Friday, March 29, 2019

Barneys to shrink Madison Avenue flagship

Retail Dive
Barneys New York plans to give up possibly more than half the space in its flagship Madison Avenue store in New York in order to save on rent, which doubled in January to $30 million a year plus taxes and other expenses, The New York Post reports.

The upscale department store has been battling its landlord for years and the rent hike and new lease were previously in arbitration for a year, according to previous reports. . . . more

J. Crew once again in debt restructuring talks

Retail Dive
J. Crew is once again working with restructuring lawyers as it grapples with its debt amid falling sales and ebbing cash reserves, Reuters reports, citing unnamed sources.

The struggling apparel retailer has Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP on the line, according to the report. That's the same law firm J. Crew hired during last year's debt-driven drama and the practice is known for its bankruptcy expertise.. . . more

Godiva set to debut café concept in the U.S.

Chain Store Age
Godiva is extending its push into the café business to the United States.

The luxury chocolate brand will open its first U.S. café on April 18. Located on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan, the 1,200-sq.-ft. store will feature grab-n-go items, including salads and sandwiches, along with specialty beverages and desserts. It will be open daily from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., with seating for about 20.. . . more

Bed Bath & Beyond lays off nearly 150 of its 65,000 employees

Bed Bath & Beyond laid off nearly 150 of its 65,000 employees this week, as more shoppers shift their spending online, a person familiar with the situation told CNBC.

The retailer, which has had seven consecutive quarters of declining same-store sales, has slowed down the pace of newer store openings and said it is evaluating existing leases. Meantime, it is investing in its online capabilities to help fend off stronger e-commerce rivals like Amazon.. . . more

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Untuckit continues to expand store footprint

Chain Store Age
A fast-growing digitally native brand is stepping up its presence in Simon malls.

Simon announced the opening of seven more Untuckit stores in key centers throughout the U.S. In addition to the first set of stores debuted at Simon in 2018, Untuckit openings in the Simon portfolio this year include ABQ Uptown, Roosevelt Field, SouthPark, The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, Penn Square Mall, The Westchester and Burlington Mall. . . . more

Five Below to open 145 to 150 stores

Chain Store Age
Teen and tween value retailer Five Below isn’t backing down from its rapid store expansion anytime soon.

The company on Thursday said it will open 145 to 150 stores in fiscal 2019, up from 125 new locations last year.

Five Below, which currently has 750 stores in 33 states, sees the potential for 2,500-plus stores in the United States.. . . more

Ollie's Bargain Outlet plans MA stores

Home Textiles Today
The Toys “R” Us bankruptcy gave the close-out chain an opportunity to expand its holiday toy business, he said. Other top-performing categories during the quarter included housewares, floor coverings, health and beauty aids and candy.

New stores served as the biggest driver of growth. Ollie’s opened a total of 35 net new stores during 2018 and entered the new states of Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas. It has opened 12 new stores already in 2019, including seven former Toys "R" Us rough locations.

In 2019, the chain plans to add 42 to 44 new stores and add two new states, Oklahoma and Massachusetts. . . . more

Beyond the Bookstore: A Look at the Rise of Campus Retail

The face of campus retail is changing. For decades, universities were known for their dearth of retail beyond a college bookstore. But now, retailers both large and small are seizing the opportunity to expand their operations beyond traditional shopping centers and onto university campuses where they can capture the attention of a niche audience: students. Students’ demand for college essentials in a convenient location while away at school has led retailers to create college-geared shopping experiences. Take a look at the factors driving the campus retail evolution and learn how universities can curate the right retail mix.. . . more

Department stores make a bid for relevancy

Retail Dive
Department stores have been faltering for some time now — and according to a recent report from Moody's Investor Services, will continue to suffer in the near future. Even when some of these retailers notch positive comps, it's minisculewhen compared to others in the industry.

That's not to say retailers haven't made significant efforts to adjust their approach with changing customer needs.. . . more

Lululemon flexes on plans for a 50% digital business

Retail Dive
As Lululemon executives reflected on the last year, they described it as an "inflection point in the business." That's meant investments in a new loyalty program, e-commerce, new and remodeled stores, and international expansion — which appear to be paying off.

On the e-commerce front, executives said they see potential for digital to represent 50% of the business in the years to come. . . . more

What’s In Store? The Future of Large-Box Retail as the New Town Center

Chain Store Age
As it becomes less important for consumers to be present at a physical location to shop, retailers will look to multi-purpose real estate development, similar to Walmart’s recent move to turn land adjacent to their stores into “town center” concepts.

E-commerce has been one of the major factor in driving this change, as retailers have had to reconsider the product categories they sell in store and why shoppers go to stores in the first place. The entire retail industry, both store and non-store, needs to meet more specific needs of their customers. The lines that have traditionally defined retail have become blurred, as people seek out more than just products. . . . more

JCPenney is closing 27 stores in 2019, company confirms

"As part of a standard annual review, the decision was made to close 18 stores across the country, including the three previously announced stores in early January," the department store's spokesperson, Carter C. English, told TODAY Style.

In addition, nine home and furniture stores will close this fall, bringing the total to 27. . . . more

To fill empty storefronts, state offers a carrot while Boston mulls a stick

Boston Business Journal
Even with the state economy going strong, Massachusetts cities and towns are grappling with vacant storefronts in their business districts. The properties aren’t just untapped real estate. They can make an entire neighborhood less attractive to visit, hurting those businesses that are in operation.

To fight the problem, Massachusetts and Boston officials are each looking at different approaches, one a carrot and the other a stick.. . . more

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

J.C. Penney Taps New CFO as Retailer Fights Falling Sales

The Wall Street Journal
J.C. Penney Co. named a new finance chief on Tuesday, filling the post after a nearly six-month vacancy as the retailer battles falling sales and searches for a turnaround strategy.

The Plano, Texas-based retailer said Bill Wafford will become finance chief effective April 8. Mr. Wafford has served as CFO at Vitamin Shoppe Inc. since June 2018 and was previously the company’s senior vice president for strategy and business development.. . . more

J.C. Penney adds 9 more stores to closure count

Retail Dive
J.C. Penney on Tuesday told Retail Dive in an email that it will "close nine home and furniture stores this fall, which are not reflected in the official store count in the Company’s 10-K," in addition to the 18 stores previously slated for shutdown. The nine home stores are selling off their remaining inventory through the summer and most will shutter this fall, later than the other 18 locations, most of which are expected to close July 5, according to a company spokesperson.. . . more

This supermarket is getting rid of traditional checkouts

Chain Store Age
Harris Teeter is making the move to all self-service checkouts at one of its locations in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The grocery retailer’s uptown store is moving completely to self check-out as its looks to eliminate long lines at its registers and move customers in and out more quickly, reported The Charlotte Observer. At some 18,000 sq. ft., the store is nearly half the size of a traditional Harris Teeter, and the average transaction is also significantly smaller, according to the report.. . . more

Bed Bath & Beyond fires back at activists

Retail Dive
Bed Bath & Beyond expanded its response later on Tuesday, criticizing the activist firms in a lengthy statement emailed to Retail Dive for failing to accept its offer to work with them to improve the business and participate in its "Board refreshment program," which has already entailed the appointment of "three new independent directors with relevant experience." The retailer fired back at claims of its financial distress by noting that it is "ahead of plan" on its long-term financial goals and current efforts are delivering results.   . . . more

Many have looked at buying Bed, Bath & Beyond. So far, all have passed

Chain Store Age
Retailers are cheering a bill that would allow retail stores and restaurantsto write off the full cost of improvement projects immediately.

The National Retail Federation and the Retail Industry Leaders Association urged Congress to support bipartisan legislation introduced Tuesday in the House that would fix a drafting error in the tax reform law that took effect in 2018. The error relating to depreciation rules is delaying millions of dollars in job-creating investments in stores and restaurants across the country, the NRF said. . . . more

San Francisco sneaker startup Allbirds opening Newbury Street store

Boston Business Journal
San Francisco-based startup Allbirds, which makes sustainable sneakers that the company calls “the world’s most comfortable shoes,” will open its first Boston retail store on Newbury Street on March 21.

The 2,560-square-foot store is located at 205 Newbury St. The brand launched in 2016 as an online-only retailer but has since expanded to physical stores in New York, San Francisco and London. . . . more

How Bad is the Mall Business These Days?

KeyPoint Partners
It will be two years in May since Credit Suisse came out with its bold prediction that up to 25% of regional enclosed malls would close by 2022. At the time, there were roughly 1,100 malls in the U.S., which translates to approximately 275 mall closings. Many skeptics rejected the idea, saying it would never reach that level, and that the dire calculation was way overblown.

We’re not even halfway to that 2022 end date, yet it’s starting to feel as if that forecast by Credit Suisse may not be so unreasonable. After all, the ongoing brick-and-mortar fallout experienced at regional malls is showing no sign of abatement.. . . more

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

McDonald’s in big tech acquisition

Chain Store Age
McDonald’s outdoor digital drive-thru menus are about to get a lot more personal.

The company announced it is acquiring Israeli startup Dynamic Yield Ltd., a personalization and decision-logic technology company. The technology will enable McDonald’s to vary its outdoor menu displays to show food tailored to such factors as time of day, weather, current restaurant traffic and trending menu items. It will also allow the chain to instantly suggest and display additional items to customers based on their current selections.. . . more

12 retailers walking a dangerous line toward bankruptcy in 2019

Retail Dive
Despite a big year in Chapter 11 filings last year, 2019 doesn't appear to have slowed much. As always, we've been keeping track of some of the major retailers that have filed for bankruptcy so far, and the list is already a long one. Big names include Payless, which announced plans to liquidate its roughly 2,500 stores in February, as well as Gymboree, which sold off its brands to Gap Inc. and The Children's Place, respectively. Both of those retailers have filed twice in the past two years.

With those major retail bankruptcies as a backdrop, we're looking again at who in the industry might be vulnerable in a world that keeps shifting.. . . more

Sycamore Is Said to Seek $1 Billion Payout in Staples Debt Deal

Sycamore Partners is looking to take most of its cash out of Staples Inc. through a recapitalization that will saddle the company with roughly $1 billion of additional debt, according to people with knowledge of the plan.

If successful, the debt sale will allow the private equity firm to recoup roughly two-thirds of the $1.6 billion it put up to take Staples’ corporate office-supply business private 18 months ago, leaving around $600 million of equity in the unit, the people said. Sycamore may consider an exit from the investment over the next year, most likely through an initial public offering, one of the people said. . . . more

Study: Gen Z, millennials have different shopping habits

Chain Store Age
Gen Z and millennials do not approach retail in the same way, according to a new study of consumer panel data.

Data from the Numerator InfoScout OmniPanel consumer panel of more than 500,000 U.S. shoppers reveals that millennials see more value in online shopping than Gen Z. Sixty-three percent of millennial panelists said shopping online saves them time, compared to 53% of Gen Z panelists. . . . more

Bed Bath & Beyond Stock Surges Most Since 2000 on Activist Plans

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. soared as much as 29 percent -- the most in 19 years -- on news that activist investors plan to challenge the home-goods retailer’s directors in a proxy fight.

Three activist funds are launching a campaign to replace the entire 12-person board amid concerns that the retailer is not responding well to the rise of e-commerce, according to people familiar with the matter.. . . more

Men Ditch Suits, and Retailers Struggle to Adapt

The Wall Street Journal
Jos. A. Bank, a chain known for selling suits to the corporate masses, began airing a television commercial earlier this month that features men in sport coats, khakis and jeans.

With fewer men buying suits, retailers of tailored clothing are trying to adapt to a world in which it is no longer unthinkable to wear Lululemon pants to the office.. . . more

Wayfair to Open First Permanent Mall Store in Natick, Mass.

NBC Boston
Online furniture seller Wayfair is expanding its physical presence, opening its first permanent mall store later this year.

Online retailers like Wayfair have embraced physical stores as a way to boost sales and let shoppers touch and feel products. Online mattress seller Casper, for example, announced plans to open 200 stores in the next couple of years. And online clothing brands Bonobos and Untuckit expect to open more shops, too.

Wayfair says its new store will open this fall at the Natick Mall in Natick, Massachusetts, where it tested a pop-up shop last year. The company also recently opened an outlet store in Kentucky that sells returned furniture.. . . more

Monday, March 25, 2019

2019 store closures close to surpassing last year's total

Retail Dive
The American brick-and-mortar landscape continues to undergo a massive retraction, but that's tempered by store openings that largely reflect a new wave in physical retail. Year to date, U.S. retailers have announced 5,399 store closures and 2,396 store openings, compared to 5,726 closures and 3,243 openings for all of 2018, according to the latest Coresight Research store tracker report.

Bankrupt Midwestern discounter Shopko offered the notable closure story of the week, with plans to shutter 120 stores on top of 251 from earlier in the year. Shoes of Prey is also closing down, which will free up space in Nordstrom stores in the U.S.. . . more

Neiman Marcus lenders gave it 3 years to show it can grow out of its overwhelming debt

Dallas Morning News
Neiman Marcus said Monday that it has an agreement with a majority of its lenders to extend debt maturities by three years, which the Dallas-based company said will give it the time it needs to carry out plans to grow out of its vexing debt problems.

The agreement is with holders of 55 percent of its term loan and 60 percent of its unsecured notes and follows a preliminary agreement announced March 1. . . . more

Wegmans Set to Open New Locations in 2019
Expansion is front and center for New York-based grocer Wegmans, as the retailer has plans to open 17 new stores, at least three of which are set to open in 2019. While the first three stores will open in Virginia Beach, Virginia; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Brooklyn, New York, the remaining planned locations are scattered up the East Coast and down into the South. This marks a major expansion into the South, North Carolina particularly.

The Raleigh location will The new store will take up 104,000 square feet and will feature a family-friendly rebe the first of five Wegmans stores in the state and the company is currently looking to hire 475 new employees to run the first store, according to The Triangle Business Journal.  . . . more

DXL to close remaining Rochester stores; new CEO starts April 1

Chain Store Age
Men’s big and tall apparel retailer DXL on Friday reported a higher loss in its fourth quarter even as its same-store sales topped the Street.

The company also said that Harvey Kanter will take the reins as CEO on April 1, at which time he will also join the board. Kantar, who joined DXL as an advisor in February, is the former CEO of digitally native jeweler Blue Nile. At DXL, he will succeed longtime CEO and president David Lean, who retired Dec. 31, 2018, at which time he took on the role of acting CEO.. . . more

Ascena to sell majority stake in Maurices; Gap exec to come on board

Chain Store Age
Ascena Retail Group has signed a definitive agreement to sell a majority interest in Maurices to an affiliate of London-based private equity firm OpCapita LLP for about $300 million. (The 943-store Maurices division is part of Ascena’s “value” brand division.). The move is part of a comprehensive and ongoing portfolio review that is expected to yield run-rate cost savings of $300 million by July.

In a statement, Ascena chairman and CEO David Jaffe, citing “structural changes in our industry,” said the company has also developed plans for an additional $150 million in savings, which will drive operating margin rate expansion. . . . more

Amazon to Whole Foods Online Delivery Customers: We’re Out of Celery, How’s Kale?

The Wall Street Journal Inc. last year began offering some Prime members online grocery-shopping and delivery from Whole Foods, touting the service as another perk to customers after purchasing the organic grocery chain. Some early users say Amazon has work to do before it gets the offering right.

Kelly Hills ordered a sourdough loaf from Whole Foods recently but was offered a jalapeño cheese bread instead. Her so-called “shopper”—either a contract worker employed by Amazon or a Whole Foods staff member tasked with compiling delivery orders—had opted to put decaf coffee in her bag instead of whole roasted coffee beans, celery instead of celery root and a single seltzer flavor rather than a variety.. . . more

Survey: Business economists see slowdown in growth this year

Boston Herald
The nation’s business economists foresee a sharp slowdown in U.S. economic growth over the next two years, in sharp contrast to the Trump administration’s predictions that growth will accelerate this year and next.

That finding comes from the latest survey by the National Association for Business Economics being released Monday. Its economists collectively project that growth, as measured by the gross domestic product, will reach a modest 2.4 this year and just 2 percent in 2020. . . . more

Friday, March 22, 2019

Restaurant Brands CEO: Burger King’s $5 coffee subscription will help it win the breakfast wars

Subscriptions have become popular across industries — from New York Mets tickets to exercise bikes — as a lucrative way to build brand loyalty. For Burger King, its new $5 monthly coffee subscription is a way to get customers into their stores in the morning to check out their other breakfast offerings.

Restaurant Brands International CEO Jose Cil said Thursday that the subscription should get customers to notice its recently overhauled breakfast offerings. . . . more

Saks Off Fifth launches private label beauty line

Retail Dive
Saks Off Fifth, the off-price unit run by Hudson Bay Company's Saks Fifth Avenue, on Thursday announced a private-label beauty collection dubbed "Fifth City."

The line includes more than 35 products including face, lip and eye makeup, brushes and accessories, according to a company press release. . . . more

Hibbett Sports on hunt for CEO; to close 95 stores

Chain Store Age
Hibbett Sports is losing its chief executive.

The sporting goods retailer announced that Jeff Rosenthal plans to retire as president and CEO once a successor is named.

Hibbett also announced that it will close about 95 stores in its current fiscal year while opening 10 to 15 Hibbett and City Gear stores as it continues to adopt to “changing shopping patterns.” . . . more

First Look: Barneys gives cannabis the luxe treatment

Chain Store Age
Barneys New York is taking cannabis retailing to a higher level.

The luxury retailer unveiled an upscale “cannabis lifestyle and wellness” concept shop in its Beverly Hills flagship. The shop, called “The High End,” has products from an array of brands and also includes an exclusive partnership with upscale cannabis company Beboe. It features accessories and lifestyle products, with items across wellness, home, jewelry, beauty and more. It also includes custom blown glass pipes, luxury rolling papers, one-of-a-kind vintage ashtrays, accessories including sterling silver grinders, and CBD-infused beauty.. . . more

Rent the Runway earns unicorn status with new valuation

Chain Store Age
Fashion rental giant Rent the Runway is now valued at $1 billion, thanks to a new financing round.

According to Rent the Runway, the new capital will enable the company to accelerate its operations in a number of areas. These include scaling of its subscription business, which grew 160% year-over-year in 2018, and a broadening of its assortment and category offerings.. . . more

GameStop names former Victra, Advance Auto Parts exec as its new CEO

Venture Beat
GameStop has named George Sherman as its new chief executive officer. Sherman previously served as the CEO of Verizon Wireless retailer Victra. Now, he’s taking over the largest game-specific brick-and-mortar store chain.

Prior to Victra, Sherman worked as an executive at Advance Auto Parts, Best Buy Services, Home Depot, and Target. So he has a lengthy history of overseeing retail stores. GameStop wants him to navigate the uncertain digital future. . . . more

Beauty Sector Players Expand Physical Footprints Amidst Retail Industry Struggles

Struggling retailers may soon be asking beauty industry giants Sephora and Ulta Beauty what their secret is, as both are expanding their bricks-and-mortar footprints at a time when many retailers are retrenching.

Beauty is one of the few retail categories that’s growing in the tumultuous retail environment, and that’s good news for retail center owners.. . . more

Thursday, March 21, 2019

The blunt truth: Cannabis retail is here

Retail Dive
Just a year after legalizing recreational marijuana, Colorado's licensed retailers in 2016 notched nearly a billion dollars in sales, surprising many observers who didn't reckon the higher priced goods could compete with the black market.

Just two years on, Cowen & Co. analysts, noting how swiftly more states are moving to bless adult use, boosted their U.S. cannabis market target by $25 billion, saying in a report released in April that they anticipate the industry "to generate $75 [billion] in sales by 2030." . . . more

Nine West exits bankruptcy with new name

Chain Store Age
Nine West Holdings emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with a new name and financing to support its growth initiatives to become a leading wholesale provider.

Nine West said on Wednesday it successfully completed its financial and operational restructuring and emerged from Chapter 11 under the majority equity ownership of CVC Credit Partners and Brigade Capital. The company has been renamed Premier Brands Group Holdings.. . . more

J.Crew swings to Q4 loss; taking ‘immediate’ action to reverse course

Chain Store Age
J.Crew Group struggled in the fourth quarter amid inventory write-downs and strategies that ultimately proved unsuccessful.

The apparel retailer reported a net loss of $74.4 million for the quarter ended Feb. 2, compared with net income of $34.7 million in year-ago period. The fourth quarter loss reflects the impact of excess inventory write-downs, the company said.

Total revenues increased 3% to $733.8 million. Total same-store sales increased 9% following a decrease of 3% in the year-ago period. . . . more

Pier 1 to reduce corporate workforce

Chain Store Age
Pier 1 Imports is making changes at headquarters.

The home décor and accessories retailer announced an organizational redesign of its corporate workforce “to better align its operations with its long-term strategy and enable the company to improve agility, reduce costs and reinvest in building core competencies.” The redesign will result in a net reduction of approximately 20 positions, including the filling of open positions and additional new hires Pier 1 expects to complete over the course of fiscal 2020. The reductions are not expected to impact Pier 1 stores or store associates.. . . more

Williams-Sonoma Q4 earnings beat Street; West Elm, online surges

Chain Store Age
Williams-Sonoma Inc. raised its dividend by nearly 12% and increased its share buyback program amid strong fourth-quarter earnings and continued momentum in its West Elm division and online sales.

Revenue rose 9.3% to $1.8 billion, in line with expectations. E-commerce net revenue grew 14.3% and accounted for 54.6% of total company net revenues during Q4.. . . more

‘Amazon is a threat’ but Ikea’s digital chief says she has a plan

Around the same time as Barbara Martin Coppola joined Ikea Group as its Chief Digital Officer in April 2018, the company announced a transformation of its business model. The world’s largest furniture retailer was facing a problem: it hadn’t been keeping up with the digital world.

Customers were no longer completely happy to drive to its out-of-town stores to buy flat-pack furniture, and it was at a point where it was “less business as usual than we have experienced in the past,” chief executive Jesper Brodin told the FT in April 2018. . . . more

A new ‘modern rustic’ music venue planned for Patriot Place

Boston Business Journal
Six String Grill and Stage, a restaurant and live music venue, will open this summer at Patriot Place in Foxborough. The venue will feature country and rock-and-roll acts in a “modern rustic setting,” as well as offer private viewing space, event function space and open areas for dancing, according to a press release.

The Briar Group, a Boston-based restaurant group and hospitality operator, will manage the Patriot Place restaurant. The company has 14 area restaurants and venues, including Ned Devine’s in Faneuil Hall, The Harp outside TD Garden, and Glass House in Kendall Square. . . . more

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

$400M in new Springfield development outlined, including downtown hotel and retail projects

Mass Live
The city is home to more than $4 billion worth of construction projects either completed or in planning — both public and private — since the June 2011 tornado.

That number, revealed Tuesday afternoon by Chief Development Officer Kevin Kennedy at his annual economic development presentation, includes $400.4 million in new projects announced since March 2018.. . . more

Framebridge steps into brick and mortar with DC store

Retail Dive
Framebridge, a direct-to-consumer custom framing company, on Tuesday opened its first brick-and-mortar store on 14th Street in Washington, D.C. The company has plans to open a second location in Bethesda, Maryland next month.

The 1,200 square-foot location is staffed with "design experts" who will be available for one-on-one consultation appointments, according to a press release emailed to Retail Dive.. . . more

Judge dismisses Marble Ridge suit against Neiman Marcus

Retail Dive
A Texas judge on Tuesday dismissed Marble Ridge's lawsuit against Neiman Marcus, concluding that the lawsuit lacked "subject matter jurisdiction," according to court documents. In response, a Marble Ridge spokesperson said the ruling does not address "the key issues, which are the inappropriate transfer by Neiman Marcus of the MyTheresa assets; the questionable financial condition of Neiman; and its implication for stakeholders."

In a statement, Neiman Marcus said it's looking forward to working with debtholders. "These holders chose to engage in constructive discussions with the company rather than engage in a campaign of false and misleading statements designed to harm the company and disrupt those negotiations.". . . more

New fast-casual concept on fast track

Chain Store Age
A fast-casual eatery specializing in made-to-order macaroni and cheese bowls, grilled cheese sandwiches and specialty salads is looking to expand nationwide.

I Heart Mac & Cheese has signed a 23-store development agreement with franchise group Manor 3 to open 23 locations across Long Island, New York, significantly expanding the brand’s presence across the Empire State. Three locations will open this year. . . . more

DSW to change name, develop in-house brands as part of strategic update

Chain Store Age
Footwear and accessories retailer DSW is going through a major rebranding. The company on Tuesday announced it is changing its corporate name to Designer Brands Inc., effective immediately.

Designer Brands also announced plans to create exclusive private brands and products to sell via its DSW and The Shoe Company divisions. The brands will be developed through the design and sourcing capabilities of the Camuto Group, which the company acquired in November.. . . more

Ikea’s first Manhattan store will open on April 15

Curbed New York
Ikea’s first Manhattan outpost finally has an opening date: The Swedish home goods empire announced this morning that the city-center store it’s building out in Midtown East at 999 Third Avenue will officially open on April 15.

The city-center store will be the first of its kind in the United States in a new retail experiment the brand is working on called the Ikea Planning Studio. . . . more

74% of consumers go to Amazon when they’re ready to buy something

There’s new and staggering data that support the fact that retailers should increasingly be scared of Amazon dominating e-commerce.

When consumers are ready to buy a specific product, nearly three-quarters of them, or 74 percent, are going straight to Amazon to do it, according to a study by Feedvisor, which helps brands grow on e-commerce marketplaces. The group studied the shopping behaviors of more than 2,000 consumers in the U.S. who have bought something on Amazon within the past two years. . . . more

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Consumers want more connected store experiences

Chain Store Age
Brick-and-mortar stores remain dominant, but customers want omnichannel options in the physical store.

According to “The Future of Shopping: connected, virtual and augmented,” a new survey including results from more than 1,100 U.S. consumers from Periscope By McKinsey, 50% of U.S. respondents say the bulk of their shopping activity in the past year was in-store. The smartphone and computer channels tied for second place at 19% each. Interest in voice-activated, Internet-connected devices appealed to only about 5% of U.S. shoppers.. . . more

Shopko to liquidate

Retail Dive
In early February, it was Shopko's plan to continue operating physical locations as it restructured, albeit with fewer stores. "Through our conversations with potential buyers, it has become clear that it is in our best interest to operate with a significantly smaller store footprint," a company spokesperson said at the time in a statement to Retail Dive.

Yet, court documents on Monday revealed that those hopes have been squashed. Shopko announced that it will be closing an additional 120 stores in locations in Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Those stores are shuttering in addition to the approximately 250 locations that were announced at the end of 2018 and the start of 2019.. . . more

America has a drunk shopping habit

Chain Store Age
The amount spent on “spontaneous drunk purchases” is soaring in the United States.

According to personal finance web site, Americans spent $39.4 billion on drunk purchases in the past 12 months, up from last year’s $30.43 billion. More than a quarter (26%) of Americans admit to shopping under the influence, totaling some 53.4 million people, according to Finder’s third annual Drunk Shopping survey. That’s down from 46% in 2018, which means the amount being spent per person is on the rise.. . . more

Analysis: Michael’s needs to work harder, faster to hold on to its market share

Chain Store Age
Although a lot of the numbers from Michaels are in negative territory, some of this is a function of a shorter trading period compared to last year. On a calendar shifted basis the results were not so bad, with comparable sales up by 1.4%. However, sales and revenue were also dragged down thanks to exceptional expenses and reductions from the closure of both Aaron Brothers and Pat Catan’s stores.

Taking all of this into account, Michaels produced numbers which were reasonable but far from spectacular. This is especially so given the solid state of the consumer economy over most of the holiday period and the potential gains available to Michael’s from the demise of Toys “R” Us. With these dynamics in play, we would have expected more uplift from the underline comparable figures.
. . . more

Now you can shop and buy stuff on Instagram without leaving the app

Fast Company
Facebook’s Instagram photo-sharing app has become a hotspot for brands, and a hotspot for consumers who want a sort of digital window shopping experience. Today, Instagram sweetened the deal by adding a checkout feature to the app so users can buy stuff they see in their feed without ever having to leave Instagram.

And Instagram will be able to capture and store credit card information so shoppers won’t have to reenter it every time they want to buy something from a brand they like.. . . more

The Resale Market Is Taking Over Fast Fashion, Report Says

The fashion resale market is exploding, growing 21 times faster than the retail market over the past three years, according to research from retail analytics firm GlobalData.

The data, gathered in the 2019 Resale Report from online thrift store thredUp, shows that more consumers are becoming environmentally conscious, often pushing them toward more affordable used items.. . . more

Where Are Cap Rates Going in the Four Core Property Sectors?

Real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield, in a recent market commentary, noted that retail cap rates continued to rise in the fourth quarter, but the increase was more muted in the major metros. “Cap rate increases were driven by class-B and -C segments, while class-A yields seem to have stabilized,” the commentary read.

The retail market remains bifurcated, with great properties such as destination malls at one end and older properties with lesser-name retailers and occupancy challenges at the other, each with its own cap rate band, Clancy says.. . . more

Monday, March 18, 2019

Starbucks hits milestone

Chain Store Age
Starbucks has opened its 30,000th store globally — and the location couldn’t be more fitting in terms of the coffee giant’s expansion going forward.

Starbucks is driving net new store growth of 6% to 7% annually under a variety of formats, ranging from its upscale Reserve Roastery stores in Milan, New York and Tokyo to its “community store” concept, which are dedicated to creating local and economic development. The most recent (and 12th overall) community store opened last November, in Dallas.. . . more

Zumiez Delivers Robust Holiday Quarter

SGB Media
Zumiez Inc. reported total net sales for the fourth quarter ended February 2, 2019 (13 weeks) decreased 1.2 percent to $304.6 million from $308.2 million in the quarter ended February 3, 2018 (14 weeks). Comparable sales for the 13-week period ended February 2, 2019 increased 3.9 percent compared to the same thirteen-week period ended February 3, 2018.

Net income for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 increased 48.5 percent to $29.6 million compared to net income of $19.9 million in the fourth quarter of the prior fiscal year. . . . more

No Relief for Retail Landlords as Store Closures Ramp Up Once Again

It’s only mid-March and already a slew of prominent retailers have announced thousands of store closures around the U.S. And the pace of closings isn’t expected to slow anytime soon.

So far this year, 10 national retail chains have filed bankruptcy.. . . more

What do you think of the retail environment in Plymouth these days?

Wicked Local
T.J. Maxx and HomeGoods are going to leave their location at The Grove of Plymouth (formerly Shops at 5) this year and move to Colony Place and Cranberry Crescent Plaza, creating more store turnover at the Exit 5 retail development. Meanwhile, new merchants are building and opening at Commerce Way Plaza. What do you think of the retail environment in Plymouth these days?

Pat Adelman
I will miss T.J.Maxx and HomeGoods at the shopping area at Exit 5. . . . more

What Do Axe Throwing And eSports Have In Common? They Make For Good Mall Tenants

Back in the day darts or pool were games played in the shadows – in seedy pubs where you were as likely to stick to the floor or get lost in a plume of cigarette smoke as you were to get a decent drink. But now these games, and many others, have made their way out of back-room bars and dimly lit pool halls all the way to urban retail corridors, shopping centers, and even malls. They’ve done so as leisure retail tenants with concepts that generally involve some form of activity like ping-pong or video games coupled with food and beverage (of the adult variety).

Today, people have many different options beyond their local watering hole to spend a night out with friends. . . . more

Consumer sentiment gets a bounce

Chain Store Age
After some rough going due to the partial government shutdown and stock market fluctuations, consumers are feeling more positive about the economy — at least most of them are.

The University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer sentiment index for March rose to 97.8 in March from 93.8 in February, exceeding analysts’ median forecast for March of 95.6. It is the second straight month of improving sentiment after the index fell to 91.2 in January. The measure of current conditions increased while the expectations gauge rose to the highest since October.. . . more

East Boston retail building slated for site in Maverick Square

Curbed Boston
A three-story, 39,679-square-foot retail building is due to go up on a site at 9 Chelsea Street in East Boston’s Maverick Square that once housed a funeral home and other buildings.

The development from Linear Retail has the necessary approvals as of mid-March, but it may not have enough parking—or at least that is according to some local residents and property owners. . . . more

Friday, March 15, 2019

Real Estate Investors Shouldn't Give Up On Retail

US News & World Report
Real estate investing can offer a hedge against market volatility while enhancing diversification in a portfolio, but some sectors may outperform others. Retail has become a major question mark for investors amid the rising demand for online shopping with buyers turning to their browsers for purchases.

“E-commerce represents a huge secular shift in consumer behavior that has had major implications for the retail market,” says Christopher Muoio, quantitative strategist at Ten-X Commercial. “Online sales now account for nearly 15 percent of total retail sales and as a result, retail space per person has been falling over the past decade.”. . . more

Reuters: Pier 1 takes further steps to manage debt

Retail Dive
Pier 1 Imports has hired Kirkland & Ellis among other attorneys and consultants to help with debt restructuring, which would entail negotiating with creditors, Reuters reported on Thursday. The home furnishings retailer is also huddling with investment bankers, according to unnamed sources in the report.

The retailer's lenders have organized in light of its concerning "credit metrics," according to a February Debtwire report emailed to Retail Dive. Late last year, Pier 1 tapped Credit Suisse, "to explore strategic alternatives," and AlixPartners, "for operational assistance," Debtwire also said. . . . more

Fast-growing Mack Weldon tries on brick-and-mortar

Chain Store Age
A fast-growing digitally native brand menswear brand has entered physical retail.

Mack Weldon has opened its first physical store, at The Shops at Hudson Yards, the new 18-million-sq.-ft. real estate development on Manhattan’s West Side. It’s a big change for the brand, which has grown its business primarily through its website and a handful of partnerships with such retailers as J. Crew, Todd Snyder, and Nordstrom. The Hudson Yards location will serve as an important testing ground for similar kinds of retail execution in key customer markets, the company said. . . . more

Ascena Retail’s Q2 loss widens amid apparel ‘headwinds,’ uneven brand sales

Chain Store Age
All brands are not created equal. Just ask the parent company of Ann Taylor, Loft, Lane Bryant and other apparel nameplates.

Ascena Retail Group reported a wider-than-expected loss and less-than-expected sales for its second quarter amid slumping sales at several of its banners. In a statement, company CEO David Jaffe cited a “challenging selling environment” which he said is the result of “macro headwinds impacting our sector.”. . . more

The Shops & Restaurants at Hudson’s Yards opens its doors

Chain Store Age
One million square feet of new retail space — or a mile of shopping and dining spaces — is now open on the far West Side of Manhattan.

The Shops & Restaurants at Hudson Yards officially opened to the public on Friday, March 15, as part of the grand opening of Hudson Yards, the expansive new complex that is the largest private real estate development in the history of the United States. Also open is the center’s 150-ft. tall, 16-story interactive sculpture, the Vessel, which offers stunning views of the entire project. . . . more

Macy's plans additional Backstage stores

Macy's is planning to get a bigger slice of the off-price market by opening 50 more Macy’s Backstage outlets this year inside existing Macy’s stores.

Macy’s launched the Backstage concept in 2015 and had 55 locations as of April 2018. There are now 172, all but seven of which are inside Macy’s stores.. . . more

Ulta Beauty Rises After Cosmetics Retailer Beats Earnings Estimates

The Street
Shares of Ulta Beauty were rising after the cosmetics retailer beat quarterly estimates on both the top and bottom lines.

Revenue was $2.12 billion, beating analysts' estimates of $2.11 billion. Same-store-sales were up 9.4%, beating forecasts of 7.9%. . . . more

Thursday, March 14, 2019

'Old Sears' sues 'new Sears'

Retail Dive
"The old Sears" — the remnant of the company that sold its stores and other assets in bankruptcy last month — is suing the buyer of those assets, Transform Holdco or "new Sears," for $57.5 million it says it is owed from the sale, according to court documents filed Monday.

The old Sears alleges that Transform Holdco (an entity of Eddie Lampert's hedge fund) is in violation of its contractual obligations under the asset purchase agreement and automatic stay, and that the funds it's requesting are being unlawfully withheld. . . . more

Despite some store openings, retail sector struggles continue to impact Attleboro area

The Sun Chronicle
While some new stores are opening in the Attleboro area, including a Hobby Lobby at Bristol Place in Attleboro, more are closing as the retail sector continues to be hammered by competition and online sales.

Women’s clothing retailer Charlotte Russe, which has a store at the Emerald Square mall off Route 1 in North Attleboro, announced Thursday it is closing its remaining stores. The chain’s customer base is young women in their teens and 20s.. . . more

Tailored Brands’ Q4 sales miss; outlook weak

Chain Store Age
The parent company of Men’s Warehouse and Jos. A. Bank reported mixed fourth quarter results and a disappointing Q1 outlook amid “softness” in the “macro-environment.”

Total company sales fell to $785.8 million from $859.9 million last year. Retail net sales decreased 7.3% to $712.4 million due to the impact of last year’s 53rd week, a 1.5% decline in retail comparable sales and a $12 million decrease in alteration and other services revenue largely resulting from the divestiture of MW Cleaners.. . . more

Two GameStop Investors Push for Board Refresh

The Wall Street Journal
Two GameStop Corp. shareholders are threatening a proxy fight, if the videogame retailer doesn’t overhaul its board of directors and take other steps to improve its performance after a sale process didn’t pan out.

Permit Capital Enterprise Fund LP and Hestia Capital Partners LP, who have a combined 1.3% stake in GameStop, want the company to refresh its board and boost stock buybacks, according to a letter to GameStop’s board reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. If met with resistance, the shareholders said they plan to nominate a slate of members to overhaul the Texas company’s nine-person board.. . . more

Higher store spending to hit Dollar General 2019 profit, shares fall

Dollar General Corp forecast 2019 profit below analysts’ expectations on Thursday as the discount retailer ramps up spending on stores to pull in more customers.

As competition heats up in the grocery space with the entry of more online businesses, the company said it would spend about $50 million to improve distribution of fresh and frozen food, shopping convenience and labor productivity. . . . more

Amazon launches private skin-care line

Chain Store Age
Amazon’s brand accelerator program has reportedly launched its first beauty brand.

The brand, called Fast Beauty Co., was formulated by Dhaval Bhanusali, a New York-based dermatologist, reported CNBC. The other partners on the project include sisters Simona and Diana Kubasova, who are both Latvian models, the report said.. . . more

Watch out Warby Parker—VSP to open brick-and-mortar stores

Chain Store Age
The disruption in health care has reached the eyecare sector.

VSP Global, whose businesses include national vision benefits company VSP Vision Care, announced it will open three stores under the Eyeconic banner. The move into physical retail comes as consumers are increasingly buying eyeglasses from discount retailers and specialty players online and off such as Warby Parker.. . . more

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Instacart ramps up alcohol delivery

Supermarket News
Following a gradual rollout, Instacart has expanded same-day delivery of alcohol through grocery retailers and liquor and beverage stores in 14 states and the District of Columbia.

Instacart alcohol delivery is now offered in the states of California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Virginia and Washington, along with Washington, D.C. The company said it willlaunch alcohol delivery in more states, where permitted.. . . more

From Blue Light to bankrupt: Kmart's decline 'one of the saddest retail stories'

The Detroit News
It was one of the most innovative retail chains of the last century, but Michigan-born Kmart's future is anything but certain as its parent emerges from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Kmart has staved off demise again — for now. Retail experts say it would take nothing short of a miracle to keep its stores and sister company Sears alive more than a few years. The retailer's devoted shoppers, however, hope that is not true.. . . more

Kohl's Was Dying a Slow Death. Then, It Did Something Brilliant
Go back a few years, and things seemed to be going okay at Kohl's: a decent customer loyalty program. Effective inventory management. And good locations that had helped shield the store from the brunt of the retail apocalypse.

At the same time, though, Kohl's wasn't winning over any new shoppers. Its customers were growing older, but revenues were at a standstill. And the company was lagging far behind Amazon (and other competitors like Target) in the e-commerce wars. . . . more

Neiman Marcus swings to Q2 loss

Chain Store Age
Neiman Marcus Group reported a net loss of $29 million in quarter ended January 26, compared with net earnings of $372.5 million in year-ago period, which included through the year-ago period included a $387.8 million tax benefit.

Revenue totaled $1.39 billion, down from $1.48 billion last year. Same-store sales edged up 0.7%, the sixth consecutive quarter of comparable sales increases.. . . more

Some CRE Investors Switch Up Strategies as They Weigh Risk

This year, commercial real estate investor Muri Richardson will stay the course with investments into office buildings that need repositioning, while life company Northwestern Mutual is eying investments in retail and cross-border deals in Mexico.

Commercial real estate investors are considering new strategies to deploy capital in 2019 amid a backdrop of concerns over slowing growth, equity market volatility and trade disputes. Others are sticking with what’s worked in the past.. . . more

Sporting goods retailer hires restructuring advisor

Chain Store Age
Modell’s Sporting Goods is reportedly exploring its options.

The family-owned, 130-year-old retailer has retained Berkeley Research Group as its financial adviser to explore restructuring options, including a possible bankruptcy filing, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. . . . more

Rite Aid CEO Standley Is Out In 'Managerial' Purge Of 400 Jobs

Rite Aid announced the end of John Standley's nine-year run as chief executive officer following a period of shareholder unrest and two failed mergers that have left the drugstore chain's stock price trading at less than $1 for months.

Rite Aid's board Tuesday evening said about 400 full-time jobs will be cut as part of the plan described as an effort to "reduce managerial layers and consolidate roles across the organization.". . . more

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Moody's: 2019 will be another tough year for department stores

Retail Dive
Despite a healthy consumer, improved inventory control and investments to enhance their customer experience, department stores will continue to face margin pressure following the sales drop-off seen in December, according to a report on the sector by Moody's Investors Service emailed to Retail Dive.

Moody's expects square footage within the sector to fall some 4% after a 13% or so decline last year, driven mostly by Sears' bankruptcy, according to the report. So far this year, Kohl's has already announced four closures and J.C. Penney 18, and that should help them add share in remaining stores, Moody's said.. . . more

Lidl sued over disclosure of Aldi’s expansion plans

Chain Store Age
Two German supermarket chains are engaged in a legal battle over expansion plans in the U.S., according to a report in Chain Store Age’s sister publication Store Brands.

Essen-based Aldi has filed a lawsuit against Neckarsulm-based Lidl and its director of real estate for the North Carolina region, claiming that they revealed top secret Aldi expansion plans. The executive in question, Bruna Marracini, held a similar position at Aldi before joining Lidl. . . . more

Dick's Sporting Goods shares slide as sales continue to fall

Dick's Sporting Goods Inc. posted another quarter of falling profit, sales and same-store sales.

Pittsburgh-based Dick's said it had net income of $102.6 million after earnings of $116.0 million in the year-earlier period. Sales fell to $2.49 billion from $2.66 billion. Same-store sales fell 2.2% on a 13-week to 13-week basis, but were down 3.7% on an unshifted calendar basis. CEO Edward Stack said the company was pleased with the fourth quarter numbers. . . . more

Neiman Marcus Attempts 'Retail Theater' With Its First NYC Store At Hudson Yards

The competitive luxury market in New York is about to get even busier. The 112-year-old Neiman Marcus is set to open its first-ever namesake flagship on Manhattan’s West Side Friday as the anchor tenant at Hudson Yards, the largest U.S. private real estate development described as “a billionaire’s fantasy city.”

And that historical significance and potential promise isn't lost on Geoffroy van Raemdonck, the 13-month CEO of the luxury department store chain’s Dallas parent Neiman Marcus Group, which also owns the Bergdorf Goodman high-end emporium located on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue and Munich-based online fashion retailer . . . more

The gap between retail ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ is growing: Former Toys R Us CEO

Jerry Storch, former CEO of Toys R Us, indicated that while a number of companies have gone out of business or closed stores, results from big retailers like Walmart, Target, Costco and Amazon have been “superb.”

“The gap between the winners and the losers is growing,” he said on “The Exchange. ” . . . more

US retail sales up just 0.2 pct. as consumers stay cautious

ABC News
U.S. retail sales rose slightly in January after a sharp drop in December, reflecting caution taken by consumers amid a government shutdown and volatile stock market.

Retail sales increased just 0.2 percent, the Commerce Department said Monday, after a sharp fall of 1.6 percent in December, the biggest drop in 9 years.. . . more

Tesla walks back its plan to close most showrooms

Boston Herald
Tesla is walking back plans to close most of its showrooms worldwide and announced price hikes for most of its electric vehicles.

Tesla announced last month that it would shutter most of its stores to cut costs so it could sell its lower-priced Model 3 for $35,000. The company continues its shift to toward online-only sales, but now says it won’t close as many stores as originally thought. . . . more

Monday, March 11, 2019

Z Gallerie files for bankruptcy; to close select stores

Chain Store Age
Z Gallerie will restructure after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

As part of the restructuring, the home furnishings and décor retailer is seeking court approval to proceed with closing 17 of its 76 stores. It expects the Chapter 11 process to last approximately four months. . . . more

Ross Stores to open 100 stores in 2019

Chain Store Age
Ross Stores continues its aggressive expansion.

The off-price giant recently opened 22 Ross Dress for Less and six dd’s Discounts stores across 12 different states in February and March. The new locations are part of the company’s plans to open approximately 100 stores in fiscal 2019, including 75 Ross and 25 dd’s Discounts locations. (Ross also opened 100 stores last year.). . . more

Palm restaurant chain heads to bankruptcy court following heated family feud

A family feud over restaurant Palm Steakhouse has led the company to bankruptcy court.

Just One More Restaurant, the company that licenses the Palm name to more than 20 restaurants in the U.S. and Mexico, entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Thursday, according to Thursday filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Fort Meyers, Florida. Company executives aim to negotiate a settlement over disputed royalty payments.. . . more

Sephora Is Expanding Its Footprint Across the U.S. with 35 New Locations in 2019

Today, Sephora announced that it will open 35 new locations across the United States in 2019, marking five years of significant brick & mortar growth for the omni-retailer. Beginning March 14th with an opening at New York’s famed Hudson Yards development, new Sephora locations will open in 32 cities, including Palm Springs, CA, Charlotte, NC, Los Angeles, CA and more.

The 35 new locations opening this year include:. . . more

Jos. A. Bank unveils Manhattan flagship

Chain Store Age
Menswear retailer Jos. A. Bank has reopened its newly renovated flagship store in New York City.

The two-story, 13,800-sq.-ft. location at the corner of Madison Avenue and 46th Street, has undergone an extensive makeover that reflects the 114-year-old brand’s classic heritage while creating an engaging experience that is distinctly modern.. . . more

Why big retailers are getting smaller

CNN Business
Big box retailers and department stores are going small.

Target said this week that it will open around 30 slimmed-down stores this year in cities like Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C. and on college campuses. These stores, which average about 40,000 square-feet, are one-third the size of Target's traditional sprawling stores. . . . more

Stores see a future without ‘May I help you?’ (They’ll already have your data.)

Boston Business Journal
The chief executive of Saks Fifth Avenue’s parent company said stores would eventually recognize customers as soon as they walked in. FedEx showcased a robot that it thinks could ultimately make same-day deliveries on its own. The mall operator Macerich described the movable walls and fixtures that it was using to construct new stores for online-only brands.

Thousands of retail and technology workers descended on Las Vegas last week for an annual industry gathering known as Shoptalk. There they shared the bets that they’re making on Americans’ evolving shopping habits and how they plan to maintain relevance in an era that’s changing faster than the spin of a roulette wheel. . . . more

Friday, March 8, 2019

Walmart planning new returns process at front of stores

Retail Dive
Walmart plans to allow shoppers to return previously-purchased items at the front of its stores to make the process more convenient, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript of comments made by Walmart U.S. President and CEO Greg Foran at this week's UBS Global Consumer and Retail Conference.

"You're soon going to be able to do a refund right at the front door of the Walmart store," he said, according to the transcript, adding that customers will not have to visit a customer service desk inside, but can interact instead with a "customer host.". . . more

Barnes & Noble forecasts more gloom ahead

Ad Age
Barnes & Noble Inc. slashed its outlook for this year—an admission that the scenario is worsening for the chain as it considers options including finding a potential buyer.

The company cut its guidance. It sees 2019 earnings in a range of $140 million to $155 million, well below the $175 million to $200 million it had forecast as recently as November. The bookseller already warned in January it had a bad holiday, noting it was mulling cutting its earnings guidance after it spent more on advertising and gave deep discounts. . . . more

We went to JCPenney to see why sales are sinking — and it revealed why giant mall-based department stores are dying

Business Insider
JCPenney CEO Jill Soltau said last week that the department-store chain is failing to adequately deliver on some fundamentals of "good retail."

Soltau made the remarks on an earnings call in response to a question about what she's learned since taking the helm at JCPenney in October, just two weeks before the start of the critical holiday quarter, during which JCPenney's same-store sales fell 4%. . . . more

Edward Lampert’s New Sears Faces Legal Troubles

The Wall Street Journal
Edward Lampert has been at the helm of the new Sears for just weeks, but the retailer is already sparring with the old company left behind in bankruptcy as well as with Stanley Black & Decker Inc.

Mr. Lampert’s new Sears, known as Transform Holdco LLC, claims the old Sears, still known as Sears Holding Corp. , intentionally delayed payments to vendors and shortchanged it on promised inventory, breaching the purchase agreement between the two companies. Mr. Lampert’s hedge fund, ESL Investments Inc., paid $5.2 billion for 425 Sears and Kmart stores in early February after a bankruptcy-court auction.. . . more

It's official: Philadelphia bans cashless stores, restaurants starting this summer

USA Today
With a green light from the mayor, a new law will go into effect requiring most Philadelphia businesses to accept cash as payment, pushing back on a trend in which a rising number take credit and debit cards only.

Several states and cities have taken actions that mirror Philadelphia's. New Jersey's legislature approved a law on Jan. 31 that bars retailers from prohibiting cash, while Washington, D.C., and New York have introduced similar legislation. Massachusetts has banned cashless merchants for 41 years. . . . more

Retail store closures announced this year climb to 4,810

The pace of retail store closure announcements didn’t slow down much this week, following a brutal last week for malls and shopping centers across the U.S.

Dollar Tree said this week it will be closing up to 390 Family Dollar stores. Apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch said it plans to shut 40 stores. . . . more

Costco beats profit estimates as margin pressures ease

Costco Wholesale Corp whizzed past analysts’ estimates for quarterly profit on Thursday as the warehouse club operator’s margins were lifted by a drop in gas prices and a shift to lower-cost sourcing, sending its shares up 5 percent.

The company is investing on strengthening its online business, sprucing up its website with everything ranging from Apple MacBooks to La Mer cosmetics.

The efforts paid off, with online comparable-store sales, excluding the impact of fuel price and currency changes, rising 25.5 percent in the second quarter ended Feb. 17.. . . more

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Simon Property Group’s CBD Kiosk Deal Is a Smart Way to Benefit from an Emerging Trend, Experts Say

Simon Property Group is introducing a new line-up of mall kiosks, which many might agree is not your “typical” mall retailer—at least not yet.

Indianapolis-based Simon, the biggest mall operator in the U.S., has inked a deal to open 108 kiosk locations that will sell beauty and personal care products infused with cannabidiol, or CBD, a chemical produced by the cannabis plant.. . . more

Women's retailer Charlotte Russe going out of business

Tampa Bay Times
Troubled women's retailer Charlotte Russe announced on Thursday it is going out of business, a month after filing for bankruptcy.

In a post on its website, the company said it is ceasing online sales and that merchandise is now on sale at its brick-and-mortar stores.. . . more

American Eagle forecasts profit below estimates

American Eagle Outfitters forecast current-quarter profit below analysts' estimates on Wednesday as the apparel maker spends more on advertising and new Aerie store openings.

Those investments in building Aerie's brand image as a designer of bras, bralettes and lingerie for women of all body types has been responsible for its surge in demand as it strikes a chord with younger shoppers who have struggled to find the same products at rival brands like Victoria Secret's Pink.

American Eagle, which had a total of 262 Aerie stores at the end of its fiscal year, said its expects to open 60 to 75 Aerie stores this year.. . . more

Abercrombie shares up on strong earnings, outlook

The Columbus Dispatch
Shares of Abercrombie & Fitch jumped more than 14 percent in early morning trading after the New Albany-based retailer reported strong sales and profits for the fourth quarter.

Abercrombie reported net income of $1.42 per share for the quarter, well above Wall Street predictions of $1.15 per share. Comparable-store sales, a key indicator of a retailer’s health, increased by 3 percent, also well above Wall Street expectations of a 1.4 percent rise. . . . more

Kroger Misses Q4 Earnings, Issues Softer 2019 Outlook

The Street
Kroger Co. posted weaker-than-expected fourth quarter earnings Thursday, as well as 2019 guidance that disappointed investors, sending shares sharply lower and wiping nearly $3 billion from its market value.

Kroger said adjusted earnings for the three months ending in January came in at 48 cents per share, down 11.1% from the same period last year. Group sales, Kroger said, were also 11% lower at $28.1 billion. . . . more

Pet Supplies Plus Reveals Next Moves

Pet Product News
Chris Rowland, CEO of Pet Supplies Plus,said that there are about 100 stores in the pipeline, with half a dozen already opened in December and plans underway to open 50 stores this year. The store openings should accelerate in 2020 and 2021 under the new ownership, according to Rowland.

Rowland confirmed that the growth will be a mix of franchise and corporate stores.

The company’s current roster of 450-plus stores includes locations in California, Arizona, Florida, New England and the Midwest, but the Pacific Northwest is “a black hole.” . . . more

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Amazon to close all of its 87 pop-up stores in the US beginning in April

Amazon will close all of its 87 pop-up locations in the U.S. in April, the company said on Wednesday. The move was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Amazon has pop-up inside Whole Foods locations, Kohl's stores and malls around the U.S. The shops let customers try Amazon products — such as Fire tablets, Kindle e-readers, Echo smart speakers — and Amazon services, like Prime Video, Audible and Kindle Unlimited.. . . more

Jeans Brand Diesel USA Files for Bankruptcy

Diesel USA Inc., the premium denim and accessory brand whose five-pocket pants dominated pop culture in the 1990s and early 2000s, filed for bankruptcy in Delaware Tuesday. The unit of Italy’s Diesel SpA blamed plummeting sales, a botched turnaround, pricey leases and unwavering landlords -- plus several instances of cyber fraud and theft.

Unlike some other retailers that have announced massive store closures, Diesel USA doesn’t plan to shutter. Instead, its court papers described a plan to restore the Diesel brand in the U.S., including opening new stores and retrofitting some old ones to make them cheaper to operate.. . . more

Kohl's partners with Planet Fitness

PR Newswire
 Planet Fitness, Inc., one of the largest and fastest-growing franchisors and operators of fitness centers in the U.S., together with Kohl's announced a strategic collaboration to initially open up to 10 Planet Fitness stores adjacent to select Kohl's stores across the country in 2019 with the opportunity for additional locations in the future. 

 Planet Fitness will leverage approximately 20,000 – 25,000 square feet adjacent to each of the select Kohl's stores in various markets throughout the country.. . . more

Chico’s names new president; to close 60-80 stores amid Q4 loss

Chain Store Age
Chico’s FAS is making a change at the top of its Chico’s brand and shuttering 60-80 stores in 2019 following a disappointing fourth quarter.

Chico’s is appointing Karen McKibbin president of its Chico’s brand, effective April 1, 2019. In this role, McKibbin will oversee all business activities for Chico’s and will report directly to Shelley Broader, CEO and president of the company.. . . more

Attention Retailers: The Time is Right to Beat Amazon at its Own Game

Chain Store Age
My dentist saved my teeth – and inadvertently wound up making me understand how retailers can beat Amazon at its own e-commerce game.

Yes, it’s possible to “out-Amazon” Amazon. But it requires delivering an elevated shopping experience – unlike the one I had after my fateful dentist appointment.. . . more

Retailers outside the mall defy industry gloom in the Amazon era

The Union Leader
The U.S. retail sector is looking just fine for 2019 — as long as it’s not inside a shopping mall.

Shares of Target and Kohl’s jumped Tuesday after both retailers gave optimistic profit projections for the current year. The companies, which traditionally occupy big-box locations in strip malls, are showing how to defend market share in the age of, which continues to disrupt the industry.. . . more

Hedge fund wants L Brands to spin off Victoria's Secret

CNN Business
Struggling retailer L Brands reported lousy earnings last week because its Victoria's Secret chain continues to lose customers. One investor has had enough.

James Mitarotonda, CEO of activist hedge fund Barington Capital, urged L Brands to make some big changes Tuesday. Barington Capital owns a small stake in L Brands.. . . more

Dollar Tree Beats Earnings Expectations, Will Close 390 Family Dollar Stores

The Street
Dollar Tree beat Wall Street's fourth-quarter earnings expectations but said Wednesday it will close as many as 390 Family Dollar Stores this year and re-brand 200 others to Dollar Tree Stores.

Same-store sales increased 2.4% during the fourth quarter, beating analysts' forecasts of 1.5%. Same-store sales at Family Dollar rose 1.4% , while the Dollar Tree brand increased 3.2% in the quarter.. . . more

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

David's Bridal CEO, CFO step down

Retail Dive
David's Bridal announced Monday that CEO Scott Key and CFO Joan Hilson both stepped down from their respective positions, according to a company press release.

Tom Lynch, former CEO of Frederick's of Hollywood, has been appointed interim CEO of the company. Curt Kroll, former CFO and chief revenue officer at National Stores, has been appointed interim CFO. David's Bridal had no additional comment when contacted by Retail Dive. . . . more

S&P cuts Neiman Marcus' credit ratings over concerns about debt restructuring

The Dallas Morning News
S&P Global Ratings on Monday lowered the credit ratings on Neiman Marcus' nearly $5 billion in debt because it doesn't expect the retailer's creditors to receive what they were promised.

The rating agency's downgrade, with a negative outlook, is a response to Neiman Marcus' disclosure Friday that it had reached a proposed debt restructuring with most of its lenders.. . . more

The Retail Apocalypse Is Heating Up in 2019. Here Are the Major Stores Currently on Deathwatch

Yahoo Finance
Retailer bankruptcies and store closures: They’ve supplied depressingly consistent storylines at America’s malls for the past few years. And, just two months into 2019, it sure looks like the U.S. retail scene will continued to be plagued by a stunning number of store closures — and perhaps quite a few retailers going out of business for good.

In a single 24-hour period last week, Gap, J.C. Penney, and Victoria’s Secret announced they would be closing more than 300 stores combined. These announced store closures come soon after retail companies made the difficult decisions to shut down all Payless ShoeSource and Gymboree stores throughout the U.S., and in the middle of Sears’ dramatic struggle to survive.. . . more