Monday, October 21, 2019

Destination Maternity files for bankruptcy

CNBC
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

NREI
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?

RetailWire
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

NREI
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

Reuters
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?

RetailWire
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

Yahoo
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

CNBC
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

AP
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

NREI
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

CNBC
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

ICSC.com
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

CSA
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

CSA
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

CSA
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

CSA
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

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

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

CSA
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

design:retail
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

PRNewswire
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 Olympiasports.net. . . . more

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Yesway approaches 500-store goal with acquisition

CSA
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

Franchising.com
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

CSA
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 ToysRUs.com, which relaunches Oct. 8, can complete their order by clicking “Buy Now at Target.com” to be automatically linked to the same product page on Target.com 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 Jet.com.

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

CNBC
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 shoppremiumoutlets.com, 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

NREI
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

NREI
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 Amazon.com Inc and Walmart expand aggressively. . . . more

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

Reuters
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

H&M's fresh strategy ushers in first profit growth in 2 years

Retail Dive
H&M's new strategy, which has entailed scaling back previous plans for a brick-and-mortar expansion, stoking e-commerce and amplifying sustainability efforts in manufacture and at retail, is gaining traction.

The fast-fashion retailer's pullback from opening stores, with a net 120 new locations this year from about 175 in April, doesn't apply across the board, however, CEO Karl-Johan Persson noted in a statement Thursday. "In parallel with the integration of stores and online shopping we keep optimising the store portfolio, including more consolidation in established markets and expansion in growth markets," he said. . . . more

US shopping mall vacancies hit eight-year high

Boston Business Journal
Vacancies in US shopping malls have hit an eight-year high but new data show that some areas are coping with the retail upheaval far better than others and the gap is widening.

The signs of difficulty in local retail property markets come as landlords brace for a wave of store closures following the bankruptcy of Forever 21 this week. The fast-fashion retailer, which has 32,800 employees globally, has earmarked 178 locations for closure across the US. . . . more

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Off-premise orders reach about 60% of foodservice occasions

Nation's Restaurant News
Off-premise orders continue to nibble into overall restaurant sales with those transactions now making up nearly 60% of foodservice occasions, according to new survey results from the National Restaurant Association.

Foodservice drive-thru, takeout and delivery are growing “as consumer lifestyles are continuously driven by the convenience and speed of online and app-based ordering in other industries,” the Washington, D.C.-based trade group said in releasing its new “Harnessing Technology to Drive Off-Premises Sales” survey.. . . more

Macy’s to hire 80,000 holiday workers

Chain Store Age
Macy’s holiday hiring is on pace with last year, but it’s increasing seasonal positions in a fast-growing area of its business.

The department store giant plans to hire approximately 80,000 workers for positions at its Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores, call centers and distribution and fulfillment centers for the 2019 holiday season. The company’s physical stores will still account for a majority of the hires, but about 30,000 of the 80,000 seasonal positions will be based in fulfillment facilities, which is up some 6,500 positions from 2018. . . . more

Shoppers have more options for returning online purchases, even at rival retailers

The Dallas Morning News
Ahead of the holiday season, shoppers have more options to return unwanted items bought online as retailers look for new ways to drive traffic.

Plenty of retailers like Target and Walmart allow shoppers to easily drop off online returns at their stores. But now, a growing number of retailers are accepting rivals' returns.

The moves come as retailers aim to reduce costs while making it easier for shoppers to return online items. The average return rate for online transactions is 25% compared with 8% for store purchases, according to Forrester Research's online analyst Sucharita Mulpuru.. . . more

Fast-Food Drive Thrus Got 20 Seconds Slower in 2019

QSR Magazine
Built for convenience, the drive thru has always had speed at its crux, but rising pressures pushed drive-thru speed of service up this year.

Customers spent an average of 255 seconds from speaker to order window in 2019, about 20 seconds longer than in 2018. And with menus becoming more complex and lanes possibly getting more crowded with not only drive-thru customers but also those picking up mobile orders, it's going to be difficult for brands to shave off seconds moving forward. . . . more

Bed Bath & Beyond store closings: Retailer increases projected closures to 60

USA Today
Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. is increasing the number of stores it expects to shutter in the fiscal year.

The New Jersey-based home goods retailer, which also operates buybuy Baby, Harmon Face Values and World Market, says it will close 60 stores in the fiscal year across the company, up 20 from the April estimate of 40 stores.. . . more

Forever 21 likely to shutter these Boston-area stores

Boston Business Journal
Forever 21 is likely to shut down three Boston stores, according to the store closing list included in its most recent filings related to its Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring.

Up to 178 U.S. stores will close, including the ones at 343 Newbury St. and 459 Washington St., and the store in South Bay Center in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood. The specialty fashion retailer operates 549 stores across the U.S., and another 251 are operated internationally by affiliates.. . . more

Amazon opens its first '4-star' store in Massachusetts

Boston Business Journal
Amazon expanded its physical footprint in the Bay State by opening a 4,000-square-foot, so-called "4-star" store on the first level of the Natick Mall on Oct 2.

The Natick store is the company’s first of its type in the state and its third physical store in Massachusetts, adding to two Amazon Books stores in Dedham and Lynnfield.. . . more

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

These 28 retailers could go bankrupt in the next year

Retail Dive
Forever 21's Chapter 11 filing is the latest reminder that the economic climate for many sectors of retail is still brutal. So far this year there have been more than 7,000 store closures — more than any full-year total to date — and 16 major bankruptcies.

Since the summer of 2017, when retail bankruptcies were reaching Great Recession-era levels, Retail Dive has compiled regular lists of distressed retailers potentially at risk of bankruptcy. . . . more

Dick's Sporting Goods to sell 8 Field & Stream stores

Retail Dive
Dick's Sporting Goods has agreed to sell eight of its Field & Stream stores, their inventory and related assets, to Sportsman's Warehouse for a total purchase price of $28 million, according to a company press release published on Monday. The deal is expected to close Oct. 11.

The Field & Stream stores will be rebranded to operate under the Sportsman's Warehouse banner and are located in Pennsylvania, New York, North Carolina and Michigan, according to the release. . . . more

Forever 21 Needs Older Shoppers to Come Back from Bankruptcy

NREI
The retailer filed for bankruptcy protection on Sunday, and its turnaround plan relies on luring in shoppers who are actually willing to buy clothes at full price -- one of the most elusive clientele in the industry.

These “high spender” customers, as it calls them, would be an attractive antidote to its reliance on deep discounts to attract teen shoppers paying with allowances. But it’s no easy feat for a retailer to change its core business model, especially when even the company’s name suggests it’s not a brand built for mature patrons ages 22 and up.. . . more

Digital holiday spending looks strong

Chain Store Age
A shortened holiday selling season will not prevent double-digit growth in digital commerce revenue.

According to a new forecast from Salesforce, U.S. digital commerce revenue will grow 13% year-over-year (YOY) this holiday season, with total online sales reaching a record $136 billion in the U.S. and $768 billion globally. . . . more

Mall Developer Simon Takes 50% Stake in Rue Gilt And Launches Online Outlet Marketplace

Fortune
Simon Property Group, a top U.S. developer of shopping centers, and digital commerce pioneer Rue Gilt Groupe, the owner of Rue La La and Gilt, are jointly building up an e-commerce marketplace that will cater to outlet mall shoppers, the companies said on Wednesday. In addition, Simon is taking a 50% stake in a new entity encompassing Rue Gilt and that website for $280 million.

The joint venture will propel e-commerce outlet shopping to a new level.. . . more

National Development gets $400M round of funding, merges with Charles River

Boston Business Journal
Newton-based real-estate firm National Development is absorbing its longtime investment management platform, Charles River Realty Investors, on the heels of Charles River closing a $400 million fundraising round.

The merged entity will operate as one firm, with Charles River Realty executive Brian Kavoogian becoming one of National Development’s managing partners. Six Charles River employees will become National Development employees as well. The company will operate as a “seamless, vertically-integrated real estate investment, development, construction and operating company,” according to a press release.. . . more

Whole Foods Market To Open In Beverly, Mass., In October

The Shelby Report
Whole Foods Market will open its new 34,500-s.f. Beverly, Massachusetts, store on Friday, Oct. 18. Opening day celebrations will include complimentary coffee, pastries and music before the store opens. The first 200 customers will receive a custom Whole Foods Market Beverly reusable canvas tote bag and a savings card with a mystery value ranging between $5 and $100.

Whole Foods Market Beverly will employ approximately 150 full- and part-time employees. The store will be open 8 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. Whole Foods Market has 32 additional stores in Massachusetts.. . . more

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

What the retail apocalypse means for the American economy

CNN Business
The retail apocalypse over the past several years has devastated America's department stores, chains and mom-and-pops. Stores are closing at record levels. The number of people working in retail is on the decline.

And all of that happened at a time when the economy was strong.

But if the United States slips into a recession, as many economists fear it will sometime next year, the problems plaguing retail could get far worse. Store closings could accelerate and layoffs in the sector — a major provider of American jobs — could spread.. . . more

Here’s why the Forever 21 bankruptcy could be really bad news for US mall owners

CNBC
Multiple retail real estate analysts who spoke with CNBC agree that Forever 21 store closures could cause mall owners like Simon Property Group and Macerich more trouble than when other apparel retailers shut down.

The average Forever 21 store is close to 40,000 square feet but there are some locations that span more than 100,000, which is more like the size of a traditional department store. Larger locations can prove to be much more difficult to fill. . . . more

Amazon Go cashierless store technology could be coming to airports and movie theaters

GeekWire
As it slowly rolls out new Amazon Go locations in Seattle and other cities, Amazon is reportedly eyeing other ways to get people to experience its cashierless technology, possibly through third-party licensing and implementation at airports, movie theaters and maybe even baseball stadiums.

According to a report Monday by CNBC, people familiar with Amazon’s intentions say that the tech giant is in talks to bring its Go technology to CIBO Express retail locations at airports and to Regal Cinemas theater locations. . . . more

J. Crew is your ex who had 'potential'

Retail Dive
J. Crew has been drowning for quite some time. The specialty apparel store worked from the 1990s through the mid-2000s, but took a decided turn downward during The Great Recession.

During her tenure, then-executive director Jenna Lyons attempted to elevate the company. The most glaring movements away from the brand ethos came when, in a fit of horrible timing, Lyons introduced an edgier fashion vision and raised prices at the exact moment everyone was tanking financially.. . . more

Shoppers can buy the ring — and get hitched — at Helzberg Diamonds stores

Chain Store Age
Helzberg Diamonds is taking its customer service to the next level.

The jewelry retailer ordained hundreds of its store associates through an exclusive partnership with Universal Life Church, enabling the employees to legally perform marriage ceremonies in the U.S. The service is being offered, free of charge, at all of Helzberg Diamonds’ 200-plus stores, beginning Oct. 2, 2019. . . . more

This chart shows why the holidays are becoming less important to retailers

CNBC
The holiday season is less and less important for retailers, as more shopping moves online, according to a new study.

Coresight Research called out “the ongoing trend of holiday shopping becoming less important to key retailers.” It said the holiday season accounted for almost 24% of all retailers’ sales in the late 1990s, but is closer to 21% today. And Coresight is expecting that percentage to continue to shrink. . . . more

Amazon’s Grocery-Store Plan Moves Ahead With Los Angeles Leases

The Wall Street Journal
Amazon.com Inc.  is advancing a plan to open a chain of U.S. grocery stores with early outposts in Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia, according to people familiar with the matter.

Amazon is planning to operate dozens of grocery stores in cities across the country, part of the online giant’s increasing focus on a bricks-and-mortar presence to find more ways to reach consumers.

Many of the proposed locations are outside urban cores and cater to middle-income consumers. Apart from prepared foods, they will stock mainstream groceries such as soda and Oreos, people familiar with the matter said. . . . more