Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Traffic at Walmart, Costco and Target falls for the first time in weeks as coronavirus stockpiling behavior shifts

Traffic at Walmart Inc., Costco Wholesale Corp. and Target Corp. dropped for the first time in the weeks since the coronavirus pandemic ramped up in the U.S., according to Placer.ai.

At each of the three retailers, traffic grew the last week of February and the first week of March.. . . more

Fast-food Chains Give Franchises Rent Deferrals, Other Assistance

Globe St.
Fast-food chains have been offering franchise owners assistance with rent and other payments to survive the coronavirus crisis. The most recent is Restaurant Brands International, the parent company of some 3,700 Tim Hortons and Burger King locations in Canada and the US, is helping its franchises with cash payments and rent deferrals for a total of $70 million.

For approximately 3,700 eligible locations that are controlled by Restaurant Brands, the company has temporarily converted its rent structure from a combination of fixed plus variable rent to 100% variable rent. It has also deferred rent payments for up to 45 days.. . . more

Retail furloughs snowball as Kohl's, Gap extend store closures

Retail Dive
Gap Inc. on Monday extended its store closures in North America and Europe past their previously announced April 1 reopening and furloughed 80,000 mostly store workers in the U.S. and Canada, "pausing pay but continuing to offer applicable benefits until stores are able to reopen."

Kohl's is similarly extending store closures "until further notice" and furloughing all store workers and some corporate workers affiliated with store operations, providing benefits but not pay past the previously announced two weeks. That affects some 85,000 employees, the company told Retail Dive.. . . more

Americans Adopting E-Commerce Faster Than Ever Amid Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic is sparking enormous changes in e-commerce over a very short period of time, according to a study from Adobe Analytics.

Average daily online sales for groceries, for example, doubled by the middle of March compared with the start of the month, the study shows. Overall, e-commerce is up 25% over the same period, which compares March 13 to 15 with the first 11 days of the month. Using a longer view, grocery spending now represents 8% of overall e-commerce, up from 6% three years ago, Adobe Analytics said.. . . more

Malls Survived The Retail Apocalypse, But Coronavirus Threatens To Be Their Armaggedon

On Sunday President Trump announced that federal social distancing measures will continue through the end of April. While he said that details of the extended recommendations would follow on Tuesday, it is likely that all non-essential stores, including malls, will remain closed till then.

These are necessary steps to save people’s lives, yet it may result in the death of many retailers. Malls, in particular, are at most risk in these days of social distancing.. . . more

Simon Property furloughs 30% of workforce

The biggest U.S. mall owner, Simon Property Group, has furloughed about 30% of its workforce, CNBC has learned, as the company copes with all of its properties being temporarily shut because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The furloughs impact full- and part-time workers, at its Indianapolis headquarters and at its malls and outlet centers across the U.S., a person familiar told CNBC. . . . more

L.L.Bean CEO says Congress must do more to address ‘serious’ retail crisis

Many U.S. retailers are facing a financial shock from the coronavirus that has yet to be fully addressed by Washington lawmakers, L.L.Bean CEO Stephen Smith said Monday.

“I think it’s a really serious situation, and I actually don’t think it’s getting enough attention,” Smith told CNBC’s Courtney Reagan on “Power Lunch.”

Smith said his concern was concentrated around “middle market retail” — not companies selling essential goods like groceries or small mom-and-pop stores. . . . more

Monday, March 30, 2020

Macy's furloughs most of workforce as COVID-19 takes its toll

Retail Dive
Macy's on Monday said that the measures announced last week to shore up its finances have helped but are "not enough," so it's placing most of its workforce on furlough beginning this week. That includes employees in its digital business, distribution centers and call centers, though there will be fewer furloughs in those areas. As of the fourth quarter, Macy's reported 125,000 employees.

At least through May, furloughed employees with health benefits will continue to receive coverage, with Macy's covering the entire premium. "We expect to bring colleagues back on a staggered basis as business resumes," per a company press release.. . . more

S&P downgrades TJX, Bed Bath & Beyond on weak post-COVID-19 economy

Retail Dive
S&P Global Friday downgraded two more retailers amid ongoing disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic. Both off-pricer TJX and home goods company Bed Bath & Beyond garnered negative outlooks as analysts anticipate a weak economy and spending declines after the pandemic subsides.

S&P lowered all of Bed Bath & Beyond's ratings, including its issuer credit rating, to "B+" from "BB," according to an emailed press release.. . . more

Rents coming due pose critical test for landlords and tenants

Chain Store Age
With most stores closed throughout much of the United States to help stem the spread of COVID-19, retail landlords are being inundated with requests for rent relief.

That’s according to The Lamy Group, which noted that, as the first week of April approaches, rents are due for the first time during the crisis, which will mark the start of a critical test for landlords and retail tenants alike. . . . more

Four long-term retail trends in post-COVID-19 world

Chain Store Age
Retailers are incredibly resilient. Despite everything that’s been thrown at the retail world (from economic turndowns to the threat of a literal apocalypse (it has the ingenuity and perseverance to rise above and emerge stronger.

During any stressful time, the temptation may be to focus on short-term performance via aggressive marketing and sales promotions. The smarter play, however, is to focus on the future.

Regardless of the overall impact of this Coronavirus pandemic, the cost of writing off the rest of 2020 and planning to hit reset next year is enormous. Instead, HIT RESET NOW. . . . more

Increased Demand for Warehouse Space and Labor Created by COVID-19 Could be a Long-Term Trend

As non-essential businesses are forced to close doors, some retail and e-commerce firms are ramping up hiring and operations in order to meet a surge in demand for necessities and home deliveries.

“There’s certainly good news and bad news happening in retail right now. We know that the bulking goods, the discount warehouses, the dollar stores, grocery stores are all doing very well. Most of those are national credit tenants, so if a tenant in your shopping center happens to be oriented towards value retail, or discount retail, or grocery, you should be pretty safe.” says Naveen Jaggi, president of retail advisory services at real estate services firm JLL.. . . more

Publix offering rent assistance to tenants in its shopping centers

Tampa Bay Times
Publix is offering rent relief to its tenants who have closed their businesses due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Lakeland-based grocer is waiving rent for two months to businesses that operate in shopping centers that Publix owns, according to a news release. Publix is also waiving maintenance fees and taxes, regardless of the tenant’s access to other relief.. . . more

Concern for industry's future follows halt of Mass. recreational marijuana sales

Boston Business Journal
Earlier this month, a letter was reportedly distributed to employees of Cultivate Holdings, a medical and recreational marijuana dispensary in Leicester.

The letter dated, which was March 18 and was obtained by MassLive, noted that the outbreak of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, was rapidly evolving. The letter offered some options to employees: continue working, stay home and get well, or stay home and collect.. . . more

US retailers teeter on the brink as 630,000 outlets close

Boston Business Journal
Few businesses are in greater need of emergency cash than retailers, yet the $2.2tn US stimulus bill is unlikely to prevent bricks and mortar chains hardest hit by the coronavirus shutdown from going to the wall.

While Amazon, Walmart and a handful of other operators have the chance to emerge from the crisis in a stronger position thanks to a boom in online deliveries and the rush for household essentials, much of the rest of the sector is facing a historic crunch.. . . more

Friday, March 27, 2020

COVID-19: Where the retail real estate industry is headed (ICSC members only)

The shopping center industry has never faced a crisis like the global COVID-19 pandemic, and the situation is changing so fast that stakeholders can point to few, if any, hard-and-fast guidelines.

Experts say three imperatives do stand out, however: Do everything you can to keep your people safe; make sure internal and external lines of communication stay open; and collaborate with each other to the greatest extent possible. . . . more

Michaels, Gap, At Home, Container Store among latest downgrades on pandemic disruption

Retail Dive
Credit downgrades on retail companies have accelerated this week as the industry weathers unprecedented store closures and a precarious economy caused by the spread of COVID-19.

In the course of one day on Thursday, S&P Global downgraded four retail companies: Michaels (to a B rating), At Home Group (to CCC+), The Container Store (to B-) and Spectrum Brands (to B), according to emailed press releases. The pandemic was mentioned in all four press releases.. . . more

COVID-19 impacts retailers on products, personalization, people

Chain Store Age
A closer look at the recent Chain Store Age COVID-19 survey reveals some very specific areas where the pandemic is disrupting operations.

The online survey, conducted online via the Chain Store Age site, asked readers four questions about what impact, if any, the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic is having on their enterprise in the areas of fulfillment, sales, store operations, and workforce management. . . . more

GameStop Set To Close 300 More Stores This Year

GameStop is set to permanently close 300 more stores in the coming year.

The news arrived in an earnings call conducted by the company, which shed light on GameStop's financial situation. It was revealed that the company "plans to meet or exceed" the number of closures that occurred in the previous fiscal year, which saw 321 shops close their doors. The retailer currently has 5,500 operational stores across the US. . . . more

Gap pulls forecast, suspends dividend, taps $500 million credit as coronavirus bites

Gap Inc on Thursday withdrew its full-year forecast issued just two weeks ago, suspended its dividend and said it will draw down on its entire $500 million credit facility as the apparel retailer looks to weather the coronavirus crisis.

The disruptions caused by the health crisis mark the latest headache for newly named Chief Executive Officer Sonia Syngal as she tries to revive demand for its apparel in a competitive market plagued by slowing footfall in malls.. . . more

GNC has stayed open amid confusion around 'essential' retail. Some employees feel unsafe.

Retail Dive
As more than 100 retailers close up shop temporarily or reduce hours as part of the effort to slow the COVID-19 epidemic, GNC is keeping its doors open, including in areas with restrictions on resident movement and on which businesses can open their doors.

The vitamin and supplement retailer has instructed its employees to stay open and inform authorities that they are an "essential" business, as a retailer of food and beverages, under Department of Homeland Security guidelines, according to an internal letter from GNC general counsel Susan Canning ​obtained by Retail Dive​. . . . more

Hiring expands at Stop & Shop, Lidl, Aldi to meet coronavirus demands

Supermarket News
Stop & Shop, Aldi U.S. and Lidl US are expanding hiring as grocery retailers nationwide seek extra hands to help with surging consumer purchases and stronger health safety measures amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Quincy, Mass.-based Stop & Shop said Thursday it plans to hire at least 5,000 new associates for regular part-time jobs in stores, distribution centers and delivery operations in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. . . . more

Restaurant Leases In the Time of Quarantine – What are the Obligations Now?

Modern Restaurant Management
It is not surprising that under the current circumstances, restaurants are seeking help to understand their lease obligations. Can they close their restaurant? Can they stop paying rent? The short answer is possibly yes, but not in every instance.

Each case is different, so it is important for restaurant owners to consult with a real estate attorney about their own particular situation. This article will present some ideas to consider in that evaluation.. . . more

Thursday, March 26, 2020

How retailers stay afloat during unprecedented mass closures

Retail Dive
Across the U.S. this week, many thousands of stores and hundreds of malls lay dark, as the country tries to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Around 100 retailers have closed all or a significant fraction of their stores.

To state the obvious: American retail as we know it has never gone through an event like this, not at this scale or magnitude. That means the playbook is being written on the fly.. . . more

What Retailers Will Be Left Standing After the Coronavirus Pandemic Ends?

As much of the U.S. goes on lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19, many in the retail and restaurant sectors are taking a major blow.

One-third of Americans are currently under a shelter-in-place order. Shopping, except for groceries and necessities (deemed “essential services”), has pretty much ceased. Malls, theaters, gyms and other recreational venues are temporarily closed. Nike, Apple, Kohl’s, H&M and other big chains have temporarily shuttered stores.. . . more

Though coronavirus-driven uncertainty reigns, Lowe’s CEO says business is holding up

Like many retailers that sell items considered essential, Lowe’s is seeing some benefit from the coronavirus outbreak (beyond just being able to keep stores open).

Shoppers are buying large appliances like freezers and refrigerators to store food they’ve purchased in preparation for staying home for extended periods of time, says Lowe’s chief executive Marvin Ellison.. . . more

REIT Pricing Suggests CRE Values Have Repriced Lower

Globe St.
Many investors are hitting the pause button, at least for the short-term, as the pandemic plays out. Market volatility and a general uncertainty are surely contributing factors to the decision, but in addition, it has become challenging to price deals in the current market and face-to-face interaction has come to a halt.

“No one knows what pricing is right now. How do value a home right now? How do you value a regional mall right now? There is a lot of skepticism in the market, and no one knows how to value anything,” David Shulman, senior economist at UCLA Anderson, tells GlobeSt.com.. . . more

US jobless claims hit 3.3 million, quadruple previous record

Associated Press
Nearly 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week — more than quadruple the previous record set in 1982 — amid a widespread economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus.

The surge in weekly applications was a stunning reflection of the damage the viral outbreak is inflicting on the economy. Filings for unemployment aid generally reflect the pace of layoffs.. . . more

Essential? Retailers like Guitar Center and Michaels think they are

Boston Business Journal
At some Guitar Center stores, employees are still allowing customers to try out models of guitars. Dillard’s, a department store chain popular in the South, is still welcoming shoppers looking for clothing and makeup. And Michaels, the arts and crafts chain, says it is keeping many of its stores open to provide supplies to parents teaching their homebound children. “We are here for the makers,” the retailer said in an email to one concerned customer.

In states hit hard by the coronavirus, like New York and California, governors and mayors have mandated the closure of all but the obviously essential stores, like supermarkets and pharmacies. And the Department of Homeland Security has laid out guidelines for businesses across the country to follow when deciding whether to stay open, even in regions not known to be hot spots for the virus. The agency is careful to note that its definition of a “critical” work force is not an official standard, leaving it up to corporations to decide for themselves.. . . more

Senate Passes $2 Trillion Stimulus Bill That Includes Relief For Retail, Hotels, Multifamily

The Senate, voting unanimously just before midnight Wednesday evening, passed the economic aid package. The bill had been expected to pass that afternoon, but it was delayed after a group of Republican senators aired objections about its unemployment insurance provisions. The House of Representatives is expected to vote Thursday before sending the bill to the White House.

 Parts of the measure are aimed at providing relief in the form of loans to real estate sectors particularly hard hit by the emergency, especially hotels and restaurants.. . . more

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Amazon workers test positive for covid-19 at nine U.S. warehouses

Washington Post
The U.S. coronavirus outbreak has spread to at least nine Amazon warehouses, infecting workers racing to deliver massive volumes of packages for consumers leery of leaving their homes to shop.

In the past few days, Amazon workers tested positive for covid-19, the disease caused by the novel virus, two in New York City; Shepherdsville, Ky.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Katy, Tex.; Brownstown, Mich.; Oklahoma City; Moreno Valley, Calif.; and Wallingford, Conn., according to Amazon and local media reports. In some cases, Amazon shut down facilities for cleaning, and some co-workers who were in close contact with their infected colleagues have been quarantined.. . . more

How small retailers are coping with the pandemic

Retail Dive
Jennifer Rockwell was working in her secondhand apparel shop in downtown Portland, Maine, last week, scrambling to figure out how she could sell online after closing down just days before. The store, Material Objects, is all set for the spring fashion season and normally bustling with shoppers who come in frequently to discover her most recent finds. On Friday, it was empty save for her two huskies.

"I think we were naively thinking we were going to continue with business as usual as recently as last Friday," she told Retail Dive in an interview. . . . more

Pier 1 implements furlough program across business; slashes pay for execs

Chain Store Age
Pier I Imports is temporarily laying off a large number of its employees and reducing pay for those that remain to help mitigate the financial impact of COVID-19.

The struggling home goods retailer, which filed for bankruptcy protection in February and is pursuing a sale, has implemented a furlough program that includes approximately 65% of home office associates and for certain store and distribution employees. The program is in effect until further notice.. . . more

Pandora taps H&M veteran to lead retail turnaround

Chain Store Age
Pandora has appointed Martino Pessina to the newly established role of chief commercial officer, effective April 2.

Pessina joins the Copenhagen-based jewelry retailer from fast-fashion giant H&M. where he served as president, North America. Pessina has spent close to 20 years in different roles at H&M and been in charge of retail, sales, merchandising, operations and global expansion.. . . more

Target redoes year's plan as sales surge 20% mainly because of coronavirus

Target’s sales have spiked more than 20% this month from people stocking up on food and household supplies, yet the disruption caused by the coronavirus means the retailer is putting on hold or postponing its plans for the year, Target CEO Brian Cornell said.

The Minneapolis-based company will scale back the number of remodels and new stores opened, as well as adding fresh groceries and alcohol to its pickup services. . . . more

Some Retail Stores That Closed Due to the Coronavirus Might Never Reopen

Footwear News
Store closures could be poised to hit a new high in 2020 as retailers contend with the coronavirus crisis.

According to a report released today by Coresight Research, there could be more than 15,000 gross store closures in the U.S. this year — up from a record-high 9,548 closures in 2019.. . . more

Apple hoping to reopen retail stores next month

Tech Radar
Apple has revealed that it expects to gradually re-open its retail stores around the world in the first half of April.

The Cupertino based tech company had temporarily shuttered its stores across the globe due to the coronavirus threat and was planning to re-open them by March 27, but has now delayed the phase openings another week. . . . more

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

GNC downgraded after saying it probably can't pay its debt

Retail Dive
S&P Global downgraded GNC following a regulatory filing by the supplement retailer that acknowledged the company does not expect to have the cash to repay some of its debt that matures in less than a year. Because of that, GNC also added "going concern" language to the fling, saying there was "substantial doubt" that it would be able to continue operating over the next 12 months.

S&P analysts said that, in their view, a default on or restructuring of debt is "inevitable" given that the company admits it does not have the cash to pay it back.. . . more

Old Restaurant Chains Get a Second Look from Quarantined America

Decades-old pizza and chicken-wing chains are seeing a revival thanks to confined U.S. consumers. Exhausted parents and bored 20-somethings are turning to older restaurant chains like Papa John’s International Inc. and Wingstop Inc. for delivery and takeout in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic that’s forced people to stay at home.

Brands that were flagging last year are now hiring as fast as they can.

Papa John’s on Monday said it’s adding 20,000 workers who can interview and potentially even start that same day. Domino’s Pizza Inc. is hiring, too. . . . more

Retail is having its worst month ever, and chart analyst warns against buying on weakness

Retail stocks are getting pummeled as the coronavirus outbreak worsens and swaths of the country enter a lockdown.

The XRT retail ETF has fallen 33% in March, its worst month ever. Some of its components have performed even worse — Kohl’s, Macy’s, and Guess have all dropped by more than 60%.

Ari Wald, head of technical analysis at Oppenheimer, said this is an extension of broad underperformance stretching back years, and that it could get worse.. . . more

Neiman Marcus Considers Bankruptcy to Ease Crushing Debt Load

Neiman Marcus Group Inc., the luxury retailer that’s been struggling to ease its $4.3 billion debt load, is talking with lenders about filing for bankruptcy, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

No formal decisions have been made, but Neiman Marcus has held initial talks with lenders about a potential bankruptcy loan that would keep the company running while it works out a recovery plan, the people said. They asked not to be identified discussing a private matter. . . . more

Walmart, Walgreens, Rite Aid open COVID-19 testing sites

Chain Store Age
Walmart, Walgreens and Rite Aid have opened their first drive-thru coronavirus testing site.

The sites, similar to the testing site that opened in the parking lot of a CVS Health store in Shrewsbury, Mass., are being launched in partnership with the federal government. The Walmart sites are located in the parking lots outside a Walmart Supercenter in Northlake, Ill., and one in Joliet, Illinois. Rite Aid's testing site is in the parking lot of its store in Philadelphia's Oak Lane section.. . . more

COVID-19 reveals fulfillment, workforce, store challenges

Chain Store Age
A Chain Store Age survey reveals how COVID-19 is disrupting retail workflows including sales, customer experience, supply chain and workforce management.

The online survey, conducted online via the Chain Store Age site from March 19-22, asked readers four questions about what impact, if any, the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic is having on their enterprise. Here are the results. . . . more

COVID-19 has split impact on retail performance

Chain Store Age
COVID-19 is having a negative impact on sales for some retailers and is a boon for others.

Chain Store Age conducted a survey online from March 19-22 asking retailers about how the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting retail workflows throughout the enterprise. A leading 39% of respondents said it has had a negative impact on sales. However, a combined 38% reported the virus has been a “goldmine” (18%) or created significant uptick (20%). . . . more

Monday, March 23, 2020

Joann downgraded as pandemic disruption looms

Retail Dive
Joann joined Party City last week in receiving a downgrade into C-territory from S&P, in part on COVID-19 concerns.

S&P analysts Pasha Azadmard and Diya Iyer said they expect pressure on Joann's revenue for at least a full quarter, given that the retailer has already been forced by various government orders to close more than 45 of its stores.

"At stores that remain open, we expect steep traffic declines in the double-digit percent area in the coming weeks as consumers practice social distancing," the analysts said. . . . more

Dollar Tree hiring 25,000 employees; 7-Eleven to add 20,000 jobs

Chain Store Age
Dollar Tree and 7-Eleven have joined the list of grocers, retailers and restaurant chains that are ramping up their hiring efforts to keep up with consumer demand in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The discounter plans to hire 25,000 full- and part-time associates at Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores and distribution centers across the U.S. The open positions include full- and part-time managers at the company’s more than 15,000 store locations, along with flexible part-time shifts for cashiers and stockers. . . . more

A First Look at Legal Issues in Leases, Thanks to Coronavirus

Commercial Observer
Property owners and tenants have been calling their lawyers with lots of questions about today’s global pandemic. Here is a quick overview of many of those questions, and the answers we are generally giving. All of this, however, is new territory. The legal summaries here should not be relied upon. Each situation depends on its specific circumstances, including, above all, the wording of documents. But the issues and exposures are all genuine.

Rent Holiday? Many tenants face a complete elimination of revenue for an extended time, yet their lease continues, including the obligation to pay rent. Even if they have cash reserves, which most small tenants don’t, they want to hold on to cash as much as possible. Many tenants have been opening conversations with property owners, requesting rent relief. A rent deferral doesn’t help; it just defers the pain.. . . more

Eating Out May Never Be the Same in U.S.

Coronavirus is sending Americans back home for dinner, creating a crisis for a restaurant industry that was already slowing down.

The viral outbreak is wreaking havoc as diners isolate themselves at home and states restrict operations to carryout and delivery only. Large swaths of the industry are facing weeks, or perhaps months, with reduced or nonexistent revenue.. . . more

GameStop Finally Closes Stores To Customers

GameStop will close all of its stores to customers tomorrow, switching to a “delivery at the door” service for locations that remain open, company CEO George Sherman said in a letter to employees today that was obtained by Kotaku.

Shoppers will be able to order games online, by using the GameStop app, or with QR codes at stores. They can then pick the games up curbside at stores that remain open through the coronavirus pandemic. Some states, like California and Nevada, have forced the struggling retailer to shut down its locations entirely, despite GameStop’s protests.. . . more

CVS to hire 50,000 workers, gives bonuses to employees amid coronavirus pandemic

USA Today
CVS Health is hiring 50,000 workers and delivering bonuses to employees who are required to work on-site during the coronavirus pandemic.

The company's CVS Pharmacy locations remain open during the COVID-19 crisis.

CVS is giving workers bonuses of up to $500. Eligible recipients include pharmacists, store employees and managers.. . . more

Best Buy moves to curbside pickup only as it sees surge in orders for home office equipment

The Verge
Starting today, Best Buy is limiting its US stores to “contactless” curbside service, allowing only employees into its stores, according to a statement from the company. Orders placed on the Best Buy website or via its app will be delivered to customers’ cars outside its stores by employees.

The curbside system includes returns and exchanges, and in an email to customers, Best Buy says “if, for any reason, you didn’t order the product in advance and the product is in stock in the store, one of our employees will be more than happy to go get it in the store and sell it to you while you remain in your car.” Best Buy has suspended its in-home installations and repair services, as well as its product trade-in and recycling services.. . . more

Friday, March 20, 2020

National Retail Federation: Expand ‘essential retail’ to include pet stores, truck rest stops and more

A major retail trade group is asking the White House to clarify guidance from federal health officials and help keep key businesses like pet stores, truck rest stops and distribution centers open.

In a letter to President Donald Trump on Thursday, the National Retail Federation’s CEO Matthew Shay said some state and local officials are ordering retailers to shut down to prevent the spread of the coronavirus – but also closing businesses that should stay open.. . . more

Bed Bath & Beyond closing half of its stores due to coronavirus pandemic. Will your store stay open?

USA Today
Bed Bath & Beyond is temporarily closing 800 stores due to the coronavirus pandemic, but plans to keep approximately 700 "essential" stores open with reduced hours.

The New Jersey-based home goods retailer announced Thursday that it will close stores without health and beauty departments on Friday until April 3.. . . more

Walmart to hire 150,000 workers as shoppers surge on coronavirus fears

Big-box retailer Walmart Inc said on Thursday it would hire more than 150,000 hourly workers in the United States, citing a jump in shoppers due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Rival Amazon.com Inc made a similar move earlier this week, announcing it would hire 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers in the United States as the virus outbreak boosts online orders. . . . more

Taubman Centers temporarily closing all but two of its properties

Chain Store Age
Taubman Centers has gone dark in response to COVID-19 with the exception of two outdoor centers.

The real estate investment trust said its malls closed at the end of business on March 19 and will remain shuttered through March 29, or later if required by state or local government. Tenants at the company’s open-air, street-front retail centers – Country Club Plaza (Kansas City, Mo.) and International Market Place (Waikiki, Hawaii) – may continue to operate. The announcement comes on the heels of Simon’s decision to close all of its retail properties in the U.S. until March 29.. . . more

Zumiez Uncertain How Social Distancing Will Impact Sales

SGB Media
Zumiez Inc.’s fourth-quarter earnings came in better than expected and momentum continued into February. Sales are generally holding up well in its home state of Washington despite the coronavirus although officials aren’t sure to what extent social distancing will hurt sales.
On the Q&A session the company’s conference call on March 12, Zumiez’s officials were asked to what degree online sales would make up for in-store sales with the calls for social distancing.

Rick Brooks, CEO, said the answer depends on reach retailer’s connections with consumers. He noted that Zumiez’s stores remain key ingredients to its connection with customers. . . . more

Facing cash crunch, J. Jill borrows $33M from lenders

Boston Business Journal
J. Jill Inc. has borrowed $33 million from its lenders — near the limits of its line of credit — as the struggling women’s clothing retailer grapples with the loss of revenue from stores closed by the coronavirus.

The Quincy-based company is drawing down the majority of a $40 million revolving credit facility “as a precautionary measure,” it said in a securities filing Wednesday. J. Jill closed all of its stores on Wednesday because of the coronavirus outbreak, and they will remained closed through at least March 27. As of the end of 2019, it had more than 280 stores nationwide. . . . more

TJX shuts down stores and online businesses

Boston Business Journal
The TJX Cos. is temporarily shutting down all U.S. stores and shuttering its online businesses, the Framingham-based discount retail giant said Thursday.

Citing the COVID-19 pandemic, the parent company of several retailers, including T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, said the closures go into effect today and are scheduled to last two weeks.. . . more

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Distressed retailers struggled with falling sales for years — and then came coronavirus

Retail Dive
Retailing has been plenty difficult for the past several years. Of the dozens of retailers to file for bankruptcy since 2016, many if not most of them described in court papers a landscape that suddenly shifted. Consumers changed their habits, and traffic to stores fell just as suddenly and confoundingly.

Those trials might ultimately seem quaint compared to the massive disruption the spread of COVID-19, and the measures taken to slow it, are bringing to the industry.. . . more

Retail Investment Sales Volume Was Already Down Before Coronavirus Hit. What Will Happen Now?

As the world struggles with the impact of the coronarvirus pandemic, the question looms how it will affect U.S. commercial real estate as there are more quarantines, limited gatherings, travel restrictions and closings.

Bricks-and-mortar retail has already been grappling with overwhelming changes in consumer shopping behavior. A record 9,300 stores closed in the U.S. in 2019, reported global marketing research firm Coresight Group, shattering the previous record of roughly 8,100 stores in 2017. . . . more

Best Buy putting limit on in-store traffic to 10 to 15 customers at a time

Chain Store Age
At a time when consumers are more reliant on technology than ever before, Best Buy is taking action to keep up with consumer demand and help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The nation’s largest consumer electronics retailer said that starting Monday, March 23, and at least for the next two weeks, it will serve customers through limited access to its stores and curbside pickup. . . . more

Home Depot temporarily adjusts store hours, extends paid-off time in response to COVID-19

Chain Store Age
It’s not only grocers and Amazon that are selling high-demand items during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Home Depot said its stores will now close daily at 6 p.m. (opening hours will remain unchanged) to give stores the ability to staff appropriately and provide additional time to perform cleaning and restock shelves to keep up with demand. . . . more

Retailers adjust store hours, focus on employees amid COVID-19 outbreak

Drug Store News
The impact of COVID-19 is being felt globally, and retail is no exception. As the number of cases in the United States continues to increase, the industry is taking steps to keep stores safe for consumers and associates while still serving as a resource.

All three of the nation’s leading drug chains — CVS Pharmacy, Rite Aid and Walgreens have undertaken efforts to improve access to prescription delivery, waiving fees. . . . more

Simon closing malls, including Copley Place, through March 29

Boston Business Journal
Simon Property Group Inc., one of the country’s biggest retail landlords, is closing all of its domestic retail properties, malls, outlets and mills, the Indianapolis-based company said Wednesday.

"The health and safety of our shoppers, retailers and employees is of paramount importance and we are taking this step to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities," said David Simon, chairman, president and CEO of Simon Property Group (NYSE: SPG), in a statement.. . . more

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Retailers brace for the impact of coronavirus

Retail Dive
In response to the rapidly changing climate and uncertainties surrounding COVID-19, many retailers have taken action. For some, like Macy’s, Apple and Sephora, that means temporarily closing their doors to help reduce the spread of the virus. For others, like Walmart, Target and Dollar General, it means adjusting shopping hours in order to give associates more time to restock and clean stores.

As the general public is advised to reduce the size of groups they interact with — from no more than 250 people, to 50 and most recently, from President Trump, to avoid groups larger than 10 — consumers are beginning to forego shopping for nonessential items.. . . more

Shopping-Center Owners Urge Trump to Provide Relief

A trade group representing shopping-center owners is urging the Trump administration to provide relief to retailers, restaurants and landlords as the coronavirus pandemic shuts down commerce around the U.S.

The government should guarantee or pay for business-interruption coverage, the International Council of Shopping Centers said Tuesday in a letter to President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Store closures “are placing an insurmountable strain on our members, and we believe federal government action is urgently needed,” the group said in its letter. . . . more

In the Short Term, CRE Will Take a Hit. But Real Estate Economists Advise Investors Not to Panic

As the impact from the measures to stem the spread of COVID-19 takes hold of virtually every sector of the U.S. economy, real estate economists are revisiting their predictions for 2020 made at the beginning of the year.

Just over two months ago, industry economists were saying 2020 activity should largely mirror the level seen in 2019. But with the coronavirus outbreak, those predictions are changing.. . . more

Costco aims to lift online sales with $1 billion purchase of logistics firm

Seattle Times
Costco announced Tuesday that it has acquired logistics firm Innovel Solutions for $1 billion in cash in a bid to boost the warehouse-club operator’s online sales.

Innovel was a subsidiary of Transform Holdco — which operates Sears and Kmart stores — and provides “final mile” delivery and installation of bulky items such as appliances, furniture and TVs for Sears and other retailers in the United States and Puerto Rico, Costco said. Issaquah-based Costco, with 786 warehouse clubs worldwide, has been an Innovel customer since 2015.. . . more

Best Buy sees uptick in sales of work-at-home equipment

Toilet paper isn’t the only item selling swiftly in stores.

Richfield-based Best Buy has also seen an uptick in sales of devices to make it easier to work from home. Think keyboards, monitors, webcams and laptops.

This week, an increasing number of companies around the U.S. have begun telling their employees to work from home if they can. . . . more

Why The Cannabis Retail Rollout In Boston Has Been So Slow

Boston’s first recreational cannabis retailer opened its doors last week — more than three years after Massachusetts residents voted to legalize recreational marijuana use in the state. 

It took so long, industry experts told Bisnow, because political roadblocks and a unique regulatory structure are slowing down business approvals and holding Massachusetts back from a recreational cannabis windfall. . . . more

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Life Isn’t Just About Money, Says CEO of Mall Owner Down 99%

Shares of CBL & Associates Properties Inc. are down 99% from their peak, but Stephen Lebovitz is undeterred.

After all, he started working at the family business in the middle of the savings and loan crisis. When he succeeded his father as chief executive officer two decades later, the 2008 financial crash was still reverberating throughout the U.S. economy.

Now he faces perhaps his most seminal challenge yet: To convince Americans who increasingly shop online that they should keep coming to CBL’s malls -- even as the coronavirus spreads across the U.S. -- and persuade Wall Street that the effort will work.
. . . more

Update on coronavirus-related store closings — and impact

Chain Store Age
The nation’s major specialty retailers, many of them mall-based, are temporarily closing stores and or reducing hours in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The decisions, in line with recommendations by the CDC and public health officials to help slow the spread of COVID-19, are likely to have a big impact on many retailers’ earnings going forward. . . . more

Laura Ashley set to become first retail casualty of crisis

Sky News
The fashion to homewares shop Laura Ashley is set to become the first retail casualty of the coronavirus crisis, placing 2,700 jobs at risk.

Sky News reported at the weekend how the firm was scrambling for a funding lifeline to avert collapse but the company all but admitted defeat on Tuesday, saying it had filed intentions to appoint administrators.. . . more

Retail sales drop 0.5% in February

Retail sales fell 0.5% in February, indicating the consumer sector was slowing even before the coronavirus struck with force in the United States.

The Commerce Department reported Tuesday that the February drop in sales followed a solid 0.6% gain in January.

Excluding motor vehicles and parts, retail sales were still down a sizable 0.4%.. . . more

Kohl's to start selling Lands' End online and in select stores

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Wisconsin-based retailers Kohl's and Lands' End are partnering together in a pairing like khaki pants and polo shirts.

Starting this fall, Kohl's shoppers will be able to buy Lands' End casual wear online and at select stores.

Kohl's will offer Lands' End's entire women's, men's, kids and home merchandise on its website. Orders will be fulfilled and shipped by Lands' End. . . . more

Coronavirus Already Taking Big Toll on Urban Malls

The Wall Street Journal
Malls in dense, urban locations have in recent years have generally been more profitable than those in sparsely-populated areas, because foot traffic is typically stronger. But with the coronavirus spreading at a faster rate in metropolitan areas, many of these malls are poised to take a big hit. Some tenants, likely to be hurt by falling foot traffic and by orders from the authorities to close, may struggle to pay their rent.

Over the weekend, one of the biggest malls in the country, King of Prussia mall in the Philadelphia area, closed its doors on orders from local authorities. . . . more

Nordstrom Closing All Stores in US and Canada for Two Weeks Amid Coronavirus Acceleration

Footwear News
Nordstrom is closing all of its 380 stores for two weeks in an effort to help limit the spread of coronavirus.

The announcement came a few hours after Saks Fifth Avenue said it would close its Manhattan and Philadelphia units for two weeks.

Nordstrom’s move includes all full-line stores as well as Nordstrom Rack, Trunk Club clubhouses and Jeffrey units. . . . more

Rite Aid outlines growth strategy at Analyst Day

Drug Store News
Rite Aid hosted an Analyst Day Monday to outline its new strategy and plan for growth. Heyward Donigan, president and CEO of the Camp Hill, Pa.-based retailer, noted that the plan is focused on using its strengths to grow EBITDA and reduce its debt load.

"Rite Aid is a business in the midst of a turnaround and it is time for a radical change — our RxEvolution," Donigan said. "This is not business as usual at Rite Aid. We have the unique opportunity to serve a growing customer base and strengthen the power of our iconic brand.”. . . more

Monday, March 16, 2020

“Problem Solving” The Biggest Trend in Retail Brokerage

Globe St.
Problem solving has become the biggest rent in retail brokerage in recent years—and it isn’t surprising. While all asset classes have seen a shift in demand this cycle—some for the better—and there has bee a general trend toward more experiential real estate, the retail sector has experienced the most significant change. As a result, the retail broker’s role has also changed.

“The biggest trend in the past couple of years and for the foreseeable future is problem solving,” Chris Wilson, head of national agency leasing at JLL, tells GlobeSt.com. . . . more

Retailers rally with Trump administration to defeat coronavirus

Retail Leader
It was a remarkable scene at the White House the afternoon of March 13, as President Trump declared the coronavirus outbreak a national emergency and enlisted some of the biggest names in retail and healthcare in the battle.

Joining President Trump during the press conference late Friday in the White House Rose Garden were top executives from Walmart, Target, Walgreens, CVS Health, Becton Dickinson, Quest Diagnostics, LabCorp and Roche. . . . more

These retailers are closing stores to slow coronavirus outbreak

Major retailers across the U.S. are shutting down their stores or reducing hours in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The decisions, while smart for customers, workers and the community at large, will no doubt weigh heavily on the already-stressed retail industry. One analyst has estimated this could result in a record year for permanent retail store closures, which could mount to over 15,000. . . . more

Retail store closures in the US could explode because of the coronavirus

Last year saw a record number of store closures in the United States; 2020 looks like it’s about to get a lot worse.

With the coronavirus pandemic hitting many consumers across America, spurring them to stock up at the grocery store on essentials before they hole up at home to wait things out, many companies already struggling to keep their lights on could be forced to turn them off, for good.. . . more

Amazon grocery delivery system overloaded Sunday as coronavirus spurs online orders

Seattle Times
Surges in demand for online deliveries appeared to throw Amazon’s grocery system into disarray Sunday, causing fear and frustration among delivery drivers.

An Amazon spokesperson confirmed that “a systems impact” was limiting the company’s ability to deliver grocery orders from Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market.. . . more

Gov. Baker announces aggressive new measures to fight pandemic in Mass.

Boston Business Journal
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker on Sunday announced a slew of measures meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus, including the suspension of schools statewide for three weeks, restrictions on restaurants to only allow takeout meals, and an expansion of telehealth.

Baker mandated that all restaurants and bars in the commonwealth would be restricted to serving food and beverages only through delivery and takeout, and not serve patrons on site, as a response to the coronavirus pandemic. The restaurant order is effective Tuesday, March 17 and will remain in place through April 6, he said.. . . more

Friday, March 13, 2020

Retailers brace for financial, supply-chain disruptions from coronavirus

Supermarket News
Nearly half of retailers expect the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) to pull down their revenue, according to a survey by Digital Commerce 360.

Of more than 300 retailers polled, 47% said they expect “some downside revenue implications” from the coronavirus pandemic, the Chicago-based B2B e-commerce market researcher said in its “Taking the Pulse: Retailers and the Coronavirus” study, released yesterday. Another 9% anticipate “significant downside revenue implications.”. . . more

What 5 retail industry leaders are saying about coronavirus

Retail Dive
It is not exactly clear what the depth of the fallout from COVID-19 will entail for the retail sector.

Last week's American Apparel & Footwear Association's annual Executive Summit conference was significant in a number of ways, particularly because it was held immediately prior to organizations canceling or rescheduling major events across industries. . . . more

Restaurants Are Getting Creative with Their Home Delivery Options

To address diminishing reservations caused by the caronavirus concerns, some restaurants are thinking outside the box. At 17th Street Barbecue in Murphysboro, Ill., owner Amy Mills is taking precautions such as banning cellphones. “I’m a big believer in their influence, but they are one of the biggest carriers of germs,” she says.

Another way to adapt has been to introduce delivery for people who are staying home. Here are some of the ways that restaurants are getting food and drink beyond their own walls. . . . more

Amazon buying Lord & Taylor building for $1.1B

The Real Deal
Amazon is buying the Lord & Taylor building from WeWork for $1.15 billion.

The bulk of the purchase price comes in the form of a $750 million construction loan WeWork took out to renovate the massive property, which Amazon will pay down, according to the New York Post. The rest is approximately $350 million in equity the e-commerce giant will shell out for the building at 424 5th Avenue.. . . more

Gap’s earnings, sales beat, retailer names new CFO

Gap Inc. on Thursday reported fourth-quarter earnings and sales that topped analysts’ estimates, as it announced a slew of new leadership changes.

“We began to see stabilization in our business in the fourth quarter, driven primarily by improvement in Old Navy’s performance,” interim CEO Bob Fisher said in a statement.. . . more

Consumer confidence sinks as coronavirus spreads

The Hill
Consumer confidence has plummeted alongside increasing fears about the spread of the coronavirus, according to new figures released Thursday.

Since the beginning of the year, Morning Consult's consumer sentiment index is down 3.72 percent, with much of that decline since the coronavirus began spreading domestically in late February. The index is down 0.6 percent from Wednesday.. . . more

The coronavirus economy: As Americans shy away from malls and movie theaters, the damage to livelihoods grows

USA Today
The coronavirus is posing a growing threat to the U.S. economy as the outbreak shifts from a short-term headache for travel and manufacturing companies into a broader crisis that’s prompting many Americans to hunker down and limit their day-to-day activities.

That’s extending the pandemic’s reach into nearly every corner of commerce as many consumers avoid large gatherings of people in places such as movie theaters, malls, restaurants and sporting events.. . . more

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Experiential Retail Reigns in 2020

Commercial Property Executive
The U.S. retail market closed 2019 with strong fundamentals, paving the way for a robust phase in 2020, according to JLL’s new fourth quarter 2019 Retail Outlook report. And shopping malls, thought to be on the road to extinction just a few years ago, helped buoy the numbers. The key to success: Experiential retail.

The retail market saw a vacancy rate of just 4.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019. Putting it all in perspective, the industrial market, currently an investor favorite due to the ever-blossoming e-commerce industry, recorded a vacancy rate of 5.1 percent according to another JLL report. Net absorption in the retail sector skyrocketed 34.5 percent quarter-over-quarter, reaching 10.5 million square feet, with malls leading the way. Mall absorption totaled 1 million square feet in the fourth quarter, as vacated space plummeted 40 percent year-over-year. Regional mall properties surpassed all other property types with 556.9 million square feet of positive net absorption.. . . more

Wagamama Plans an Ambitious U.S. Rollout. What Is the Restaurant Chain Looking For?

U.K.-based pan-Asian restaurant chain Wagamama has announced a planned U.S. rollout that boasts new funding, new operating partners and a location opened last year in Midtown Manhattan. The 200-unit chain currently operates six restaurants in New York City and Boston.

Before kicking off its U.S. expansion, Wagamama launched a strategic review of its U.S. business and recruited Robert Cornog and Richard Flaherty as operating partners and co-CEOs of Wagamama USA. The two are experienced restaurant operators who as part of their portfolio were leaders of Punch Bowl Social, an experiential food-and-beverage brand.. . . more

GameStop Under Renewed Pressure from Unhappy Investor Group

The Wall Street Journal
GameStop Corp. is facing a renewed threat from a group of shareholders upset with the videogame retailer’s performance.

A group including Hestia Capital Partners LP and Permit Capital Enterprise Fund LP sent a letter to the Grapevine, Texas, company’s board, urging it to appoint a stockholder representative as a director.

The investors collectively own about 7.5% of GameStop’s shares, up from roughly 1.3% at this point last year. . . . more

Modell’s Sporting Goods files for bankruptcy; to liquidate

Chain Store Age
Modell’s Sporting Goods is going out of business.

The nation’s oldest family-owned and operated retailer of athletic apparel, footwear and sporting goods on Wednesday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Modell’s, in partnership with Tiger Capital Group, will initiate store-closing liquidation sales beginning March 13. Online sales will continue during the process. . . . more

Party City swings to Q4 loss; names new CEO

Chain Store Age
Party City Holdco Inc. announced that CEO Jim Harrison will be transitioning to the new role of vice chairman effective April 1, 2020, and will continue to serve as a director of the company. Succeeding him as CEO will be Brad Weston who has served as president of PCHI and CEO of the Party City Retail Group since July 2019. Weston has also been appointed to the company’s board.

Party City reported a net loss of $501.2 million, or $2.88 per share, for the period ended Dec. 31. Compared to income of $88.5 million, or $1.02 per share, in the year-ago period.

Revenue fell to $731.6 million from $805.6 million, below analysts’ forecasts of $749.0 million. Same-store sales fell 5.1%, more than expected.. . . more

Neiman Marcus streamlining; getting out of the outlet store business

Chain Store Age
Neiman Marcus Group is sharpening its focus on its core business: selling full-price luxury goods.

The retailer announced that, as part of its four-year “transformation growth plan,” it is closing the majority of its 22 Last Call outlet stores before the beginning of its next fiscal year, which starts in early August. Select Last Call locations will remain open to serve as a selling channel for Neiman Marcus residual inventory.. . . more

Coronavirus Crisis Comes At A Bad Time For U.S. Shopping Malls

The once-bustling corridors of American shopping malls have already suffered from slowing sales, and the coronavirus outbreak threatens to turn retail properties across the country into ghost towns as consumers shy away from large public places.

"We would consider [retail] to be very vulnerable at this time," said CoStar Senior Analyst Kevin Cody, a researcher specializing in the retail sector. "It was already vulnerable before with many retailers struggling.". . . more

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Brockton politicians push tax break for Westgate Mall

The Enterprise
In exchange for a commitment to create jobs in Brockton, city officials are providing a tax break to the Westgate Mall.

The company behind the Westgate Mall is seeking a tax increment financing agreement with the city, exempting the business from most of the property taxes it would otherwise pay on new value assessed at the mall from fiscal 2021 through 2030. Over the course of the 10-year deal, the Westgate Mall would save an estimated $2,098,797 in property taxes, according to a copy of the agreement.. . . more

The problem with selling apparel online

Retail Dive
Last week, off-price retailer Burlington told analysts that it's pulling the plug on e-commerce sales, saying that it's too expensive for its "moderate" business and less fun for its customers.

Burlington CEO Michael O'Sullivan said that for a company whose average unit retail is "about $12," the sales channel makes little sense.

"E-commerce when you fully account for the cost of merchandising, processing, shipping, accepting returns. It's very difficult, impossible to make at those price points in the businesses that we compete in," he told analysts.. . . more

American Dream Mall’s Next Hurdle Is Opening During Coronavirus

After two decades of false starts and setbacks, the grand opening of the New Jersey mall’s hundreds of retail stores, restaurants and DreamWorks water park is set to take place March 19.

But the ribbon cutting comes as the deadly coronavirus spreads through the U.S., causing New Jersey’s first fatality, and a growing number of Americans are avoiding crowded spaces.. . . more

Cibo Express will bring Amazon cashierless store platform to airports

Chain Store Age
Airport visitors will soon be able to “just walk out” of select Cibo Express Gourmet Markets stores with their purchases.

The airport convenience store chain, operated by hospitality group OTG, is deploying the “Just Walk Out” technology platform from Amazon to offer a cashierless shopping experience. The platform, currently in use at Amazon Go convenience and grocery stores, combines computer vision, sensor fusion, and machine-learning algorithms.. . . more

CVS Pharmacy to acquire, rebrand Schnucks’ pharmacy business

Chain Store Age
CVS Pharmacy has entered into an agreement to acquire Schnuck Markets Inc.'s retail and specialty pharmacy businesses. Under the agreement, CVS Pharmacy will acquire and operate 99 of the grocer's pharmacies and will brand them as CVS Pharmacy. Additionally, CVS Pharmacy will acquire the prescription files from 11 Schnucks pharmacies and transfer them to nearby CVS Pharmacy locations.

This will not be the first time that CVS Pharmacy will operate its pharmacies in a store-within-a-store format. . . . more

Coronavirus shifts U.S. online shopping habits

Chain Store Age
According to data analysis from predictive retail analytics platform Quantum Metric, coronavirus is driving U.S. consumers online. E-commerce retailers based in the U.S. experienced a 52% growth rate in online spending during the fifth to eighth weeks of 2020 (the time period when the virus began rapidly spreading outside of Asia) compared to the same weeks of 2019. These weeks span Jan. 27 – Feb. 23, 2020.

In addition, online conversion rates rose 8.8% year-over-year during those same weeks in 2020. For the ninth week of 2019 (Feb. 24 – March 1), Quantum Metric data shows a reversal in growth. The company says this trend may indicate the e-commerce spurt may be calming down and reflect spending that has been pulled forward, rather than increased overall. . . . more

How Outdoor Voices, a Start-Up Darling, Imploded

The New York Times
Last summer, Tyler Haney, the founder and chief executive of Outdoor Voices, appeared to be golden.

In just five years, the Instagram-friendly athletic apparel company that she created in her 20s had become a sensation. There was more than $50 million in funding, nine stores and appearances on the business conference circuit. A glowing profile in The New Yorker had anointed Outdoor Voices the next Lululemon. In July, Ms. Haney shared the news that she was pregnant on “Good Morning America” with an enthusiastic message about work, family and having it all.

But behind the scenes, Outdoor Voices was cracking.. . . more

Storefronts peddling services overtake those selling clothes and other goods

The number of service-based retailers — a category that includes a Dave & Buster’s entertainment venue, a local spa and nail salon operator or a Cheesecake Factory restaurant — surged 20.5% from 2002 to 2017, totaling 1.2 million spaces, a new report from commercial real estate services firm JLL found. Retailers selling goods — such as a Gap or Victoria’s Secret — fell 4.5% to 1.1 million shops during the period.

Taking those shifts into account, service tenants now make up 52.6% of America’s retail space, while companies focused on selling goods account for 47.4% of space, JLL said. . . . more

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Fleet Feet unveils inventory-less store concept

Chain Store Age
Specialty running chain Fleet Feet has debuted a new retail format that combines personalized in-store fitting with rapid home delivery.

Located in Portland, Ore., the new Fleet Feet Drop Shop concept offers the brand's 3D foot scanning technology and personalized outfitting experience with free, two-day home delivery. At about 1,300 square feet, the store has a smaller footprint than a traditional Fleet Feet location. . . . more

Grocery giant Albertsons files for IPO as sales continue to grow

Supermarket News
Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons, the nation’s second-largest supermarket chain with more than 2,200 stores, filed for an initial public offering late on Friday. The company has been owned for the past 14 years by private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management.

After Albertsons’ 2015 merger with Safeway, investors tried to take the company public, looking to raise as much as $1.6 billion in an IPO, but then pulled the offering amid lackluster market conditions for retail stocks in late 2015. In 2018, the company attempted to go public with a $24 billion merger deal with Rite Aid Corp., which fell apart due to investor pushback in August 2018.. . . more

First Look: DTC brand Rothy’s opens NYC store

Chain Store Age
The digitally native, eco-friendly footwear company that makes women’s shoes out of recycled and sustainable materials has touched down in New York City.

Rothy’s has opened its first store in New York City, a 750-sq.-ft. shop on Bleecker Street in Manhattan’s West Village. It’s the brand fourth physical store to date, with existing locations in San Francisco, Boston and Washington, D.C.. . . more

Dick’s Sporting Goods is pulling guns from another 440 stores this year, shares jump

Dick’s Sporting Goods said Tuesday it will remove guns from another 440 stores this year, building on its efforts after the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, in 2018.

It made the announcement as it reported holiday-quarter earnings and sales that surpassed analysts’ estimates and showed that more people flocked to its stores for athletic footwear and apparel. . . . more

What To Do If A Retail Tenant Is Struggling

Globe St.
If you see signs that one of your retail tenants is in trouble, the first step is to find out what’s happening. “You have to build a relationship with the tenant, both at the corporate level and at the store level,” says Noah Shaffer, senior director of asset management for Confidant Asset Management.

In the process, it’s important to review the lease and understand if you can recover damages. After that, you need to take a good hard look at the market.. . . more

Café, restaurant, cocktail bar coming to Cambridge Crossing

Boston Business Journal
The team behind Puritan & Co., a Cambridge restaurant co-owned by award-winning chef and restaurateur Wil Gilson, is expanding to Cambridge Crossing with three new concepts that are scheduled to open this June.

The Puritan & Co. team will open an all-day café, a full-service Italian restaurant and a cocktail bar with rooftop terrace at The Shed, a two-story building to be built on North First Street at the mixed-use Cambridge Crossing Development, near the MBTA Green Line's Lechmere Station. . . . more

Monday, March 9, 2020

Whole Foods to Open 42,000-Square-Foot Grocery Store in Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Shopping Center Business
Whole Foods Market will open a 42,000-square-foot grocery store in Portsmouth, NH, located approximately 45 miles east of Concord.

The store will be the Austin-based grocer’s third in the state and will anchor Durgin Square Shopping Center, a 135,000-square-foot retail property that also houses HomeGoods and T.J. Maxx. . . . more

Why lenders still love retail, bankruptcies and all

Retail Dive
In 2019, Barneys New York faced a familiar set of problems for department stores. It had been hit by price wars, e-commerce penetration, declining customer traffic and sales, and increasing rents. Many of its stores were unprofitable, and others were falling short of projections.

By June, revenue was down $34 million year over year, the retailer’s restructuring officer said later in court papers. In response to the sales skid, the lenders behind Barneys’ asset-based credit facility reduced the amount the retailer could borrow by $5 million. The move was meant to protect the lenders from losses. It also suddenly downsized Barneys’ operating funds.. . . more

Dillard's downgraded after a weak Q4

Retail Dive
S&P Global downgraded Dillard's, to BB from BB+, citing the department store chain’s "weak operating results for the holiday season and full year 2019, with continued profitability decline from previous years," according to an emailed press release.

The retailer reported fourth quarter net sales fell more than 4% year over year to $1.9 billion as comparable sales fell 3%, according to a press release. For the full year, comps were down 1%.. . . more

Modell’s prepping for bankruptcy filing

New York Post
Modell’s Sporting Goods is preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as soon as Sunday, The Post has learned.

The 131-year-old athletic gear retailer has stopped shopping for a white-knight investor to help renegotiate its 140 leases across nine US states and the District of Columbia, and is likewise giving up on getting better terms from its vendors, Chief Executive Mitch Modell confirmed on Friday.. . . more

Ross Stores to open 100 stores in 2020

Chain Store Age
Ross Stores sees plenty of room for expansion as it continues to move into new markets.

The off-pricer opened 19 stores and seven dd's Discounts outlets across nine different states in February and March. The locations are part of the company's plans to add approximately 100 new stores – 75 Ross and 25 dd's Discounts locations – during fiscal 2020. . . . more

Chain Store Age announces its Breakout Retail Centers of 2020

Chain Store Age
What will be the state of physical retail in the 21st Century? That’s a question on the minds of everybody in retail, and an elite group of developers is endeavoring to answer it with bold new projects and spectacular renovations. The editorial board of Chain Store Age recognized these eight properties as the Breakout Retail Centers of 2020 in the magazine’s March-April edition.. . . more

Walmart plans to bolster private fleet with push to hire 500 new truck drivers

Yahoo Finance
Walmart plans to hire 500 truck drivers in 2020, even with its private fleet already at record levels, as surging Internet sales create a greater need for people to deliver those orders.

The big-box retailer already employs over 9,000 drivers, but needs more on both coasts — especially in states like Washington, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. Nevada will also be a key area for recruitment, according to Walmart.. . . more

Amazon launches business selling automated checkout to retailers

Amazon.com Inc on Monday is set to announce a new business line selling the technology behind its cashier-less convenience stores to other retailers, the company told Reuters.

The world’s biggest web retailer said it has “several” signed deals with customers it would not name. A new website Monday will invite others to inquire about the service, dubbed Just Walk Out technology by Amazon.. . . more

Friday, March 6, 2020

Costco sales jump in Q2, with coronavirus fears lifting February results

Supermarket News
Sales surged by double digits at Costco Wholesale in the fiscal 2020 second quarter, including strong comparable-sales gains that ballooned toward the end of February as consumers flocked to stores to stock up on coronavirus-related supplies.

For the 12 weeks ended Feb. 16, net sales climbed 10.5% to $38.26 billion from $34.63 billion a year earlier, Costco reported late Thursday. Membership fee income grew 6.3% to $816 million.

Overall comparable sales rose 8.9% in the second quarter, reflecting increases of 9.1% in the United States, 8.9% in Canada and 7.9% internationally.. . . more