Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Stalled by coronavirus pandemic, American Dream rethinks its future and retail becomes an afterthought

CNBC
It is becoming even harder to call American Dream a megamall.

Instead, the roughly 3 million-square-foot development that sits alongside a bustling highway in East Rutherford, New Jersey, is morphing into more of an ultimate amusement park. More like Disneyland if it fit under one roof. With shifts in strategy over time, retail is becoming even more of an afterthought, while entertainment takes center stage.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic hitting the U.S., American Dream was slated to be a mix of 55% entertainment-related tenants and 45% retailers, when it was completely finished. Now, the project will be roughly 70% entertainment and 30% retail, according to its developer, Triple Five Group. . . . more

Monday, April 6, 2020

To pay or not to pay: Retailers are making tough decisions on rent and other bills

Retail Dive
Last week, Urban Outfitters said publicly what many retailers are discussing in private: that it won't be paying rent. In the middle of a list of financial measures Urban said it was taking while its stores are closed, the apparel seller included the suspension of rent payments.​

The retailer followed the Cheesecake Factory in doing so. The restaurant chain said in a regulatory filing that it would not be paying rent on its leases for the month of April.. . . more

Chico's takes a ‘poison pill’ amid COVID-19 outbreak

Chain Store Age
Chicos’s FAS Inc. is the second retailer in recent days to adopt a limited duration shareholders rights plan after disruptions due to COVID-19 pandemic.

The women’s apparel retailer adopted the plan, the so-called "poison pill,” saying it was in the best interest of all its shareholders. The plan aims to guard against any individual or group gaining control of the company in the open market without paying a premium. . . . more

Friday, April 3, 2020

Neiman Marcus advances bankruptcy preparations

Reuters
Neiman Marcus Group is stepping up preparations to seek bankruptcy protection, after the coronavirus pandemic forced the debt-laden U.S. luxury department store chain to close its stores, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Neiman began holding confidential discussions this week with bondholders about possible financing that would help the company continue operating while under bankruptcy protection, the sources said. The company has also started similar discussions in recent days with its lenders, one of the sources said.

Up until this week, Neiman had received inquiries from creditors about its next moves but had not commenced discussions about a possible bankruptcy, some of the sources said. . . . more

Thursday, April 2, 2020

What do department stores do now?

Retail Dive
Every department store in America, from the low end to the high, has tried some way to drag the retail concept into the 21st century. It's a monumental task, considering the model was born in the 1800s, and enjoyed its last heyday in the 1950s. The effort has had mixed results. Now COVID-19 has introduced new urgency, and possibly new goals.

J.C. Penney partnered with Sephora, and later added, then dumped, appliance sales. Macy's and Nordstrom have each invested in retail's cutting edge, with varying degrees of success. Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus both saw potential in New York City, the turf of Saks Fifth Avenue, whose flagship has had a multi-million dollar renovation with a gleaming new escalator. Lord & Taylor agreed to ownership by an apparel rental company. Kohl's decided to take Amazon's returns to get new customers through the door. Several have embarked on turnarounds and even rebooted turnarounds (sometimes multiple times). . . . more

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Urban Outfitters says it won't pay rent

Retail Dive
Urban Outfitters on Tuesday said it won’t pay rent for an undisclosed amount of time and is delaying the opening of new stores, while existing stores remain "temporarily closed until further notice due to the continued spread of COVID-19."​

The company, whose brands include Anthropologie, Free People and Urban Outfitters, also said that beginning Wednesday "a substantial number of store, wholesale and home office employees" will be furloughed for 60 days, but will continue to get benefits.. . . more

J.C. Penney furloughs store and corporate staff as closures extend indefinitely

Retail Dive
J.C. Penney plans to furlough "the majority" of its hourly store associates beginning Thursday and a "significant portion" of its corporate staff beginning on April 5, the company said in a press release.

The retailer is also extending its temporary store closures, without a stated re-opening date. "The Company will continue to follow guidance from local, state, and federal officials as it anticipates gradually reopening stores and offices in markets when it is safe to do so," Penney said.. . . more