Friday, May 31, 2019

Burlington Stores edges past estimates, will open 50 net new stores

Chain Store Age
Burlington Stores Inc. had a positive first quarter that saw it meet internal guidance and exceed analyst predictions.

The off-price retailer reported net sales of $1.63 billion, up 7% from $1.52 billion the first quarter of fiscal 2018.  Same-store sales rose 0.1%.

Burlington Stores also announced it will open a net of 50 new stores during the fiscal year.. . . more

Dollar Tree expands pilot of higher prices

Chain Store Age
Dollar Tree is testing charging more than a dollar for some items as it reports upbeat first quarter financial results.

This month, the dollar store retailer launched its previously announced multi-price point pilot, currently referred to as “Dollar Tree Plus,” at an expanding number of Dollar Tree store locations. This test is designed to understand how Dollar Tree’s customers respond to the addition of merchandise at values greater than $1.. . . more

Costco misses on net sales in Q3

Chain Store Age
Costco Wholesale Corp. posted increases in net sales, same-store sales, and net income during the third quarter of fiscal 2019, but did not meet analyst expectations for revenue.

Total company same-store sales climbed 5.5%, while total company e-commerce sales rose 22%. Broken down by region, same-store sales grew 7% in the U.S., 1.3% in Canada, and 1.7% in other international markets.. . . more

Gap Brand, Old Navy Post Weakest Sales in Three Years

The Wall Street Journal
Comparable sales slipped at Old Navy for the first time in three years and the Gap brand posted its biggest decline since 2016, a weak showing for both chains ahead of a planned breakup.

Inc. Chief Executive Art Peck cited a litany of reasons for the disappointing results, including poor weather, slower traffic for stores, lower tax refunds for consumers and a decision to delay some marketing until later in the year.. . . more

Amazon interested in buying Boost from T-Mobile, Sprint

Reuters Inc is interested in buying prepaid cellphone wireless service Boost Mobile from U.S. carriers T-Mobile US Inc and Sprint Corp, two sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Amazon is considering buying Boost - currently one of Sprint’s prepaid brands - mainly because the deal would allow it to use the new T-Mobile’s wireless network for at least six years, one of the sources said.. . . more

Red Robin to close restaurants as part of turnaround plan

Yahoo Finance
Red Robin Gourmet Burgers (Nasdaq: RRGB), after suffering through another disappointing quarter to begin 2019, will close 10 under-performing stores today — just one step the chain will take in the near future to attempt to return to sustainable, profitable growth after recording its fifth straight quarter of declining same-store sales. 

Chief Financial Officer Lynn Schweinfurth did not specify which of the full-service restaurant chain's locations will shutter but noted that seven of them are based within enclosed malls — a segment of the company's business that is hurting even more than other locations.. . . more

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Preview: KeyPoint Report for Eastern MA 2019

KeyPoint Partners
The 2019 KeyPoint Report for Eastern Massachusetts/Greater Boston, based on our proprietary GRIID™ retail database, is in production and should be available by the end of June. While you’re waiting, here’s a preview - but please consider these results preliminary and subject to change:

Inventory and Vacancy: Total inventory in Eastern Massachusetts experienced a modest decline this year to 196.0 million square feet, a drop of 0.2%, caused largely by demolitions and repurposing of space to non-retail use. Following a substantial rise in the vacancy rate last year to 9.5%, it was encouraging to see the region show a nominal decline to 9.4% this year. . . . more

Developer cuts apartments, retail from Beachcomber plan

Patriot Ledger
The owners of the former Beachcomber nightclub on Quincy Shore Drive have scrapped plans to bring apartments and retail space to Wollaston Beach, instead pitching a plan that would include two restaurants and professional offices in a new three-story building.

Seven months after sharing with neighbors a plan to tear down the dilapidated 89-year-old former nightclub at 797 Quincy Shore Drive and replace it with two stores, a sushi bar and restaurant, a function hall and six apartments, the developers have submitted a scaled-back version of their plan.. . . more

'Old Sears' and 'new Sears' fighting in court again

Retail Dive
The two parties involved in the sale of the salvaged remains of Sears Holdings' operations are at war in bankruptcy court, accusing each other of breaching the sale agreement signed earlier this year. Last week, the former holding company for Sears stores alleged in court papers that the new Sears, comprising of more than 400 remaining stores, failed to take on tens of millions of dollars in liabilities and to pay cash owed to it under the sale contract, among other alleged breaches.

The new Sears, dubbed Transform Holdco – a subsidiary of ESL Investments, the hedge fund run by former Sears Holdings CEO Eddie Lampert – has filed its own complaint against the old Sears company, alleging that it failed to deliver inventory, receivables, property and other assets, along with other contract violations. . . . more

Bed Bath & Beyond shuffles board, reduces activist investor pressure

Chain Store Age
Bed Bath & Beyond is appeasing activist investors by adding some high-profile independent directors to its board.

These investors have been pressuring Bed Bath & Beyond for months, releasing a 100-page document that accused the retailer of a “stale retail perspective” and calling for the removal of former CEO Steven Temares. Temares stepped down earlier this month.. . . more

Madewell boosts J.Crew Q1 sales

Chain Store Age
Overall J.Crew Group Inc.’s first-quarter revenues received a lift from the Madewell brand, although profits remained in the red.

Breaking down results by brand, the J.Crew brand did not fare as well as the company as a whole. Revenue fell 4% to $376.1 million from $391.9 million. Same-store sales declined 1%, an improvement from the 6% decrease reported in the first quarter of fiscal 2018.

However, performance of the Madewell brand was a bright spot in the first quarter. Madewell’s revenue rose 15% to $132.9 million from $115.8 million. Same-store sales increased 10%, following an increase of 31% in the first quarter of the prior year.. . . more

Dollar General gaining ground with wide range of demographics

Chain Store Age
Dollar General has started its fiscal year with a good set of numbers, especially on the top line where sales grew by 8.3% in total and by 3.8% on a comparable basis. The continued addition of new stores along with increases in customer traffic and transaction values all helped to drive the uplift.

Most pleasing is the fact that Dollar General continues to gain ground with a range of demographics and income groups. Among its lowest income consumers, share of wallet is rising slowly as Dollar General adds more points of interest to its ranges – including in homewares, occasion products, and fresh produce.  . . . more

How Best Buy came back from the brink of death and took on Amazon

For years, Best Buy had watched customers walk its floors and test out products they would then buy online for lower prices, often from Amazon. The retailer figured it could offer service and convenience that its online competition could not, and moves to work closely with vendors and train employees drew shoppers back into stores again.

“I think the company has done a great job over the past several years of transitioning from an Amazon showroom to an Amazon competitor,” said Telsey Advisory Group analyst Joseph Feldman. . . . more

Cambridge Crossing’s first retail tenant: An eatery by the owner of Puritan & Co.

Boston Business Journal
Will Gilson, the chef and owner of Puritan & Co. in Inman Square, is opening a cafe, a restaurant and a cocktail bar with rooftop space in a new building under construction at the Cambridge Crossing development.

Gilson is the first retail tenant to be announced for Cambridge Crossing, the mixed-use development adjacent to the MBTA’s Lechmere Green Line station.. . . more

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Lands' End to take final steps away from Sears

Retail Dive
Lands' End is approaching its final steps away from Sears stores.

Lands' End reported that it exited 125 Sears locations by the end of the fourth quarter and has just 40 Sears locations.

However, Lands' End has been ramping up its own stores since the spinoff. The retailer currently operates 16 U.S. stores and has plans to open 10 to 15 additional locations by the end of the year. This aligns with Lands' End's plan to open 40 to 60 locations over the next several years.. . . more

Retailers cash in on a 'captive' college campus market

Retail Dive
Target, the trendy retail chain with a red bull's-eye logo, has its sights set on a new kind of customer: college students. 

The retailer is not alone. While colleges have long looked to outside companies to help them run features like bookstores and fast-food restaurants on campus, a newer retail push includes department stores, supermarkets and even locations of popular apparel brands.. . . more

Dressbarn, CVS, Pier 1 and Topshop shuttering stores, pushing planned closures to 7,150

The store closures just keep coming, from Dressbarn, CVS, Party City, Pier 1 Imports and more.

Already, more than 7,150 store closures have been announced by U.S. retailers in 2019, according to Coresight Research. And it’s not even June. Last year, Coresight tracked 5,524 store closures, down more than 30% from an all-time record 8,139 closures announced in 2017. Meanwhile, Coresight has tracked 2,726 store opening announcements so far this year.. . . more

Impossible Whopper boosted Burger King traffic by 18%, report says

While McDonald’s is waiting to jump into plant-based meat substitutes, Burger King is reaping the rewards for taking the plunge.

On April 1, the Restaurant Brands International chain announced it was testing a vegetarian friendly version of its Whopper, made with the plant-based Impossible Burger, which is known for “bleeding” just like a real burger patty. Before the month ended, Burger King said it would launch the product nationwide this year. It has since brought the Impossible Whopper to three more cities.. . . more

Abercrombie & Fitch Sinks Following Same-Store Sales Miss

The Street
Shares of Abercrombie & Fitch were sinking sharply Wednesday after the apparel retailer reported soft first-quarter same-store sales.

Abercrombie & Fitch reported a 1% increase in same-store sales, below analysts' average estimate of 1.33%, according to Refinitiv IBES.

The company's Abercrombie brand reported a 1% decline in revenue to $305.5 million while its Hollister brand increased sales 1% to $428.45 million. . . . more

Dick’s Sporting Goods shares spike after earnings beat and outlook upgrade

Shares of Dick’s Sporting Goods jumped Wednesday after the company reported quarterly earnings that topped analysts’ estimates and raised its full-year outlook.

Sales inched up 0.6% to $1.92 billion, which was higher than the $1.9 billion analysts were calling for.

Overall, for the quarter, same-store sales were flat, compared with a drop of 2.5% a year earlier. Analysts were calling for a drop of 1.3% this quarter.. . . more

Sarah Jessica Parker brand expanding in brick-and-mortar

Chain Store Age
SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker, the growing contemporary brand owned by Parker and George Malkemus III, will open its first Midwest location, at Mall of America. Scheduled to open this summer, the 1,300 -sq.-ft. store will feature the brand’s iconic line of Italian-handcrafted footwear and accessories and its signature black dress.

The first SJP store opened in December 2016, at the MGM National Harbor in Maryland. It has since added locations in Manhattan, Las Vegas, Houston, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.. . . more

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Most Popular Shopping Malls In America, 2019

CEO World
The USA is one of those progressing countries which has the best of everything- including shopping. The hottest fashion trends, brand sensations, and attractive deals start from here. In fact, the consumerism, evolution of shopping mall culture began from this country. Malls are exciting to shop because of the convenience and availability of multiple brands in one place.

They are also ideal destinations for families to have an ideal day out with fun, good shopping, and great food! Here are some of the greatest shopping malls in the USA which cannot be missed:. . . more

New CEO joins Mattress Firm amid turnaround

Retail Dive
Steve Stagner on Wednesday resigned as Mattress Firm's executive chairman, president and CEO, according to a company press release. Stagner started his career with Mattress Firm after owning and operating the largest franchise in the company's network. He joined the corporate office in 2005. ​

Stagner worked with Mattress Firm for 23 years, previously serving as the CEO from 2010 to 2016, and oversaw the company's 2011 initial public offering. He resumed the CEO position again in March 2018. . . . more

Which private equity-owned retailers are still at risk?

Retail Dive
In April, Staples' private equity owner, Sycamore Partners, paid itself a $1 billion dividend ahead of a possible IPO for the office supplies giant. It was paid for through a loan that will, as these things go, stay with Staples and add $130 million in annual interest costs. Bloomberg noted the size of the debt-financed dividend to Sycamore "left even seasoned leveraged-buyout experts agog."

The eye-popping figure grabbed headlines, but it is a relative footnote in the history of private equity's checkered relationship with the retail industry. Wall Street financial firms have poured tens of billions of dollars into the industry over the past decade and a half to acquire more than 120 retailers. Those deals were often made through debt-fueled buyouts that left retailers vulnerable to changes in the market. And there have been some serious changes in the retail market of late.. . . more

Foot Locker Plunges Most Since 2017 as Sales Miss Estimates

Foot Locker Inc. fell the most in nearly two years after it reported first-quarter sales and profit that missed analysts’ estimates.

The athletic-shoe retailer’s shares tumbled as much as 19% in New York trading, the most since August 2017. The stock is now at its lowest level in a year, erasing a series of gains over the past six months.

Same-stores sales, a key metric in retail, also missed estimates. . . . more

The Reinvention of the Big-Box Store

Chain Store Age
The big-box store has its fair share of digital competitors.

These range from the “everything store” in Amazon, to niche direct-to-consumer brands that are increasingly stealing foot traffic. The long-held narrative has been that Amazon’s dominance and the onset of online brand experiences would swallow traditional big-box stores and the brands that thrived within their physical storefronts.

However, a total abandonment of brick-and-mortar stores couldn’t be further from the case. . . . more

Value fashion retailer details store closings, openings

Chain Store Age
Cato Corp. is shuttering more locations.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based value fashion retailer expects to close about 50 underperforming stores as part of its “ongoing practice to strengthen operations,” Cato stated in a release related to its recent annual shareholders meeting. It also plans to open 12 stores “despite limited new shopping center development and limited space in desirable, existing locations,” the company stated.. . . more

Ross Stores’ expansion remains on track

Chain Store Age
Off-price retailer Ross Stores is not slowing down its store growth anytime soon.

Speaking on the chain’s quarterly call with investors, CEO Barbara Rentler said that Ross’ 2019 expansion program is on schedule with the recent addition of 22 new Ross and six dd’s Discounts locations.

“We remain on track to open a total of approximately 100 locations in 2019, comprised of 75 Ross and 25 dd’s Discounts,” she added.. . . more

Friday, May 24, 2019

Kohl’s to be more aggressive in pricing on heels of disappointing Q1

Chain Store Age
Kohl’s got off to a slow start in its first quarter, reporting its worst showing in same-store sales in three years and lowering its annual earnings guidance by more than 10%.

On a call with analysts, Kohl’s executives said the company plans to be more aggressive in driving top line sales to regain its momentum and grow market share.. . . more

What Can Building a Tower on Top of its Herald Square Store Do for Macy’s?

Seeking to cash in on its most valuable real estate asset, Macy Inc.’s CEO Jeff Gennette confirmed that the department store retailer is considering plans to build a 1.2-million-sq.-ft. skyscraper on top of its Herald Square flagship store in Manhattan, Bloomberg reported last week.

The tower would be leased to other office tenants, and Gennette said he hopes to have a plan in place by year-end.

During Macy’s earnings call in February, Gennette said, “In any strategy, to unlock additional real estate value will be on a long-term horizon,” and that Macy’s would “certainly preserve the store and enhance the customer experience.”. . . more

BJ’s aims to improve grocery assortments, digital capabilities

Supermarket News
BJ’s Wholesale Club saw sales edge up in its fiscal 2019 first quarter and topped Wall Street’s earnings-per-share forecast by two cents.

Comparable-store sales grew 2% year over year. Merchandise comparable sales, which excludes fuel, were up 1.9%.. . . more

The unicorns of retail

Retail Dive
Unicorns are having a moment — and not just on the children's bedroom walls. The mythically impressive valuations graced a number of retail businesses this year, three within days of each other, and the coveted title seems to be alighting most frequently on direct-to-consumer (DTC) startups.

Since March, Away, Casper, Glossier and Rent the Runway have all earned the title. That's in part because of the strong following they're building, Glenn Kaufman, managing director at investment firm D Cubed Group, told Retail Dive in an interview. . . . more

Amazon really, really wants to know consumers

Chain Store Age
Amazon is reportedly working on a wearable device that would give the e-tailer unprecedented insight into consumers.

According to Bloomberg, internal Amazon documents indicate the company is developing a voice-activated, wrist-worn device that would recognize the wearer’s emotions by analyzing their voice. Reportedly being jointly developed under the code name “Dylan” by Amazon’s Lab126 hardware group and Alexa voice software division, the device is classified as a “health and wellness” product.. . . more

First Look: Sears goes smaller with new Home & Life stores

Chain Store Age
Sears has unveiled its next chapter, Sears Home & Life, opening stores in Lafayette, Louisiana, Overland Park, Ill., and Anchorage, Alaska.

The apparel-free, smaller-sized format (the footprint ranges from 10,000 sq. ft. to 15,000 sq. ft.) is focused on selling major and small kitchen appliances, mattresses, tools, connected home products and home services. Artwork and photos in the stores include images of the local community. . . . more

Former JC Penney CEO: China trade deal needed by end of year or retail’s ‘got a real problem’

The U.S. needs to work out a trade deal with China by the end of the year or the retail sector will be in big trouble, former J.C. Penney CEO Allen Questrom said Thursday.

Questrom, who served as chairman and CEO at the department store chain from September 2000 to December 2004, said he expects President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will come to an agreement soon because “nobody benefits the longer this goes on” and they “don’t want to see a disaster.”. . . more

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Candytopia proves a sweet draw for malls

Chain Store Age
“What if an eccentric chocolatier and a daredevil pop star had a whirlwind romance, got married while skydiving, and had a glamorous, glittering love child who grew up to rule a small nation?”

That’s the promo copy for Candytopia, an experiential retail traveling show created by John Goodman, former Wet Seal CEO and chief of apparel and home at Sears. His company sets up this immersive, Wonka-esque experience in spaces ranging from 14,000 sq. ft. to 25,000 sq. ft. at malls in major markets for runs of four to five months. Admission prices range up to $40 for adults and $30 for kids. . . . more

Topshop’s U.S. stores could close

Chain Store Age
A British fashion retailer could close its U.S. doors.

Topshop could close its 11 stores in the U.S. as part of a financial rescue plan and restructuring of parent company Arcadia Group, The Guardian reported.

Arcadia’s sales and profits have fallen amid increasing competition from online players and fast-fashion giants such as Zara, H&M and Primark. . . . more

Even as tariff pressure built, Best Buy saw its sales, profits rise this spring

Under a cloud of tariffs on Chinese-made goods, Best Buy Co. reported higher-than-expected results for the first quarter, led by sales of appliances, wearables and tablets.

Sales across domestic and international operations were flat, at $9.1 billion, while comparable sales among stores open at least a year rose 1.1%.

Online sales were up 14.5% and amounted to 15.4% of U.S. sales.. . . more

L Brands rides record results at Bath & Body Works

The Columbus Dispatch
Driven by record results at Bath & Body Works, L Brands reported sales and earnings for the first quarter that were better than expected.

While performance at Victoria’s Secret Lingerie, Pink, Victoria’s Secret Beauty and International were largely in line with L Brands’ forecast, not all the news was good. Comparable store sales, a key indicator of a retailer’s health, were flat for the quarter. While Bath & Body Works showed a robust 13 percent growth in comparable store sales, the company’s struggling Victoria’s Secret brand showed a 5 percent decline in such sales.. . . more

Target upgraded by JP Morgan as the retailer is proving safe from Amazon ‘boogeyman’

Big-box retailer Target is proving to be safe from the threat of Amazon, according to J.P. Morgan.

“In our view, TGT does not need to outrun AMZN for a revaluation, rather it needs to outcomp other home and apparel retailers, namely the mall based retailers, department stores, and specialty home retailers, for the valuation rerating to materialize,” J.P. Morgan’s Christopher Horvers said in a note to clients Thursday. “Its continued share gain...should help them outcomp its traditional retail peers and transition to the first bucket of retail.” . . . more

After sale talk, Encore Boston Harbor team confirms June 23 opening

Boston Business Journal
The president of Wynn Resorts Ltd.’s Encore Boston Harbor casino says the $2.6 billion gaming resort will open as scheduled in Everett on June 23 at 10:00 a.m.

But it's still unclear whether Wynn Resorts and CEO Matt Maddox will pay the combined $35.5 million in fines owed to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and comply with a host of other conditions the agency required as part of Wynn keeping the state casino license. . . . more

Salem Planning Board Reviews Tuscan Village Site Plans

The Planning Board this week reviewed several site plans for projects in the Tuscan Village in Salem, including plans for a five-story medical building that will have urgent care. Board members also reviewed plans for 750,000 square feet of combined restaurant, hotel, retail, residential and office space with hundreds of parking spaces, as well as site plans for a Pressed Cafe to be located in the area. Approval of these site plans are expected at a future Planning Board meeting, as Selectmen work to finalize the development agreement with the Tuscan Development organization.

The 750,000-square-foot mixed-use space would be located in the South and Central Tuscan Village, in the area of 71 Rockingham Park Boulevard. . . . more

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Online socially-minded native in deal with Simon to open stores

Chain Store Age
An online start-up brand founded by the former CEO of Gymboree is taking on brick-and-mortar.

Simon announced that Hope & Henry will open more than 15 stores at Simon centers throughout the United States by the end of third quarter 2019. The brand made its brick-and-mortar debut in 2018, in Simon’s turnkey retail space, The Edit@ Roosevelt Field at Roosevelt Field mall in Garden City, New York. The Edit is designed to showcase a curated selection of new and emerging brands on a rotating basis.. . . more

What do shoppers expect from retailers by 2030?

Chain Store Age
When the thought of retail in the year 2030 comes to mind, some would assume shoppers would be clamoring for a futuristic “Jetsons”-like experience. It turns out shoppers are much more down to earth when it comes to what matters to them most.

That’s according to a new JLL study that explores what shoppers expect from retailers in the next decade. It revealed that, more than anything, consumers want the basics: skilled customer service, personalization, and convenience. . . . more

‘We had executional misses’ — Nordstrom reports decline in profits and sales

The Seattle Times
Barely a day after confirming the opening date for its massive new flagship store in New York City, Nordstrom reported a sharp drop in first-quarter profits and faltering sales, thanks to continued softness in physical retail and a bungled update to its loyalty program.

Net earnings for the first quarter of fiscal 2019 were $37 million, a 57% decline from the same period last year. The Seattle-based retailer’s downbeat results echoed similarly poor first-quarter numbers for J.C. Penney and Kohl’s, which also reported Tuesday.. . . more

TJX Beats Q1 Earnings Estimate, Lifts Full-Year Guidance, Defying Retail Gloom

The Street
TJX Companies posted stronger-than-expected first quarter earnings Tuesday, while boosting its full-year profit guidance, following surprisingly solid same-store sales.

Group net revenues rose 7% to $9.28 billion, the company said, topping analysts' estimates of $9.21 billion as same-store sales at its TJMaxx and Marshall's and HomeGoods brands rose 5% from the same period last year, well ahead of the 3.4% forecast.. . . more

New Tenant Types Invigorate Retail Sector

Chain Store Age
The retail sector is making massive strides as companies re-engineer their selling platforms in a digitally oriented environment. As a result, multi-tenant construction is rising in conjunction with developer confidence, while total retail development remains subdued.

As the new age of retail comes into focus, the sector continues to improve. Omnichannel customer engagement is taking hold with more online retailers discovering the need for a physical presence as it can substantially impact sales. Because of this, many digital brands are rapidly expanding their brick-and-mortar footprints, with Casper, Untuckit and Warby Parker spearheading these efforts.. . . more

Target smashes profit expectations as e-commerce accelerates

Target Corp. said its profit jumped 9% in the latest quarter, smashing expectations as its investments to make digital shopping easier and more convenient paid off.

Sales at comparable stores and through digital orders from its website and mobile applications grew 4.8%.

Digital sales accounted for a hefty 44% of sales growth — half of which came from shoppers who picked up their online orders at stores that day or who used the retailer's same-day home delivery service, Shipt. . . . more

US department store slowdown intensifies retail concerns

Boston Business Journal
Two of the biggest US department stores, Kohl’s and JC Penney, intensified concerns over the health of bricks and mortar retailing on Tuesday as falling sales sent their share prices tumbling.

Quarterly revenues fell short of forecasts at both companies, which between them operate almost 2,000 stores and employ about 225,000 people. By midday in New York, Kohl’s stock was down 11 per cent and JC Penney 9 per cent.. . . more

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

David's Bridal downgraded months after emerging from bankruptcy

Retail Dive
S&P Global downgraded David's Bridal's credit rating into junk territory after the wedding apparel retailer's performance "remained significantly weaker than anticipated after emergence from bankruptcy," according to an S&P release emailed to Retail Dive. David's Bridal did not immediately respond to Retail Dive's request for comment.

Analysts with the ratings agency said that David's Bridal was at risk of failing to repay its debt "as we expect poor customer traffic will pressure operating performance and lead to added volatility.". . . more

When anchors go away

Chain Store Age
A convenient, albeit misleading headline has gained great currency in the retail business — this being that physical retail is disappearing at a rapid rate as shoppers and sales migrate online, creating a real estate landscape rich in opportunity for those (few) retailers who do still actually want to open brick-and-mortar stores.

As is usually the case, the full picture is rather more complicated and nuanced. Certainly, physical retail is under tremendous pressure from online in particular, and some retailers are responding to competitive pressures and changing shopper behaviors by closing stores and rationalizing their networks — sometimes very severely. Among the most prominent in this respect is the department store sector, J.C. Penney and Sears in particular. . . . more

J.C. Penney CEO Jill Soltau: 'there's no silver bullet' and turnaround to take time

The Dallas Morning News
J.C. Penney began a pivotal year under new management with a bigger sales decline and wider loss than analysts expected, but chief executive officer Jill Soltau said the Plano-based department store has "made solid progress acting swiftly, but thoughtfully."

The transformation of 117-year-old Penney, "will take time," she said on a conference call Tuesday morning to review results. Saying she's not guiding on future performance, but it's been her experience that in a turnaround where many aspects go into "righting the ship, things can get worse before they get better." . . . more

Kohl's cuts profit forecast after weak first quarter

Kohl’s Corp cut its full-year profit forecast after the department store operator missed Wall Street estimates for quarterly same-store sales and profit, sending its shares down over 10% Tuesday morning.

Much like other U.S. retailers, Kohl’s has been bolstering its digital business to drive a turnaround as it fights to stay relevant at a time when shoppers increasingly prefer shopping online.

To get ahead of the game, Kohl’s has partnered up with and increased its focus on athletic apparel. Yet, Kohl’s missed same-store sales expectations in the reported quarter for the first time in two years.. . . more

Home Depot beats 1Q earnings expectations, misses on same-store sales

Yahoo Finance
Home Depot exceeded Wall Street’s estimates on the bottom-line in fiscal first-quarter results, but missed expectations for comparable same-store sales as unfavorable weather earlier this year dented demand for the retailer’s products.

Comparable same-store sales grew just 2.5% overall in the first quarter, versus the 4.3% expected. In the U.S., same-store sales rose 3%. The metric is closely watched by analysts and serves as a measure of efficiency for retail companies.. . . more

Monday, May 20, 2019

Dressbarn going out of business

Chain Store Age
It’s closing time for a 57-year-old women’s apparel chain.

Dressbarn announced it is winding down operations, including the eventual closing of its approximately 650 stores. The retailer, which is owned by Ann Taylor and Lane Bryant parent Ascena Retail Group, has retained A&G Realty Partners to assist on real estate-related matters.. . . more

Coresight: 12K stores could shutter in 2019

Retail Dive
Retailers in the U.S. have announced 6,378 store closures so far this year, over 500 more than all of 2018's closures, according to a new report from Coresight Research emailed to Retail Dive. Coresight estimates that as many as 12,000 stores could close by the end of the year.

Retail bankruptcies this year account for many of the store closings. The liquidation of Payless ShoeSource's entire fleet, including 2,100 stores this year, accounts for about a third of the announced closures as of May. The liquidation of Gymboree, Charlotte Russe and Shopko in bankruptcy add another 749, 500 and 371 stores respectively, according to Coresight data.. . . more

Kohl’s competes for hearts of online sports fans with Walmart, Amazon

Chain Store Age
Kohl’s is significantly expanding its online assortment of sports gear in a deal that will look familiar to Walmart.

The department store chain is entering an exclusive, long-term partnership with sports apparel and gear marketplace Fanatics to broaden its online fan gear assortment beginning in fall 2019. Kohl’s will add hundreds of thousands of items across team apparel, jerseys, and additional merchandise categories. . . . more

Empire Outlets reports 165,000 visitors in first four days

Chain Store Age
The numbers may have been swollen by all the New York politicians and officials that turned out for its opening day on May 15, but owners of New York City’s first outlet center were nevertheless excited to report a total of 165,000 visitors to Empire Outlets in its first four days.

“This incredible wave of visitors shows that Empire Outlets is already providing a truly unique and unforgettable shopping destination for New Yorkers and people from around the world,” enthused Joseph Ferrara, principal of BFC Partners, developer of the 340,000-sq.-ft. center near the Staten Island Ferry terminal.. . . more

Phillips Edison: Three top retail trends

Chain Store Age
Brands focused on health-and-wellness services are moving into the nation’s shopping centers.

That’s one of the insights found in an overview of the top retail shopping center trends of 2019 by Phillips Edison & Company (PECO), of the nation’s largest owners and operators of grocery-anchored shopping centers. PECO anticipates that 15% to 20% of the leases it executes in 2019 will be medical-related – a significant increase over previous years. The report was as part of the International Council of Shopping Centers’ annual RECon event in Las Vegas.. . . more

Sears' Seven Decades of Self-Destruction

The kindest media attention Sears has attracted in years arrived in April, when the company announced it was opening three small stores. “The start of a new Sears era? The retailer announces openings, not closings,” read USA Today’s hopeful headline, which echoed others nationwide.

But viewed through a longer lens, the coverage was more pathetic than upbeat. This is what now passes for good news at the onetime colossus of global retailing: three stores, one of them in Alaska, each smaller than owner Eddie Lampert’s house, offering a somewhat puzzling product line consisting mostly of appliances and mattresses. . . . more

Amazon Bets on Kohl’s as Its Own Brick-and-Mortar Efforts Falter

Bloomberg Inc. has launched many brick-and-mortar experiments in the past few years: bookstores, grocery pickup kiosks, cashierless convenience stores. Yet none of these have shown as much promise as the e-commerce giant’s unlikely partnership with Kohl’s Corp., the very definition of an old-school retailer.

Two years ago, Kohl’s agreed to let Amazon customers return packages at stores in Chicago and Los Angeles. Last month, the two companies announced the partnership would expand this summer to more than 1,150 stores. That followed a March announcement that Kohl’s would feature Amazon devices in 200 locations. . . . more

Trump tax reform typo creates costly headache for US retailers

Boston Business Journal
US retailers and restaurants say they are shelving hundreds of millions of dollars worth of refurbishment work, from lighting refits to paint jobs, because a mistake in the Trump tax reforms has pushed up the upfront costs.

An apparent typo in the tax law that was rushed through Congress has yet to be fixed 18 months after it was introduced. The changes were supposed to allow businesses to deduct the cost of such work from their tax bills the year it was carried out, but the error means they now need to wait 39 years for full tax relief on store renovations. . . . more

Market Basket named ‘standout’ grocery store by Consumer Reports

Boston Business Journal
A beloved Tewskbury-based supermarket chain has been named a standout by Consumer Reports for its low prices and reader satisfaction.

Market Basket was the only New England company, selected from a total of 96 national and regional chains, to make Consumer Reports’ list of 13 grocery stores with the best prices.. . . more

Friday, May 17, 2019

Lidl targets East Coast for 25 new stores

Supermarket News
In the wake of an acquisition planting itself firmly in metropolitan New York, Lidl US has unveiled an East Coast expansion strategy calling for 25 new stores.

The hard-discount supermarket chain said Friday that it plans to open the new stores in Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia by next spring. Including that expansion, the company expects to top the 100-store mark in the United States by the end of 2020, with locations in nine states.. . . more

Discount chain Fred's is closing 104 more stores

CNN Business
Discount chain Fred's is closing 104 more stores by the end of June.

The Memphis-based retailer said Thursday the closures are in addition to the 159 stores it said in April it was closing. Between the two waves of closures, Fred's is reducing its store count by nearly half.. . . more

Three ways next-day delivery is changing retail

Chain Store Age
Recent next-day delivery efforts by Amazon and Walmart are affecting the entire retail industry.

Shortly after Amazon announced it would work toward shifting standard Prime delivery time from two days to one day, Walmart began piloting free next-day shipping for more than 200,000 items. When two of the industry’s biggest titans both make the same move, it constitutes a paradigm shift. Next-day delivery is already starting to reshape retail in the following three ways: . . . more

Chico’s rejects buyout offer from Sycamore Partners

Chain Store Age
The board of Chico’s FAS has unanimously rejected an unsolicited buyout proposal from Sycamore Partners.

The struggling women’s apparel retailer received an offer from Sycamore Partners on May 10 to acquire the retailer for $3.50 per share in cash, about $407.8 million. On Thursday, May 16, Chico’s said that, following a review, it had determined that Sycamore’s proposal substantially undervalues the company and is not in the best interests of its shareholders.. . . more

Children's Place to close up to 45 stores in 2019, but also opening new stores

USA Today
The Children's Place is opening and closing stores in 2019.

As part of a multiyear plan to close 300 stores by 2020, the New Jersey-based retailer announced this week it plans on closing another 40 to 45 stores in 2019.

But at the same time, the company is looking to grow and fill the void left by former rival Gymboree. The Children's Place purchased the rights to the Gymboree and Crazy 8 brands for $76 million in March.. . . more

Away Is Using Its Latest Round of Funding to Progress Further Into a Bricks-and-Clicks Strategy

With a fresh $100 million in the bank and a newly minted unicorn valuation of $1.4 billion, Away’s got a whole bag of ideas to cement its status as a brand.

Unsurprisingly, that includes further expanding its retail footprint to 50 stores over the next three years (the company currently has locations in seven cities). However, unlike traditional retailers, direct-to-consumer brands like Away can use retail as a means of expanding the brand experience, as opposed to just a selling channel, industry experts say.. . . more

Walmart’s battle with Amazon has new fronts: Digital ads and A.I.

You might only know Walmart as a place to stop to pick up milk or paper towels, maybe a few other things, on your way home from work. But the biggest retailer in the world is doing a lot more than just selling groceries — likely a lot of things you don’t even realize.

CEO Doug McMillon says the company is on track to become more of a “digital enterprise.”. . . more

A Once-Dying Mall in Suburban Boston Sells for $85 Million

A retail property that was on its last legs a few years ago has been scooped up by Deutsche Bank.

Through its Rreef real estate investment arm, the German bank paid $85.7 million for Meadow Glen, a 300,00-square-foot property at 3850 Mystic Valley Parkway in Medford, Massachusetts, about five miles north of Boston. The property, anchored now by upscale grocer Wegman’s, also sports a Dick’s Sporting Goods, Marshall’s and a Kohl’s. It had once been a drive-in movie theater before becoming home to Meadow Glen Mall in 1979. But the mall faltered in the late 1990s as it was unable to keep pace with new retail outlets in the area.. . . more

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Four ways food will change retail real estate

Chain Store Age
Americans remain hungry for even more food-and-beverage options, but the industry’s strong growth also brings challenges for restaurateurs, grocers, and their landlords who must monitor and adapt to ever-shifting demographics.

It’s easy to see why the food-and-beverage sector is a darling of the retail real estate industry these days. It has one of the lowest rates of e-commerce penetration of any major retail category. What’s more, it is gaining an increasingly larger share of consumer spending, rising to 24.3% of total retail sales in the past decade from 22.7% before the recession.. . . more

Snipes Acquires KicksUSA

SGB Media
European lifestyle retailer Snipes has acquired KicksUSA and will transition its brand, signage and operations to 62 existing KicksUSA stores along the East Coast.

“With this introduction, we bring the excitement, energy and enthusiasm that the Snipes brand carries from Europe directly to the East Coast,” said Sven Voth, CEO, founder and managing director for Snipes. “Our commitment to keeping trendsetters of all ages up to date with the latest streetwear and sneaker releases is truly our passion – and we are looking forward to extending our unique concept to US customers.”. . . more

What to Expect at RECon 2019

ICSC’s RECon conference—the “Super Bowl” of retail real estate—is just days away. Thousands of real estate developers, brokers, owners and retailers will soon descend upon Las Vegas for the huge networking and deal-making conference.

At this year’s show, held May 19 to 22, hot topics will include the leasing needs of emerging retailers, changing consumer preferences, how new generations could impact future business decisions, and the rise of mixed-use components and food and beverage concepts in shopping centers.. . . more

30 minutes with retail's top executives

Retail Dive
The retail landscape is in an ever-evolving state of flux as brick-and-mortar merchants grow e-commerce capabilities and online-only players learn how to get physical. Throw in the advancements in augmented reality, artificial intelligence and social media marketing, and the picture gets even more complex.

This series, where we talk to top executives about challenges, opportunities and strategies for success, is just one way Retail Dive is looking to shine some light on the forces — and thought leaders — that are shaking up the retail industry. So sit back and enjoy one (or more) of our deep, narrative dives. . . . more

Walmart beats on earnings, posts best Q1 comp sales in 9 years

Yahoo Finance
Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, reported better-than-expected earnings during the first quarter, driven by strength in its U.S. e-commerce business.

For the first quarter, Walmart delivered adjusted earnings per share of $1.13, surpassing Wall Street analysts’ expectations of $1.02. Revenue for the quarter came in at $123.9 billion, compared to estimates of $124.94 billion.The closely followed comp sales number came in at 3.4%, marking the best first quarter in 9 years, the retailer noted. The comp store sales number was in-line with expectations.. . . more

Kohl's considers purchase of Plano-based At Home

The Dallas Morning News
Kohl's may be kicking the tires of Plano-based At Home, according to Reuters, which quoted anonymous sources Wednesday and sent At Home's stock price up more than 8%.

The home furnishings superstore hasn't confirmed reports that started in April when Reuters first quoted sources saying the company was for sale because of its lackluster stock price. . . . more

Retail’s Top 10 Grocers

Progressive Grocer
Grocers have been accelerating their investments in technology, shopper insights and omnichannel selling over the last year, resulting in the industry creating some of the freshest consumer experiences available today. Retailers such as Walmart and Kroger have poured resources into things like online shopping services, home delivery, autonomous vehicles, and artificial intelligence.

To uncover which grocers are thriving in this new landscape, RIS’ sister publication Progressive Grocer has published its annual Top 50 Grocers report. The report ranked leading grocers across four critical categories that explored financial metrics, store count, employee count, and the power of their banners. . . . more

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Grocery Outlet Sees Opportunity for 4,800 Stores

Winsight Grocery Business
Grocery Outlet hopes to lure investors with a compelling story of reliable growth and profitability—and a very big opportunity for future expansion.

The Emeryville, Calif.-based extreme discounter said it sees the potential to more than double its current 316-store base in states in which it currently operates, and could quadruple its store base to 1,600 locations by expanding to surrounding states.

“Our goal is to expand our store base by approximately 10% annually by penetrating existing and contiguous regions,” the prospectus read. “Over the long term, we believe the market potential exists to establish 4,800 locations nationally.”. . . more

UBS: Tariffs could put $40B in sales and 12K stores at risk

Retail Dive
With half the year yet to complete, retailers have already shuttered a surprising number of stores in 2019. As of late March, U.S. retailers had 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 a report from Coresight Research. The company's most recent report records 6,196 store closures in the U.S. and 2,724 openings.

While the potential impact of tariffs has centered on retailers' struggles to amass their holiday inventory and how much they are willing or able to pass off the added cost to consumers, the impact on physical stores is getting missed, according to the UBS analyst team, who titled their report "The Tariff Risk the Market Isn't Thinking Enough About." . . . more

Guitar Center opens landmark store amid ongoing expansion

Chain Store Age
The nation’s largest music instrument retailer has opened its first store in Hawaii — and its 290th location overall.

Reflecting Guitar Center’s updates store format, the 19,000-sq.-ft. store is designed as a destination music store, with showrooms filled with guitars, drums, keys, live sound, a DJ and recording equipment. It also offers rentals, repairs and a contemporary music “lessons academy.”. . . more

U.S. Retail Sales Unexpectedly Fall Amid Weak Auto Purchases

U.S. retail sales unexpectedly declined in April for the second time in three months, weighed down by soft sales of autos and building materials and suggesting consumer spending will remain subdued this quarter.

The value of overall sales declined 0.2% after a 1.7% increase the prior month that was the strongest gain since 2017, according to Commerce Department figures released Wednesday. That compared with the median forecast in Bloomberg’s survey calling for a 0.2% rise.. . . more

Burger King Parent Defends Strategy as Growth Cools

The Wall Street Journal
Burger King parent Restaurant Brands International Inc. is under pressure from investors to show it has a plan to boost sales at its restaurant chains.

The company, which is backed by 3G Capital and also owns Tim Hortons and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, boosted profit over several years by cutting costs and expanding into new markets.

Now, Burger King and Popeyes have lost some momentum. Burger King is closing underperforming restaurants as same-store sales growth has cooled. Popeyes has posted falling or flat same-store sales in the past three quarters.. . . more

Whole Foods still has highest prices among grocers despite April cuts, says Bank of America

Whole Foods still has the highest overall prices among U.S. food retailers, despite the widely publicized discounts the Amazon-owned grocer made in April.

Walmart continues to have lowest overall prices, momentum that will likely be unscathed by Whole Foods’ price cuts, Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts wrote in a Tuesday report. . . . more

Macy's Smashes Q1 Earnings, Same Store Sales Estimates; Confirms 2019 Guidance
Macy's Inc. posted stronger-than-expected first quarter earnings Wednesday, and reaffirmed its full-year guidance, as the struggling retailer notched a surprise uptick in same-store sales growth and saw solid gains from its push to online revenues.

Macy's said earnings for the three months ending in March came in at 44 cents per share, down 8.3% from the same period last year but 11 cents ahead of the Street consensus forecast. Group revenues, Macy's said, slipped to $5.504 billion and were just shy of analysts' estimates, but same-store sales rose 0.7% thanks in part to the group's Growth50 turnaround strategy.. . . more

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Taking a look inside Amazon Go’s first NYC store

Supermarket News
The first Amazon Go store in New York City opened its doors last week in downtown Manhattan. Situated in the busy Brookfield Place mall, the 1,300-square-foot store caters to shoppers, nearby workers and tourists seeking a quick meal, snack or drink — and keeps the traffic moving smoothly in and out through its cashierless “Just Walk Out” technology. . . . more

Bed Bath & Beyond’s Woes Extend Beyond Its CEO

Finally, Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. has acknowledged what has been obvious from the outside for a while: Its longtime CEO isn’t the right person to revive the deeply troubled home-goods chain.

The company announced Monday that Steven Temares, who had held the top job since 2003, has departed that role. Mary Winston, a new board member who previously served as CFO of Family Dollar, has been appointed interim CEO. The leadership shuffle comes after a coalition of activist investors called for sweeping changes at the big-box retailer. . . . more

Fed’s Interest Rate Position Could Help CRE Sales Volume

The current Goldilocks economy—not too hot and not too cold—is helping to keep the bears from emerging in the commercial real estate sector. In a move aimed at holding on to that warmish balance, the Fed confirmed during its May 1 meeting that it would not change rates. That move is expected to fuel another strong year of transaction activity. At the same time, it is stirring speculation about what action the Fed might take in the fourth quarter.

The Fed has become more dovish on rates, essentially changing its policy from one where it was likely to raise rates two or three times in 2019 to a more neutral position, and capital markets have gained confidence from that shift. . . . more

Walmart takes on Amazon in next-day delivery contest

Chain Store Age
Walmart is piloting its own next-day delivery service — but with a competitive twist.

The discount titan is expanding its existing same-day grocery pickup and delivery service by launching free next-day delivery for purchases of $35 or more across a range of general merchandise from Unlike Amazon’s planned rollout of standard next-day shipping for all Prime purchases, however, Walmart’s one-day online delivery option does not require a membership fee.. . . more

Survey: Retailer struggle to keep up with industry evolution

Chain Store Age
Only 3% of retailers believe their current model will remain sustainable in the next five years.

That’s according to a new report from OC&C Strategy Consultants and eShop World, released at this year’s World Retail Congress, which found that 76% of retailers believe their model must change for them to remain relevant.. . . more

Behind the Turnaround at Children’s Place

The Wall Street Journal
Children’s Place Inc. has consolidated its position as the leading specialty chain for children’s clothing—a long way from where the company stood when Jane Elfers took over as CEO in 2010.

In March, it agreed to acquire the assets and intellectual property of rival chains Gymboree and Crazy 8, both owned by Gymboree Group Inc., which liquidated the stores after a second foray into bankruptcy protection earlier this year.. . . more

Union representing Macy’s workers votes to authorize strike

Boston Business Journal
A strike is looming at Macy’s stores in parts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

After four months of contract negotiations, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1445 voted Sunday to authorize a strike if necessary. The union represents more than 1,000 Macy’s employees in Boston, Braintree, Natick, Peabody and Warwick, Rhode Island.. . . more

Monday, May 13, 2019

Is it lights out for Lord & Taylor?

Retail Dive
A year after rumors surfaced that HBC was looking into selling Lord & Taylor, the company made it official, saying last week that a sale is among the strategic options it’s now pursuing for its small, struggling department store banner.

It’s easy to find the rationale: Comps at DSG, (the HBC business that comprises Lord & Taylor​ plus the Canadian Hudson's Bay department store chain and now-shuttered Home Outfitters) fell 5.2%, in the company’s most recent quarter. Specifically, Lord & Taylor sales continued to decline year-over-year, the company also said last month. . . . more

Chico's Weighs Buyout While Trying to Move Beyond the Mall

Malaise in the shopping mall is certainly no secret, with thousands of stores shutting and some familiar names disappearing. Struggling women’s apparel merchant Chico’s FAS Inc. now has a potential lifeline -- which it may throw back.

The retailer said Friday it would review an unsolicited buyout bid from Sycamore Partners, the owner of office supply giant Staples Inc. and department-store chain Belk, noting that it had previously rejected a higher offer from the private equity company.. . . more

Best Buy extends reach into booming health care market with GreatCall

The acquisition of GreatCall, the largest in Best Buy’s history, launched the nation’s No. 1 consumer electronics retailer deeper into the health care marketplace, where it has been dabbling with its own products and services in recent years.

In one fell swoop, Best Buy gained access to about 1 million GreatCall customers, along with an experienced call center operation and a diverse portfolio of devices tailored to older adults — including simple flip phones with large buttons and extra bright screens, wearable alert devices and a line of sensors for high-risk seniors that monitor daily activities at home. . . . more

Bed Bath & Beyond long-time CEO steps down following investor pressure

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc.'s long-time Chief Executive Officer Steven Temares stepped down on Monday, following pressure from a group of activist investors that had been pushing for his ouster and a shakeup of the furnishing retailer's board.

The group, comprising Legion Partners Asset Management LLC, Macellum Advisors GP LLC and Ancora Advisors LLC, had piled pressure on the company since March, citing the company's inability to grow sales and margins.. . . more

Amazon offers incentives to employees to start their own delivery business

Chain Store Age
As the race to deliver online goods heats up, Amazon is encouraging its employees to quit and launch their own businesses delivering goods for the online giant — and it’s even providing some funding.

Amazon on Monday announced it is launching a new incentive for current Amazon employees to start a small business owning and operating a package delivery company. The retailer said it will fund the startup costs, up to $10,000, for employees who are accepted into the program and leave their jobs. . . . more

Big changes coming in downtown Andover

The Eagle-Tribune
As construction cranes rise over downtown and tarped-over scaffolding masks Main Street buildings, it would appear that Andover is in the throes of some sort of a business renaissance.

With at least a half-dozen projects or moves underway, the town is also contributing to the growth by reconfiguring its parking plan, a move that was recently endorsed by a vote at annual Town Meeting.. . . more

Petco opens its first-ever ‘pet food kitchen’ — with more to come

Chain Store Age
Petco is tapping into a fast-growing segment of the $32.7 billion pet food and treats market: human-grade food.

The retailer has opened an upscale “pet food kitchen” at its recently remodeled flagship in Manhattan’s Union Square neighborhood where shoppers can purchase fresh, human-grade meals for their pets. . . . more

Friday, May 10, 2019

The real estate glut calls for caution

Supermarket News
The so-called “retail apocalypse” is providing a glut of available real estate for new supermarket locations. At the same time, many shopping center developers and managers still view grocery stores as a safe harbor in the midst of change and instability (together with co-working spaces, “experiences,” health clubs and restaurants).

However, many developers have limited understanding of the competitive saturation affecting the supermarket industry, nor of the subtler trends taking place within the industry — for example, the declining store sizes that are being driven by the decline of the center store.. . . more

Ahold Delhaize tallies Q1 sales gains

Supermarket News
U.S. sales edged up in the first quarter at Ahold Delhaize as the global food retailer moved forward with strategic initiatives to upgrade stores, boost omnichannel operations and rein in costs through improved synergies.

Also on Wednesday, executives reiterated their estimate of the financial impact of the 11-day strike at Stop & Shop, noting that the Quincy, Mass.-based supermarket chain — the company’s largest by sales — will feel the work stoppage’s effects in the second quarter. . . . more

How different are millennial customers?

Chain Store Age
A new consumer study from Accenture examines the assumption that millennials shop differently from their elders.

According to a global Accenture survey of 6,000 respondents, including 1,707 millennials born between 1980 and 2000, many millennial shopping habits are in line with those of Gen X (1965-79) and Baby Boomers (1946-64). For example, more than half (55%) survey respondents in all three demographics said that they seek out “the cheapest return option.”. . . more

Curious George store is being sold, moving out of Harvard Square

Boston Business Journal
The longtime owner of Harvard Square’s Curious George store is selling the highly visible brick-and-mortar business as the store moves to another Cambridge neighborhood.

A prominent tenant of the Abbot Building, the 1,400-square-foot Curious George store — which sells apparel, puzzles, games and books — will close its doors in Harvard Square on Sunday, June 30. In an interview Thursday, Adam Hirsch, the owner of what’s billed as “The World’s Only Curious George Store,” declined to name the buyer of the business, and did not reveal the price.. . . more

Wynn Resorts could push back Encore Boston Harbor opening, CEO says

Boston Business Journal
Wynn Resorts Ltd. could push back the planned June 23 opening of its Encore Boston Harbor casino in Everett to make sure the property is “flawless,” CEO Matthew Maddox said during the company’s first-quarter earnings call Thursday afternoon.

“I don’t know if the opening date will be June 23 or a week or two later, because we’re going to make sure that it’s flawless. And clearly the regulatory complexity we’ve been through has been a challenge. And so now we’re doubling back,” Maddox said. “We may give ourself another week, we may not. But the property looks great.”. . . more

Private equity Sycamore says Chico's declined to engage on buyout offer

Yahoo Finance
Sycamore Partners LP said on Friday struggling women's apparel retailer Chico's FAS Inc has declined to engage with the private equity firm on its cash offer to buy the company for $407.8 million.

In an SEC filing, Sycamore disclosed a 6.6% stake in the company, making it the fourth largest shareholder in Chico's. The private equity had offered about $3.50 per Chico's share, a discount of 5.4% to the company's Thursday close.. . . more

Boston Landlords Hungry For Local Restaurateurs — Once They Prove Themselves In Someone Else's Building
Developers are changing their tune when it comes to signing lesser-known local retailers over national credit tenants, but Boston restaurateurs still must prove themselves before landing a space in one of the city’s glitzy new developments. 

Boston’s building boom has delivered new developments from the Seaport to Watertown. Neighborhood groups frequently criticize developers for filling up ground-floor retail space with national chains like CVS and Starbucks and not enough local mom-and-pop operators. Developers have previously defended the action, saying their debt obligations restricted them to signing only national credit tenants.  . . . more

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Walmart managers take home an average of $175,000 a year

USA Today
Walmart, the nation’s largest employer, pays its U.S. store managers an average of $175,000 a year, according to a new company report.

The retailer's inaugural Environmental, Social & Governance Report released Wednesday says all of Walmart's 1 million-plus U.S. workers earn more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25, with the average wage for full-time hourly workers $14.26 per hour.. . . more

Party City to close 45 stores; Q1 sales miss

Chain Store Age
Party City’s first-quarter earnings matched the Street even as its sales fell short, impacted by a shortage of helium that deflated balloon sales.

In reporting its results, the party goods retailer also announced it plans to shutter about 45 of its approximately 870 locations in 2019. The closings will occur throughout the year.. . . more

Restaurant operators challenged by labor issues, jittery consumers

Chain Store Age
Fifty-nine percent of consumers are in favor of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, which is more than double the current federal minimum of $7.25 per hour and which would undoubtedly cause restaurant operators to rethink business models whose profit margins are already razor-thin, according to a study by global consulting firm AlixPartners. Moreover, 68% of millennials are in favor of such a wage hike, indicating that the “Fight for 15” (and perhaps more) issue is unlikely to go away anytime soon.

Meanwhile, results from the survey reveal several signs that financial concerns seem today to be taking precedence when it comes to decisions both about dining-out to begin with and how much to spend when they do. . . . more

Warby Parker proves you can sell quality glasses at more-affordable prices

LA Times
The four co-founders of Warby Parker were students at Penn’s Wharton School when they realized there was a need for an eyewear company that could deliver high quality and classic style at reasonable prices.

They launched Warby in 2010. Nearly a decade later, the privately held company is worth over a billion dollars. . . . more

Sears reveals the symbolism behind its new logo

Business Insider
Sears has rebranded and adopted a new slogan and logo.

The department-store chain rolled out the new slogan "making moments matter" in a video posted to Facebook on April 28, along with a logo designed to be a combination of a house and a heart.. . . more

Interactive Children’s Mini-City KidZania Entering U.S. and Taking Over Department Store Spaces

KidZania, an indoor, interactive mini “city” run by kids that has locations around the world, is about to enter the U.S. market by taking large blocks of space in regional malls.

“Most of the real estate that we’re looking at is [former] multi-level department stores,” and then KidZania will figure out how to repurpose the space, says Gregory Knoop, chief development officer, North America, for KidZania USA.. . . more

Commission workers are owed overtime pay, says Mass. high court ruling

Boston Business Journal
The state’s highest court on Wednesday handed a victory to workers paid on commission with a ruling that they should receive overtime pay and premium pay on Sundays, no matter how much they ultimately make in commissions.

The Supreme Judicial Court’s ruling is a setback for the car dealers and retailers that are facing lawsuits from their employees about the pay issue. The Herb Chambers Co., Prime Motor Group and Mattress Firm are among those that have faced the litigation.. . . more

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

CrediFi CEO: CRE Lenders Are Making Fewer Loans, But Loan Sizes Are Growing

CrediFi, a commercial real estate data/analytics firm that tracks lenders across the U.S., has recently released data that showed some slowdown in new loan originations across virtually every product type in 2018. The number of loan originations on retail properties went down by almost 10 percent year-over-year, while the number of hospitality property loans went down by more than 15 percent. Stats on office, multifamily and industrial originations were also down. NREI recently talked with CrediFi CEO Ely Razin about his take on the latest stats on commercial real estate debt financing. . . . more

How Amazon, scourge of physical retailers, is doubling down on physical retail

Yahoo Finance
Amazon, the internet company once seen as brick-and-mortar’s worst nightmare, is making a concerted push into brick-and-mortar. Amazon has 34 total physical stores across America: 18 Amazon Bookstores, 12 Amazon Go stores, and three Amazon 4-Star stores. If you add Whole Foods, that’s another 499 Amazon-owned stores.

Only a few months ago, Amazon had 87 pop-up kiosks in shopping malls across the country. In March, it abruptly announced it would close all of them. It was a sign that Amazon is quickly applying lessons from its various store concepts and shutting down inefficiencies—it is classic Jeff Bezos.  . . . more

Belk lays its 130-year legacy on the line

Retail Dive
North Carolina-based department store chain Belk enjoys icon status in the Southern states where it's mostly thrived for over 130 years. For a brand transformation announced on Wednesday, however, the company is turning to the New York office of advertising agency Mcgarrybowen, which is much closer to the Manhattan headquarters of its private equity owner Sycamore Partners than to its own in Charlotte.

It's the latest consequence of the Belk family's sale of the business in 2015 for $3 billion, a steep price and a savvy move, according to many observers at the time, in light of the challenges faced by retailers, especially department stores. . . . more

Pandora’s U.S. Sales Fall 12 Percent, Will Close 50 Stores

Pandora’s sales fell sharply in the United States and elsewhere during the first quarter of 2019, as the company reduced promotions and experimented with new products.

Pandora also announced plans to close 50 of its concept stores across the world and is opening fewer stores: It opened eight in the first quarter, compared to 39 the year before.. . . more

Seattle, San Francisco, and Raleigh top M&M’s National Retail Index

Chain Store Age
Metro areas located near the seacoast and those with active tech industries found themselves in the upper echelon of Marcus & Millichap’s 2019 National Retail Index.

M&M’s annual ranking has less to do with the health of retail as it does the health of the local economy and construction activity. Markets are ranked based on employment growth, vacancies, and rents, among other factors.. . . more

Chick-fil-A’s Lean Menu Helps Chain Bulk Up

The Wall Street Journal
As the biggest fast-food chains have expanded menus to attract new customers, Chick-fil-A Inc. has gained ground with a different strategy: its focus on chicken sandwiches.

Since its founding in Atlanta in 1967 by entrepreneur Truett Cathy, Chick-fil-A’s signature item has been its breaded chicken-breast sandwich served with pickles on a buttered toasted bun. The company sells breakfast and salads, too, but its relatively simple menu stands out, compared with its fast-food rivals. . . . more

Here are the 15 food and beverage venues planned at Encore Boston Harbor

Boston Business Journal
Representatives from Wynn Resorts Ltd. on Monday presented detailed plans to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission regarding the construction and design of Encore Boston Harbor, which is scheduled to open Sunday, June 23 at 10:00 a.m.

Here are the 15 food and beverage venues planned for the $2.6 billion resort casino, which will span 3.1 million square feet on the banks of the Mystic River in Everett, as described by Wynn Resorts (Nasdaq: WYNN) representatives. . . . more