Friday, March 30, 2018

Sales at Class-A Malls Increase Despite Broader Retail Woes

Trepp

Someone needs to tell class-A mall owners that the consensus among market pundits is that the mall is dying. The owners probably didn't receive the memo, given the stellar recent performance of their properties.

Inline store sales for Macerich Co., Simon Property Group, Taubman Centers Inc., and GGP Inc. all increased year over year, a strong barometer of just how successful their properties have been. (In some cases, the increases were more handsome than others.) However, owners of class-B/C malls didn't fare as well.. . . more

Analysts: GGP Deal Lowers the Bar for Mall REIT Values

NREI Online

Earlier this week, mall REIT GGP Inc. finally agreed to a $9 billion cash buyout offer from Brookfield Property Partners, ending years of negotiations for the takeover of one of America’s largest mall REIT companies. The terms disappointed industry observers, who believe the deal closes out the era of big appetites for mall portfolios, and the willingness to pay premium prices for such assets.

Some industry observers quickly noted that the price carries negative implications for the mall sector. GGP’s portfolio contains plenty of class-A assets and the company owns such premiere properties as the Ala Moana Center in Honolulu, Hawaii and One Union Square in San Francisco.. . . more

Experts Say Brookfield’s Lowball Offer For GGP Could Spark A Bidding War

bisnow.com

Some experts foresee a bidding war breaking out on the heels of the Brookfield Property Partners deal to acquire the remaining 66% of GGP for $9.25B in cash.

The deal has sparked controversy and caused many to question whether or not it will lead to the undervaluing of Class-A malls. GGP rejected an earlier offer from Brookfield because it was deemed too low, but according to Brookfield, the new offer increases the cash consideration from $7.4B to $9.25B.

Bullish real estate investor and Seeking Alpha contributor Julian Lin said this controversy could lead GGP rival Simon Property Group to put in a bid. . . . more

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Hudson’s Bay Co. swings to profit in Q4, but ‘not pleased’ with performance

Chain Store Age

Despite capitalizing on the value of its real estate portfolio and swinging to its first profit in eight quarters, Hudson’s Bay Co. missed earnings expectations for the fourth quarter. Disappointing performances by the retail giant’s European chain, discount banners, and Lord & Taylor, and problems with its cost-cutting plan, all took a toll on the retail giant, whose overall same-store sales fell.

Retail sales increased 2.1% to C$4.7 billion, helped by an additional week of sales. Overall comparable sales across all banners during the quarter decreased 2.4%. Same-store sales fell 2.6% at the department store group, consisting of Hudson’s Bay, Lord & Taylor and Home Outfitters, amid lower traffic. The company’s discount banners, including Gilt and Sake Off-Fifth, also did not perform well. A bright spot was Saks Fifth Avenue, whose same-store sales rose 2.1%, the third consecutive quarter of growth.. . . more

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

J.Crew to grow Madewell brand

Chain Store Age

J.Crew Group is looking to its Madewell division to make up for continuing slumping sales as its namesake division.

Total revenues increased 2% to $710.6 million, which includes $28.6 million generated in the 14th week. Same-store sales fell 3%.

By brand, J.Crew comp sales decreased 7%.Madewell comparable sales increased 17%.. . . more

Lululemon Surges the Most in 10 Months After Online Sales Boom

Bloomberg

Lululemon Athletica Inc.’s sales accelerated faster than expected last quarter, helped by booming e-commerce orders, sending the shares on their biggest rally in almost 10 months.

The yogawear maker posted comparable-sales growth of 11 percent when accounting for currency effects and direct-to-consumer channels. Quarterly revenue and profit beat estimates, easing concerns that a CEO shuffle will disrupt its performance.. . . more

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Mall Mergers Accelerate with Brookfield Property's Buyout of GGP

NREI Online

As the age of Amazon takes its toll on retailers, mall owners are finding it may be better not to confront the turmoil on their own.

GGP Inc., the second-largest U.S. mall landlord, agreed Monday to be taken over by a unit of Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management Inc. The deal follows an agreement in December for Australia’s Westfield Corp, which has malls across the U.S., to be acquired by Unibail-Rodamco SE. Meanwhile, Macerich Co. and Taubman Centers Inc. have faced pressure from activist investors.. . . more

H&M's pile of unsold clothes grows to a new high

Ad Age

Swedish fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz, better known to shoppers as H&M, says it's increasing markdowns this quarter after accumulating a record pile of unsold garments worth more than $4 billion.

Operating profit fell 62 percent to the lowest level in more than a decade as clearance sales failed to reduce quantities of T-shirts and jeans that customers had passed over.. . . more

Inside the Strange Odyssey of Hedge-Fund King Eddie Lampert

Vanity Fair

Once a wunderkind, who at 25 established his own hedge fund, ESL, Eddie Lampert is 55 now and celebrating the silver anniversary of managing his own money and that of a few select billionaires, such as entertainment mogul David Geffen, Michael Dell, Thomas Tisch, and the Ziff publishing family. He has had legendary successes, such as his investment in AutoZone, AutoNation, Honeywell, Saatchi & Saatchi, and Liz Claiborne Inc.

But today those triumphs are largely obscured by his worst mistake: the 2005 merging of Sears, the iconic retailer whose doorstop mail-order catalogue was once a fixture in nearly every American home, with the downmarket Kmart chain, which he had brought out of bankruptcy in 2003.. . . more

Lands’ End maintains momentum in Q4; plans major store expansion

Chain Store Age

For its fourth quarter, Lands’ End recorded its third straight period of sales growth after 11 consecutive quarters of declines.

Net income was $39.8 million, compared to a loss of $94.8 million in the year-ago period.

Net revenue increased 11.3% to $510.6 million (the period included an extra week). Direct segment revenue increased 14.3% to $455.6 million. Retail segment revenue decreased 8.7% to $55.1 million compared to the same period last year, primarily due to fewer Lands’ End Shops at Sears. Same-store sales rose 5.0%.. . . more

Brookfield To Buy The Rest Of GGP For $9.3B

Globe St

Brookfield Property Partners and GGP have entered into a definitive agreement for Brookfield to acquire the rest of the shares of GGP that it doesn’t already own. The cash-and-stock deal totals $9.25 billion with GGP shareholders entitled to receive $23.50 in cash or stock in either Brookfield or the new REIT that will be formed when the deal closes.

Brookfield Property publicly announced an offer to acquire the remaining shares that it didn’t already own of GGP in November 2017, at $23 per share or $7.4 billion. GGP rejected the offer but talks continued behind the scenes between the two companies.. . . more

Monday, March 26, 2018

Canadian sportswear retailer putting down Roots in Natick, Lynnfield

Boston Business Journal

Canadian sportswear company Roots Corp. has plans to open retail locations at the Natick Mall and MarketStreet Lynnfield this June as part of an ongoing international expansion following an initial public offering.

Roots is known for its sweats and casual wear, leather goods, accessories and footwear. The retailer aims to add 10 to 14 stores in the U.S. by year-end 2019, specifically focusing on New England, the mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions, CEO Jim Gabel said in a statement. . . . more

Finish Line agrees to $558M sale to JD Sports Fashion

USA Today

Slumping athletic apparel retailer Finish Line agreed to sell itself to a United Kingdom-based sportswear company that was angling to get a foothold in the U.S.

JD Sports Fashion has reached a deal to acquire Indianapolis-based Finish Line for about $558 million.

Finish Line has 556 stores, as well as dedicated, branded floor space in 375 Macy's locations. The company, which also sells products in another 188 Macy's stores, has about 13,000 employees.. . . more

Friday, March 23, 2018

It’s true, Millennials still go to malls

Chain Store Age

Not all Millennials think of the enclosed mall as a relic of their parents’ generation. In fact, 60 million of them don’t.

That’s how many of that coming-of-age generation visited malls in from last November through February, according to a consumer poll conducted by Opinion Research for the International Council of Shopping Centers. That’s more than a third of the total of 165 million Americans who did so in that time period.. . . more

Wegmans Sets Leadership Team For April 29 Natick Opening

The Shelby Report

Wegmans Food Markets announced the leadership team managing its new store at Natick Mall in Natick, Massachusetts, which opens at 7 a.m. on Sunday, April 29.

The Natick store is a 146,500-s.f. supermarket spanning two floors, including in-store café seating and featuring two restaurant concepts: The Burger Bar and Blue Dalia Mexican Restaurant & Tequila Bar.. . . more

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Put Ann Taylor's Parent on Retail Death Watch, Too

Bloomberg

For reasons that aren't quite explicable, Ascena Retail Group Inc. tends to be left out of discussions about trouble in the specialty apparel business.

Perhaps it's because the publicly traded company -- whose chains include Ann Taylor, Loft and Lane Bryant, among others -- doesn't fit tidily into a narrative about leveraged buyouts in retail going sour. Or maybe it's because Ascena's struggles have lacked the schadenfreude-ready twists that put its peers in the headlines.

But whatever the reason, it should go overlooked no longer: Ascena is in tatters. And the window for executives to fix it is closing quickly -- if such a window exists at all.. . . more

Retailers filing for bankruptcy or going out of business in 2018

USA Today

Will 2018 be worse for retailers than 2017?

The rapidly changing retail landscape is seeing a great deal of upheaval as brick-and-mortar stores are struggling to change and adapt in the highly competitive digital age.

Retailers continue to close under-performing stores and cut staff as many struggle with high debt and low cash. . . . more

Macy's has a lofty goal for its private-label business. Here's why

CNBC

Macy's aims to grow its private-label and private-brands business to represent 40 percent of the retailer's overall merchandise mix, according to CEO Jeff Gennette. The lofty goal is part of Macy's overall turnaround plans, to get back to positive same-store sales.

As of last June, the amount of private and exclusive brands at Macy's was about 29 percent of total inventory. That includes some of its best-selling lines.. . . more

No deal: Nordstrom family’s price not enough for board

Seattle Times

Nordstrom family members were apparently unwilling or unable to substantially boost their $50-a-share offer for the company that bears their name, prompting the retailer’s independent directors Tuesday to terminate buyout discussions.

A board committee said in a statement late Tuesday “it could not reach agreement with the group on an acceptable price for the company.”. . . more

Westfield’s Lowy says malls and tech must work together

Chain Store Age

High-needs customers expect superlative service, and that’s why malls must turn to the latest digital technologies to keep customers coming back, according to the co-CEO of one of the nation’s largest mall owners.

“Consumers today expect to be very, very well serviced — with technology,” Westfield’s Steven Lowy told CNBC. “They wake up every day with that expectation, and it’s essential that the retailing industry really adapts and evolves … so it can compete better.”. . . more

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

KB Toys planning comeback after demise of Toys ‘R’ Us

NY Post

The defunct KB Toys brand is planning a comeback — after nearly a decade in mothballs.

Hoping to capitalize on the apparent demise of Toys ‘R’ Us, the California company that bought the KB brand in 2016 is in talks with pop-up operators to open stores in malls before Black Friday, it said Monday.. . . more

Monday, March 19, 2018

Brookfield Property submits new offer for mall owner GGP

Reuters

Commercial real estate company Brookfield Property Partners LP has submitted a new offer to take over GGP Inc, one of the largest owners and operators of U.S. shopping centers, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

The new bid comes more than three months after a special board committee of GGP rejected a $14.8 billion cash-and-stock acquisition offer from Brookfield Property, its largest shareholder, as inadequate.

Brookfield Property’s new offer has a slightly higher cash component and offers GGP shareholders a new security that will trade as a real estate investment trust, according to the sources.. . . more

Macy's to add mobile checkout to all stores by year's end

CNBC

Macy's wants to make checking out at its stores less of a hassle.

The company will roll out a mobile checkout option, powered by its mobile app, to all full-line Macy's stores by the end of 2018, CEO Jeff Gennette said Sunday at the ShopTalk conference in Las Vegas.

The company is also adding an augmented reality shopping experience for furniture to the Macy's app, hitting phones as early as next month for some shoppers. With the upgrade, customers will be able to virtually place Macy's furniture within their own living spaces, seeing how it looks there before they buy.. . . more

Claire’s Becomes Latest Retailer to Go Bankrupt

Bloomberg

Claire’s Stores Inc. filed for bankruptcy Monday and said it reached an agreement with creditors including its private-equity backer, Apollo Global Management LLC, to restructure around $1.9 billion in debt. Its plan to survive rests on its reputation for trendy merchandise and a unique service that it says can’t be replicated by shopping online: ear piercing.

Chief Executive Officer Ron Marshall has been trying to revive Claire’s North American operations, which have been under pressure as shoppers shun the malls where the company has many of its 7,500 total locations. The task was hindered by payments on its debt load and efforts to tame its liabilities, including a debt exchange in 2016 and a refinanced credit line last year, didn’t do enough to bolster cash.. . . more

New owner serving up 4 Au Bon Pain locations in Cambridge, Burlington, Braintree

Boston Business Journal

Panera Bread has opted to shop a variety of newly acquired locations of Au Bon Pain in the Boston area as available for sublease.

While there’s no immediate indication that the cafe bakeries will close, Herky Pollock, executive vice president for CBRE, recently sent out an email blast marketing as available the Au Bon Pain locations at the Burlington Mall; 1100 Mass Ave. in Cambridge; South Shore Plaza in Braintree; and in the CambridgeSide Galleria in Cambridge.. . . more

Friday, March 16, 2018

Discounts hurt H&M sales

bizjournals.com

Fashion retailer H&M reported low first-quarter sales on Thursday, Business of Fashion reports.

H&M warned last month that markdowns to clear out overstocked inventory would impact earnings at the start of the year, per Business of Fashion.

The Sweden-based retailer said revenue fell 1.7 percent in the first quarter to $5.6 billion, Bloomberg reports.. . . more

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Industry Pros Expect Another Nordstrom Buyout Offer, And No Store Closures

NREI Online

In the renewed bid by family members of Seattle-based department store chain Nordstrom to round up financing and buy enough shares to take the company private, shareholders are being firm that the buyout group offer a fair price.

On March 5, the special committee of the board of directors received—and rejected—an offer on the company because the board felt the offer was too low. The prospective buyers, consisting of about a half dozen Nordstrom family members and a private equity firm, proposed to buy all of the company’s outstanding common stock, and about 21 percent of family-owned shares, for $50 per share.. . . more

Sears Gains After Tax Benefit Helps Retailer Swing to a Profit

Bloomberg

Sears Holdings Corp.  posted a rare quarterly profit after the U.S. tax overhaul helped the ailing retailer .

Sears alerted investors to the expected windfall last month, saying profit would be $140 million to $240 million. Sears also cut its long-term debt to $3.2 billion, down $1 billion from a year earlier.
The results have helped bring some optimism to investors, even as the chain’s sales continue to plummet. Its same-store sales -- a closely watched measure -- declined almost 16 percent last quarter, a sign the company didn’t benefit from a generally positive holiday season.. . . more

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Sticking gyms in ailing malls won't work, and here's why

CNBC

With retailers closing a record number of stores last year, malls have been experimenting with new types of businesses to drive traffic: Everything from restaurants and movie theaters to mini golf courses.

Now, there's a new strategy that's heating up – the gym. Over the last five years, gym leases in malls across the country have nearly doubled, according to commercial real estate information firm CoStar. They now account for 1 percent of all mall space in the U.S.. . . more

Warby Parker, the Eyewear Seller, Raises $75 Million

New York Times

Warby Parker opened its website eight years ago and quickly became one of the inspirations for a generation of e-commerce brands aiming at a younger, hipper customer base.

Now the eyewear retailer has raised another slug of money — with some coming from a big investor with a history of investing in companies that are close to a stock market listing.. . . more

Signet Jeweler’s new ‘transformation’ plan includes store closings

Chain Store Age

Signet Jewelers Ltd., parent of Zales, Kay Jewelers, Jared and other jewelry banners, will undertake a real estate review as part of a new, three-year strategy to revive the company and drive long-term profitability.

The jewelry giant anticipates closing more than 200 stores by the end of fiscal 2019. With three-quarters of the stores expected to close located in the same mall as another Signet banner, the company said it expects approximately 30% of revenue from closed stores to transfer to remaining Signet stores.. . . more

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Despite rebuff, Nordstrom buyout effort is not over

Seattle Times

Eight months after they first proposed the idea, members of the Nordstrom family last week suggested a price of $50 a share to buy back from the public the storied retailer founded and built by their forebears in Seattle.

Those company board members not named Nordstrom rejected the price as “inadequate” and threatened to “terminate discussions” on the contemplated take-private transaction if the family didn’t substantially up its proposed price, and quick.

So what’s next? One person familiar with the deal thinks a resolution, one way or the other, could come soon.. . . more

Mall owner to acquire four Sears stores

Chain Store Age

Washington Prime Group Inc. has signed an agreement to acquire four Sears stores in a sale-leaseback transaction.

Under the terms of the deal, whose purchase price was put at $28.5 million, Sears will continue to operate the properties (for a time) under new leases with Washington Prime, which will have control of the sites for future redevelopment. Aggregate base rent under these leases is approximately $1.25 million per year.. . . more

Dick's Sporting Goods reports profit hike in fourth quarter, but sales take a hit

KSNT

Dick’s Sporting Goods said its profit climbed during the fourth quarter to $116 million, or $1.11 per share, but a key measure of sales slipped during the quarter.

Shares of the Findlay-based retailer shed about 7 percent in pre-market trading.

Consolidated same store sales, which tracks sales in stores open at least one year, slipped 2 percent. Fourth quarter 2016 consolidated same store sales increased 5 percent.. . . more

Friday, March 9, 2018

Claire's Plans Bankruptcy, With Creditors Taking Over

Bloomberg

Claire’s Stores Inc., the fashion accessories chain where legions of preteens got their ears pierced, is preparing to file for bankruptcy in the coming weeks, according to people with knowledge of the plans.

The company is closing in on a deal in which control would pass from Apollo Global Management LLC to lenders including Elliott Capital Management and Monarch Alternative Capital, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter isn’t public. Venor Capital Management and Diameter Capital Partners are also involved, the people said. The move should help ease the $2 billion debt load at Claire’s.. . . more

American Eagle Outfitters tops same-store estimates

Reuters

American Eagle Outfitters Inc’s sales at established stores topped analysts’ estimates for the holiday shopping quarter, helped by robust demand for its Aerie line of lingerie.

The company’s comparable sales rose 8 percent in the fourth quarter ended Feb. 3, beating analysts’ average estimate of a 7.34 percent rise, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.. . . more

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Landlords are betting on food halls to lure shoppers and tenants

finance.yahoo.com

Late last month, GGP Inc. opened St. Roch Market, a food hall in the Miami design district. Among the vendors in the New Orleans-themed hall is one by Chef Chloe Coscarelli, a vegan chef and winner of Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars.” The 13,000-square-foot food hall is the giant mall real estate investment trust’s third to open in the past three years.

“Food dominates our culture,” said Adam Schwegman, vice president of leasing of eat and drink for GGP. “You can’t replicate a dining, food hall experience online so if they are successful, it’s a win for operator and developer.”. . . more

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Foursquare CEO: There are 2 types of malls that are seeing growth

finance.yahoo.com

While consumers are getting lured online by cost savings and the convenience factor, there’s still ample data on foot traffic into physical stores, said Foursquare CEO Jeff Glueck. In fact, he’s found that the rise in online shopping has largely affected middle-market malls. Malls serving high-end and low-end customers are actually seeing growth.

“Malls are really a tale of two stories,” he said. “High-end malls are doing very well. They’re new and have experiential footprints. People go there for the food courts, trampoline parks, coffee shops and all these things that social animals want.”. . . more

Footwear Retailer The Walking Company Files ‘Chapter 22’ Bankruptcy

Wall Street Journal

The Walking Company Holdings Inc., a chain specializing in comfortable footwear, sought chapter 11 protection for the second time in a decade Tuesday, the latest mall-based retailer hurt by the consumer shift to online shopping.

The retailer filed for protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., having already agreed to the terms of a chapter 11 plan with its key creditors that includes a $10 million equity investment and $50 million in bankruptcy and exit financing so the company’s stores can stay open during the restructuring. The company’s Big Dog USA Inc. and FootSmart Inc. affiliates also filed for bankruptcy protection.. . . more

Macy’s discount shops expand to Bay State

Boston Herald

Macy’s Inc. will open the first Massachusetts location of its off-price retail concept at the Solomon Pond Mall in Marlboro on March 24 and follow it with a second at the Emerald Square Mall in North Attleboro in June.

Both locations will be store-within-a-store models located within the malls’ existing Macy’s stores.. . . more

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Macy's takeover will happen with or without Hudson's Bay, analyst says

Retail Dive

Despite a report that Canadian retailer Hudson's Bay Co. is having a hard time financing its rumored takeover of Cincinnati-based Macy's Inc., one analyst still expects an acquisition to occur.

Orange Peel Investments' Parke Shall, writing for Seeking Alpha, said that Hudson's Bay was the frontrunner of companies potentially looking to make a bid on Macy's and even if the Toronto company isn't able to acquire Macy's, there's still a lot to attract a potential private equity or acquisition transaction.. . . more

Nordstrom's Spurned $8.4 Billion Bid Sends Family Scrambling

Bloomberg

A rejected takeover bid that valued Nordstrom Inc. at about $8.4 billion is pitting the department-store chain’s board against its top executives.

After the company’s founding family put together an offer of about $50 a share in cash, Nordstrom’s independent directors spurned the deal on Monday, saying the price was too low. The board members, who formed a special committee to evaluate a possible transaction, warned the would-be buyers to quickly increase their offer or move on.. . . more

Nordstrom going big in home goods with Anthropologie

Chain Store Age

Nordstrom is taking a deeper dive into one of retail’s hottest categories.

Nordstrom announced a partnership with Anthropologie, a division of Urban Outfitters, to introduce more than 200 items from Anthropologie Home at 15 Nordstrom full-line stores and on Nordstrom.com, beginning March 19. The new Anthropologie Home collection will encompass a wide array of categories including kitchen, dining and entertaining, bed and bath textiles, room décor, stationery and hardware.. . . more

Monday, March 5, 2018

Foot Locker to close more than 100 stores

Chain Store Age

An athletic retailer is planning more store closures.

The retailer plans to close the doors of approximately 110 stores this year, mostly under-performing locations, according to Business Insider.

In addition, the company will open about 40 new, high-profile stores. The closures will enable Foot Locker to reduce its exposure in “deteriorating” malls. Meanwhile, the new stores will help the company to rebuild its business and win back customers, the report added.. . . more

JC Penney is still betting on beauty to fuel its turnaround

CNBC

J.C. Penney's investments in beauty aim to steer the company out of a sales slump, as it lags some of its other department store peers heading into 2018.

The company just last month revealed its plans to hire 6,500 stylists for a burgeoning hair salon business across the U.S. Its make-up sales have blossomed due to a unique partnership with Sephora. And a recent overhaul to Penney's jewelry displays in stores is luring more women in to buy diamonds for weddings and other special occasions.. . . more

Friday, March 2, 2018

One of Charlotte’s biggest malls rethinks $50 million project amid retail woes

Chaarlotte Observer

A little over two years ago, the owners of Northlake Mall made a splashy announcement about a $50 million project they were planning that would add more than 200,000 square feet on an 11-acre site next to the mall’s entrance. It was to include all kinds of retail, including a home furnishings store, entertainment and restaurants.

Construction was scheduled to begin in early 2017. A year later, however, the project hasn’t yet broken ground.

Northlake’s owner, Starwood Retail Partners, hasn’t abandoned the project, but it is going back to the drawing board. And you might not see the traditional brick-and-mortar retailers you’d expect at a shopping mall.. . . more

High-end menswear chain to close remaining stores

Chain Store Age

Bachrach is winding down its business — for good.

The high-end menswear brand is closing its remaining 14 stores that operate across eight states — Texas, Virginia, New Jersey, Tennessee, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana and Illinois — as well as its online store. Great American Group (GA) and Tiger Group are conducting the liquidations on behalf of the retailer’s creditors.. . . more

Gap Inc grows beyond Old Navy, same-store sales cruise past estimates

Reuters

Gap Inc’s dependence on its low-end Old Navy line of clothing lessened in the holiday quarter as the apparel retailer managed to better its sales of other brands, helping the company’s same-store sales blow past Wall Street estimates.

Gap’s plan to spend more to bring new styles quicker to stores and improve its online offerings in a bid to drive traffic and fend off competition from fast-fashion chains such as H&M and Forever 21 is paying off. . . . more

Soft Surroundings to Open 16 Stores in 2018

Design Retail Online

St. Louis-based women’s apparel and lifestyle retailer Soft Surroundings has announced that it will launch 16 new locations this year, including its first in California.

According to ksdk.com, the rollout will begin in April with the opening of a new location in Marlton, N.J. Additional openings will take place in major markets like Orlando, Fla. and Baltimore, along with outposts in Pennsylvania.. . . more

Nordstrom shares drop on lower-than-expected earnings

Seattle Times

As renewed interest swirls around the Nordstrom family’s effort to take the retailer private, the Seattle-based company reported record sales but lower-than-expected earnings for its fiscal fourth quarter.

Comparable sales at Nordstrom’s full-line U.S. stores and its off-price Nordstrom Rack stores were down 1.7 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively, during the quarter, continuing the mostly downward trend seen at many retailers buffeted by changing shopping habits and demographic trends.

Meanwhile, comparable sales at its online properties have grown, often by double-digit percentages — they were up 12.4 percent at Nordstrom.com and 23.7 percent at Nordstromrack.com/HauteLook — albeit from a smaller base.. . . more

J.C. Penney slashes roughly 360 jobs, misses investors expectations

USA Today

J.C. Penney said Friday that it has eliminated roughly 360 jobs at its headquarters, and at stores throughout the country.

The news came as the struggling retailer reported earnings that missed analysts expectations, sending shares plunging in early morning trading.  . . . more

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Mall Owners Fill Up On Entertainment

For a while it seemed as if brick-and-mortar retail was in recovery mode from the doom and gloom days following the Great Recession. Based on KeyPoint Partners proprietary GRIID™ data, vacancy rates in Eastern Massachusetts peaked in 2010. The region has been experiencing some stabilization in the vacancy rate in recent years, settling into the mid-8% range. However, it appears that the region will see a bump up this year: preliminary data for our KeyPoint Reports on New England retail real estate markets (being compiled now) suggests that the vacancy rate could rise significantly this year.

Enclosed malls have much to do with higher vacancy rates: the rate within this retail venue runs about a point higher than the regional rate. Much has been written about the decline in the mall industry and we’ve all seen the projections. An April report from Cowen and Co. predicted that as many as 20% of stores at some mass and middle-market mall retailers will close in the next five years; a Credit Suisse report from May forecast that 25% of all U.S. malls could shutter by 2022...more