guidance for the fourth quarter amid stronger foot traffic and sales of its bigger-ticket items.

The sporting goods chain posted net income of $44.8 million vs. $37.8 million in the comparable year-earlier period.  Sales came in at $1.96 billion, above consensus forecasts of $1.91 billion.

Same-store sales jumped 6%, driven by increases in both average ticket and transactions, representing the company's strongest quarterly comparable sales gain since 2013. . . . more

Depot reclaims comp-store lead

HBS Dealer
The dust has settled on last week’s back-to-back Home Depot and Lowe’s earnings-report excitement.

The Home Depot reclaimed its lead in the comp-store sales comparison with its largest rival, posting a 3.8% comps in the U.S., compared to 3.0% growth for Lowe’s.. . . more

A.C. Moore closing all stores, up to 40 locations set to become Michaels

USA Today
Another retailer is closing all of its stores.

New Jersey-based arts and crafts chain A.C. Moore will close its 145 stores, its parent company Nicole Crafts announced in a news release Monday. Up to 40 of the closing locations will become Michaels.. . . more

Monday, November 25, 2019

FTI Consulting Projects U.S. Holiday Retail Sales to Grow 5.2 Percent

AP
FTI Consulting, Inc. today released its 2019 U.S. Holiday Retail Forecast, which projects 5.2 percent growth in discretionary holiday spending and more promising prospects for retailers compared to the 2018 holiday season.

While challenges to the U.S. retail sector remain, the economic backdrop entering this holiday season is much the same as it was a year ago, supporting the forecasted spending increase, according to FTI Consulting’s Retail & Consumer Products practice. The factors driving this growth include positively trending macroeconomic indicators, upbeat consumer sentiment, a resilient job market and tame inflation levels across the consumer sector.. . . more

Black Friday is a state of mind

Retail Dive
Lucky for retailers, there's Black Friday. The day itself continues to hold meaning for shoppers as the launch of the holiday season. But, more broadly, the concept helps square their focus on which stores have the best deals and the right merchandise — and even the most holiday spirit.

"Black Friday is still one of the most important shopping events of the year for retailers," Michael Brown, a partner in the retail practice of global strategy and management consulting firm A.T. Kearney, told Retail Dive in an interview. "It's an opportunity to capitalize on a population that really doesn't have much else to do for four days. It's a signal that it's time to start shopping.". . . more

U.S. Consumer Sentiment Rises to Four-Month High on Outlook

NREI
U.S. consumer sentiment extended gains in mid-November as Americans' economic outlook improved against a backdrop of solid hiring, record stock prices and the prospect of a trade truce with China.

The University of Michigan's final sentiment index advanced to 96.8 in November from 95.5 in October, data showed Friday. It was also above both the preliminary reading and median analyst estimate of 95.7. The gauge of current conditions decreased to 111.6 while the expectations index climbed to 87.3, and both were higher than in the initial report. . . . more

Charlotte Russe rapidly expands store fleet

Chain Store Age
Charlotte Russe is back in expansion mode after filing for bankruptcy in February and liquidating in March. An executive with owner YM Inc.'s U.S. subsidiary, A&M LLC, said the teen apparel brand has opened some 135 stores so far. YM Inc., which acquired the retailer's brand and intellectual property in March, initially said in June that it planned to open a total of 100 Charlotte Russe stores.

The expansion efforts will continue in 2020, the executive said. The holding company has opened roughly 25 Charlotte Russe stores per month since it bought the brand and an additional round of store openings will kick off in February, the executive said. . . . more

If you offer good value in retail, you’re winning. Everyone else is in trouble

CNBC
A wave of good and bad retail earnings reports in recent days highlights one key theme for the industry: Value is winning.

Target, Walmart, T.J. Maxx owner TJX and Nordstrom’s off-price Rack business were bright spots in a tumultuous landscape that’s been beaten down with bankruptcies, store closures and management upheaval.

The results from Macy’s, Kohl’s and J.C Penney were much less merry.. . . more