Thursday, October 31, 2019

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

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

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

6 numbers that explain the fate of department stores

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

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

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

Rite Aid downgraded over weak market position

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Starbucks comp store sales growth beats expectations

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

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

Bankrupt Forever 21 is closing 200 stores

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

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

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Mapping the physical locations of DTC brands

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

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

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

Primark to expand U.S. store footprint

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

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

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

Black Friday retail outlook is challenging

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

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

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

Consumer confidence dips in October

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shake Shack sets Downtown Crossing opening date

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

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

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Amazon is dominating the holiday price war

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

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

Nordstrom family ends latest effort to take control

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

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

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

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

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

Retailers can win against Amazon this holiday season

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amazon offers free grocery delivery to Prime members

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

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

Monday, October 28, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

New American Dream 'mall' has much more than retail

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

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

What do people want this holiday season? Gift cards

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

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

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

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

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

Authentic Brands Group claims Barneys IP

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

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

Popeyes, Burger King parent Restaurant Brands posts strong Q3 sales

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

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

Louis Vuitton and Tiffany Are Talking About Tying the Knot

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

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

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

Walgreens to close down all its healthcare clinics

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

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

Friday, October 25, 2019

Can the restaurant industry learn from retail's mistakes?

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

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

Amazon predicted to pass Walmart as largest retailer

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

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

Walmart kicks off holiday discount festivities early

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

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

Duluth Trading to open new concept store

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

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

Amazon Q3 profit falls and misses Street

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

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

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

Walmart wants robots in stores. Target doesn't

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

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

After 15 years, dream mall finally becomes a reality

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

Sort of.

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

Thursday, October 24, 2019

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

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

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

High street rents decline in New York City

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chipotle to build 60 Chipotlanes by year's end

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

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

One family built Forever 21, and fueled its collapse

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

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

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

How much does Halloween actually matter?

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

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

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

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

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

Cumberland Farms acquired by U.K. firm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Retail-to-Warehouse Conversions Gain Momentum
According to January 2019 CBRE research, there are at least 23 retail-to-industrial projects that have commenced since 2016.

These projects are turning roughly 7 million square feet of aging retail space into 10 million square feet of new warehouse/industrial space, either by converting existing structures or by demolishing and replacing them with new buildings.. . . more

Hudson Yards was seen as a trial for the mall of the future. Here’s how it’s going so far

When the Hudson Yards megamall opened on the West Side of Manhattan roughly half a year ago, there were plenty of skeptics. And there still are.

The development, a sprawling 1 million square feet of retail space, is in many ways supposed to be the new blueprint for a shopping mall in the twenty-first century and age of Amazon. There’s a floor dedicated to brands born on the internet, only one department store, plenty of restaurants, co-working space, interactive art exhibits lining the walls and room to lounge outdoors. . . . more

As malls struggle with retail, more are embracing alternative occupants

Duluth News Tribune
In malls around the country shopping is drying up — and everything else is filling the void. Malls are becoming community catch-alls for government offices, dance studios, medical clinics, homeless centers, massage parlors, live theaters and even apartments.

The non-retail tenants are a smart response to a tough situation, say retail experts. They keep malls alive by maintaining foot traffic — even if no one is shopping.. . . more

CVS expands Glamsquad beauty partnership to 50 stores

Retail Dive
CVS on Tuesday announced that its BeautyIRL concept will be expanding to nearly 50 stores by the end of the year. The concept, which features beauty services by Glamsquad, has been piloted at four stores since last year and will launch in "key markets," including New York City, Los Angeles, Miami and Boston, according to a press release. As a result of the partnership, CVS also snagged an exclusive on GSQ by Glamsquad, a line of private label beauty products from the startup, which will be sold in those stores.. . . more

Ikea’s transformation plans include brick-and-mortar

Chain Store Age
Ikea is preparing for an omnichannel future that will blend digital and physical customer interactions.

In a recent interview with LinkedIn, Jesper Brodin, CEO of Swedish home furnishings giant Ikea, discussed his company’s strategy for brick-and-mortar and digital retailing, as well as topics such as workforce automation and environmental sustainability. Following are highlights of Brodin’s commentary in these areas.. . . more

Cyber Monday is exciting deal-hungry shoppers more than Black Friday this holiday season

With online shopping gaining ground year after year, Cyber Monday has surpassed Black Friday as the preferred day for deals around the holiday season for all age groups, according to a new study.

Deloitte’s study said 53% of people will rely on Cyber Monday for discounts, while just 44% say they’re planning to snag promotions on Black Friday this year.. . . more

How deepening discounts and thinning profit margins could take their toll this holiday season

The Washington Post
The so-called “retail apocalypse” has become a blanket phrase for the industry’s woes, which so far have resulted in more than 50 bankruptcies and 21,000 store closures since 2017.

Now some analysts are warning of a “retail vortex.”

A mix of thinning profits, soaring returns and ever-growing markdowns puts already-struggling retailers at risk of further decline this holiday season, according to DynamicAction, a retail software firm that analyzed more than $11.6 billion in online transactions from January to September.. . . more

Monday, October 21, 2019

Destination Maternity files for bankruptcy

Destination Maternity, a leading retailer of maternity wear, filed for bankruptcy Monday, buckling under the weight of an onerous debt load and struggling to compete with better capitalized competition. 

Destination Maternity has a market capitalization of nearly $5 million, according to FactSet. It has $260 million in total assets and $244 million in total debt according, to its bankruptcy filing. For fiscal 2018, it reported a net loss of $14.3 million on sales of $383.8 million according to its most recent annual report. . . . more

The Vitamin Shoppe Unveils New Innovation Retail Concept

PR Newswire
The Vitamin Shoppe, an omni-channel specialty retailer of nutritional products, announced today the opening of a new innovation store in Edgewater, N.J. The store brings a new vision to wellness retail, incorporating technology-driven innovations in product, service, and education into The Vitamin Shoppe experience, while elevating the customer journey through a simplified modern design and personalized elements.

The Vitamin Shoppe currently plans to open five new stores in a similar format through January 2020.. . . more

Nordstrom’s Grand NYC Opening

Footwear News
This week, Nordstrom makes the biggest move in its 118-year history with the debut of a 320,000-sq.-ft. New York women’s flagship on 57th Street, just steps away from Central Park and Columbus Circle — and directly across the street from its men’s location. Shoes will play a starring role inside the seven-level store, which sits at the base of the tallest residential building in the Western Hemisphere.

The move will dramatically reshape the city’s department store landscape at a time when nearby rivals, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman and Bloomingdale’s, are stepping up their own renovations and unveiling flashy initiatives.. . . more

At Costco 'everything resonates with the consumer'

Retail Dive
It's more common to find a struggling retailer than one that's comfortably surviving, let alone thriving.

While a good portion of retailers could be classified as "penny stock," with some companies like Pier 1, J.C. Penney and Ascena even receiving threats of stock exchange delisting for trading below the requirements, Costco has been trading well above $200 since January, with it teetering around $300 more recently. The club retailer also isn't facing massive store closures. While some other players, namely mall-based retailers, overexpanded and are now contracting, Costco has opened new warehouses at a steady pace. . . . more

American Dream Mall Is a Nightmare for New Jersey Shopping Centers

The malls of northern New Jersey, go-to destinations for shoppers from nearby New York City for more than half a century, are trying to find ways to stand out as a colossal new neighbor arrives to compete for customers -- and their dollars.

After 16 years of false starts and multiple developers, the American Dream retail and amusement complex in New Jersey’s Meadowlands is scheduled to open its doors on Oct. 25. Owner Triple Five Group is expecting 40 million visitors a year once the full mall is up and running, and if it attracts even a fraction of that traffic, it could spell bad news for some of the nine nearby malls already competing for the greater New York metropolitan area’s flushest residents.. . . more

History made: Walgreens takes off with first drone delivery

Chain Store Age
Walgreens is officially in flight with a pilot of on-demand drone deliveries in Virginia.

As of Oct. 18, 2019, the drugstore giant is live with a trial of “store to door” delivery of health and wellness, food and beverage and convenience items via drone delivery in Christianburg, Va. The very first drone-based delivery from Walgreens went to local residents Michael and Kelly Collver, who received a cough and cold pack including Tylenol, Halls cough drops, tissues, Emergen-C and bottled water.. . . more

Saks Fifth Avenue parent Hudson’s Bay to go private

Chain Store Age
Hudson's Bay Company has agreed to be taken private by a group of its shareholders after they upped their offer.

The group is headed up by Richard Baker, executive chairman of the Canadian department store company, and also includes Rhone Capital LLC, WeWork Property Advisors, Hanover Investments and Abrams Capital Management. The investors, who together own 57% of Hudson’s Bay, have agreed to pay C$10.30 ($7.84) a share in cash for shares outstanding. The offer represents an increase of 9% over the group’s initial proposal in June of $9.45 per share, which a special panel of Hudson’s Bay had deemed “inadequate.”. . . more

US nonstore retail sales in September see largest year-over-year growth in decades

Digital Commerce 360
Last month, U.S. nonstore retail sales—a proxy measure for ecommerce performance—increased 15.6% from September 2018, according to an Internet Retailer analysis of U.S. Department of Commerce advance monthly figures released Wednesday. This is the highest year-over-year September growth rate since 2000, when it was a 16.4% increase, and nearly double the 8.2% increase in 2018.

Even after excluding an Internet Retailer estimate for fuel sales from the non-seasonally adjusted nonstore spending data, September’s year-over-year growth remained the same at 15.6% and is the highest rate for the month since 1999, when the comparable increase was 17.1%. . . . more

Friday, October 18, 2019

Sparkling cover graces new Neiman Marcus Christmas Book

The Dallas Morning News
Fantasy gifts are still part of the annual Neiman Marcus Christmas Book, but this year a layer of travel and experiences elevate the off-the-charts gift ideas that the Dallas-based luxury retailer has been concocting since 1926.

Who wouldn’t want to design a pair of Christian Louboutins? If you can do it in Paris and get to pick five more pairs from the current collection to take home, well, that’s dreamy. That costs $125,000.. . . more

Have Giant Food and Stop & Shop nailed ‘frictionless’ checkouts?

Retail Business Services, the technology services arm of Ahold Delhaize USA, has announced that its proprietary ScanIt Mobile frictionless checkout technology is being rolled out to nearly 30 of the grocer’s stores by the end of the year. The tech is being deployed at all of the new Giant Heirloom Markets and select Stop & Shop stores.

Customers using the ScanIt mobile app walk shop the store scanning products they wish to purchase as they go. When finished, customers go through a designated checkout lane where they see a “payment approved” message before exiting the store. Payments are processed through customers’ mobile wallets. The service accepts Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal and Venmo. . . . more

Walmart delves into new tech-enabled healthcare format

Chain Store Age
Walmart has big plans for its role in the health-and-wellness space.

Chain Store Age recently had an interview with the discount giant, which in September launched a new, 10,000-sq.-ft., freestanding health-and-wellness facility next to its store in Dallas, Georgia. Walmart Health is designed to provide “low, transparent pricing” for key health services, regardless of insurance status, and uses technology to streamline scheduling, check-in and payment. . . . more

The department store of the 21st century isn't Macy's

Retail Dive
In 2005, parent company Federated Department Stores (later renamed Macy's) was embarking on an expansion that brought its footprint to some 950 department stores, along with approximately 700 bridal and formalwear stores.

That appears to have been a mistake.

In recent years, Macy's has gone to great effort to undo that expansion, closing up 100 stores in a brick-and-mortar contraction that, despite executives' insistence to the contrary, some analysts say is far from over.. . . more

What Retail Apocalypse? 26 Big Retailers To Grow This Year

Investor's Business Daily
Don' t let doom-and-gloom retail news cause you might miss out on a big S&P 500 opportunity — in retail of all places.

Retailers in the S&P 500 reported opening 2,976 stores in their latest annual periods, nearly triple the 1,020 that they closed, according to an IBD analysis of data from S&P Global Markets Intelligence. Granted, this only includes big-name retailers that disclosed their store openings and closings, but it still shows bright spots in physical retail. Major store openers include discounter Dollar General, Dollar Tree and The Gap.. . . more

U.S. Retail Construction Levels Remain Well Below Pre-Recession Levels

With the continued barrage of retail bankruptcies, stores closures, repositionings and rightsizings of store fleets—and the fact that many experts say the U.S. is over-retailed—it probably comes as no surprise that retail construction levels remain well below pre-recession levels.

“Another factor is with some of these larger shopping centers, the development is focused more on building complementary property types,” notes Alexander Levy, a consultant at research firm CoStar Group Inc. “You might see a mall and they will add on apartments or offices or hotels nearby and then it becomes more of a mixed-use property. That’s been growing coming out of the recession.”. . . more

Lampert helps bankroll Sears as woes persist after bankruptcy

U.S. retailer Sears has borrowed about $150 million from lenders, including its billionaire owner Eddie Lampert, as it racks up losses less than a year after it emerged from bankruptcy protection, people familiar with the matter said.

The new financing will help stock Sears’ store shelves for the holiday shopping season, as it struggles to become profitable. Lampert is no stranger to bankrolling Sears, having extended loans through his hedge fund ESL Investments Inc to the department store chain over the past decade until its financial collapse last year.. . . more

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Is e-grocery less convenient than shopping in stores?

A Bain & Co. study concludes the reason online penetration remains so low in the grocery category versus others is because in-store shopping is still far more convenient.

The findings based on a Google and Bain survey of more than 8,000 U.S. shoppers include:

Planning: While e-commerce sites should make researching, list building and list sharing easier online, consumers remain “highly-dependent” on analog tools such as combing circulars and writing lists on paper. . . . more

Sole survivors: 5 national chains that outlasted their peers

Retail Dive
If only being the last competitor left in a field was as unambiguously secure as it sounds on its face. It seems like the dogfight should be over, that the last survivor should be able to revel in its status as the winner, and reap the rewards. The reality is more complicated.

There are some in that position today who are relatively stable and strong, such as Dick's Sporting Goods and Best Buy, whose closest competitors in scale and proportion have fallen. Even so, their market position and future isn't as secure as it once seemed.. . . more

Walmart relaunches online toy 'lab'

Retail Dive
Walmart is reviving its online venue that lets kids take a closer look at popular toys ahead of the 2019 holiday season.

The retailer partnered with interactive entertainment company Eko to launch the site, dubbed Walmart Toys Lab. The two companies formed a joint venture last year to create interactive programming, and originally launched the toy lab last holiday season. . . . more

Study: Two channels poised for fastest store growth

Chain Store Age
Consumers’ increasing focus on price and speed bodes well for two types of brick-and-mortar chains.

According to new data from retail analytics platform Edge by Ascential, discount and convenience stores in the U.S. are projected to grow faster than all other offline retail channels over the next five years. . . . more

Primark tells customers not to buy its products online

Fans of the discount clothing chain have longed for Primark to launch an online shop and yesterday, we thought our prayers had been answered.

Though it wasn’t quite a Primark e-commerce store, Amazon started selling select items from Primark’s Atmosphere range via third party sellers. As long as you have Prime, you can get the items the very next day, no leaving the house required.

As it turns out, there’s a catch. The prices were higher than in-store, and now Primark has taken the unprecedented step of issuing a statement warning customers against buying its products on Amazon.. . . more

Here’s how Abercrombie & Fitch ditched its past to try to bring back customers

Crafting a brand is hard work. But harder still is reimaging it.

Sister brands Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister were the go-to shops for teens in early 2000s. But as Abercrombie cultivated its rebellious image with half-naked models, controversies piled up, and its popularity fell.. . . more

Retail Property Taxes Will Rise

REBusiness Online
As retailers rise and fall in the age of Amazon, property taxes remain one of retailers’ largest operating expenses. That makes it critical to monitor assessments of retail properties and be ready to contest unfairly high taxable valuations.

Assessors — and property owners attempting to educate those assessors — must understand how the changes taking place in the retail sector affect property value. Assessors must adjust their models to reflect new market realities, and property owners or their representatives must be able to explain why previously held valuation assumptions could no longer be valid. . . . more

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Hamilton Beach Brands closing all of its Kitchen Collection stores by year's end

Richmond Times-Dispatch
Hamilton Beach Brands Holding Co. is closing all 160 of its Kitchen Collection retail stores by the end of this year.Kitchen Collection has stores in 39 states, mainly in outlet malls.

Kitchen Collection has been struggling with operating losses, leading the company to pursue a strategy of closing unprofitable stores while attempting to renegotiate leases.. . . more

Barneys could end up at Saks, WSJ reports

Retail Dive
Authentic Brands Group is in discussions to buy the Barneys brand for some $270 million, in a plan that would entail licensing the brand to Saks Fifth Avenue, the Wall Street Journal reported. ABG, Saks and Saks owner HBC didn't immediately return Retail Dive's requests for comment. Barneys didn't immediately return Retail Dive's request for comment.

Saks would install Barneys departments in some of its stores as well as run its website, according to the report. Authentic Brands is also negotiating with Barneys landlords to keep some of those stores open, the Journal said.. . . more

Five Below to open gaming venues in stores

Retail Dive
Five Below, along with Comcast, SeventySix Capital, Elevate Capital and angel investor George Miller, invested $12 million in Nerd Street Gamers, an esports infrastructure company. Five Below led the Series A funding round, according to a press release emailed to Retail Dive.

As part of the deal, Five Below and Nerd Street Gamers will build 3,000-square foot Localhost spaces connected to an undisclosed number of Five Below stores and will host live, in-person events played using professional-level equipment. The test will begin with a multi-store pilot in 2020 and, if successful, could scale to 70 or more locations over the next few years, per the press release. . . . more

Batter Up: MLB to open its first-ever flagship store

Chain Store Age
Major League Baseball is throwing its hat in the retail arena, opening a one-stop shopping destination for baseball fans.

MLB said it will open a “state-of-the-art” retail destination in midtown Manhattan in summer 2020. The two-level, 17,000-sq.-ft. store will be the league’s first permanent retail location in the U.S.. . . more

US retail sales dip 0.3% in September

Retail sales dropped in September by the largest amount in seven months, possibly signaling that rising trade tensions and turbulent markets are having an impact on consumer spending.

Retail sales fell 0.3% last month following a 0.6% gain in August, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. It was the first decline since a 0.5% drop in February.. . . more

See inside Kendall Square’s first grocery store

Boston Business Journal
Wellesley-based grocery chain Roche Bros. will open its fifth Brothers Marketplace store on Nov. 12 in Cambridge’s Kendall Square.

The 12,000-square-foot store, located at One Broadway, will be the first full-service grocery in the Kendall Square neighborhood.. . . more

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Target plans store near Government Center

Boston Business Journal
Target Corp. plans to open an 11,000-square-foot store at 100 Cambridge St. near Boston’s City Hall as part of a national expansion of what the Minneapolis-based retail giant calls “small-format stores.”

A Target representative did not specify when the store is expected to open, and the company website lists the 100 Cambridge St. location as one of several “future store openings.”. . . more

Majority of consumers to shop in-store during the holidays

Retail Dive
The International Council of Shopping Centers predicts in a recent report that holiday spending will increase 4.9% over last year, totaling $832.3 billion. Overall, shoppers anticipate spending an average of $683, $496 of which will go toward gifts and $187 on other holiday-related purchases, per the report.

According to the report, 90% of holiday shoppers expect to make purchases in-store and 97% of them will buy goods online from retailers with physical stores. About 63% of holiday shoppers will begin buying before Thanksgiving, and 49% of shoppers plan to complete their holiday shopping within the last ten days before Christmas, the report found.. . . more

Walmart goes head to head with Amazon — again

Chain Store Age
Walmart is now bringing groceries right to customer fridges in select markets.

The discount giant has rolled out a pilot of InHome Delivery, a service that delivers fresh groceries and everyday items directly to refrigerators located inside customer kitchens or garages. . . . more

Gymboree to make retail comeback online and in stores

Chain Store Age
The Gymboree brand is being revived — by a former rival.

The Children’s Place plans to relaunch Gymboree in early 2020 with an enhanced website and shop-in-shop locations in more than 200 Children’s Place stores in the U.S. and Canada. Gymboree Group filed for bankruptcy in January 2019, saying it would close all its stores. In March, The Children’s Place paid $76 million to acquire the rights associated to the Gymboree brand and its value-oriented Crazy 8 brand. . . . more

Credit Suisse Warns That U.S. Store Closings May Worsen in 2020

U.S. retail store closures in 2020 are at risk to be just as bad -- or even worse -- than 2019, according to a Credit Suisse report.

Domestic closures are trending to all-time record highs, led by the Softlines, also known as apparel or textiles, according to Michael Binetti and other Credit Suisse analysts.

There have been 7,600 U.S. store closures announced in 2019 to date, representing the highest number of closures ever at this point in the year, according to the firm’s 24-year-old U.S. Retail Store Closure Index. Around 75% of those stores are Softlines.. . . more

Sears Hasn’t Fared Better After Bankruptcy as Another 100 Stores Will Soon Close

The Wall Street Journal
Sears’s bankruptcy filing was supposed to give the troubled retailer a fresh start. But a year later, the chain is still struggling with many of the same problems it faced before it sought court protection.

Roughly a quarter of the 425 Sears and Kmart stores that financier Edward Lampert bought out of bankruptcy have closed or are closing, according to people familiar with the situation, a retreat the chains haven’t fully disclosed.. . . more

Aldi, Lidl Cut Into U.S. Grocers’ Turf

The Wall Street Journal
German discount chains Aldi and Lidl are capturing a larger share of U.S. grocery bills and pressuring U.S. retailers to respond.

The privately owned foreign companies have increased sales with their simpler stores that offer fewer products at lower prices. In response, U.S. grocers are lowering prices on staples such as milk and eggs and adding more products the discounters aren’t known for, such as fresh foods. The battle comes as supermarkets already are fighting to keep customers from shopping more online.. . . more

How Kohl’s is trying to keep its stores fresh ahead of the holidays

Kohl’s stores are getting a bit of a refresh and are being infused with new brands ahead of this holiday season.

At a Kohl’s store here, the retailer has rolled out a space called “Curated by Kohl’s,” to be heading to 50 of Kohl’s roughly 1,100 locations nationwide. It features six brands, including lingerie maker Adore Me and card marker Lovepop. And in these spaces, Kohl’s is working with Facebook — and its massive database of brands that advertise on the social media platform and Instagram — to help market the brands and choose what might rotate in next. . . . more

Friday, October 11, 2019

Report: Strong public infrastructure essential for retail development success
Dozens of reports have lamented America’s collapsing bridges, pothole-scarred roads and gridlocked freeways. Rather than add to the chorus of complaints, a new ICSC white paper aims to chart a way forward on infrastructure.. . . more

Walmart promotes Sam’s Club head to run U.S. business

John Furner is taking the reins as president and CEO of Walmart U.S. effective Nov. 1.

Furner will report directly to Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon. Greg Foran, who has served as president and CEO of Walmart U.S. since 2014, is taking a role as CEO at Air New Zealand Limited. Foran will stay on with Walmart through Jan. 31, 2020 to ensure a smooth transition. . . . more

Executive shift at Target as chief merchant jumps to Bed Bath & Beyond

Target Corp. is losing the executive who overhauled its private-label business.

Mark J. Tritton, who has served as executive VP and chief merchandising officer of Target since 2016, is joining Bed Bath & Beyond as president and CEO effective Nov. 4, 2019 Tritton was instrumental in building Target’s private-label strategy, reviving the company’s existing brands and launching more than 30 new brands in two and a half years. The discounter achieved eight consecutive quarters of same-store sales growth during his tenure. . . . more

First Look: The Vitamin Shoppe debuts innovation store concept

The Vitamin Shoppe is integrating technology with customer-friendly store design.

The specialty retailer of nutritional products is opening a new innovation store in Edgewater, N.J. Building off the footprint of the existing Edgewater store, the completely reimagined 3,185-sq.-ft. space features interactive elements such as on-demand digital product guides, enhanced mobile POS checkout, a designated area to take the retailer's new personalized health assessment, a complimentary body composition analysis station, and a supplement sampling machine. . . . more

American Girl brings new in-store experiences to flagships

Owners of sick dolls in New York and Chicago have a new treatment option.

American Girl is introducing new retail experiences at its New York City and Chicago flagship stores, including a doll hospital in both locations. The hospitals offer a variety of free services, including a doll wellness exam with a specially-trained “doll doctor” who checks the pulse, temperature, and reflexes of each “patient.” . . . more

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Report: Walmart reduces Bonobos headcount

Walmart is reportedly laying off staffers from its Bonobos omnichannel menswear brand. . . . more

Bed Bath & Beyond names Target’s chief merchant as CEO

Bed Bath & Beyond has ended its search for a new chief executive officer, appointing a 30-year, well-respected retail veteran to the position. . . . more

Giant set to reopen Musser’s Market stores

Supermarket News
Next month, Giant Food Stores plans to reopen stores in Pennsylvania’s Lancaster and Lebanon counties from its acquisition of independent grocer Musser’s Market. . . . more

McAlister's Deli® Enters into One of the Largest Development Deals in Company History

Deli Market News
Fast-casual restaurant chain McAlister’s Deli® is growing in leaps and bounds after signing what it has lauded as its largest development deal in company history. The deal, which was signed with Best Choice Restaurants, an affiliate of Sun Holdings founded by Guillermo Perales—parent company of Burger King, Arby’s, Krispy Kreme, and more—will bare McAlister’s Deli more restaurants in key markets. . . . more

Fitness Centers Continue to Rise

Real estate and investment management firm JLL has released findings from its latest research report entitled “Fitness invigorates shopping centers.” The report examined more than 6,000 fitness center move-ins in retail real estate since the beginning of 2013. New data reveals that health movements have impacted the number of fitness center openings, which has increased 23.5 percent since 2010. Currently encompassing 11,055 locations, fitness center locations are poised to expand to a fleet of 120,700 outposts by 2024, or at a rate of 8.7 percent.. . . more

INDOCHINO Celebrates Milestone 50th Showroom in Washington, DC

INDOCHINO, the global leader in custom apparel, has opened its 50th showroom in Washington, DC. The digitally native retailer is on a mission to bring affordable custom clothing to men across North America through widespread retail expansion, and further showrooms are slated to open in Cleveland, OH on October 18th and New Orleans, LA on November 8th.. . . more

JackRabbit, a Portfolio Company of CriticalPoint Capital, Announces Acquisition of Olympia Sports Stores

Yahoo Finance
JackRabbit, a leading omni-channel retailer of athletic footwear, apparel, and accessories owned by affiliates of CriticalPoint Capital ("CPC"), announced today the acquisition of certain assets and liabilities, including the online presence and the "Olympia Sports" brand from prominent retail sporting goods company, Olympia Sports ("Olympia"). Originally founded in 1975 in Portland, Maine, Olympia currently operates its brick and mortar stores primarily in the Northeast U.S. while also serving online customers via its e-commerce site . . . more

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Yesway approaches 500-store goal with acquisition

Convenience store retailer Yesway is gaining more than 300 new stores in a single transaction.

Des Moines, Iowa-based Yesway has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase Allsup’s Convenience Stores. Based in Clovis, New Mexico, Allsup’s, operates a portfolio of 304 stores across Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. . . more

KeyPoint Partners Negotiates Sale of Retail Asset in Reading

Boston Real Estate Times
KeyPoint Partners, LLC has negotiated the sale of 39-45 Walkers Brook Drive in Reading, MA. KPP Vice President of Investment Sales Jonathan Aron represented the seller in the transaction. . . . more

Healthcare to Purchase Mor Furniture For Less

Home Furnishings Business
Healthcare Co., Ltd. has signed a letter of intent to acquire 36-store Mor Furniture for Less, the San Diego-based, top 100 home furnishings retailer with estimated annual sales of more than $310 million. . . . more

uBreakiFix Opens 26 New Stores in Q3, Joins the Asurion Family

Yahoo Finance
Leading tech repair franchise uBreakiFix announced 26 new store openings during the third quarter of 2019, bringing the brand’s total footprint to 545 stores across North America.

The highest growth markets included New York and Texas, each with three new locations, followed by Florida, Illinois, and Ontario, each with two. Third-quarter growth also included two independent repair shops that converted to the uBreakiFix brand. As part of the uBreakiFix franchise, conversion stores receive access to full corporate support, plus uBreakiFix’s authorized service partnerships with leading OEM brands like Samsung and Google . . . more

Cafes To Grow! Targeting 100 Units and $100 Million In Sales
Glen Johnson and Nick Crouch are 30-somethings with 56 Tropical Smoothie Cafes, 30 more under development, 1,400 team members, and a role as area developers--and the brand's largest franchisees.

Though Johnson and Crouch both have been in franchising for 8 years, it was only in 2017 that they merged their interests to form DYNE Hospitality Group. Today, with locations spread across Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Georgia, and Florida, Johnson says they are only halfway to their goal of operating 100 units with more than $100 million in sales. . . . more

Target will support Toys ‘R’ Us omnichannel fulfillment

Customers making digital purchases from the revamped Toys “R” Us will receive their products courtesy of Target.

Through a partnership with Tru Kids Brands, the new parent company of Toys “R” Us, Target's toy assortment, digital capabilities and fulfillment services will support new omnichannel Toys "R" Us shopping experiences in the U.S. Consumers browsing and purchasing items on, which relaunches Oct. 8, can complete their order by clicking “Buy Now at” to be automatically linked to the same product page on to complete their purchase.. . . more

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

These Customers Are Giving Shopping Malls a Fighting Chance

Footwear News
For a mall to thrive, it needs people to shop — but with so many department stores shuttering doors and an increasing share of consumer spending moving online, are Americans still spending their downtime in these air-conditioned icons of suburbia?

The answer: Yes, but it’s complicated.

Across all demographics, mall shopping declined 7.6% in 2018 year-over-year, while non-mall shopping rose 0.5%, according to a recent report from Deloitte. . . . more

Macy’s invests in stores

Chain Store Age
In 2019, Macy’s added 100 stores to the Growth50 initiative,which provided additional capital to 50 stores across the country received additional capital to enhance the customer experience and create a more vibrant and productive shopping destination. 
 Work in the next 100 stores is expected to be fully complete in fall 2019.

The 150 stores comprise approximately 50% of Macy’s store sales. With the continued success of this initiative, Macy’s plans to add additional locations in 2020.. . . more

Walmart reduces Bonobos headcount

Chain Store Age
According to Vox, Walmart laid off “dozens” of Bonobos’ approximately 600 employees on Monday, Oct. 7. It is not clear whether affected roles were in Bonobos’ corporate offices, 60-plus brick-and-mortar stores, or both.

Walmart purchased Bonobos for $310 million in 2017, as part of a larger push at the time to acquire e-commerce brands that appealed to younger, higher-income consumers. Other e-commerce brands purchased around the same time period included ModCloth and

Earlier this month, Walmart reached an agreement to sell ModCloth to GoGlobal Retail for an undisclosed sum.. . . more

Is Costco Approaching U.S. Saturation?

Winsight Grocery Business
Costco Wholesale Corp. will spend about $3 billion in its new fiscal year on capital projects including about 15 new U.S. stores—figures roughly equivalent to its recent annual building pace.

Speaking in a call reviewing earnings for its fourth quarter and fiscal year, Richard Galanti, chief financial officer for the Issaquah, Wash.-based membership warehouse club, said Costco is eyeing about 25 new stores worldwide in the new fiscal year, which began Sept. 2. Like 2019, its openings will be skewed toward the second half of the calendar year: The company opened 10 new U.S. units and relocated two stores in the recently completed fourth quarter.. . . more

Domino's Pizza earnings miss expectations in the third quarter

Yahoo Finance
Domino’s Pizza on Tuesday reported a miss on both the top and bottom lines during its third quarter, as the company struggles to fend off a stiff challenge from the growing number of food delivery services.

Domino’s has been not been immune to the pressures of third-party aggregators like DoorDash, Uber Eats and Grubhub — all of which have disrupted the food space. The pizza giant’s same-store sales, a key industry metric, also missed expectations.. . . more

Teen spending falls as worries about the economy grow

As millennials age, Gen Z is taking over as the newest consumer group retailers and consumer brands are courting.

Figuring out exactly what teens want is always a difficult task, perhaps even harder now, because teens are spending less than in the spring, and at this time last year. . . . more

Online holiday sales expected to jump 11%-14%, several firms estimate

Digital Commerce 360
Holiday retail projections are flooding in, with several big firms announcing upbeat forecasts despite a volatile economy, a contentious political climate and fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Online seasonal sales in the United States are expected to jump 13% to $136 billion this year, according to a Salesforce analysis. Forrester Research Inc. is predicting similar ecommerce gains, pegging the holidays for a 12.7% uptick, which would translate into $138 billion in web sales for the period. The National Retail Federation also anticipates the same range of holiday growth, with an 11%-14% year-over-year lift, or between $162.6 billion and $166.9 billion in seasonal non-store revenue, which includes sales channels beyond ecommerce. . . . more

Monday, October 7, 2019

Outlet Malls Bucked the Shift to Online. Until Now.

The Wall Street Journal
Outlet stores had long been immune to pressures weighing on traditional malls, including the shift to online shopping that has sapped customers from physical stores. Until now.

Simon Property Group Inc., one of the largest mall owners, in conjunction with Rue Gilt Groupe, which operates flash-sale websites, has launched, where brands from Vince to Under Armour offer their outlet goods for sale online. . . . more

These retailers could benefit from Forever 21's bankruptcy

Retail Dive
With Forever 21 looking to close up to a third of its domestic footprint in bankruptcy, some $690 million in sales is "up for grabs" in the teen and young adult apparel market, according to a recent note from B. Riley FBR analysts led by Susan Anderson.

The analysts think American Eagle Outfitters, Express and Abercrombie & Fitch, as well as the latter's Hollister label, are "most poised to benefit" from Forever 21 closures. . . . more

Bed Bath & Beyond to cut $1B in inventory, hundreds of millions in cost as more stores close

Retail Dive
After raising its number of expected store closures from 40 to 60, cost-cutting is the order of the day at Bed Bath & Beyond. In addition to staffing cuts and sourcing changes, the retailer is looking to rid itself of excess inventory fast through markdowns, clearance sales and liquidation avenues.

 CEO Mary Winston said $350 million of store inventory should be clear before the 2019 holiday season. To optimize this inventory off-load the company is employing "markdown optimization software" to speed the process.. . . more

Whole Foods’ Coast-to-Coast Expansion

Winsight Grocery Business
Whole Foods Market said it would open a new Mid-Atlantic flagship store in Tysons Corner, Va., on Oct. 30, as well as three additional stores in West Seattle, Beverly, Mass., and Long Beach, Calif., this month. In November, the Austin, Texas-based grocer belonging to Amazon plans to open new stores in Tempe, Ariz., and Parsippany, N.J.

While the Tysons Corner store in The Boro (1635 Boro Place) will be a 70,000-square-foot destination, featuring an in-store food hall with various cuisines, a bar and game room, as well as an expansive selection of grocery items, prepared foods and products from local suppliers, the additional five stores are more modest—ranging in size from 34,500 square feet (Beverly) to 47,000 square feet (Parsippany). . . . more

Von Maur continues national expansion

Chain Store Age
Von Maur is building on its presence in new markets. The family-owned department store retailer will open an 85,000-sq.-ft. store at West Towne Mall in Madison, Wis. Scheduled to open in fall 2021, it will be Von Maur’s second Wisconsin location.

The new location builds on Von Maur’s targeted national growth strategy. The company opened its second Minnesota location in 2018, and it has grown in new states beyond its Midwestern footprint, including Georgia, New York, Alabama and Oklahoma. The company plans to open its third Michigan location, at Woodland Mall just outside of Grand Rapids, on October 12.. . . more

Disney goes live at Target stores

Chain Store Age
Target Corp. has launched its in-store and online partnership with The Walt Disney Company.

The discounter opened in-store Disney shops in 25 Target locations and a complementary online experience. The dedicated spaces feature an expanded Disney assortment of more than 450 items, including more than 100 products that were previously only available at Disney retail locations.. . . more

REI opens new format store

Chain Store Age
The outdoor gear and apparel retailer has debuted a new store concept that combines merchandise, guided outdoor experiences and equipment rentals all under one roof. Located in North Conway, New Hampshire, the new REI is designed to both serve the 53,000 co-op members in the Granite State and the millions of visitors that adventure in the region every year.

The 24,779-sq.-ft. REI North Conway differs from the co-op's traditional retail spaces in that rather than being designed for the products it sells, it is designed first to be a launching pad for outdoor activities – a place where people of all levels of expertise can gather to plan their trip, pick up rentals or a new piece of gear, take a class or workshop, or sign up for a guided outdoor experience. . . . more

Friday, October 4, 2019

Mall Investment Sales Volume Is Down, But Investors Are More Willing to Buy Lower-Tier Assets

With the continuing retail bankruptcies, store closures and the overall upheaval in the physical retail sector, do investors still have interest in buying U.S. malls?

It all goes back to the case of the “haves” and “have-nots.” Strong-performing, class-A destination malls boasting experiential retail are still highly sought after by investors. However, there aren’t many of those up for sale. The country’s best malls are controlled primarily by the REITs as long-term holds, and they’re in no hurry to sell them off.. . . more

Ascena Retail Group swings to Q4 loss; wind down of Dressbarn ‘on track’

Chain Store Age
The parent company of Ann Taylor, Lane Bryant and other brands posted a loss in its fourth quarter as it completed the divesture of one of its brands and make progress on the shuttering of another.

During the quarter, Ascena Retail Group finalized the sale of its 934-store Maurices division to an affiliate of British private equity firm OpCapita. The company is also in the midst of closing down its Dressbarn division. Ascena said the wind down of Dressbarn is progressing well, and it is track to complete store closings by the end of 2019. (Dressbarn had 616 locations remaining at the end of the fourth quarter.). . . more

Online Holiday Shopping to Overtake In-Store for First Time, Survey Finds

For the first time, consumers in the U.S. plan to do more of their holiday shopping online than in physical stores, according to a new survey.

In its annual Holiday Outlook, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP found that 54% of respondents will opt for the convenience of their smartphones, laptops and PCs, and even in-home voice assistants, compared with 50% last year.. . . more

Costco quarterly sales miss estimates amid fierce competition

Yahoo Finance
Costco Wholesale Corp reported quarterly revenue below Wall Street estimates on Thursday, as the U.S. hypermarket chain struggled to attract shoppers in the competitive grocery space.

Costco and other U.S. grocers are slashing prices while investing heavily in stores and online operations to defend their share of the market as Inc and Walmart expand aggressively. . . . more

U.S. holiday sales to rise up to 4.2% amid trade uncertainty

U.S. holiday sales in 2019 are expected to be higher than a year earlier, the National Retail Federation said on Thursday, even as the retail sector grapples with fears of slowing global growth due to an ongoing U.S.-China trade war.

Sales in 2019 are estimated to grow between 3.8% and 4.2% to a range of $727.9 billion to $730.7 billion, the retail trade group said. That compares with sales of $701.2 billion, or 2.1% growth, in 2018.. . . more