Friday, January 31, 2020

First Look: Nordstrom's in-store resale shop

Chain Store Age
Nordstrom is the latest department store retailer to tap into one of retail’s fastest-growing markets: previously-owned clothes and accessories.

Nordstrom has launched, See You Tomorrow, an online and in-store resale shop. Curated by Olivia Kim, VP of creative projects at Nordstrom, the shop features an edited, authenticated assortment apparel and accessories from highly coveted brands, the retailer said. . . . more

Hallmark stores are closing in 12 states amid card struggles

MSN Money
It's a tough time to be in the greeting-card business.

Papyrus is closing all 254 of its stores in the US and Canada after its parent company, Schurman Fine Papers, filed for bankruptcy citing "the general downturn in the brick-and-mortar retail industry."

Meanwhile, at least 16 Hallmark-branded stores in the US are also closing, according to local media reports and posts to Facebook by store owners.. . . more

Gillette parent P&G to close most Art of Shaving stores

Boston Business Journal
Gillette parent company Procter & Gamble plans to close a large majority of the company’s 83 retail stores operated by the upscale Art of Shaving brand, citing a drastic decline in the popularity of some malls and changing consumer habits that include a growing preference for online shopping.

Seventy of the stores are in the United States. Across the country, some of the stores are in malls, while others are standalone businesses.

According to the company's website, there are three in Massachusetts, including locations in Newbury Street in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood, the Burlington Mall, and Braintree's South Shore Plaza.. . . more

Staples launches revamped stores in Greater Boston — complete with podcast studios

Boston Business Journal
Staples Inc. next week will launch six reimagined retail stores in Greater Boston, as the Framingham-based office products retailer aims to pivot from stores with a warehouse-like feel to ones that gives shoppers an experience — and a place to record a podcast.

Part of the recalibration is streamlining Staples’ in-store merchandise into separate sections, each designed around an experience or situation, such as business travel, collaboration or STEM tools for students.

By shifting around the retail merchandise footprint, Staples freed up about 50 percent of its store’s real estate, and used the space to create in-store podcast studios as well as coworking and community spaces.. . . more

Amazon’s next grocery moves will be data-driven

Supermarket News
“We anticipate that Amazon will focus on three areas to help strengthen its grocery business over the next year or two,” Bill Bishop, chief architect at Brick Meets Click, said in a statement.

Those strategies, he said, include aggressive customer acquisition by leveraging the Prime customer benefits program to spur more upscale consumer purchases; strategically located physical retail outlets to better meet customers’ store-based grocery needs; and an optimized product mix that blends strong private labels and profitable advertised brands. . . . more

Amazon crushes earnings in Q4

Chain Store Age
Amazon had a blowout fourth quarter, with earnings that far exceeded Wall Street's expectations as well as its own.

Net sales increased 21% to $87.4 billion, topping Street estimates of $86.02 billion. Net product sales totaled $50.54 billion; net service sales totaled $36.89 billion. (Amazon is now the third-largest company in the S&P 500 by annual revenue.). . . more

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Sycamore interested in Victoria's Secret

Retail Dive
Private equity firm Sycamore Partners is in talks with L Brands founder and CEO Les Wexner to take over the company's Victoria's Secret brand, according to an updated story yesterday from The Wall Street Journal. A Sycamore spokesperson declined to comment to Retail Dive. Neither L Brands nor Victoria's Secret immediately responded to Retail Dive's requests for comment.

The publication previously reported that L Brands was in talks to sell off the brand and that Wexner was set to step down, except to retain his seat on the board as chairman. That was subsequently confirmed by other news outlets.. . . more

Price Rite brings latest format to more stores

Supermarket News
Price Rite Marketplace has rolled out its new look and enhanced shopping experience to another five stores in Massachusetts under a 16-month-old rebranding program.

The Wakefern Food Corp. banner said grand reopenings were held this weekend at Price Rite stores in Chicopee, Pittsfield, Springfield, West Springfield and Westfield, Mass. Store redesigns include new décor and a more vibrant color palette, a farmer’s market-style produce department, LED lighting, improved signage and new self-service checkouts.. . . more

Krispy Kreme in major expansion in New York City

Chain Store Age
The Big Apple is about to get sweeter.

Krispy Kreme on Wednesday announced it will open six locations in New York City this year, including its previously announced Times Square flagship. Currently, the company has one city location (in Penn Station), which is set to reopen on Jan. 30 after being remodeled as part of the expansion.. . . more

Gymboree makes its retail comeback

Chain Store Age
The Gymboree brand has been revived — by a former competitor.

The Children’s Place announced it is relaunching Gymboree in February. The brand, which went out of business last year, will be available on a new website and in shop-in-shop locations in more than 200 Children’s Place stores across the U.S. and Canada.. . . more

Nordstrom enters the resale business, online and in store

Chain Store Age
On Jan. 31, Nordstrom will launch, See You Tomorrow, an online and in-store resale shop. The shop will be curated by Olivia Kim, VP of creative projects at Nordstrom, and feature an edited, authenticated assortment apparel and accessories from highly coveted brands, according to Nordstrom. It will also highlight special brand partnerships, starting with Ganni, a Copenhagen-based contemporary fashion brand.

On the brick-and-mortar front, Nordstrom will open a See You Tomorrow in-store shop in its new Manhattan flagship. . . . more

Starbucks’ strong Q1 overshadowed as it sounds warning on coronavirus outbreak

Chain Store Age
The news about the China store closings as a result of the coronavirus overshadowed what was an impressive first quarter for Starbucks and one of its strongest holiday seasons ever. The coffee giant reported net income of $885.7 million in the quarter ended Dec. 29, up from $760.6 million.

Net sales rose 7% to $7.1 billion, in line with expectations. Global comparable store sales rose 5%, driven by a 3% increase in average ticket and a 2% increase in comparable transactions.

U.S. same-store sales rose 6%, boosted by more customers visiting its cafes. . . . more

Amazon’s spending on one-day delivery is likely to weigh on fourth-quarter profit

CNBC
Amazon’s relentless effort to get orders to your doorstep more quickly is likely to drag down profit numbers when the company reports fourth-quarter results on Thursday afternoon. But revenue growth keeps chugging along.

In its last earnings report in October, Amazon said it would spend $1.5 billion over the holiday period to expand its one-day delivery program and make it the standard for Prime subscribers, on top of the $800 million it invested in each of the prior two quarters.. . . more

Eight of the Top U.S. Markets for Retail Real Estate Investment

NREI
With consumers shifting how they shop and scores of store closures and retail bankruptcies, retail property owners across the U.S. are grappling to adapt. However, capital market experts say there are still ample opportunities for investors in the retail sector.

Despite challenges including e-commerce competition, there are bright spots when it comes to physical retail. For example, just 80 million sq. ft. of new retail space is under construction in the U.S., according to research firm the Costar Group. That’s helping keep vacancy in check. Research firm Reis reported the retail vacancy rate averaged 10.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019.. . . more

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Retail M&A deals fell 19% in 2019, PwC says

Retail Dive
Retail's merger and acquisition deal volume fell 19% between 2019 and 2018, with 465 deals total last year, according to a new report from PwC.

In dollar terms, the total value of deals in 2019 fell 28% compared to the prior year, to $27.8 billion.. . . more

Tanger rides strong Q4 to remain stable in 2019

Chain Store Age
Tanger Outlets recaptured almost 200,000 sq. ft. of retail space at its centers in 2019 due to bankruptcies and brand-wide restructurings. But a strong fourth quarter lifted its portfolio-wide occupancy rate to 97%, slightly ahead of how it ended last year, according to the company’s quarterly and year-end earnings reports.

Average tenant sales productivity was $395 per sq. ft. last year, compared to $385 per sq. ft. at the conclusion of 2018, according to the report. Same center tenant sales across the Tanger portfolio increased 1.5% in the year ended Dec. 31. . . . more

US consumer confidence climbs in January

RFI
US consumers started 2019 feeling more confident, even better than expected, according to a private survey released Tuesday that also showed confidence climbed in December.

Analysts hailed the stronger than expected results showing Americans are more upbeat about their job prospects, and willing to spend more cash, which will shore up the US economy.

And the updated December data turned what was initially reported as a slight dip in confidence into a solid increase last month, according to the Conference Board's monthly report. . . . more

Gordmans store chain plans to add 13 stores in small NY towns

WHAM
Thirteen small towns in New York will have a new department store chain coming in next month.

Gordmans plans to open stores in each of the towns on February 18.

Stage, the company that owns Gordmans, is converting more than 500 stores across the U.S. to Gordmans stores. Bealls, Goody's, Palais Royal, Peebles, and Stage stores will all be changed over to Gordmans.. . . more

McDonald's sees higher 2020 spending on tech, R&D after sales beat

Yahoo Finance
McDonald's Corp beat forecasts with its quarterly sales on Wednesday and said it would spend more on technology and research in 2020, as the world's largest burger chain bets on revamped stores and menu additions to lure more diners and gain market share.

Chief Executive Officer Chris Kempczinski, who took charge in November after the previous CEO was dismissed, said the global comparable sales growth in 2019 was the chain's highest in more than 10 years.. . . more

Wexner may step down as L Brands CEO, sell Victoria’s Secret

The Columbus Dispatch
The Dispatch has confirmed that L Brands founder Leslie H. Wexner is considering stepping down as the company’s CEO and selling off lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret.

Wexner is in talks that could result in a full or partial sale of Victoria’s Secret. The chain, with about $7 billion in annual sales, has long dominated the U.S. lingerie market but has struggled in recent years with falling sales. The Wall Street Journal first reported the possible sale online Wednesday morning, and The Dispatch confirmed the story through a source close to the company. . . . more

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Simon Property, Authentic Brands Consider Buying Forever 21

Bloomberg
Mall owner Simon Property Group is considering a bid to buy Forever 21 Inc., the bankrupt teen retailer that’s running out of money and time, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Simon would pair with Authentic Brands Group LLC to buy and operate the stores and the brand, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private. The talks are continuing, and there’s no guarantee that the various sides will agree on terms or that a sale will result.. . . more

How off-price continues to be on point

Retail Dive
Apparel retail has never been for the faint-hearted, and today the segment has retailers by their throats. Customers don't want to pay full price for apparel and few need dressy clothes. That leaves a vast wasteland of specialty retailers to fritter time on efforts that keep missing the mark, so the business is now more cutthroat than ever.

By the end of 2019, 10 of the 16 major retail bankruptcies were filed by companies that mostly or exclusively sold apparel and/or footwear: Forever 21, Avenue, A'gaci, Barneys New York, Charming Charlie, Diesel USA, Payless ShoeSource, FullBeauty Brands, Charlotte Russe and Gymboree.. . . more

Casper IPO valuation comes in well below initial $1.1B

Retail Dive
While Casper has been praised as a player leading the mattress disruption, the direct-to-consumer darling revealed in its initial public offering that the road to going public isn't paved without a couple of bumps in the road.

Casper has yet to achieve profitability. In 2018, the company reported a net loss of $92.1 million, while its sales and marketing expense reached $126.2 million.

After partnering with traditional retailers like Target, Nordstrom and West Elm to enter brick and mortar, Casper in 2018 announced plans to open roughly 200 stores across North America. . . . more

Tech repair brand uBreakiFix continues expansion

EP&T
Recognized for its ability to repair anything with a power button, the Orlando FL-based retail tech service business uBreakiFix is growing rapidly across North America.

The chain increased its store count to 478 across North America in 2018, marking 60% increase over the previous year. . . . more

Bar Louie files for bankruptcy after closing 38 units

Restaurant Business
The Bar Louie pub chain has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after closing 38 of its 134 locations.

The brand, a holding of Sun Capital Partners, said the filing will facilitate the operation’s acquisition by one of three suitors that submitted letters of intent last month. Those parties were not identified in this morning’s bankruptcy filings. . . . more

U.S. increases liability for online retailers to police counterfeit goods

Chain Store Age
The United States plans to step up its enforcement of counterfeit goods — especially the ones that are sold by Amazon and other operators of third-party online retail platforms.

The Department of Homeland Security has released a 54-page report that includes recommendations and actions that the U.S. government will take to crack down on certain goods, primarily those imported from China. . . . more

The Vitamin Shoppe open for business — in LA Fitness

Chain Store Age
The Vitamin Shoppe is expanding into a new distribution channel.

The retailer is partnering with LA Fitness to open Vitamin Shoppe shops inside LA Fitness health clubs. To date, Vitamin Shoppe has opened shops in nine LA Fitness health clubs, with three on the East Coast (Union, N.J.; Huntington Station, N.Y.; and Farmingville, N.Y.) and six in Florida (Boca Raton, Tampa, Lakewood Ranch, Dunedin, Palm Harbor and Lake Mary.). . . more

Monday, January 27, 2020

Gap closed dozens of stores in 22 US states on Sunday. Here's the full list.

Business Insider
Gap closed 40 stores globally on Sunday, including 29 locations in the US, according to the company's website.

The closings are part of a previously announced plan to shutter 230 stores over the course of two years.

Gap has said that about 130 locations will close in fiscal 2019, and that a majority of those closings will happen in the fourth quarter, which extends into January 2020. . . . more

Silver City Galleria owner says mall not closing even as it bleeds tenants

Taunton Daily Gazette
Is the Silver City Galleria mall closing? That is the question.

Local social media during the past month has been rife with speculation that the 27-year-old shopping center will shut down, either by the end of February or even as soon as the end of this month.

Property owner William Thibeault says he does not plan to close the Galleria, despite the fact that it continues to bleed tenants. . . . more

Sunrise Records owner to buy U.S. retailer For Your Entertainment for US$10M

BNN Bloomberg
Canadian retail chain Sunrise Records is branching out into the United States with the acquisition of For Your Entertainment, a music, film and pop culture outlet that operates across much of the country.

Doug Putman, president of the Sunrise, said the deal is valued at roughly US$10 million and comes with more than 200 locations that he plans to continue operating under the U.S. brand name. . . . more

Experience Is the Retail Edge

Chain Store Age
Retail industry analysts will look back at 2020 as a pivotal year for consumers and brands alike, as major shifts in technology and shopping behavior converge.

Significant improvements to the mobile shopping experience mean that the predicted “retail apocalypse” will actually look more like a steady erosion of physical retail, as purchases of almost every category of goods get easier online. . . . more

Amazon’s newest retail format is….

Chain Store Age
Amazon is back in the pop-up game.

After closing all of 87 pop-up shops last year, the online giant has thrown its hat back in the ring. The company has opened five pop-ups in malls, according to a listing on its web site. A sixth, in Seattle and next to Amazon's corporate headquarters, is in the works.

The website for the company's retail stores described the new pop-up concept as “a physical extension of Amazon.com. ” . . . more

The 3 most common forecasting errors retail CFOs make

Retail Dive
Last year was a tough one for Barneys. The luxury retailer shuttered 15 of its 22 stores and turned the 2019 holiday season into a fire sale as it prepared to close its signature store in Manhattan. Other major retailers struggled, too, with more than 15 of them filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The rise of online sales, now more than 11% of commerce in the United States, is a factor, and so are tariffs. Some of last year’s most popular goods, including electronics, shoes, and hats, were affected by the trade standoff with China. . . . more

New York City bans cashless stores

Retail Dive
New York City is the largest U.S. city to have approved a ban on cashless stores. Similar bans passed in Philadelphia, New Jersey and San Francisco in 2019. Chicago and Washington, D.C. are mulling similar policies as well. These bans are costly too, with fines up to $2,000 for each violation in Philadelphia. New Jersey's ban could cost $2,500 for the first offense and $5,000 afterward.

Much of the argument against cashless stores has been that it excludes those that are unbanked or underbanked, which is when someone has a bank account but uses other services to cash checks. . . . more

US Retail Giant Increases Starting Wage At Roughly 500 Locations

International Business Times
Retail giant Walmart will increase its starting wage from $11 to $12 in roughly 500 stores in order to test out a new workplace model and attract new employees. The company has approximately 4,700 stores across the U.S.

Walmart wants its workers to develop broader retail skills as part of a “team approach.” Employees will be trained to be more independent from their managers and will be given more responsibilities, as the company hopes to improve its customer service.. . . more

Friday, January 24, 2020

The 10 Most Admired Retailers for 2020

Retail Info Systems
Being admired by your peers is something many industries strive for and is often a good indicator of overall success. In the retail industry, those you work with, as well as those you compete with, know your business better than anyone else. Thus being admired and respected in the retail community is quite the notable achievement.

For more than two decades, Fortune has been publishing its annual “World’s Most Admired Companies,” report, determined based on ratings calculated from almost 3,800 executives, directors and analysts.. . . more

Store closings pile up: With 1,200 closures already announced, retailers face another grim year

USA Today
The start of a new decade isn't offering much hope for beleaguered retailers.

Traditional chains are looking increasingly frail less than a month into 2020, with vacancies piling up and few near-term prospects for a turnaround.

National chains Macy's, J.C. Penney, Papyrus, Express and Pier 1 Imports, as well as other retailers, have collectively announced 1,218 store closures this year, according to global marketing research firm Coresight Research. . . . more

E-commerce could kill 30K stores and half a million jobs by 2025

Retail Dive
E-commerce has been a net negative — an agent of "destructive destruction" — for the retail industry writ large, according to a new study from credit insurance company Euler Hermes. The study found that 56,000 stores, or 10.7% of the discretionary retail footprint, have closed in the U.S. and 670,000 net jobs (9.6% of the total) have been lost since 2008.

More, 41% of retailers have seen their profit margins decrease in that timeframe. Those various retail losses have tracked with the expansion of e-commerce, which has grown well ahead of other retail segments at 10.5% per annum. But for every job created in e-commerce, four and a half jobs are lost by traditional retailers, according to the study. . . . more

7-Eleven Tops 70,000 Global Locations

Convenience Store News
7-Eleven Inc. reached a major growth milestone of 70,000 locations worldwide, making it the largest convenience store retailer in the world.

Now, customers can visit 7-Eleven in 17 countries and regions around the globe.

In 2019, 7-Eleven opened one store approximately every 3.5 hours. . . . more

CVS, Walgreens aggressively move into delivery of health care services

Houston Chronicle
Americans spent $3.6 trillion on health care in 2018, and chronic illness management is one of the fastest-growing markets in the industry. Sixty percent of Americans have at least one chronic condition and they account for 90 percent of health care spending, according to Santa Monica, Calif.-based think tank Rand Corp.

Seeing opportunity, drugstores have been searching for the right combination of health care provider and retailer to draw customers to their stores.. . . more

Another study confirms mobile’s strong holiday performance

Chain Store Age
The 2019 holiday season may prove to be a watershed event for mobile commerce.

According to a new study from mobile commerce optimization platform Button, there was a 68% increase in overall mobile spend per shopper during the 2019 holiday season compared to the same period in 2018. Year-over-year, Button also recorded a 38% increase in total number of orders per shopper, a 106% increase in total number of app installs, and a 12% increase in overall conversion rate. . . . more

Cambridge Crossing’s next phase lands $434M construction loan

Boston Business Journal
DivcoWest has landed a $433.8 million construction loan from New York-based Square Mile Capital Management to finance construction of parcels EF and Q1 at its expansive Cambridge Crossing development.

Parcel EF is planned to be a nine-story, 479,000-square-foot science and technology building with ground-level retail and underground parking, while Parcel Q1 will be a two-story, 19,000-square-foot office and retail building. . . . more

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Fairway Market files for Chapter 11, plans to sell all stores

Supermarket News
A day after refuting reports of an impending liquidation, Fairway Market said it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and aims to sell all of its 14 stores.

Fairway announced early Thursday that, as part of the Jan. 23 filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, the company has entered into a stalking horse asset-purchase deal to sell up to five New York City stores and its distribution center to ShopRite owner-operator Village Super Market for about $70 million.. . . more

Is your Bed Bath & Beyond store closing? See the full list of the 40 stores shuttering in 2020

USA Today
Forty Bed Bath & Beyond stores are on the chopping block.

The New Jersey-based home goods retailer, which also operates buybuy Baby, Harmon Face Values and World Market, shared the list of the closing Bed Bath & Beyond stores with USA TODAY on Tuesday.

Some of the 40 stores – which are located in 19 states and Washington, D.C. – have already closed or will close in the first half of 2020, company spokeswoman Jessica Joyce said, noting these closing locations "no longer meet the standards our customers expect from us.". . . more

Has BOPIS changed holiday selling?

RetailWire
On Christmas Eve, Target prepared nearly five times the number of products for curbside pickup of online orders than it did the year prior. The finding provides more evidence that holiday procrastinators have discovered the convenience of buying online and picking up in-store.

In a blog entry, Target CEO Brian Cornell saw the last-minute BOPIS strength as a sign that “consumers are more and more comfortable shopping later in the season.” . . . more

Grocer Consolidation Is Expected to Continue. How Will It Impact Shopping Center Landlords?

NREI
While grocery-anchored shopping centers reign as the safest bet for investors in the troubled retail sector, they’re not immune to many of the same struggles that other retail assets are facing.

Supermarket companies are investing billions of dollars to adapt to consumers’ evolving shopping habits, including delivery and curbside pick-up. Grocers are also dealing with stiff competition from big e-commerce giants like Amazon/Whole Foods and big-box powerhouses like Costco and Walmart.. . . more

After Bankruptcy, Nearly Half of Retailers Close All Stores

The Wall Street Journal
Secured creditors are recovering all or most of their investments when retailers file for bankruptcy protection, even as nearly half these companies don’t survive with a physical presence, according to Fitch Ratings research.

Among large retail and supermarket chains that filed for bankruptcy protection over the past 15 years, 45% closed all of their stores, the ratings firm said in a new report. Fitch found that the bankruptcies of 25 out of 55 retail and supermarket companies ended in liquidations.. . . more

Vote scheduled in Newton on fate of Northland development

Boston Business Journal
The Newton City Council has scheduled a vote to determine the fate of a proposed 23-acre mixed-use project in Newton Upper Falls for March 3.

The project, proposed by Newton-based Northland Investment Corp., calls for an 800-unit residential development, 180,000 square feet of office space and 115,000 square feet of retail space near the MBTA Green Line Newton Highlands stop. . . . more

Retail center near UMass Amherst, Amherst College sells for $18.5M

Boston Business Journal
Waltham-based Crosspoint Associates has acquired the Amherst Shopping Center, a Big Y Supermarket and CVS-anchored retail center in Amherst, from Amherst Shopping Center Associates LLC for $18.5 million, according to a Hampshire County deed.

Big Y Supermarket and CVS are the anchor tenants for the retail center, and the shopping center is the closest grocery and drugstore location to both the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Amherst College, according to a press release.. . . more

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Retailers see lag in customer experience capability

Chain Store Age
Retailers prioritize customer experience, but question their own effectiveness in delivering key aspects.

According to a new survey of retailers from retail technology company Bluecore and Forrester Consulting, 45% of respondents said that winning new customers was one of the three most important business objectives for their company this year. Right behind customer acquisition was “customer experience,” with 39% of respondents citing it as one of their three highest priorities. . . . more

Fairway Market denies report it is going out of business

Chain Store Age
Fairway Market says it is not calling it quits.

The legendary New York City grocer issued a statement saying it has no intention to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or liquidate all its stores. The statement followed a report by the New York Post that Fairway is planning to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and that it will close all 15 of its stores. . . . more

Hair Salon Retailer Ratner Cos. to Close More Than 80 Salons

REBusiness Online
The Ratner Cos., the parent company of salon concepts such as Hair Cuttery, Bubbles and Salon Cielo, plans to trim its 844-store portfolio by 10 percent. The company plans to maintain a presence in all existing markets as it looks to shift resources to its best-performing salons. Ratner Cos. cites “intense competition and rising operating costs,” as well as shifting consumer shopping methods, as the basis for its decision. The firm has engaged in discussions with landlords to renegotiate terms or exit some of its leases. . . . more

Online holiday sales grow 13.6% in 2019

Digital Commerce 360
Despite record-breaking online sales during the 5-day shopping period from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, the holidays weren’t as merry and bright as retailers had hoped. U.S. shoppers spent $138.65 billion online this holiday season, up 13.6% from $122.00 billion in 2018, Digital Commerce 360 estimates. But seasonal sales were a bit sluggish, missing projections from analysts at several large research firms.

Still, online’s share of total retail sales in November and December soared to 19.2%, up from 17.6% in the prior year, according to Digital Commerce 360. This is the highest recorded ecommerce penetration rate to date.. . . more

Express trimming stores in new turnaround move

Chain Store Age
Express Inc. launched a new corporate strategy that involves closing stores and cost reductions.

The apparel retailer said it plans to close approximately 100 stores by 2022, with the total including nine locations that closed in 2019. Another 31 stores will shutter by the end of January 2020, and an additional 35 by the end of January 2021. Currently, Express operates approximately 600 stores. . . . more

US landlords grapple with thousands of store closures

Boston Business Journal
When Forever 21 was struggling to pay its bills last year, the cheap chic retailer’s landlord at Times Square in Manhattan was so determined to keep the store open that it slashed the rent, making the one concession building owners try to avoid.

As part of a deal with Forever 21 after the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Vornado Realty Trust more than halved the $20m in annual rent it had been demanding for the celebrated site on Broadway and another prime space in Midtown.. . . more

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

8 top retail execs on what to expect in 2020

Retail Dive
Every year, thousands of attendees, from CEOs and founders to analysts, gather at the National Retail Federation's Big Show to provide an update on the industry and trends to watch. Whether it was placing the focus back on its physical stores or highlighting the growing importance of sustainability, retailers took the stage at the annual event to give insights into what to expect in 2020.

Here are some of the most notable quotes from industry leaders at this year's show. . . . more

Retail Holiday Sales Up an Impressive 4.1%

Retail Info Systems
Holiday retail sales increased 4.1% this holiday season, topping out at $730.2 billion. The numbers reported by the National Retail Federation, exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants. Online and other non-store sales were up 14.6% over the year before at $167.8 billion and are included in the total.

NRF forecast in October that 2019 holiday sales during November and December would increase between 3.8% and 4.2% for a total of between $727.9 billion and $730.7 billion. The forecast called for online sales to increase between 11% and 14% to between $162.6 billion and $166.9 billion. . . . more

Papyrus parent to close all stores

Retail Dive
In a letter to employees, Dominique Schurman, COO of Schurman Retail Group, which owns Papyrus stores, said the company would close its doors. The company has hired liquidation firm Gordon Brothers to assist with the going-out-of-business sales, according to the letter, viewed by Retail Dive.

Schurman cited "current challenges of the retail industry" and said the company had been "diligently working to revitalize our business" for months beforehand. Schurman thanked employees and told them more information would follow "as we navigate this difficult time." . . . more

J.C. Penney to close six stores and a call center

The Dallas Morning News
J.C. Penney is closing six stores by the end of April and will shut down a call center in Kansas that employs 243 people.

The Plano-based department store company’s spokeswoman, Brooke Buchanan, said the decisions are part of the retailer’s annual review of its 846 stores and other operations.. . . more

Does Walgreens know what it's doing with beauty?

Chicagobusiness.com
After Walgreen and Alliance Boots merged in 2014, the new management team was confident it could replicate its European-leading beauty and cosmetics strategy here in the U.S.

To capitalize on an exploding beauty category and compete with retail stalwarts like Ulta and Sephora, Walgreens started selling premium brands and hired around 3,500 beauty consultants last year. The new store layouts would transform stodgy drugstores with few options into cosmetics destinations for women and provide an edge over its main competitor, CVS. . . . more

Sears Woes Hit Hometown Stores

The Wall Street Journal
At a Sears Hometown store in Barre, Vt., shelves are bare of Craftsman tools, Whirlpool washing machines and Kenmore ovens. With little product to sell, owner Tom Coulter said he is turning customers away daily.

When the store has merchandise, the prices are often lower on the website of its sister chain, Sears. Mr. Coulter said his commission and bonus will be penalized if he matches sears.com’s prices, though he is able to match the prices of other chains without penalty. . . . more

These Cambridge and Somerville retail properties changed hands for $8M

Boston Business Journal
Burlington-based Linear Retail Properties has acquired two retail properties in Cambridge and Somerville for a combined $7.775 million amid a broader effort to expand its portfolio in those markets and others inside Route 128.

The first of the two properties is 1755-1761 Massachusetts Ave., a 6,291-square-foot single-story property located near the MBTA Red Line's Porter Square station. The property, which Linear acquired for $3.625 million, is leased to The Abbey Irish Pub, One Ramen & Sushi, The Laundry Room and Judy Jetson hair salon.. . . more

Friday, January 17, 2020

Macy’s newest ‘story’ is wellness

Chain Store Age
Macy’s is encouraging consumers to “feel good” in the newest version of its ever-changing, narrative-driven in-store experiential concept.

The department store retailer has added “Feel Good Story” shops to 36 locations nationwide. The concept is the latest iteration of Story at Macy’s and comes about 20 months after Macy’s acquired Story, the experiential Manhattan retailer that reinvents itself with a new theme every couple of months.. . . more

Tempur Sealy Expands Tempur-Pedic Retail Footprint

Home Furnishings Business
Bedding supplier Tempur Sealy has announced its plans to open its first Tempur-Pedic retail location in Manhattan in June and is opening its 56th store at the Walt Whitman Mall on Long Island on Friday, Jan. 17, expecting to operate 75 to 80 retail locations by the end of 2020.

The one-of-a-kind store in the Bloomberg building in Manhatten will provide customers with a luxury retail experience, and ensure customers have an opportunity to try out and select the right sleep solution for their personalized needs. . . . more

The Department Store of the Future Will Look a Lot Like the Past

The Wall Street Journal
The department store transformed America. Now some of the very forces that fueled its rise have been turned against it. The only way out may be for it to recapture something of its past.

In an era in which online stores such as Amazon.com are battling with giants like Walmart and Target to offer customers anything under the sun, shopping at a department store for many Americans is almost quaint. Retail sales figures from the Commerce Department this past week showed that overall U.S. department store sales were down 7.2% in November and December from a year earlier.. . . more

Starbucks, home of the $4 latte, is moving into poor areas

The Seattle Times
Starbucks has cultivated a reputation for being socially responsible said Thursday it is expanding its effort to put more coffee shops — and create more jobs — in poor neighborhoods.

Starbucks plans to open or remodel 85 stores by 2025 in rural and urban communities across the U.S. Each store will hire local staff, including construction crews and artists, and will have community event spaces. The effort will bring to 100 the number of “community stores” Starbucks has opened since it announced the program in 2015.. . . more

Simon expands partnership with omnichannel returns platform

Chain Store Age
A major mall operator is accepting returns of online purchases at more locations.

Simon is now providing the Happy Returns service, which enables shoppers to return online purchases at guest services counters for immediate refunds, at 52 malls across the country. The company began partnering with Happy Returns, a third-party online return and exchange platform, as a pilot program in five centers in 2017, and has been gradually expanding it since.. . . more

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Gap is no longer spinning off Old Navy

CNBC
Gap Inc. has called off plans to split Old Navy into a separate public company, the company announced in a press release Thursday.

The apparel maker also announced that Neil Fiske, president and CEO of the Gap brand, is departing.. . . more

US retail sales climb in December, and November sales were revised up

CNBC
U.S. retail sales rose for a third straight month in December, with households buying a range of goods even as they cut back on purchases of motor vehicles, which could strengthen the view that the economy maintained a moderate growth pace at the end of 2019.

The Commerce Department said on Thursday retail sales increased 0.3% last month. Data for November was revised up to show retail sales gaining 0.3% instead of rising 0.2% as previously reported. . . . more

Moody’s: Operating income of department stores in 2019 to be down about 20%

Chain Store Age
Another dismal year for U.S. department stores will accelerate change in 2020.

That’s according to a new report from Moody's Investors Service, which said that despite strength in most other sectors of the retail industry in 2019, department stores lost momentum in 2019, with operating income for the year projected to be down about 20%.. . . more

PGA Tour to ramp up store expansion

Chain Store Age
PGA Tour Superstore is adding more locations to its expanding store portfolio.

The experiential golf gear and apparel retailer will open three stores this spring. PGA Tour, which currently operates 41 stores in 16 states, also is looking to open additional stores later in the year. And more are in the works. The company plans to accelerate its growth strategy to expand its brick-and-mortar presence by another 50% the next three years. . . . more

Which Troubled Retailers Might Run Out of Time in 2020?

NREI
U.S. store closures in 2019 set an all-time record with roughly 9,300 closings, reported global marketing research firm Coresight Group. That shattered the previous record of approximately 8,100 stores in 2017.

Closings last year outpaced store openings more than two to one, Coresight found, with 4,454 new stores in 2019, compared to 4,311 in 2018. . . . more

Payless emerges from bankruptcy with US growth plan, store reopenings

New York Post
Payless ShoeSource — once America’s most ubiquitous discount shoe retailer — is planning a comeback.

The budget chain is emerging from bankruptcy protection on Thursday with plans to reopen some of the 2,100 stores that it had shuttered last year in the US.

Known for its affordable shoes, boots, sandals and accessories, Payless execs declined to say how many stores it might open in the US, where it once operated as many as 2,500 stores.. . . more

Costco proves why it's Amazon-proof as stores like Target and Macy's struggle

Business Insider
Target joined the lineup of retailers to report weaker-than-expected holiday sales numbers on Wednesday.

The big-box store reported that sales grew 1.4% during November and December, breaking its eight-quarter streak of 3% growth or more.

While analysts weren't ready to sound the alarm just yet, its results stood in stark contrast to another one of retail's top players — Costco, indicating that the warehouse chain really is one of the few players that has managed to stave off the threat of Amazon.. . . more

Bose to close all North American, European retail stores

Boston Business Journal
Bose Corp. will close all of its 119 retail stores in North America, Europe, Japan and Australia “over the next several months” as the Framingham-based consumer electronics company handles “the dramatic shift to online shopping in specific markets,” the company announced Wednesday.

Bose has retail locations at the Burlington Mall and Colonie Center in Albany, New York, as well as factory stores in Wrentham, Merrimack, New Hampshire and Central Valley, New York.. . . more

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Why Nordstrom Is Keeping Its ‘Passion’ for Stores Amid Broader Retail Downsizing

Footwear News
Amid a rapidly changing retail landscape characterized by widespread store closures and the rise of e-commerce, Nordstrom has arguably managed to stay ahead of many of its competitors.

The Seattle-based retailer has often been lauded for its innovative concepts and omnichannel savvy, including its pioneering of the “buy online, pick up in store” service, a revamped loyalty program and experiential store offerings.

But even as the department store naturally ramps up its focus on digital, it’s hardly scaling back on its brick-and-mortar strategy. According to Co-president Erik Nordstrom, success in today’s highly competitive selling environment lies in balance.. . . more

Express cuts 10% of corporate workforce

Retail Dive
Express on Thursday announced a 10% cut in its corporate workforce, at its Columbus, Ohio, headquarters and its New York City design studio, "to align its organization with the company's go-forward strategy," which has been developed over the past six months.

The specialty apparel retailer is also streamlining its store management operations to make stores more efficient, according to a company press release.. . . more

Strip Centers Shine as Some Shoppers Sour on Malls

The Wall Street Journal
While many stock-market investors have soured on the mall experience, some are still flocking to a more mundane type of retail: strip centers and grocery-store-anchored shopping centers.

The centers, which predate the American mall, offer routine necessities such as groceries for dinner, a gym workout or a visit to the dentist, in contrast to special purchases typically made at indoor malls, like a toy or a new dress.

Whereas mall owners hope to entice customers to spend an hour or more browsing the property, strip-center landlords say they simply want to offer stores and services that bring back local shoppers more than once a week.. . . more

Pickett Plaza at Polar Park entrance will feature retail

Worcester Telegram & Gazette
City officials are looking to make the former General Pickett Municipal Parking Lot on Green Street into more than just one of the entrances into Polar Park.

They also want to make it a year-round community space that will serve as an entrance to the Canal District as a whole.

The area, which will be known as Pickett Plaza, will include retail opportunities and a water element that will recreate and interpret the historic Blackstone Canal, according to City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr.. . . more

Frictionless retail can help Ahold Delhaize USA go where it hasn’t gone before

Supermarket News
Since a late 2019 U.S. pilot of its “lunchbox” frictionless retail concept, Ahold Delhaize USA sees possibilities for the technology that stretch beyond its own stores, facilities and geographic market to other venues and users.

Paul Scorza, executive vice president for IT and CIO at Retail Business Services (RBS), Ahold Delhaize USA’s services arm, discussed the cashierless store format Tuesday with Supermarket News at the NRF 2020 Retail’s Big Show conference in New York.. . . more

CVS Health to convert ‘hundreds’ of stores in 2020 to new concept

Chain Store Age
CVS Health is moving full steam ahead with updating stores to its new health-focused store format.

The company, which introduced the format at the end of 2018 in Houston, plans to update hundreds of its stores to the new format this year, according to CNBC. Currently, CVS has 50 HealthHUB locations. . . . more

Holiday sales may have been better-than-expected, up nearly 5%, Bank of America economists say

CNBC
Retail sales were strong in December, and for the holiday shopping period they could be up close to 5%, slightly better than other industry forecasts, according to Bank of America economists.

Using BofA aggregated credit and debit card data, BofA Securities economists said December sales increased 0.3% over the month earlier and 3.2% year-over-year. The economists expect to see a similar 0.3% gain in Census Bureau retail sales, when they are reported Thursday.. . . more

Target's holiday sales were worse than expected

StarTribune
Target, one of the best performers in retail in the last year, brought in lower-than-expected sales in November and December, the latest sign that the holiday season turned out to be a lackluster one.

The Minneapolis-based retailer said this morning that its comparable holiday sales rose 1.4%, well below the 3% to 4% the company had forecast.. . . more

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Five Below ramps up store growth in 2020, revises Q4 outlook

Chain Store Age
New store openings will remain a priority for Five Below this year.

The tween and teen value retailer reported Monday that it will open 180 new stores in 2020. This equates to 20% unit growth for the fiscal year, according to the company.. . . more

E-commerce companies eye physical retail

Retail Dive
By day two of the National Retail Federation's Big Show, it was not only clear that retailers of all stripes have a newfound appreciation for the value of their physical stores, but also that many are grappling with the limits of the online channel.

Those limits were underscored last week by documents provided to regulators by Casper in preparation for an initial public offering. The mattress company reported $312.3 million in revenue for the nine months ending September 2019, up 20% from the year ago period, and $67.4 million in losses, a 4.9% increase from the previous year. Additionally, the company spent $423 million on marketing expenses from 2016 through 2019. Online sales dominate: the company does run 60 of its own stores and sells through other retailers, but says it's planning "more than" 200 locations in North America. ​ . . . more

Kronos survey finds many stores were understaffed for holiday season

Chain Store Age
Only one in three stores were fully prepared in terms of holiday staffing.

Only 33% of retail hiring managers claim they had adequate headcount to consistently meet shopper demand, according to the “2019 Retail Holiday Hiring Pulse Survey" commissioned by Kronos Inc. and conducted by The Harris Poll. The study was conducted among 300 U.S. retail hiring managers, with 94% saying their company faced hiring challenges around the 2019 holiday season.. . . more

GameStop holiday sales plummet; lowers forecast

GameStop
The holiday season brought no cheer to GameStop.

The beleaguered retailer reported that its total global sales plunged 27.5% to $1.83 billion for the nine-week holiday period ended January 4, 2020. Same-store sales fell 24.7%. GameStop said its holiday results were indicative of overall industry trends impacting the video game industry and driven by an accelerated decline in new hardware and software sales, particularly in the month of December. . . more

General merchandise holiday sales fall flat

Chain Store Age
Holiday sales for key general merchandise categories were disappointing despite a strong last-minute push.

That’s according to The NPD Group, which reported that general merchandise sales rose only 0.2% throughout the holiday season 2019 compared to 2018. Although the final holiday shopping week, which included Christmas and Hanukkah, showed robust growth and sales volumes across the apparel, toys, technology, small appliance, athletic footwear and prestige beauty industries, overall season results were still flat.. . . more

Former Apple store chief Ron Johnson: Amazon is in trouble

Yahoo Finance
Ron Johnson has been around the block a few times in retail. He has notched some wins (successful stint as Apple store chief working alongside Steve Jobs), and gotten a few black eyes (unsuccessful time as J.C. Penney’s CEO).

But he knows more than enough about the retail industry at this point in his long career to spot inflection points. Johnson says Amazon is pulling up to a crossroads after dominating retail this past decade.. . . more

Albertsons Prepares for an IPO, Again

The Wall Street Journal
Albertsons Cos. is once again preparing to go public, said people familiar with the matter, as the grocery giant’s backers look to tap into a strong stock market to cash out of an investment that dates back nearly 15 years.

The company, which also owns the Safeway and Jewel-Osco chains, expects to decide in coming weeks whether to proceed with an initial public offering that could value it around $19 billion, one of the people said. Albertsons has been updating IPO documents that have been filed confidentially with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the people said.. . . more

Monday, January 13, 2020

Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass: ‘Amazon is working’

CNBC
Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass says the retailer’s partnership with Amazon is going well, despite Kohl’s reporting dismal holiday sales that cast doubt on the strategy.

“I get this question, ‘Is Amazon working?’” Gass said Sunday at the National Retail Federation’s annual Big Show in New York, in an interview with CNBC’s Courtney Reagan. “Amazon is working. This returns program is working. We’re seeing the traffic. We’re getting new customers.” . . . more

Pier 1 downgraded by Moody's

Retail Dive
Moody's lowered its outlook for Pier 1 to negative from stable, reflecting the rating firm's expectations for near-term default, according to a Thursday release.

In additionally downgrading Pier 1's senior secured term loan, analysts pointed to "the erosion in its expected recovery, given the higher than originally expected level of EBITDA losses," which they noted reached roughly $230 million for the 12 months ending Nov. 30.. . . more

Casper files for IPO

Retail Dive
Mattress company Casper on Friday filed a document with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol CSPR.

The price range of the initial public offering price has yet to be determined, according to the filing. . . . more

The comeback of the brick-and-mortar store

Retail Dive
Retail may be on a store closure tear — more than 9,000 announced last year, with another 757 already this year— but it's clear from several analysts and executives speaking at the National Retail Federation Big Show that the key to the industry's future success is found in brick and mortar.

That notion is coming from the founders and leaders of cutting-edge retail concepts like Showfields, Area15, Enjoy and Neighborhood Goods as well as from the likes of Nordstrom, which opened a flagship department store and two merchandise-free Local stores, all in New York, in just the last few months.. . . more

A timeline of two years in athletics retail

Retail Dive
A rollercoaster year in athletics retail was capped off this fall with the departures of Nike CEO Mark Parker and Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank. Paired with another executive change at Adidas as Eric Liedtke, head of global brands, stepped down, the moves amount to “seismic changes” in the category, according to NPD Vice President and Senior Industry Advisor of Sports Matt Powell.

The announcements were defining moments for athletics retail in 2019, but the past two years have also scripted a longer story based on a few key themes. One can be found lurking in ad campaigns and between the lines of a few lower-profile executive departures.. . . more

Fast-growing home decor chain raises earnings, sales outlook

Chain Store Age
At Home expects to end its fiscal year on a high note.

The home decor retailer on Monday increased its fourth-quarter earnings and sales outlook. For the quarter, ending Jan. 25, the company expects its net sales to land on the high end of its $385.0 million to $393.0 million estimation.

For the year, At Home expects same-store sales to hit the high end of its previously provided outlook of $1.35 billion to $1.36 billion. . . . more

America's new favorite restaurants are Wawa, Sheetz and 7-Eleven

CNN Business
In "Vacation," National Lampoon's 1980s classic, Chevy Chase jokes, "I'm so hungry. I could eat a sandwich from a gas station."

But the convenience stores and gas stations that dot America's retail landscape have worked to improve their dinners-to-go and coffee. Today, chains like Sheetz, Wawa and Kwik Trip offer meal kits, salads, keto snacks, Kombucha and espressos.. . . more

Friday, January 10, 2020

Will ‘five pillars’ provide the foundation Bed Bath & Beyond needs to succeed?

RetailWire
Mark Tritton, president and CEO of Bed Bath & Beyond, called the company’s Q3 results “unsatisfactory” and pledged to “move quickly to course-correct and drive the business forward.”

On the company’s earnings call with analysts yesterday, Mr. Tritton outlined a preliminary plan to create “a modern, durable model” for the business.

The good news, he said, is that consumer research shows that 79 percent of customers have a favorable view of BBBY. The chain faces challenges, however, connecting with Gen-Z and Millennial consumers.. . . more

Survey reveals how to keep shoppers returning

Chain Store Age
Several specific technologies can help keep customers coming back to your stores.

According to results of the 2020 State of Mobility in Retail Report from mobile/IoT management solutions provider SOTI, 31% of U.S. respondents are more likely to shop again in a store that offers a better technology experience. Twenty-two percent are likely to stay in the store longer, while 19% are likely to spend more money and 10% will trust the brand more.. . . more

Walmart's Alphabot grocery picker goes fully operational in first store

engadget
Walmart has been investing heavily in robots and grocery deliveries, with tests for driverless grocery deliveries and an automated grocery order selection process rolling out recently, not to mention the direct-to-fridge delivery service it has been trialing. The automated grocery selection robots have now moved beyond testing and into the real world, where they're working alongside staff in a warehouse behind the Salem, NH superstore.

The Alphabot enables order picking within the warehouse using autonomous carts to pick refrigerated and frozen items as well as groceries stored at room temperature. The system locates an item, picks it and brings it to a workstation to be checked and bagged by a staff member.. . . more

By the numbers: The 2019 holiday sales roundup

Retail Dive
Analysts across the board predicted retail sales to rise during the holiday period. But so far, the gains have not been shared by all.

Profligate discounting could make 2019 the most promotional holiday season since the recession, according to one analyst. And hardest hit by price wars may be department stores, some of the largest of which have reported comparable sales declines for the all-important sales period. . . . more

L Brands lowers guidance as Victoria’s Secret drags down holiday performance

Chain Store Age
L Brands’ sales fell in the crucial holiday shopping season amid the ongoing decline of its signature Victoria’s Secret brand.

The company reported net sales of $3.9 billion for the nine weeks ended Jan. 4, 2020, compared to net sales of approximately $4.1 billion in the year-ago period. Total same-store sales decreased 3% compared to a 4% increase last year. . . . more

US mall retailers hit by declining holiday sales

Boston Business Journal
The persistent difficulties facing America’s mall-based retailers were demonstrated on Thursday when several of the biggest names in the sector reported falling sales over the crucial holiday trading period.

Like-for-like sales at JCPenney, which operates 850 stores and is an anchor tenant at shopping malls across the country, dropped 7.5 per cent year-on-year over the nine-week period to the start of January.. . . more

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Aroma Joe’s Continued Steady Growth in 2019

Franchising.com
Aroma Joe’s, one of the nation’s leading handcrafted beverage chains, continued its steady growth throughout 2019.

Snapshot of Aroma Joe’s 2019 accomplishments:
  • Aroma Joe’s opened five new coffee shops in three states (Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire).
  • The brand signed 12 development deals totaling 12 coffee shops, all of which are expected to open over the next several years.. . . more

Forever 21 Accused by Creditor of Inflating Sales Projections

NREI
Forever 21 Inc. can add a lawsuit to the hurdles it’s trying to overcome as it works to woo investors in time to finance its exit from bankruptcy.

An Alabama mall owner is suing Forever 21, saying it lost millions of dollars leasing space to the retailer based on misleading sales targets.. . . more

Six Predictions for the Retail Sector in 2020

NREI
It was a brutal year for the U.S. retail sector, despite a robust economy and healthy consumer spending. Massive store closures, retailers’ right-sizing, changing consumer behaviors, new delivery models and the upheaval of e-commerce competition impacted the sector.

However, there’s also opportunity. Traditional retailers are rethinking their physical location strategies and beefing up their online presence, while clicks-to-brick retailers are expanding their physical footprints.. . . more

JC Penney says holiday same-store sales fell 7.5%, reaffirms outlook for the year

CNBC
J.C. Penney wasn’t able to buck the trend of declining sales at U.S. department store chains this holiday season. But despite a steep sales decline, it reaffirmed its financial outlook for the year.

The company said its same-store sales over a nine-week period that ended on Jan. 4 dropped 7.5%. . . . more

H-E-B is No. 1 U.S. grocery chain, new data study says

KXAN
On Wednesday, national data science firm dunnhumby ranked Texas-based H-E-B as the number 1 grocer in the U.S. for the first time.

According to dunnhumby, H-E-B topped its list which ranked the grocers based on the annual Retailer Preference Index, or RPI. The index evaluates retailers based on several factors, including price, quality, convenience and speed. . . . more

Kohl’s shares tank on dismal holiday sales results, lowered outlook

CNBC
Kohl’s said same-store sales during November and December fell 0.2% due to weakness in its core women’s apparel business, leading it to lower the bar for its full-year outlook.

Kohl’s has been expected by analysts to deliver same-store sales growth during the fourth quarter, which includes the holiday season, of 0.4%. . . . more

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Bed Bath & Beyond shares plunge after earnings miss, company withdraws fiscal 2019 outlook

CNBC
Bed Bath & Beyond withdrew its fiscal 2019 outlook on Wednesday, saying that it would reveal its strategic plans in early 2020.

The retailer also reported third-quarter earnings and revenue that fell short of Wall Street’s expectations. The company’s new CEO Mark Tritton called the results “unsatisfactory” in a statement and said that the company has to create a durable business model for long-term profitable growth. . . . more

The future of retail: What 2020 and beyond will bring to the industry

Retail Dive
Doug Stephens' expertise is grounded in the past: Behind him are two decades of executive experience and two books, "The Retail Revival: Re-Imagining Business for the New Age of Consumerism" and "Reengineering Retail: The Future of Selling in a Post-Digital World."

He calls himself (and his consulting business) "the Retail Prophet," however, in light of his focus on the future. . . . more

Macy's says it will close 29 stores

Retail Dive
Macy’s is shuttering "28 Macy’s locations and one Bloomingdale’s store in the coming weeks," a company spokesperson told Retail Dive in an email on Wednesday.

The company didn't immediately respond to Retail Dive's request for more specifics on which stores will shutter, although they include one in Cincinnati, home to one of the company's headquarters, according to a notice filed Jan. 6 with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. According to a roundup of local reports compiled by USA Today, others include a store in Connecticut, four in Florida, two in Georgia, one in Idaho, two in Illinois, and three in Washington state, among others.. . . more

Tuscan Village looks to lure Bostonians to tax-free New Hampshire

Chain Store Age
For more than 100 years, Rockingham Park in this New Hampshire town just 30 miles from Boston, served as the metropolitan area’s premier racetrack. When the racing stopped there in 2010, a consortium attempted to put a casino on the site. That effort failed, and a local businessman named Joe Faro, founder of Tuscan Kitchen restaurants and a successful commercial foodservice business, decided to buy the 170-acre property.

Upon completion, Faro’s Tuscan Village will encompass 800,000 sq. ft. of retail, 900 residential units, two hotels, more than a million sq. ft. of class A office space, and an entertainment district. Its centerpiece will be a 6-acre lake.. . . more

Pier 1 Dives After Unveiling Staff Cuts, Reorganization Plan

NREI
Pier 1 Imports Inc. shares plunged close to 40% a day after the home-furnishings retailer reported more falling sales, plans to trim staff and close hundreds of stores.

The company has also drafted a bankruptcy plan and canceled some orders, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Late on Monday, Pier 1 reported a wider third-quarter loss and about an 11% decline in comparable sales, a key measure for retailers.. . . more

Walgreens Earnings Worse Than Expected; Dow Jones Stock Tumbles

Investor's Business Daily
Dow Jones stock Walgreens Boots Alliance reported fiscal first-quarter earnings that fell more than expected. Walgreens stock sold off early Wednesday.

Walgreens earnings fell to $1.37 a share while revenue climbed 1.6% to $34.34 billion. U.S. retail pharmacy same-store climbed 2.5%. Overseas pharmacy comps slid 3%, or 0.6% excluding currency effects.. . . more

Macy's eases holiday season sales worries, shares rise 6%

Reuters
Macy’s Inc reported just a 0.6% drop in holiday period same-store sales on Wednesday, quelling fears of a more dramatic fall in the department store operator’s numbers for the crucial annual shopping season after an earlier profit warning.

Macy’s, which cut its annual profit forecast in November blaming weak international tourism and sluggish mall traffic, is among the first major corporate names to report sales for the holiday season - seen as a barometer for the health of U.S. consumer spending.. . . more

This Leominster mall just sold for $16M

Boston Business Journal
Hull Property Group has bought The Mall at Whitney Field in Leominster from Colony Capital for $16 million.

The 744,107-square-foot mall is 95 percent leased and anchored by Sears, Macy’s, JCPenney, Burlington and Market Basket.. . . more

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Macy's is closing at least 15 stores — here's the full list

Business Insider
Macy's is closing at least 15 stores in the early part of 2020.

In 2016, Macy's said that it would close 100 stores after it reported six consecutive years of declining sales. Since then, it has been shuttering these locations as their leases expire.

A spokesperson for the company did not comment on whether this recent wave of closures was included in the 2016 plan but said that Macy's "regularly reviews" its store portfolio and will update investors in its upcoming investor day on February 5.. . . more

Ten new must-see stores in New York

Chain Store Age
Visitors planning to attend NRF 2020: Retail’s Big Shop in New York should carve out some time to take in the city’s newest retail stars.

While the city has always hummed with new retail activity, it outdid itself in 2019. From the opening of the largest mixed-use private real estate venture in U.S. history to the much-anticipated arrival of a luxury department store icon, it was some year — even by New York standards. Here are 10 of the most buzzed-about new entries. . . . more

Five trends to watch in 2020

Chain Store Age
Trade war, returns, and sustainable shipping are just some of the issues on consumers’ minds as 2020 begins.

According to a recent survey of more than 1,000 consumers from enterprise solutions provider JDA, there are five key consumer trends retailers should prepare for in 2020. Following is a brief overview of each trend, with supporting data.. . . more

Town Sports Acquires Flywheel Sports

SGB Media
Town Sports International Holdings Inc., one of the largest owners and operators of fitness clubs in the Northeast, agreed to acquire the studio business of Flywheel Sports Inc., the spin chain.

The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020, upon satisfaction of customary closing conditions. Established in 2010, Flywheel has 29 indoor cycling locations across the United States and multiple modalities and content, including its results-driven indoor cycling and off-bike precision training workouts, including “FlyBarre” and “FlyFIT”.. . . more

American Dream Mall Bucks Retail Nightmare, Nears 90% Lease Rate

NREI
When shoppers visit the long-awaited American Dream mega-mall in New Jersey this spring, they can expect to see it crammed with stores, restaurants and entertainment activities. It didn’t always seem that way.

Developers have leased almost 90% of its available 3.3 million square feet, a figure which rises to nearly 100% when leases under negotiation are included, according to a filing. . . . more

Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, CVS and Ulta poised to win in 2020

Retail Dive
Foot traffic analytics firm Placer.ai sees Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, CVS and Ulta as among the likely retail winners in 2020.

In a blog post, Ethan Chernofsky, vice president of marketing at Placer.ai, called out Ulta's 9% year-over-year increase in traffic on Black Friday 2019, which represented a 300% spike over the beauty retailer's baseline traffic, as well as strong traffic at CVS' new HealthHub test stores.. . . more

Taco Bell’s parent company Yum Brands acquires The Habit Burger Grill

The Orange County Register
About nine miles separates The Habit Burger Grill’s headquarters from those of Taco Bell. But from now on the two Irvine-based restaurant chains will be close in another way.

The Habit has been acquired by Taco Bell’s parent company Yum Brands for approximately $375 million.

Yum Brands also owns KFC, based in Louisville, as well as Pizza Hut and WingStreet, both based in Texas.. . . more

US shopping mall vacancies hit two-decade high

Boston Business Journal
Vacancies in US shopping malls have hit the highest level in at least 20 years, a milestone that shows how landlords are struggling to come to terms with the age of Amazon.

More shopping centre units lay empty across the country at the end of 2019 than any time during the past two recessions, according to figures published on Tuesday by Reis Moody’s Analytics.. . . more

Monday, January 6, 2020

10 retail trends to watch in 2020

Retail Dive
The on-again, off-again, maybe-on-again of tariffs that got on retailers' last nerve in 2019 serve as a neat metaphor for the industry as a whole — in retail, things are complicated, swiftly changing and sometimes contradictory.

The U.S. consumer, for example, seems confident, yet remains picky. Stores need e-commerce, yet e-commerce needs stores. It's complicating the business from merchandising to fulfillment, shaking up the c-suite, and landing ill-prepared or debt-heavy retailers in the financial dust.

That 2020 is an election year will only make an already complex environment more bewildering. Here is a look ahead to 10 of the trends Retail Dive is watching most closely.. . . more

CEO Churn: Three on the Hot Seat

Chain Store Age
As the new year settles in, so do new leaders at many of the nation’s leading chains. In a disrupted retail environment, they all have their work cut out for them — but some more than others.

Here are three who face an uphill climb in the months ahead:

• James Marcum, David’s Bridal: Retail veteran Marcum took on a lot of baggage when he said “I do” to the nation’s largest bridal specialty chain in June, starting with a 69-year-old company that has become increasingly less relevant in its space.. . . more

Pier 1 to shut more stores

Chain Store Age
Pier 1 Imports continues to struggle to turnaround its ailing business.

The beleaguered home décor retailer is planning to announce a “significant” increase in store closings when it reports its third-quarter results this week, reported Bloomberg. The chain hopes to restructure out of court, although a bankruptcy filing is also an option, the report said.. . . more

Four CEOs Found the Secret to Thriving During the Retail Apocalypse

NREI
A few taps on a screen or a handful of words heard by a smart speaker and within a couple days, maybe hours, packages arrive.

Buying things has never been easier. Selling them, however, is increasingly difficult. Blame changing tastes and the explosion of online options for killing off numerous retailers and forcing others to rewrite playbooks. Just last year about four dozen chief executives of U.S. companies making everything from Tupperware to jeans departed, according to researcher Exechange.. . . more

In a Burger World, Can Sweetgreen Scale Up?

The New York Times
Sweetgreen, the fast-casual salad chain, has developed a new store format, called Sweetgreen 3.0, that had recently been introduced in New York City after two years of planning.

Many of the changes being tested at 3.0 seem crucial to realizing the ambitious plans of Sweetgreen’s co-founder and chief executive, Jonathan Neman. With its prescient mobile technology strategy, the company hopes to become something bigger — much, much bigger — than a boutique urban chain serving arugula to health nuts and yoga moms.. . . more

Hudson’s Bay Co shares shoot up 9% after Richard Baker sweetens bid

Financial Post
Hudson’s Bay Co. Chairman Richard Baker raised his offer to take the struggling retailer private, handing a victory to minority shareholders including Catalyst Capital Group Inc. that fought to derail the original bid.

Hudson’s Bay said in a statement late Friday it agreed to a new bid by Baker and a group of allies, who together control the company. The offer was increased for a second time to $11 a share from $10.30. Baker’s first offer was for $9.45 apiece in June.. . . more

Bed Bath & Beyond shares jump on real estate deal that gives the retailer $250 million

CNBC
Bed Bath & Beyond said in a press release that the properties it has sold represent about 2.1 million square feet of commercial real estate, which includes stores, office space and a distribution center. Bed Bath & Beyond, which also owns Buy Buy Baby and Harmon drugstores, has roughly 1,500 locations in total.

The company said it is continuing to work with outside financial advisors to review its real estate and determine the best uses “to optimize its asset base and enhance shareholder value.”. . . more

Friday, January 3, 2020

Is Rite Aid already headed for a turnaround?

RetailWire
Long a laggard in the retail pharmacy game, Rite Aid recently brought on a new CEO who believes she’s got the right medicine to cure its woes. Only four months into her tenure, things appear to be looking up.

In Rite Aid’s third-quarter earnings report on December 19, CEO Heywood Donigan announced numerous indicators of progress, including the chain’s biggest earnings increase in two years, increased year-over-year flu vaccinations and other immunizations, an increase in front-end comps (when excluding tobacco products), and better expense management and improved retiring of debt.. . . more