Friday, July 10, 2020

Primark to open five new stores this year as it names its top-selling products post-lockdown

Plain Vanilla Shell
Primark has announced it will open five new stores this year, as the retailer revealed what people have been buying since it reopened last month.. . . more

DAVIDsTEA to close its retail stores in North America

Plain Vanilla Shell
DAVIDsTEA (DTEA -16.4%) accelerates its transition to online retailing and wholesale distribution in North America through a restructuring plan to return to profitability.  . . . more

How to run a store in a pandemic

Retail Dive
As the United States marked a subdued Independence Day last weekend, the COVID-19 pandemic continued to surge in many places, prompting governors of several states to implement or reinstate strict protocols meant to combat it.. . . more

Meijer expands footprint with five new stores


Meijer is growing across the Midwest.

The retailer has opened new locations in Manitowoc, Wis.; Sycamore, Ill.; Bad Axe, Mich.; and Brimfield and Lorain, Ohio. The 159,000-sq.-ft. stores combine a grocery and a full-service meat department with a pharmacy and a wide range of general merchandise items that include women's apparel and beauty care.. . . more

Survey: Retailers should prepare for a busy holiday shopping season — online

COVID-19 hasn’t impacted consumers’ holiday spending plans but it has affected how they intend to shop.. . . more

Starbucks will require customers to wear face masks starting July 15

Nation's Restaurant News
Starbucks announced Thursday that starting July 15, customers will be required to wear face masks in all company-owned café locations in the U.S. Customers, however, will not be required to wear facial coverings in the drive-thru or picking up curbside “unless locally mandated,” Starbucks clarified in a tweet announcing the news.. . . more

Ascena preps bankruptcy plan that would close 1,200 stores

Retail Dive
Ascena Retail Group is preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as soon as this week, according to a Bloomberg report that cited anonymous sources. Ascena did not immediately reply to Retail Dive's request for comment.. . . more

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Levi's to cut 700 non-retail jobs as Q2 revenues plummet

Retail Dive
Levi's on Tuesday said in a press release that this year it will eliminate about 700 global non-retail and non-manufacturing jobs, or 15% of that workforce.. . . more

Square One Mall Sears Closing, Leaving Void North Of Boston

The Sears that has been part of the Square One Mall for decades is in its final days, soon to be replaced by a massive entertainment complex on Route 1.. . . more

Sur La Table pursues sale of company

Pain Vanilla Shell
Sur La Table has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and is pursuing a sale of the company, subject to court approval, the specialty retailer announced the afternoon.. . . more

Malls in New York can reopen on Friday if their HVAC systems

Shopping malls in most of New York State can reopen on Friday as long as they meet certain conditions, specifically enhanced air-conditioning filtration systems.. . . more

Bed Bath & Beyond in big store closing move

Bed Bath & Beyond plans to close about 200 stores during the next two years as it looks to return to profitability.. . . more

Brooks Brothers files for bankruptcy

The nation's oldest apparel company is looking for a buyer.. . . more

Here’s What the Trouble in Commercial Real Estate Means for You

New York Magazine
San Francisco’s iconic Transamerica building — owned by the insurer of the same name since its construction in the 1970s — is being sold. But these being COVID times, it’s being sold at a discount. A group of investors had struck a deal to buy the property for $711 million back in February, but now the San Francisco Business Journal reports Transamerica has agreed to a 10 percent price cut to keep the deal on track.. . . more

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Sally Beauty sees ‘strong’ demand in reopened stores

Sally Beauty Holdings is encouraged by initial results for its fiscal third quarter.. . . more

After Warning of ‘Probable’ Bankruptcy, New York & Co. Parent Enters Forbearance

Footwear News
After defaulting on its loan, New York & Co. parent RTW Retailwinds has reached an agreement with lender Wells Fargo to enter forbearance until July 15.. . . more

Double whammy: Protests and pandemic hurt Shake Shack sales

Nation's Restaurant News
Shake Shack, which has started to reboot unit growth, said second quarter same-store sales dropped 49% driven by volatility tied to the coronavirus pandemic and nationwide protests in June.. . . more

Department stores miss out on Fourth of July consumer attention

Retail Dive
Several specialty stores held their own over the Fourth of July holiday week, thanks to aggressive price promotions, according to Wedbush, which used Google Trends search analytics for a Tuesday report that was emailed to Retail Dive. . . . more

Gap in new B2B business: making masks

Gap Inc. is going national with a new business-to-business division selling face masks.. . . more

J.C. Penney to permanently close two stores in New York City

J.C. Penney has revealed more details about its store closing plans.. . . more

Report: Walmart to challenge Amazon Prime with subscription service

Walmart will reportedly introduce a new annual membership program by the end of July.. . . more

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

DTC brands struggled with profitability prior to COVID-19. Now what?

Retail Dive
For certain direct-to-consumer brands, the pandemic invited some of their highest sales as consumers were forced to shop online while physical stores shuttered.  . . . more

Re-open, re-close, re-open: The newest video game in retail real estate

On July 1, Apple announced it would re-close 30 more stores it had already re-opened during the COVID-19 crisis. That brought the highly trafficked retail division’s list of stores it has re-closed to 77.. . . more

Dunkin’ explores beverage trends with coffee and tea tests in restaurants in the Northeast

Nation's Restaurant News
The quick-service chain is offering new drinks in select stores in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island. . . more

Pier 1 enters agreement to sell off IP, other assets for $20M

Retail Dive
Pier 1 Imports, Inc. on July 1 entered into an agreement with Retail Ecommerce Ventures LLC and Pier 1 Imports Online, Inc. to sell all of its owned intellectual property, data and other e-commerce-related assets to Pier 1 Imports Online. Retail Ecommerce Ventures will serve as guarantor.. . . more

Amazon expanding grocery store footprint

Amazon is making more inroads into physical retail.. . . more

CVS thanks loyalty members with summer promotion

CVS is providing a little extra for participants in its ExtraCare loyalty program.. . . more

Thinking they’re undervalued, investors are snapping up REIT stocks

Big real estate investment firms the likes of Blackstone and Starwood are actively buying securities backed by real estate, the financial underpinnings of mall owners like Simon, PREIT, Kimco, and National Retail Properties, said a report in the Wall Street Journal.. . . more

Monday, July 6, 2020

With department stores disappearing, malls could be next

The directory map for the Northfield Square Mall in Bourbonnais, Illinois, has three glaring spaces where large department stores once stood. Soon there will be a fourth vacancy, now that J.C. Penney is liquidating stores after filing for bankruptcy. . . . more

Lucky Brand files for bankruptcy with plan to sell itself

Lucky Brand Dungarees is hoping that a new owner will help revive its sagging fortunes. . . . more

Foot Locker CEO Dick Johnson Talks Inevitable Retail Changes and Hope In Post-Coronavirus Era

Footwear News
As the coronavirus crisis ravages the footwear business, top executives have had to make many tough decisions — from closing stores to staff layoffs.. . . more

CITGO Still Going Strong

CStore Decisions
Not many retail brands survive for 110 years, but CITGO has not only weathered the competition, it is refreshing its brand image to meet the challenges of a new generation. Today, the Texas-based oil company operates more than 4,600 stores coast-to-coast and has its sights sets on growing its marketer program over the next 12-24 months.. . . more

Men's Wearhouse misses $6.1M interest payment on bonds

Retail Dive
Tailored Brands subsidiary Men's Wearhouse skipped a $6.1 million interest payment that was due July 1 on a group of bonds, the apparel retailer said in a securities filing.. . . more

Nordstrom tells landlords to expect just half their rent until January 2021

Retail Dive
Nordstrom June 3 notified landlords of its full-line and off-price Rack stores that it will pay only half the occupancy costs for the remainder of the year, according to a letter from President of Stores Jamie Nordstrom to property owners, which was obtained by Retail Dive. A Nordstrom spokesperson didn't immediately respond to Retail Dive's request for more information or comment.. . . more

Crate & Barrel to name new CEO—again


The chief executive of Crate & Barrel is moving on.  . . . more

Bob’s Discount Furniture puts premium on safe reopening

Bob’s Discount Furniture is going beyond government guidelines for its comprehensive COVID-19 store reopening strategy. . . . more

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Is a New Mobile App Enough to Save Francesca’s From Bankruptcy?

Footwear News
After warning last month that it could go bankrupt, Francesca’s is moving forward with plans to launch its first mobile app. . . . more

McDonald's halts dining room reopenings ahead of July 4 holiday

Nation's Restaurant News
Citing a rise in coronavirus cases across the United States, McDonald’s Corp. is halting the reopening of more dining rooms in the U.S. “Keeping with our thoughtful approach to reopening, effective today, we are pausing all dine-in reopening plans for 21 days,” company leaders wrote in a letter viewed by Nation’s Restaurant News. . . . more

Bollé unleashes sunglass try-on experience on Instagram

Retail Dive
Bollé released an augmented reality (AR) experience to let Instagram users virtually try on its Phantom model of sunglasses. To activate the AR view, mobile users can either scan a QR code included in Bollé marketing materials or visit a link attached to its @bolle_eyewear account on the photo-sharing app, per an announcement shared with sister publication Mobile Marketer. . . . more

Denny’s Corporation and its Franchisees Hiring 10,000 Restaurant Employees Nationwide

Restaurant News
Today, Denny’s announced its plans to hire 10,000 restaurant-level employees at both company and franchise operated restaurants across the United States by the end of 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unemployment to rise, impacting countless Americans, and Denny’s is committed to helping people get back to work. Denny’s Corporation and its franchisees are helping to jumpstart hiring across the U.S., by providing job opportunities to future employees. . . . more

Subway is pulling back on its $5 Footlong offer

Restaurant Business
Subway is pulling back on its latest $5 Footlong promotion, making it digital-only this week after the deal didn’t generate the traffic the company hoped.. . . more

Sephora enables direct purchase via Instagram

A beauty giant is taking a big step in social shopping.
Sephora is opening a digital storefront on the Instagram social platform with the Instagram Checkout feature. Initially released in closed beta in March 2019, Instagram Checkout enables customers to shop, make purchases and receive shipment and delivery notifications within Instagram.
. . . more

First Look: Walmart's new self-checkout store

Walmart is testing a store design that takes the self-checkout experience to a new level.
The discount giant is officially confirming mid-June media reports that it opened a pilot supercenter format in Fayetteville, Ark. that replaces traditional, in-person checkout lanes with self-checkout kiosks. Instead of arranging POS terminals in lanes, the store has a front-end layout in which 34 registers line the edges of a wide-open area
. . . more

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Macy’s swings to Q1 loss; not expecting another full COVID-19 shutdown

With nearly all its stores reopened, Macy’s expects a gradual recovery after posting a big loss for the first quarter when its stores went dark due to the COVID-19 pandemic.. . . more

Tanger Outlets debuts virtual shopping service

Retail Dive
Tanger Factory Outlet Centers on Wednesday introduced a virtual shopping concierge service that allows consumers to shop remotely across various retailers and brands, the company announced in a press release. . . . more

Guitar Center gets some breathing room with $56M debt exchange

Retail Dive
Guitar Center exchanged about $56.4 million in bonds due in 2022, representing 90.7% of the aggregate principal on the bond group, the company said in a press release Monday.. . . more

Wingstop Opens 1st U.S. Ghost Kitchen

Restaurant Business
Chicken wing chain Wingstop opened its first ghost kitchen in the U.S. on Wednesday, the latest step in the brand’s plan to go 100% digital.  . . . more

Giant Food merges e-commerce services into updated platform

Retail Dive
Giant Food has launched a new e-commerce platform that includes its former and online shopping sites and the Giant Food app, according to a company press release. The new platform will operate under the name.. . . more

Gap, Kanye West announce Yeezy collaboration

Retail Dive
Gap Inc. on Friday announced a collaboration between its namesake brand and Kanye West's Yeezy apparel label. The Yeezy studio will design "basics for men, women and kids at accessible price points," the company said. . . . more

Walgreens tests new store format highlighting health, wellness

Walgreens is testing a smaller store concept that is focused on pharmacy. . . . more

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Chipotle continues heating up digital sales with delivery partnership

Chipotle Mexican Grill is expanding its U.S. on-demand delivery footprint with a major third-party platform.. . . more

What's next for bankrupt GNC?

Retail Dive
GNC is no stranger to economic turbulence. The retailer traces its history to the middle of the Great Depression, when, in 1935, David Shakarian opened a health food store in Pittsburgh. The store, Lackzoom, specialized in yogurt (still fairly new to the U.S. at the time) and other health foods.  . . . more

Gov. Cuomo: ‘Large’ malls in New York will need high-quality air systems to reopen

Malls in New York will need high-quality air systems that can filter out COVID-19 before they will be allowed to reopen.  . . . more

Papa John’s and Shaquille O’Neal Launch New Shaq-a-Roni Pizza

Restaurant News
Papa John’s announced today the launch of the new Shaq-a-Roni pizza in collaboration with board member and restaurant owner Shaquille O’Neal. Designed to deliver a bigger pizza experience, Papa John’s will donate one dollar from every Shaq-a-Roni sold through August 23, 2020 to The Papa John’s Foundation for Building Community, which supports communities as they work together for equality, fairness, respect and opportunity for all. . . . more

How CBL's journey to the brink lays bare the risks to malls

Retail Dive
On March 9, CBL & Associates Properties filed its annual report with the SEC that included a word that wasn't there the year before: "pandemic." . . . more

Lululemon to acquire start-up for $500 million

Lululemon athletica inc. is making a major play in the fast-growing area of personalized at-home fitness. The fitness apparel retailer has agreed to acquire an-home fitness start-up Mirror for $500 million.  . . . more

Ann & Hope to permanently close all Curtain & Bath Outlets

South Coast Today

Many of the last vestiges of the once-mighty Ann & Hope discount-store chain will close within four months, the company’s founding founding family announced Monday. . . . more

Monday, June 29, 2020

Barnes & Noble will shutter NYC bookstore, downsize headquarters

Retail Dive
Barnes & Noble Thursday told Retail Dive in an email that "a number of employees in the corporate office" have been laid off. A spokesperson declined to say how many people are affected.  . . . more

Decathlon turns stores into fulfillment centers

The world’s largest sporting goods retailer is keeping its U.S. stores in the game during the COVID-19 pandemic.. . . more

ExxonMobil Offers 3% Daily Cash Back on Apple Card

CStore Decisions
ExxonMobil announced it’s the only fuel provider to offer 3% Daily Cash back when using Apple Card with Apple Pay at Exxon and Mobil stations. . . . more

Domino’s Carside Delivery: It’s Carryout, Delivered

Restaurant News
Domino’s Pizza, Inc. (NYSE: DPZ), the largest pizza company in the world based on global retail sales, is offering customers of the brand yet another way to carry out their favorite pizza: via Domino’s Carside Delivery™. Domino’s Carside Delivery is a new contactless carryout option that customers can choose when placing a prepaid online order, and it is now available in stores across the U.S. . . . more

Amazon broadens its Connecticut warehouse network with another center planned for Cromwell

Hartford Courant
Amazon has announced plans for a fulfillment center in Cromwell, its eighth warehouse site in Connecticut as internet sales surge and brick-and-mortar retail falters during the coronavirus pandemic. . . . more

Nike plans up to 200 small-format stores, despite 38% revenue drop

Retail Dive
Nike revenue declined 38% in the fourth quarter, falling to $6.3 billion, according to a company press release. The retailer swung to a loss of $790 million, from income of $989 million the year before. That represented a 180% decline. . . . more

Microsoft closing all its retail stores — permanently


Microsoft Corp. is getting out of the retail brick-and-mortar business.

The software and cloud giant announced that, as part of a “new approach to retail,” it will permanently shutter all its Microsoft Store physical locations.  Four high-profile stores — Manhattan (Fifth Ave.), London (Oxford Circus), Sydney, Australia (Westfield Sydney) and Redmond, Washington — will be turned into "Microsoft Experience Centers" where  customers will be able to experience  product, see demos, explore device bars and learn about technology.  (All purchasing will be fulfilled via the company's digital storefronts, including . . . more

Friday, June 26, 2020

Sephora launches on Instagram checkout with over 80 brands

Retail Dive
Sephora on Wednesday opened up on Instagram checkout through a digital storefront that allows shoppers to buy products directly from a user's Instagram feed or stories, according to a company press release emailed to Retail Dive.. . . more

More Kmart, Sears stores to close

Retail Dive
More Sears and Kmart stores are disappearing from the landscape. A spokesperson for Transform Holdco (also known as Transformco), which owns the remaining Sears and Kmart stores, declined to comment. . . . more

Mall landlords Brookfield, Simon and Authentic Brands in talks to buy J.C. Penney

Financial Post
The two largest mall landlords and Authentic Brands Group LLC are in talks to buy bankrupt department-store chain J.C. Penney Co., according to people familiar with the matter.. . . more

Apple shutting 10% of its U.S. stores including 14 in Florida as coronavirus cases soar

Financial Post
Apple Inc. is closing an additional 14 U.S. retail stores Friday because of recent increases in COVID-19 cases, bringing the number shut after recently reopening to 32. . . . more

Target adding fresh, frozen groceries to click-and-collect offerings

Target is expanding its assortment of grocery items that customers can order online and pick up the same day in the store or at curbside. . . . more

Liquidation sales resume at Modell’s Sporting Goods

Modell’s Sporting Goods has reopened its stores for a short while before closing them permanently.  . . . more

Restaurant chain popular with young kids files for bankruptcy

The parent company of Chuck E. Cheese has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, citing the “financial strain” of COVID-19. . . . more

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Former Bow Tie Hartford theater to be converted to 12-screen Apple Cinema, plus arcade, bar, other entertainment

Hartford Courant
The 17-screen multiplex at 330 New Park Ave. in Hartford, recently vacated by Bow Tie Cinemas, will be converted into a 12-screen multiplex, replacing the other five theaters with an arcade, a bar and possibly axe-throwing or miniature golf, the property’s owner announced on Thursday. The new tenant is Apple Cinemas, the same chain moving into the former Spotlight Theatres on Front Street in Hartford.. . . more

Walmart unveils new Walmart Health prototype

Walmart is opening a fourth freestanding facility devoted to health-and-wellness.

The new Walmart Health is the first store in the format to be opened outside of Georgia. Located in Northwest Arkansas adjacent to an existing Walmart supercenter in Springdale, Ark., the latest Walmart Health is a prototype of a smaller-footprint store than the other three facilities.. . . more

DHL Express debuts company-owned U.S. store

A global shipping service provider is opening a corporate retail shipping store in South Florida.. . . more

NY retailer on malls not opening in Phase 4: ‘Devastating’

In a Tuesday news conference, New York State Budget Director Robert Mujica released preliminary information about the state’s Phase 4 re-openings next week. Mall retailers were not happy.. . . more

A&W Signs Development Agreements with 10 New Franchisees

Restaurant News
A&W Restaurants is expanding from California to New York and from Louisiana to Minnesota, the result of agreements signed with 10 new franchisees. The latest multi-unit deal, signed this month, will bring three locations to Lafayette, Louisiana. The popular fast food chain has opened 12 restaurants in the last 18 months. It now has 16 in development, with four being built by current franchisees. The new locations will be in major cities, such as Chicago and St. Louis, as well as mid-size and smaller communities. Seven will be located in convenience stores or travel centers.. . . more

Mejuri Opens New Retail Location in Boston

Boston Real Estate Times
Mejuri, the fine jewelry brand founded by Noura Sakkijha in 2015 which has redefined the way women purchase jewelry—for themselves—continues their retail expansion with the announcement of their fifth retail store located in Boston’s Seaport neighborhood. . . . more

Road Ranger Opens 40th Store

CStore Decisions
The new Brinkley, Ark., location is the first Road Ranger in Arkansas and features a completely renovated image, a variety of foodservice options, 16 gas positions, eight diesel lanes, and parking for 80 cars and 81 trucks.. . . more

Macy’s to slash 3,900 corporate jobs in restructuring

Macy’s announced Thursday it is cutting 3,900 corporate jobs — 3% of its total workforce — to reduce costs as it struggles with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The department store chain said it expects to save about $365 million through the layoffs in fiscal 2020. It said it will save roughly $630 million on an annualized basis. . . . more

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

GNC Files Bankruptcy to Manage Debt With Plan to Sell Itself

Financial Post
GNC Holdings Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection with the aim of selling itself and closing stores after its latest effort to manage its debt load unraveled amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The health and wellness company’s Chapter 11 petition filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware allows the retailer to keep operating and shut hundreds of under-performing stores. GNC planned a dual-track scenario where it will restructure its balance sheet through a standalone plan or sale of the company, according to a statement. . . . more

American Eagle launches new retail concept

American Eagle Outfitters has added another banner to its store portfolio. The apparel retailer has opened a new format, called Unsubscribed, in East Hampton, N.Y., reported WWD. . . . more

PizzaRev has permanently closed more than half of its units

Restaurant Business
PizzaRev, once a rising star of the fast-casual pizza sector, has permanently closed more than half of its units in the last year and currently has just 13 stores in operation in the U.S., according to local media reports and a Restaurant Business review of the chain’s locations.

The Southern California-based chain recently closed eight restaurants in Los Angeles County, leaving just two stores there. Last month, it shuttered all three of its restaurants in Las Vegas. Eight additional units remain open in California, along with one in South Dakota, one in Louisiana and one in Virginia. . . . more

CBRE names new chief of U.S. retail real estate

John Morris, who had led CBRE’s service line for industrial and logistics real estate sectors, has had his role expanded to serve as leader for Americas Retail at the company. . . . more

PREIT reports non-anchor occupancy at 85% across its re-opened malls

One of America’s biggest mall owners is back in business with a great majority of its tenants at their registers.

PREIT’S Capital City Mall in Harrisburg, Pa., and Dartmouth Mall in Providence, R.I., were both 85% occupied on re-opening days. PREIT was positive about traffic, too, noting that the Patrick Henry Mall in Newport News, Va., drew 99% as many visitors as it did in the same week last year. . . . more

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Simon-Taubman deal hearing set for Wednesday

Taubman Centers’ fight to close its merger deal with Simon Property Group begins tomorrow, according to CNBC.

David Faber of Squawk on the Street said that Taubman’s court filing for an expedited hearing on Simon’s $3.6 billion offer will be heard in Michigan tomorrow. Taubman took that action fearing that Simon would “run out the clock” on the deal and walk away.. . . more

Bed Bath & Beyond in more layoffs

Bed Bath & Beyond is reducing its workforce — again.

The struggling home goods retailer is laying off 148 employees at the company’s headquarters, which is located in Union, N.J. It also is closing a contact center operations site at West Oaks Mall in Ocoee, Fla., in August, resulting in the loss of 221 positions. The layoffs were revealed in Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act notices filed in Florida.. . . more

Shoe Carnival online sales skyrocket

Shoe Carnival is having a better than expected second quarter — at least so far.

The footwear retailer said it has experienced stronger than expected sales for its second quarter-to-date, with comparable-store sales up 28.1% versus the year-ago period. E-commerce comparable sales are up nearly 470%; while brick-and-mortar same sales are up 4.0%. . . more

Study: Overall spend continues to increase with small weekly gains

Consumers are opening their wallets for non-essential items.

That’s according to Cardlytics’ latest State of Spend Report, which is based on U.S. consumer spend. After non-essential spending dropped to a low of -75% year-over-year at the end of March, discretionary spend (in categories such as apparel) is climbing back up, down just -40.8% year-over-year the week of 5/28. . . . more

J.C. Penney details more store closings

J.C. Penney is getting ready to kick off its second phase of store closing sales as part of its store optimization strategy.

The department store retailer announced an additional 13 store closures (list at end of article), pending court approval. Store sales are expected to begin on or around July 3.. . . more

Monday, June 22, 2020

Wawa Welcomes Customers at Its 900th C-store
The coronavirus may have slowed down the economy, but it did not slow down new store openings.

Notably, Wawa Inc. reached a milestone when it cut the ribbon on its 900th convenience store on June 18. The store welcomed customers at 685 Morris Turnpike in Springfield, N.J . . . more

Bed Bath & Beyond adds $850 million credit facility; nearly all stores open by July

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. has strengthened its liquidity and long-term financial position with a new credit facility. . . . more

Fast Casual BurgerFi Plans to Go Public Following Merger

In a rare restaurant development, an emerging fast casual is headed to the public sector. Opes Acquisition Corp., a blank-check company that uses public investor money to fund acquisitions, and BurgerFi International jointly announced Monday they’ve agreed to a non-binding letter of intent to enter into a business combination agreement. BurgerFi, which has nearly 125 corporate and franchise locations across 23 states and two countries, would become a publicly traded company on the NASDAQ stock exchange following close. Under the terms of the LOI, Opes and BurgerFi would become a combined entity, with BurgerFi’s shareholders rolling over a majority of the equity in the public company. . . . more

What's Behind the Lawsuits Against Eviction Bans

Across the country, some landlord groups are scurrying to prepare legal challenges to pandemic-provoked eviction bans or already have gone to court. . . . more

Albertsons prices IPO

Albertsons Cos. is proceeding with its plans to go public.

The supermarket giant, whose banners include Safeway, Vons, Acme, its namesake brand and others, announced an initial public offering of 65.8 million shares, at an anticipated price of $18 to $20 per share. At the midpoint of the proposed range, Albertsons would command a market value of $9.1 billion and an enterprise value of $19.0 billion . . . more

Nordstrom sets reopening date for NYC stores

Nordstrom is getting back to business in the Big Apple.

The department store retailer, which has been reopening its stores in phases nationwide, will reopen its six locations in New York City on Wednesday, June 24. The opening come two days after the city enters phase two of the reopening of its economy following the COVID-19 shutdown. . . . more

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Party City to permanently close 21 stores this year
Party City has announced plans to permanently close 21 stores this year, the latest in a string of longtime retailers to shutter brick-and-mortar locations. . . . more

Tire Pros Adds 10 Locations

Tire Pros has added 10 locations in eight states to its national footprint.

“We are pleased to welcome the ten new Tire Pros locations from multiple markets to our growing network of franchises, especially during these unprecedented times,” says Greg Bell, president of Tire Pros.. . . more

J. Jill in forbearance on loans after ‘going concern’ warning

J. Jill Inc. has bought itself some time as it continues to struggle amid fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.. . . more

Kroger posts double-digit sales gains in first quarter
Net and identical sales at The Kroger Co. climbed by double digits in the fiscal 2020 first quarter, driving earnings gains that topped Wall Street’s per-share estimate by 13 cents.. . . more

Deloitte: Seven retail/CPG trends to watch

Digital sales growth is just one development during the COVID-19 pandemic that Deloitte expects will continue affecting retailers and CPG companies in the long term.

Deloitte's InSightsIQ, which actively monitors and aggregates a diverse set of real-time consumer, macro, marketplace, competitive and economic data sets, has identified seven trends that have emerged during COVID-19 which retailers and CPG companies should expect to be part of the “new normal.”. . . more

AT&T to Close 250 AT&T Mobility and Cricket Wireless Stores, Says Telecomm Union

AT&T has informed the telecommunications and IT union its plans to permanently shutter 250 AT&T Mobility and Cricket Wireless stores. The move would impact 1,300 retail jobs. There are currently more than 16,000 AT&T retail locations in the United States, including authorized retailers and company-owned stores and kiosks. CWA also reports that A&T plans to cut 3,400 technician and clerical jobs across the country over the next few weeks. . . . more

Stein Mart signals it might not survive pandemic

Stein Mart is the latest retailer to warn of “substantial” doubts about its ability to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

The off-price retailer disclosed in a 10-K filing that its revenues, liquidity, cash flows, and ability to pay vendors and landlords have been materially adversely impacted as a result of store closures due to COVID-19. . . . more

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Guess Is Permanently Closing 100 Stores as Its Leases Near Expiration
Guess? Inc. is reevaluating its brick-and-mortar strategy as coronavirus-related shutdowns continue to impact its business.

The American apparel and accessories brand has revealed plans to permanently shutter about 100 stores in North America and China, or roughly 9% of its global network. The closures will take place over the next 18 months. . . . more

US retail sales up a record 17.7% in a partial rebound

U.S. retail sales jumped by a record 17.7% from April to May, with spending partially rebounding after the coronavirus had shut down businesses, flattened the economy and paralyzed consumers during the previous two months.The government’s report Tuesday showed that retail sales have retraced some of the record-setting month-to-month plunges of March (8.3%) and April (14.7%) as businesses have increasingly reopened. Still, the pandemic’s damage to retail sales remains severe, with purchases still down 6.1% from a year ago.. . . more

Clothing, furniture retailers drive May retail sales increase, still well below 2019 levels

Consumer spending rose dramatically from April as retailers closed by the coronavirus pandemic began to reopen, but was down year-over-year.

May sales rose 11% from April and 1.7% year-over-year, according to the National Retail Federation, which excludes automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants in order to focus on core retail retail. . . . more

24 Hour Fitness Files For Bankruptcy

24 Hour Fitness has filed for bankruptcy after the coronavirus pandemic forced its facilities shut for months. The chain has permanently closed 100 U.S. locations in 14 states with roughly 300 clubs remaining.

In conjunction with the Chapter 11 filing, the company said it expects to secure approximately $250 million in debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing. Subject to Court approval, the DIP financing, combined with the company’s cash from operations, is expected to provide sufficient liquidity and allow the company to continue operations, including club reopenings, without interruption during the Chapter 11 process.. . . more

Target raises minimum wage to $15 per hour

Target is making good on a pledge it made some three years ago — and it’s doing so several months ahead of time.

The discounter is permanently raising its starting wage to $15 an hour, beginning on July 5. (In 2017, Target committed to hitting the metric by yearend 2020). The wage hike puts Target ahead of rival Walmart, whose starting wage is $11 an hour, and in line with Amazon. . . more

Francesca’s again warns of possible bankruptcy

Things are not looking good for Francesca’s. In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, the accessories and apparel retailer warned that its liquidity has been adversely impacted by negative operating results due to the pandemic and “there is no assurance that we will have sufficient liquidity to continue operations.”

Francesca’s, which has 703 stores, had been struggling pre-pandemic with declining sales and profits for the past couple of years amid declining mall traffic. In early May, the company issued a “going concern” warning and floated the idea of bankruptcy
. . . more

Dick’s Sporting Goods to open two new store concepts

Dick’s Sporting Goods is adding two outlet and clearance store banners to its retail portfolio.
The sporting goods retailer is expanding its nationwide footprint with the opening of Overtime by Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Dick’s Sporting Goods Warehouse. Dick’s first entered the outlet space last year, with the opening of three clearance centers (in Utica, Mich., Spartanburg, S.C., and Racine Wis.) . . . more

Decathlon turns stores into fulfillment centers

The world’s largest sporting goods retailer is keeping its U.S. stores in the game during the COVID-19 pandemic. Based in France, Decathlon operates three U.S. brick-and-mortar stores in the Bay Area of California. After closing its stores in the wake of the COVID-19 health crisis, Decathlon saw a spike in its e-commerce business as more consumers shopped for sports equipment and apparel for at-home use. However, production disruptions in China put a strain on warehouse supply, while its stores in the U.S. were filled with unsold merchandise. . . . more

Friday, June 12, 2020

Pandemic layoffs occur at ICSC

Chain Store Age
Just a few weeks after RECon, the real estate industry’s largest trade show, would have taken place, the International Council of Shopping Centers laid off a significant portion of its workforce.

In a June 4 letter to members, ICSC president and CEO Tom McGee announced the extension of the association’s moratorium on live events to September 30 and revealed the personnel cutbacks. . . . more

Chicken Salad Chick continues national expansion

Chain Store Age
Chicken Salad Chick continues to expand as it prepares to enter its 17th state.

The Southern-inspired, fast-casual chicken salad restaurant brand will open its first-ever location in Indiana, in the Louisville suburb of Jeffersonville. With a grand opening set for June 16, the new restaurant highlights Chicken Salad Chick's accelerating development efforts across the Midwestern region, including Ohio, Illinois, Missouri and Indiana. . . . more

Despite Essential Tenants Remaining Open, Shopping Center Landlords Saw 40% Drop in Rent Collections

While owners of grocery-anchored shopping centers have been able to benefit from the presence of essential retailers like supermarkets and pharmacies at their centers, that hasn’t meant they haven’t been grappling with substantial rent shortages. Multiple shopping center tenants have been trying to renegotiate their rents over the past few months, with mom-and-pop operators facing particularly challenging times.

“Many, if not most tenants, sought some form of rent relief or lease modification in response to COVID-19,” says Phil Voorhees, vice chairman at real estate services firm CBRE. However, “it varies tenant to tenant as to whether these are short-term or long-term modifications,” he notes.. . . more

As retailers begin reopening, Assembly Row's developer gets creative

Boston Business Journal
The developer and manager of Assembly Row, the expansive outdoor mall in Somerville, has had to get creative during the coronavirus pandemic.

When French bakery Paul was forced to shutter, Federal Realty Investment Trust moved quickly to open a pop-up from bakery, Flour, in its place. In place of the darkened AMC movie theater, Federal is planning to show outdoor movies at the nearby K-Mart parking lot — the same location Federal had earlier donated for a Battelle N95 mask decontamination system to deploy at the height of the Covid-19 crisis. . . . more

Lululemon's revenue falls more than expected, sending shares down

Vancouver Sun
Lululemon Athletica Inc. on Thursday reported a bigger-than-expected fall in quarterly revenue as its business was limited to online operations due to store closures during coronavirus-led lockdowns, sending shares down 5 per cent.

Net revenue fell to US$652 million in the first quarter ended May 3 from US$782.3 million a year earlier. Analysts had forecast $688.4 million, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.. . . more

Hair Salons Reopen, and Americans Rush Back

The New York Times
Few professional encounters require prolonged bouts of close contact like appointments at hair or beauty salons. This makes beauty, nail and barbershops potentially high-risk hubs of infection for the coronavirus, which has killed almost half a million people worldwide since the start of this year.

And yet, across the United States, customers are clamoring to fix gray roots, shaggy beards and chipped nails in reopened salons after months in lockdown, despite stark changes to how these services can now be offered. How do you cut hair behind someone’s ears when they’re also wearing a mask? Doesn’t matter, people are doing it.. . . more

New retail habits from coronavirus ‘ingrained’ in shoppers, Tractor Supply CEO says

Consumers will likely stick to shopping habits picked up during the coronavirus pandemic well into the future, according to Hal Lawton, CEO of Tractor Supply Company. The farm supplies chain has been one of the top-performing retail stocks on the S&P 500 during the outbreak.

Citing trends seen in countries hit by the virus earlier than the United States, Lawton said Thursday that customers will still gravitate toward shopping methods such as ordering products online and curbside pickup 12 to 18 months from now. . . . more

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Children's Place to shutter 300 stores as it shifts focus to digital sales

Chain Store Age
Children’s Place Inc. plans to reduce its store network by a third.

The children’s apparel retailer is accelerating its “fleet optimization” initiative and is now targeting to close an additional 300 stores by the end of 2021, with 200 closures planned for this year and another 100 planned for 2021. As of May 2, Children’s Place had 920 stores in the U.S. and Canada. . . . more

Jobless claims: Another 1.54 million Americans file for unemployment benefits

Yahoo Finance
On the heels of the blowout May jobs report, market participants got another update on how the U.S. Labor Market is faring amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis with the weekly jobless claims report Thursday morning.

An additional 1.542 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the week ending June 6, below economists’ expectations for 1.55 million jobless claims. . . . more

Starbucks sees $3.2 billion coronavirus hit, expands new ‘pickup’ cafe format

Seattle Times
Starbucks expects the coronavirus pandemic to reduce sales this quarter by as much as $3.2 billion, dragging down the coffee chain’s performance as it sees a recovery stretching into next year.

The Seattle-based company, which like other restaurants has had a difficult time offering guidance, said Wednesday it expects to report an adjusted loss of 55 to 70 cents a share when it next releases earnings. Operating income will decline as much as $2.2 billion in the period, the company said in a statement.. . . more

Simon pulls out of $3.6B Taubman deal

Retail Dive
Taubman on Wednesday confirmed that it received Simon Property Group's notice, but called it "invalid and without merit," and said Simon remains "bound to the transaction in all respects." Taubman also said it will "vigorously contest Simon's purported termination and legal claims," and "pursue its remedies to enforce its contractual rights under the Merger Agreement, including, among other things, the right to specific performance and the right to monetary damages, including damages based on the deal price." The mall developer said the special shareholders meeting to vote on the original proposal is still on for June 25, according to a press release emailed to Retail Dive. . . . more

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Amazon plans fulfillment center in Boston
Amazon plans to convert a 96,000-square-foot former Blue Cross Blue Shield warehouse near the Dorchester-South Boston border into a last-mile delivery hub for the Boston region.

The conversion of 4 Alger St., near where Dorchester Avenue and D Street intersect, could be completed as soon as late 2020.

The project, which Amazon is working on with Boston-based Core Investments, would also involve the demolition of an auto center and an industrial property that Target uses, according to the Boston Business Journal. Moreover, Amazon would take over a large parking lot at 511 Dorchester Ave.. . . more

GameStop's e-commerce sales rose 519% amid closures

Retail Dive
In a first quarter defined by the COVID-19 crisis, GameStop’s e-commerce revenue rose 519% in Q1, with digital sales up a whopping 1000% in the first six weeks after closing its stores in response to the pandemic and closure orders. At the same time, the retailer’s comparable sales fell 30%, with the closures accounting for a little less than half of that decline, according to a company release.

After reporting an initial sales bump in March, GameStop now estimates first-quarter global sales declines of 33% to 35% compared to last year, which brought in $1.5 billion in Q1, according to a press release.. . . more

Tailored Brands mulls bankruptcy

Retail Dive
Tailored Brands is contemplating a potential bankruptcy filing to help reduce its debt burden, according to a Bloomberg report that cited anonymous sources. A spokesperson for Tailored Brands did not immediately reply to Retail Dive's request for comment.

The news service reported that the retailer could close some weaker locations to "satisfy its creditors" in bankruptcy. The report noted that plans are still "in the early stages" and that Tailored Brands, owner of Men's Wearhouse, is also seeking alternative forms of financing.. . . more

Gap is closing its trendy men's athleticwear brand despite the continued boom in athleisure

Business Insider
Gap is closing its trendy athleticwear brand Hill City less than two years after it launched.

The apparel giant said in a blog post on Thursday that it made the decision to close this business in order to dedicate its resources to its larger brands – Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy.

Hill City launched in the fall of 2018 and was primed to swoop in and capitalize on the continued boom in athletic wear, outdoorsy clothing, and more recently, men taking more of an interest in shopping.. . . more

American Dream Leaves Clan Behind Mall Empire Mired in Debt

As brick-and-mortar shopping centers steadily lost market share to online competitors, the Ghermezian family behind three of the four biggest malls in North America built a thriving business by infusing their properties with heavy doses of entertainment -- a nod to the prevailing wisdom that younger people tend to prefer experiences to material goods.

Their company, Triple Five Group, offered attractions worthy of the best theme parks. In a 2016 interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Don Ghermezian, who oversees the family’s American Dream mall in New Jersey, called the approach “internet-proof.”

They weren’t betting on a pandemic. . . . more

Signet Closing 380 Stores This Year as Sales Are Hit by COVID-19

Signet Jewelers won’t reopen 230 stores it closed due to COVID-19 and then plans to close another 150 stores this year, executives said in a conference call held Tuesday.

The stores that won’t reopen include 150 stores in North America and 80 stores in the United Kingdom.

These closures mean that Signet’s store footprint will have shrunk more than 20% over the past few years, chief executive officer Gina Drosos (pictured) said in a conference call following the release of its financial results. Most of the closures were in B- and C-rated malls, she said.. . . more

Pandemic threatens to upend a thriving real estate model

Boston Business Journal
“Is water wet?” Will Gilson is blunt when asked whether it is particularly challenging to open three restaurants in the middle of a pandemic.

But the restaurateur is also optimistic because they are slated to open this fall in Cambridge Crossing, a 4.5 million-square-foot mixed-use development near Boston. He sees the complex’s density and location as boons for his business, come what may.

Mixed-use projects have been a hallmark of the country’s urban renaissance over the past couple of decades. They are often thriving complexes built with an ecosystem of residences, offices, plazas, hotels, shops and restaurants. Developers like them for the scope, and business owners like them for the round-the-clock density of people.. . . more

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Macy’s shares up as company says reopened stores topping expectations

Macy’s shares soared Tuesday as the company released its preliminary financial results, saying it is regaining customers at reopened stores much quicker than it expected.

With the retailer’s stores forced shut for much of its fiscal first quarter due to the coronavirus pandemic, sales are expected to fall 45% to $3.02 billion from $5.5 billion a year ago, the company said. . . . more

Camps, youth sports, retail opens in Massachusetts during phase two

At Morin's Hometown Bar in Grille in Attleboro, a 109-year legacy now comes with a new victory: surviving a global pandemic.

"We've done the takeout, we've done the curbside, we've done delivery," said owner William John Morin Jr. "Now, we're ready to have people back in our business."

As of Monday, Massachusetts entered phase two, which allows restaurants to offer limited outdoor dining, with restrictions. Tables are by reservation-only and limited to six people at a table. Masks are required upon entry to the restaurant.. . . more

U.S. retail sales to drop 10.5 % in 2020—with one bright spot

Chain Store Age
The U.S. retail sector could take years to recover from the impact of COVID-19, and the hit could be worse than that of the Great Recession.

That’s according to eMarketer’s latest forecast on U.S. retail sales (including auto and fuel), which predicted that total retail sales will drop 10.5% to $4.894 trillion this year, a level not seen since 2016 and is steeper than the 8.2% drop in 2009.

E-commerce is the only bright spot, jumping 18.0% to reach $709.78 billion this year, representing 14.5% of total U.S. retail sales in 2020, according to the report. The top-growing e-commerce categories will be food and beverage at 58.5% and health/personal care/beauty at 32.4%, as Americans turn to online ordering for household essentials. . . . more

The top 10 U.S. e-commerce retailers are…

Chain Store Age
Amazon continues to far outdistance all other U.S. retailers in e-commerce sales, but Walmart and other large retailers are showing increased strength as they pivot online.

For the first time, Walmart will surpass eBay as the No. 2 e-commerce retailer in the U.S., according to a report by eMarketer that ranks retailers by percentage of total online sales.

“Amazon will increase its e-commerce market share to 38.0% and extend its reign of dominance,” said Andrew Lipsman, eMarketer principal analyst. “But big-box retailers are leveraging their click-and-collect models to accelerate their e-commerce businesses.”. . . more

States Hardest Hit by Closures Could See Property Valuations Fall by Low Double Digits

It’s been made clear by now that the retail, restaurant, travel and energy sectors have been hit the hardest by the impact from the COVID-19 crisis. But a recent report from Reonomy, a data platform for the commercial real estate industry, also highlights that administrative work, arts, entertainment and recreation industries have seen outsized fallout. Across the U.S., all these industries account for approximately 14 percent of GDP, Reonomy researchers point out.

In addition, many of these industries are concentrated in specific states, leading Reonomy to conclude that Alaska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Wyoming will be among those that will suffer more from the pandemic. Firm closures in the impacted sectors can lead to higher unemployment rates and longer-lasting periods of unemployment for workers, and to decreased tax revenues for the states. And decreased economic activity will also weaken property valuations. . . . more

Please don't touch: The future of experiential retail in the era of coronavirus

Retail Dive
What's the purpose of a store? Technically, it's to offer up products to customers and, more importantly, get them to buy those products. But in recent years, the purpose of a store has been brought into question as startups and traditional retailers alike explore what has become the pinnacle of physical retail: experiential retail.

Or, to specify: successful experiential retail.

The idea of fostering a closer relationship with customers, one that's not just focused on the transactional act of shopping, has led to all kinds of experimentation within stores, with varying degrees of usefulness. . . . more

25,000 stores are predicted to close in 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic accelerates industry upheaval

One result of the coronavirus pandemic could be as many as 25,000 store closures announced by retailers this year, as the crisis takes a toll on many businesses, and already has pushed some over the brink and into bankruptcy.

U.S. retailers could announce between 20,000 and 25,000 closures in 2020, according to a tracking by Coresight Research, with 55% to 60% of those situated in America’s malls. That would also mark a new record — which was previously the more than 9,300 locations in 2019. . . . more

Monday, June 8, 2020

All G.H. Bass and Wilsons Leather Stores Are Permanently Closing

Footwear News
G-III Apparel Group Ltd. is trimming its brick-and-mortar fleet.

The New York-based fashion manufacturer and marketer has announced the permanent closures of all 110 Wilsons Leather and 89 G.H. Bass stores as it restructures its retail operations segment. The liquidations of these outposts, assisted by financial services firm Hilco Global, are set to begin immediately or as soon as locations reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic. . . . more

Why More QSRs Will Consider Smaller Footprints Post-COVID-19

Commercial Property Executive
Although some restaurants have been struggling as they largely rely on sit-down business and alcohol sales, overall, the quick-service-restaurant sector has fared well during this crisis. Before COVID-19, a majority of QSRs already offered social distancing-friendly features, such as drive-thrus, takeout/curbside pick-up, and delivery services. This gave them an advantage that no one could have predicted.

As we look beyond this unprecedented time—hopefully never having to face something like this again—indelible marks of varying degrees have inevitably been infused into the behavior and habits of the consumer. This reality has motivated QSRs to cast a critical eye over their operations. They are rethinking numerous strategies and procedures in hopes of setting themselves up for success moving forward.. . . more

Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay: Why June Rent Payments Are The Next Big Challenge Facing Retail

The relationship between retailers and their (mainly) institutional landlords has always been one characterised by strained relationships and confrontation. Upward only rent reviews for years and years might have something to do with that. They are both gripped in a deadly embrace which is just about to get a whole lot tighter.

A spirit of collaboration could not be further from the truth. And the next bump in the road is looming rapidly. Because just nine days after non-essential reopens, on June 24 the next quarterly rent payments will be due. And guess what? Many are unlikely to pay. You just know that this isn't going to end well.. . . more

Sycamore Partners in early acquisition talks with J.C. Penney

Sycamore Partners is exploring a possible acquisition of J.C. Penney, according to a Reuters report that cited anonymous sources. A J.C. Penney spokesperson declined to comment to Retail Dive on the report.

The private equity firm — which owns Belk and Talbots, among other retail companies — is in "preliminary" talks around Penney should the department store chain fail to reach a reorganization deal with lenders, according to Reuters.. . . more

Tenants’ troubles put stress on commercial real estate

Boston Business Journal
Faced with plunging sales that have already led to tens of millions of layoffs, companies are trying to renegotiate their office and retail leases — and in some cases refusing to pay — in hopes of lowering their overhead and surviving the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. This has given rise to fierce negotiations with building owners, who are trying to hold the line on rents for fear that rising vacancies and falling revenues could threaten their own survival.

Simon Property Group, the biggest U.S. mall operator, this week sued Gap, the owner of retail chains that include Old Navy and Banana Republic, for nearly $66 million in unpaid rent for April, May and June. . . . more

Restaurants ready, but many lack outdoor space to reopen

Boston Herald
After months of being limited to takeout and delivery during the coronavirus pandemic, struggling Massachusetts restaurants can resume outdoor dining Monday as the state moves into the second stage of its four-phased reopening.

But many eateries that have taken a massive financial hit won’t be opening their doors just yet. Their lack of outdoor seating providing yet another restriction in a public health crisis full of them.. . . more

J.C. Penney announces locations of 154 stores closing across the US
J.C. Penney has announced the locations of 154 stores that will be closing across 38 states as it restructures after filing for bankruptcy last month.

The Texas-based retailer released a list of locations by state on Thursday, with going-out-business sales expected to begin on June 12 and lasting 10 to 16 weeks. . . . more

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Ascena brings on Kirkland & Ellis, others to advise on balance sheet

Retail Dive
Ascena Retail Group has brought on new advisers to "explore balance sheet alternatives," according to a Debtwire report that cited unnamed sources.

Among those advising the apparel retailer is law firm Kirkland & Ellis, which has worked on many high-profile retail bankruptcies over the years.

Also working with Ascena is Guggenheim Securities, which advised the retailer last year on the sale of a majority stake in the Maurices banner, and the consultancy Alvarez & Marsal.. . . more

Sears, Kmart stores are doing a slow fade

Chain Store Age
A look at what’s left of the Sears portfolio shows that the troubled retailer’s store footprint is doing a disappearing act.

According to a report by Forbes, there are a total of 161 Sears and Kmart stores left in the Transformco portfolio (Transformco is the privately held company run by Eddie Lampert that bought the remnants of Sears Holdings, including 400-plus stores, out of bankruptcy court last year). . . . more

Restaurants Face a Challenge If They Reopen with Limited Dining Capacity. What Can Landlords Do to Help?

The U.S. restaurant sector has sustained one of the heaviest blows during the COVID-19 pandemic as national quarantines forced the closures of restaurant dining rooms across the country.

Full-service and casual-dining chains are less equipped to pivot to delivery and takeout, and many can’t survive on takeout orders and curbside delivery alone.. . . more

Another 1.9 million workers seek jobless benefits as layoffs persist even as states reopen economies

USA Today
About 1.9 million Americans filed initial unemployment benefit claims last week, underscoring that even as all 50 states begin reopening their economies, the damage from the coronavirus pandemic continues to mount.

Over the past 11 weeks, 42.6 million workers have sought jobless benefits as states shut down nonessential businesses to curtail the spread of the virus, Labor Department data shows. The figure provides the best measure of layoffs across the U.S. . . . more

Simon Property Group sues Gap for $66M in unpaid rent

The Real Deal
The gloves are off between the biggest mall operator in the country and one of its most important tenants.

Simon Property Group is suing Gap Inc. for its alleged “failure to pay more than $65.9 million in rent and other charges due,” according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday that was reviewed by The Real Deal.. . . more

Here’s what reopening of malls and retail businesses will look like

Boston Business Journal
Massachusetts released lengthy guidelines on Wednesday for the retail businesses opening during Phase 2 of the state’s coronavirus reopening plan. The new standards replace the existing Department of Public Health guidance governing grocery stores and pharmacies.

The guidelines are broken down into social distancing, hygiene, staffing and operations, and cleaning and disinfecting.

Among the social distancing guidelines, stores will operate at 40 percent capacity or eight people (including staff) per 1,000 square feet. Everyone must stay 6 feet apart, and stores must have markers in their stores to guide customers. Partitions must be installed if social distancing isn’t possible. Everyone must wear a face covering unless the covering itself is not possible due to a medical condition.. . . more