Tuesday, July 31, 2018

J.C. Penney staying close to its roots in CEO search

Retail Dive
In searching for a new CEO, J.C. Penney is considering former CEOs with experience in apparel merchandising and big box retail, who are "in tune with today’s challenges of being both an online and store retailer," chairman Ron Tysoe told the Dallas Morning News. "We're not looking for someone to reinvent J.C. Penney," he also told the Morning News' Maria Halkias.

The department store retailer is in the awkward position of searching for a chief executive after the sudden departure of Marvin Ellison in May. Tysoe told the Morning News that the company is attracting a "number of high-caliber candidates," some of whom are seeking out the position and others who are being approached.. . . more

Forest City to be acquired in mega real estate deal

Chain Store Age
Forest City, whose retail holdings include retail centers throughout New York City, is being acquired by a Brookfield real estate fund.

Forest City operates 2.2 million sq. ft. of retail space, including regional malls in key markets and specialty retail centers, primarily in New York City. . . . more

Is the retail collapse over? Shopping mall owners think so.

Bon-Ton, Toys R Us, Sears, Claire's, Abercrombie & Fitch and Sam's Club are just a few of the major retailers that have shut hundreds of locations altogether across the U.S. this year, leaving a glut of commercial real estate on the market.

It's allowed the few retailers that are still expanding as well as some "e-tailers" looking to plant some roots take advantage of the empty space and cheaper leases.

The new tenants, filling some of the millions of square feet of retail space that went dark last year, have helped to ease concerns about an uncertain 2018 for shopping center owners. . . . more

Monday, July 30, 2018

J.C. Penney making a U-turn

Chain Store Age
J.C. Penney is going back to the future.

The department store retailer is looking to win back its core customer — middle-aged moms — after courting younger shoppers, according to Business Insider,which cited a report by The Wall Street Journal.. . . more

Discounters stay hot as consumers search for deals

The Chicago Tribune
As retailers scramble to find solutions to the e-commerce-fueled bricks-and-mortar crisis, department store chains like Nordstrom and Macy’s are embracing off-price models. Last Chance, Nordstrom Rack and Macy’s Backstage — along with traditional discounters like TJ Maxx — have continued attracting shoppers with the promise of a treasure hunt, something online merchants can’t quite replicate. Sears, Carson’s and other onetime retail giants are closing stores or going out of business, but off-price chains have plans to open hundreds of new stores in the coming years.

However, some industry experts caution that a lack of emphasis on online sales, coupled with problems obtaining enough high-quality merchandise to meet demand, could disrupt the discounters’ momentum, which may already be slowing down. At Nordstrom Rack, TJ Maxx, Ross Dress for Less and Burlington Coat Factory, for example, sales at existing stores have been growing at a slower pace over the past three quarters.. . . more

Family Entertainment Centers Pull Out The Stops To Draw In Mall Traffic

Dave & Buster's, bounce houses, trampoline parks, escape rooms and glow bowling alleys, among many other interactive concepts, have become staples in malls and retail strips, bringing young adults and families into struggling venues.

“What these entertainment concepts bring is a new energy in shopping centers,” JLL Director of National Leasing Holly Rome said. “It provides customers reason to come and drives traffic because it’s an experience. You can only get that experience there. You can’t buy it online.” . . . more

Brookstone Reportedly Mulls Second Bankruptcy, Plans To Shutter Most U.S. Stores

Experiential retailing might not be enough to save gadget retailer Brookstone, which is reportedly considering a second bankruptcy that may shutter most, if not all, of its U.S. locations.

Currently, the retailer has 140 stores domestically, including 36 in airports. Now the company is preparing to close most of them via bankruptcy, perhaps retaining some airport locations, Bloomberg reports, citing anonymous sources. . . . more

Friday, July 27, 2018

GGP Shareholders OK Brookfield's $15B Takeover Offer

GGP stock pricing held steady today after the retail REIT announced its shareholders had approved Brookfield Property Partners' offer to buy the second-largest U.S. mall owner. Brookfield's stock price dropped to $20.27/share. 

The deal, first announced in March, would give GGP shareholders a $23.50 cash dividend, and a choice of one share of Brookfield stock or ownership in a new REIT for every GGP common share. The total cash consideration was valued at $9.25B, and the overall deal is valued at $15B. Brookfield already owned 34% of GGP stock. . . . more

Nine West, Authentic Brands and the future of apparel retail

Retail Dive
The Nine West brand is entering its second life. With its former parent company (which still bears the same name) in Chapter 11, Nine West has joined the likes of Nautica, Airwalk and Shaquille O'Neal — as well as Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe and a couple dozen more — at Authentic Brands Group.

The $340 million acquisition is a descriptive one for this moment in retail. Nine West the operator, struggling under a debt pile from a private equity buyout, suffered financially with the decline in department stores and mall traffic. The retailer and wholesaler went bankrupt, while the brand holding company that bought the Nine West name has found success in keeping its books relatively clean of assets — and the capital expenses that come with them. . . . more

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Mall REIT CEOs See Their Total Compensation Drop as Sector Struggles

National Real Estate Investor
A new report from S&P Global Market Intelligence found that CEOs of Simon Property Group, Macerich Co., GGP, Taubman Centers, Washington Prime Group, CBL & Associates Properties and PREIT all experienced total compensation declines in 2017. . . more

Here's What The Woburn Mall Makeover Could Look Like

An architectural firm hired by Woburn Mall owner Edens LLC offered a first glimpse of a proposed makeover of the property, which includes 400 apartments, an eight-screen building and an open-air retail concept similar to those found in so-called lifestyle centers in Lynnfield, Dedham and Somerville. Hartford-based Amenta Emma Architects said Edens hopes to complete work on the makeover by November 2019 . . . more

The Death of Rollout: Reframing retail expansion

Chain Store Age
As the planned store closures by Starbucks and Chipotle makes clear, the pendulum certainly seems to have swung away from the growth of store counts simply for growth’s sake. With traditional retail rollout models in their waning days, here are a few considerations to keep in mind: . . more

Popular fast-food chain to test the meal-kit market

Chain Store Age
In a first for a major fast-food chain, Chick-fil-A will launch its own line of meal kits. The line, called Mealtime Kits, will be tested at 150 of the company’s locations across the Atlanta area, beginning Aug. 27. The limited-time test offer will be available until Nov. 17. (Customers outside the Atlanta area can express their interest in trying the kits by filling out an online form.). . . more

No Shirt, No Swipe, No Service

Cash is a miracle. So why are more businesses refusing it? Stores are eliminating cash registers and coin rolls in pursuit of what they say is a safer, more streamlined payment process—and one that most of their customers want to use anyway. . . more

Orangetheory Fitness: 1,000 Studios … and Counting

At a ribbon-cutting event held July 21st at the gleaming new studio's 888 SE 9th Avenue location in the Central Eastside'sBuckman neighborhood, special guests joined Orangetheory Fitness CEO & Co-Founder Dave Long in celebrating the company's unique trifecta of science, coaching and technology. After snapping photos on the appropriately themed Orange Carpet, they enjoyed, first-hand, the Orangetheory method for how to run, lift and sweat to become better versions of themselves – regardless of fitness level . . . more

Analyst: Some warning signs in June sales

Chain Store Age
The retail economy ended the first half of the year on a positive note with a strong set of June numbers. Overall, retail sales rose by 6.3% on an unadjusted year-over-year basis. Below that headline figure, foodservice put in a good performance with a 9% increase over the same period last year, while automotive sales continued to advance with an increase of 5%. Sales at gasoline stations rose by a colossal 20.8%, the fastest increase since September 2011 — driven by both higher prices and some volume increases across parts of the country. . . more

Friday, July 20, 2018

Shopping malls want to make you pay for prime parking spots

New York Post
Malls across the country, having lost millions of customers to online rivals, hope to win shoppers back with a rather odd marketing plan: pay for parking.

In partnership with an app called MyPark, malls and outlet centers are starting to reserve the best parking spots — those nearest the stores — and will allow shoppers to reserve those spots, for a fee.. . . more

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Monmouth Mall is approved for live-work-play remake

Chain Store Age
The owners of New Jersey’s fourth largest mall have received approval from the Eatontown Planning Board to add 700 residential units and transform the property into a mixed-use community.

Kushner Companies’ Monmouth Mall will re-emerge as The Heights at Monmouth. Plans call for the two-story, 300,000 sq. ft. wing that includes Boscov’s department store — a longtime anchor of the 1960s-era mall — to be demolished in the reconstruction. . . . more

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Awakening the Dream in the Meadowlands

New Jersey Monthly
For years, it hulked stagnant over the Meadowlands like a massive, forgotten Tinkertoy. But if you drive past it today on Route 3 or the New Jersey Turnpike, the mall once named Xanadu and now rechristened American Dream is rising anew.

But don’t call it a mall—not these days. Don Ghermezian, president of Edmonton, Canada-based Triple Five Worldwide, which took over development of the project in 2011, made that clear when he spoke to Bloomberg in late 2016. He refers to American Dream as “the center of the universe.”. . . more

Gap Sues Westfield Over Mall Expenses as Tensions Rise in Retail World

The Wall Street Journal
Gap Inc. is suing high-end-mall operator Westfield for allegedly overcharging the fashion retailer in an action that underscores the sometimes-tense relationship between landlords and tenants as e-commerce transforms the retail sector.

Other well-known U.S. retailers, such as Starbucks and Saks Fifth Avenue, have duked it out with landlords in court recently as they’ve sought to trim costs amidst a glut of shopping-center space. Mall vacancies in the U.S. recently hit a six-year high, with strip malls and neighborhood centers particularly hard-hit.. . . more

Monday, July 16, 2018

Gymboree, a rare retailer to emerge from bankruptcy last year, launches its reboot on Amazon Prime Day

Monday, Gymboree is announcing its refreshed personality, product and digital presence. The retailer relaunched its websites and is debuting a new app this week with augmented reality features. In taking these steps, Gymboree hopes its makeover will fix some of the reasons it struggled: growing online competition, a debt-laden balance sheet and a need to woo shoppers with better value.

A quarter of Gymboree’s sales come from its websites, and the retailer is offering as much as 80 percent off on its three brands’ sites, coinciding with Amazon Prime Day. . . . more

Friday, July 13, 2018

Investors Punish L Brands After Victoria Secret’s Weakness

The Wall Street Journal
Victoria's Secret, the flagship beauty and lingerie line for L Brands Inc., simply isn’t resonating with shoppers.

Revenue from Victoria's Secret products fell 1% for the five-week period ended July 7, compared with the same period last year, L Brands Chief Investor Relations Officer Amie Preston said in an audio message accompanying its latest sales report. Fewer customers visited stores for Victoria’s Secret’s semiannual sale, forcing the company to lengthen it by about two weeks and slash already reduced prices.. . . more

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Old Navy launches in-store pickup; rolls out new store experience

Chain Store Age
Gap’s value apparel brand is getting online orders into its shoppers’ hands faster. It’s also updating the look of its stores.

Old Navy has launched a buy online, pickup in-store service at all stores nationwide. After placing an order, customers have seven days to visit the store to pick up their purchase at a specially designated kiosk, according to a Gap Inc. blog.. . . more

Sears laid off 200 more people at its corporate offices

More layoffs have taken place at the corporate offices of Sears Holdings in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.

According to a WARN notice filed in Illinois a few weeks ago that was obtained by CNBC, about 200 workers have been laid off from the department store chain, with about 150 of those working specifically at Sears’ Hoffman Estates support center. . . . more

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Nordstrom investors balk at 5-year plan

Retail Dive
Nordstrom has big ambitions for growth, but investors and analysts don't seem to be entirely convinced. The upscale department store retailer was downgraded by Cowen & Co. analysts early this month, citing pressures on full-line sales, store traffic and margins and a need to improve its off-price Rack division.

Executives on Tuesday acknowledged that women's apparel at Rack missed the mark in a big way and that they're attuned to what they need to do to execute better. Off-price comps grew just 0.4% in the first quarter of 2018, down from 4% growth in the fourth quarter of 2017. . . . more

Kate Hudson's Fabletics athleisure line plans to open 75 new stores in global push

As Fabletics celebrates five years as a fashion brand in the athleisure industry — athletic wear designed for working out or running errands — it's mapped out an aggressive growth strategy amid a competitive landscape that includes rivals Lululemon, Gap's Athleta, Nike and Tory Burch Sport.

The privately held retailer, owned by ShoeDazzle and JustFab parent company TechStyle Fashion Group, is planning to open 75 new stores across the U.S. and overseas, bringing its total to 100. . . . more

10 Up-and-Coming Retail Chains to Watch

There is no shortage of bad news when it comes to retail real estate. The sector is undergoing a lot of change, those in the industry admit. But behind the wave of store closures—there have been 4,146 major U.S. store closing announcements year-to-date in 2018, according to a recent tally from research firm’s CoreSight Research—there are many retailers that are growing their brick-and-mortar presence in the United States. Store opening announcements during the same time period totaled 2,042.

Here is a look at several up-and-coming and expanding retailers in the United States.. . . more

New Target store planned for Cape Cod

Boston Herald
The retail giant Target has announced plans on Tuesday to open a store in Hyannis' Cape Cod Mall in 2019.

The company has signed a lease with Simon Property Group for an 80,000-square-foot store.. . . more

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Nordstrom expanding its inventory-free, small store concept

Chain Store Age
Nordstrom said it plans to open two more Nordstrom Local stores in Los Angeles, one downtown and one in the Brentwood section. (There are also plans to expand to Manhattan, according to reports.)

Nordstrom opened the first — and still only — Nordstrom Local in October, on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. The 3,000-sq.-ft. store is designed as a neighborhood hub that offers an array of services, including onsite tailoring and alterations, curbside pickup, and buy online pickup in store. . . . more

Shopping struggles: These 11 retailers may not survive 2018

USA Today
Many North American retailers were wiped out in the “retail apocalypse” which started in 2010. Amazon and Walmart’s growth, the rise of fast fashion retailers, reserved spending habits after the Great Recession, and dying malls crushed countless retailers.

Some retailers survived the downturn by closing stores and expanding their e-commerce presence, but others weren’t as lucky. Let’s examine eleven retailers which could struggle to remain relevant this year. . . . more

Monday, July 9, 2018

Mall Makeovers, Big Box Availability Benefit Retail Growth

To glimpse the future of retail development for the second half of 2018, look no further than the Village at Totem Lake in Kirkland, Washington.
The 45-year-old shopping mall will soon boast 850 luxury apartments, plazas with fountains, a pool, a gourmet grocer and a high-end movie theater.

The development is at the forefront of mall makeovers picking up across the country, transforming large, drab slabs of concrete into community centers. The phenomenon joins two other trends that will shape the retail sector for the rest of 2018 and beyond: developers seizing costly opportunities presented by closing big-box stores and brick-and-mortar retailers adopting eye-catching technologies to engage shoppers. . . . more

Mall Tenants Had an Out When Giants Like Macy’s Left. Now Landlords Bar the Door

The only thing more dangerous for America’s malls than a string of apparel-chain bankruptcies is when the trouble hits department stores.

Retailers like J.C. Penney Co. and Macy’s Inc. are considered “anchors” that keep malls humming and foot traffic flowing. They’re so important to the ecosystem that smaller tenants may refuse to set up shop without a promise that the anchors will stick around: Many leases include so-called co-tenancy clauses that let them cut and run or pay less if those key tenants depart.. . . more

Friday, July 6, 2018

New Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works Open at University Mall, Vermont

KeyPoint Partners
KeyPoint Partners, LLC (KPP) announces the opening of the Victoria’s Secret and Bath and Body Works stores at University Mall (UMall) in South Burlington, Vermont. KPP Vice President of Leasing Don Mace negotiated a lease with L Brands last year for an expansion and relocation of the long-time tenants.

The Victoria’s Secret expansion is one of several ongoing initiatives to re-merchandise the Mall and improve foot traffic, Mace says. KPP also negotiated leases with Target, H&M, and Shoe Dept. Encore to open stores at University Mall this year.. . . more

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

1.5 million-sq.-ft. New Jersey mall to close

Chain Store Age
When its last surviving tenant, Sears, closes in September, so too will the Marketplace at Burlington in New Jersey.

Once a strong regional draw in this town located between Trenton and Philadelphia, the former Burlington Center Mall owned by Moonbeam Capital LLC flourished with 1.5 million sq. ft. of retail. Now local government officials are left to seek a new use for this huge tract in the middle of their community. . . . more

Sears adds more stores to closings list; 78 set to close in September

USA Today
Ten more Sears and Kmart stores have been added to the growing list of locations slated for closure, a move that represents another step in the diminishment of what were once two of the nation's most prominent shopping chains.

Sears Holdings, which owns both chains, said it informed employees Thursday that it would be shuttering nine Sears stores and one Kmart in late September. Liquidation is scheduled to begin as early as July 13, the company said in a statement.. . . more

Irish deep-discount clothing chain expands in U.S.

Boston Business Journal
Irish deep-discount fashion retailer Primark is expanding its presence in the U.S., opening a ninth U.S. store in Brooklyn.

The company opened its first U.S. store in Boston in 2015 and has locations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut and New York. The retailer plans to open two more U.S. stores this year, per Chain Store Age, including one in Florida. . . . more

Nordstrom shares tumble on analyst downgrade, concern about brick-and-mortar store sales

Shares of Nordstrom tumbled 3 percent in early morning trading Monday after the stock was downgraded as same-store sales at the upscale retailer's brick-and-mortar locations decline and its chain of discount stores, Nordstrom Rack, comes under pressure.

The company's off-price division, Rack, "remains a work in progress as digital strength has masked weak physical store comps," Cowen analyst Oliver Chen said in a research note Monday. He said same-store sales at Nordstrom Rack have declined for the past six quarters, underperforming other off-price rivals like Ross Stores and TJX. . . . more

Monday, July 2, 2018

Simon Property Malls to Offer More Happy Returns Stores Now

Simon Property Group, Inc. announced that it will expand the Happy Returns services available at its malls to several other locations. This will enable an increasing number of customers to return purchases made online at malls where Simon Guest Services is available.

Notably, Happy Returns already has a significant presence in Simon's malls. The recent agreement will see the company expanding in additional 16 centers owned by Simon Property. . . . more