Friday, September 28, 2018

J.C. Penney hit with another major C-suite exit

Chain Store Age
J.C. Penney is now looking for a CEO and a CFO.

The department store retailer announced late Thursday that Jeffrey Davis is resigning from his position as executive VP and CFO in order to pursue another opportunity. His resignation is effective Oct.1.. . . more

CEO’s Plan to Save Sears Would Hand His Hedge Fund $1 Billion

Eddie Lampert’s hedge fund has a new plan for cutting Sears debt. The main beneficiary would be Eddie Lampert’s hedge fund.

Lampert, Sears Holdings Corp.’s chief executive officer, called this week for the underperforming retailer to stanch the bleeding by paying off certain loans -- many of them owned by his hedge fund -- while swapping other debt for notes that convert to equity. . . . more

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Gyms Are Expanding and Many are Eyeing Mall Vacancies

The fitness club sector is flexing its muscles.

Fitness and health clubs have grown to be a more than a $30-billion-a-year industry, according to research site Statista, with more than 36,000 clubs across the U.S. boasting more than 60 million members.. . . more

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

J. Crew to unveil brand for younger women in recovery plan

Chicago Tribune
Crew Group will unveil a brand to appeal to a younger, female shopper as the preppy clothing retailer seeks a broader audience for its recovery strategy.

"We see ourselves as having more than two brands. In fact, we'll be announcing one new brand this year," Chief Executive Officer Jim Brett said in a Bloomberg TV interview. "It is aimed at women, and it's younger than any of our existing brands." He declined to provide further details. . . . more

H&M reportedly testing new concept store

Chain Store Age
H&M’s newest location could help it better connect with local shoppers.

The fast-fashion retailer is piloting a store in its hometown of Stockholm, Sweden, that features merchandise and services that cater to local tastes, according to Reuters.

The new location is a far cry from H&M’s traditional stores. The new concept features a smaller range of selected clothes displayed on airy shelves and tables in color-coordinated sections. The location also offers shoppers espressos and invitation-only events, the report explained. . . . more

Town Meeting Approves Petition for 9 Liquor Licenses for Burlington Mall

A project to redesign and renovate the former Sears location at the Burlington got one step closer to becoming a reality on Monday night.

After a long discussion Town Meeting voted overwhelming to approve a Home Rule Petition for nine new liquor licenses, five all-alcohol and four beer/wine licenses, that will be site-specific to the Burlington Mall. The request must now go to the state legislature for approval. . . . more

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Without Lampert, Sears would have long since gone under

Chain Store Age
There can be no doubt that Eddie Lampert has made an enormous effort to keep Sears afloat over the past few years; indeed, had Sears been owned by anyone else it would have likely long since gone under.

These latest plans represent a stepping up of the mission to resolve the company’s financial woes. The proposed asset sales are significant as is the offloading of real estate. Should both plans succeed, they would indeed help Sears pay down some of its enormous debt burdens and provide it with a buffer of liquidity. . . . more

Michael Kors acquires Italian fashion house Gianni Versace for $2.1 billion

USA Today
Luxury goods maker Michael Kors Holdings reached a deal to acquire Italian fashion house Gianni Versace in a move aimed at giving the combined company further runway for growth.

The deal will enable the luxury goods company to open about 100 new stores throughout the world, up from about 200 today, and expand online sales.. . . more

A new formula for retail rents

Retail Leader
Could the evolution of U.S. retail stores into showroom-type spaces, whether operated by clicks-to-bricks retailers or mainline chains with advanced multichannel strategies, ultimately alter the traditional landlord-tenant rent structure?

Consider some of the directions in which retail already appears to be headed.. . . more

Monday, September 24, 2018

Sears CEO Pushes a Rescue Plan to Avoid Bankruptcy

The Wall Street Journal
Warning that Sears Holdings Corp. is running out of time and money, CEO Edward Lampert is making his biggest push yet to restructure the retailer to avoid a bankruptcy filing, as a debt payment looms next month.

Mr. Lampert, who is also Sears’s chairman, controlling shareholder and biggest creditor, wants creditors to restructure about $1.1 billion of debt coming due in 2019 and 2020, according to a proposal made public on Monday.. . . more

Neiman Marcus bondholder says company may be in default

Distressed investor Marble Ridge Capital LP said in a letter to Neiman Marcus Group Ltd LLC that the luxury department store company may be in default on its debt after it moved its Mytheresa business into an entity belonging to the retailer’s private equity owners.

Marble Ridge is working with law firm Brown Rudnick LLP and plans to organize with other creditors to look into the Mytheresa move, according to a person familiar with the matter. The hedge fund last year pursued a similar strategy with Singapore-based Global A&T Electronics Ltd.. . . more

Friday, September 21, 2018

New retail concept seeks to reinvent the department store

Chain Store Age
A retail start-up is set to unveil its take on the department store of the future.

Neighborhood Goods announced it will open its first store this November, in Legacy West, a 255-acre open-air retail and restaurant development in the fast-growing town of Plano, Texas. The Dallas-based retailer said it is creating a modern alternative to — and evolution of — the traditional department store.. . . more

Thursday, September 20, 2018

How Dead Malls Are Resurrecting As Something Else
Back in 1975, Red Bird Mall was the only enclosed regional mall in the southern half of Dallas, but like many malls across the nation, it eventually fell on hard times.

The 1.1M SF mall was renamed Southwest Center Mall and has struggled since the early 1990s with multiple owners, foreclosures, bankruptcies, vacant storefronts and empty parking lots. 

Many regional malls across the nation have similar stories. . . . more

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Claire's lenders come to truce in bankruptcy fight

Retail Dive
Ahead of filing, Claire's gave itself the best chance of exiting from bankruptcy by negotiating a plan with major lenders ahead of Chapter 11.

But just because a pre-negotiated bankruptcy plan is the smoothest path toward a successful retail reorganization doesn't mean everybody involved comes out ahead. Plenty of stakeholders — employees, landlords, vendors and lower-tier lenders among them — can get burned when a retailer restructures in Chapter 11.. . . more

Macy’s adding more in-store technology, partnering with Facebook

Chain Store Age
Macy’s is making some bold moves in its stores in time for the holiday shopping season.

The department store giant announced it is adding enhanced in-store technologies to make its customers shopping journeys “more convenient, efficient and fun.” The new features include both virtual reality and augmented reality furniture and beauty experiences that will enable customers to discover product and make more informed buying decisions.

The retailer also said it is partnering with Facebook to bring in nearly 150 online brands to its pop-up concept, The Market @ Macy’s, across nine stores this holiday. . . . more

Off-Price Chains Continue to Roll, but how Long Can the Good Times Last?

While department stores have faced intense pressures from Amazon and the growth of online sales more generally, consumers continue to head to brick-and-mortar, off-price chains in healthy numbers, keeping the performance of that sector stable.

Off-price retailers sell racks of second-hand merchandise, closeouts, last season’s products, overruns and returns from other apparel companies at rock-bottom prices. The rapidly shifting inventory and “treasure hunt” experience help draw shoppers in. Furthermore, while apparel sales account for the bulk of sales at off-price chains like TJ Maxx, Ross Dress for Less and others, many companies are looking for ways to increase their product mix, with the home products category gaining popularity.. . . more

Neiman Marcus ends its year with sales up in all four quarters, but still facing huge debt

The Dallas Morning News
Neiman Marcus continued its streak of quarterly sales gains and significantly lowered its loss in the recent quarter as it enters a pivotal year.

The Dallas-based luxury retailer reported a sales increase of 2.3 percent to $1.13 billion in its fiscal fourth quarter and narrowed its loss to $75 million. That compared with sales of $1.12 billion and a loss of $366 million last year, which included a charge to lower the value of the company on its books.. . . more

Monday, September 17, 2018

Another retailer is getting in the restaurant business

Chain Store Age
Home furnishings stores are shaping up as fertile ground for restaurants.

Crate & Barrel will open a full-service restaurant in its store at Oakbrook Center, Oakbrook, Ill., next spring, reported the Chicago Tribune. The news comes as another home furnishings retailer, RH (formerly Restoration Hardware), unveiled its fifth restaurant, at its new location in Manhattan.

The restaurant planned for Crate & Barrel is a partnership between the retailer and Chicago’s Cornerstone Restaurant Group.. . . more

We went shopping at Hollister and saw how it could be Abercrombie's secret weapon

Business Insider
While Abercrombie & Fitch has had to make some major changes to its brand over the past few years, its sister brand Hollister has been doing relatively well.

Hollister is generally priced lower than Abercrombie and tends to support it similarly to how Old Navy supports Gap. It's meant to appeal to a younger crowd of shoppers and has a California-inspired theme. In the second quarter, comparable sales were up 2% at Abercrombie and 4% at Hollister, according to a company press release. It was the seventh consecutive quarter of growth for the Hollister brand.. . . more

Out of Stock This Holiday Season: Store Workers

The Wall Street Journal
Shoppers are filing back into stores ahead of the holiday season. Unfortunately for retailers, workers are not.

Staffing up for the year-end crush is an annual challenge for retailers. But with unemployment at record lows, this year is shaping up to be an exceptional slog.. . . more

Sears Downsizing is Scary

Sears Holding’s recent report of second quarter 2018 sales was scary. The closing of 382 stores since last year’s second quarter, and the proposed closing of 46 more stores, is a stark reminder that the management is winding down the operation. There are now 360 Kmart stores and 506 Sears Roebuck stores in operation. In contrast, in 2005, there were about 1600 Kmart stores and 2300 Sears brand stores in operation.

The company reported a net loss of $508 Million for the second quarter compared to a loss of $250 Million in the previous year. Total revenues plummeted 25.6% from $4.3 Billion to $3.2 Billion largely due to store closings. But, even comparable sales dropped 3.9% in the quarter, although July and August comps showed an improvement of 3.0% and 2.5%, respectively.. . . more

Friday, September 14, 2018

Henri Bendel is closing after 123 years

New York Post
Henri Bendel — the iconic department store known for bringing Coco Chanel to the US and launching generations of so-call “Bendel Girls” — is shutting its doors after 123 years.

The decision to turn out the lights in January at all 23 of Bendel’s swanky stores — including its landmark flagship on Fifth Avenue — was announced Friday by parent company L Brands, which also owns Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works. . . . more

Sears built the suspense, then reported another bad quarter

CNN Money
Sears Holdings, which owns the Sears and Kmart brands, reported yet another huge loss in the second quarter — $508 million, about twice as much as it lost a year earlier.

Overall sales plunged by more than a quarter, mostly because of store closings. Sales at stores that stayed open were down 4%, and they were up in July and August. . . . more

Thursday, September 13, 2018

A Sears closes and a new idea takes shape at a Massachusetts mall

Chain Store Age
The day after the Sears closed at Eastfield Mall in Springfield, Massachusetts, the owners hired Cushman and Wakefield to open a new chapter for the 87-acre property that was the town’s first enclosed mall when it opened in 1967.

What Cushman and owner Mountain Development have in mind for Eastfield is a mixed-use renovation blending retail with residential in a “main street” lifestyle center setting. It’s become a common scenario in an over-malled retail industry struggling to find its place in 21st Century America. . . . more

New York & Co. is changing its name, launching new brands

Chain Store Age
New York & Co. on Tuesday announced it is changing its name to RTW Retailwinds to reflect “the ability to grow the portfolio of lifestyle brands into new categories and markets.”

The name change, expected to occur in October, is part of New York & Co.’s new strategy that is designed to drive sales to over $1 billion. It includes such new initiatives as expanding the company’s plus-size brand, Fashion to Figure (which it acquired at a bankruptcy auction last year), introducing a lingerie lifestyle brand, and debuting a Kate Hudson casual lifestyle collection. Both the lingerie brand and the Kate Hudson collection will have their own digital sites. . . . more

Mall rents continued to fall in second quarter

Chain Store Age
The great American mall shakeout continued in the second quarter, with Class A malls in stronger markets flourishing and lesser properties struggling.

Mall tenants are the beneficiaries. Rents at malls fell 4.6% from Q1 and now stand 7.1% lower than they were one year ago, according to JLL’s Q2 Retail Outlook. Due to an abundance of anchor store closings, year-to-date net absorption surpassed 2 million sq. ft. . . . more

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Big Retailers Shrink Stores to Boost Sales

Fast-food chain Taco Bell's plan to open 300 new small-format restaurants across the country in the next four years is the latest by a slew of major national brands experimenting with smaller stores to cut real estate costs and cater to urban millennials.

Taco Bell, Barnes & Noble Inc., Whole Foods Market, Kohl’s Corp., Nike Inc., Target Corp. and Nordstrom Inc. are just a handful of major brands looking to increase market share and wring out more dollars per square foot of space in expensive urban markets by opening smaller brick-and-mortar stores. . . . more

Macy’s planning for a ‘strong’ holiday

Chain Store Age
Macy’s holiday hiring plans are on track with last year, although it is increasing seasonal workers in a fast-growing area of its business.

The department store giant said Wednesday it will hire 80,000 seasonal workers as it looks to a “strong and successful” holiday shopping season. While stores (Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s) still account for a majority of the hires, approximately 23,500 of the 80,000 total seasonal positions this year will be based in direct-to-consumer fulfillment facilities. This is 5,500 more positions than were hired for this area than in 2017, reflecting the growth of Macy’s omnichannel business strategy.. . . more

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Government May Want to Buy Your Dying Mall

The Wall Street Journal
Local governments across the U.S. are taking over dying shopping malls.

These municipalities, concerned that vacated retail centers will blight the landscape and drag down surrounding property values, have been buying up malls they fear are being starved of capital by the private sector.. . . more

Monday, September 10, 2018

Victoria's Secret is broken and its Pink franchise is in the 'early innings' of a long decline

Yahoo Finance
The decline for Victoria's Secret and its Pink branch, owned by L Brands, is just beginning, according to analysts from Jefferies.

Victoria's Secret's August same-store sales dropped 5% compared to the previous year, below the 3.8% decrease expected. That was "despite heavy promotions that drove the merchandise margin down significantly YoY," a team of analysts led by Randal Konik wrote in a note sent out to clients on Thursday.. . . more

Friday, September 7, 2018

Five Below Earnings Bring Extra Oomph In Q2 After Soggy Q1

Investor's Business Daily
Five Below  — which sells $5 headphones, fake slime, room supplies and other items targeted toward teens and tweens — reported a surprise Q2 same-store sales gain and top and bottom-line results that beat estimates. The company also raised its full-year guidance.

Net sales rose 23% to $347.7 million. Same-store sales rose 2.7%. . . . more

GameStop misses profit estimate

GameStop Corp, the world’s largest video game and gaming console retailer, reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday due to lower sales of video game software at its outlets.

GameStop said its comparable store sales fell 0.5 percent in the quarter. Analysts, on average, had expected a 3.5 percent drop in same store sales.. . . more

Barnes & Noble is overrun with problems

CNN Money
Barnes & Noble, already reeling from the messy departure of its chief executive, said on Thursday that same-store sales fell 6.1% last quarter compared with a year ago.

The company attributed the decline to a drop in store traffic. Online sales also dropped 14.3% because of fewer promotions, including in Barnes & Noble's Nook tablet business. . . . more

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Amazon Isn’t to Blame for Retail Sector’s Troubles. The Shrinking Middle Class Is.

Despite an economy that has enjoyed almost uninterrupted positive growth since the deep recession of the late 2000s, those who work in and around retail will be quick to tell you that it isn’t all milk and honey for the industry. Turbulence, closures and realignment are the new norm, as the industry explores new concepts and continues to evolve rapidly in response to new challenges and changing circumstances.

There is plenty of discussion and debate about the nature of those challenges. Specifically, there’s a lot of hand-wringing about the impact of online and mobile sales, and a brick-and-mortar landscape that is currently overbuilt by about 20 percent . . . more

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

J.Crew takes the plunge

Chain Store Age
J.Crew Group is shifting strategy and setting up shop on Amazon.

The retailer has opened a dedicated storefront featuring a curated selection of its less expensive J.Crew Mercantile brand on Amazon. In the past, J.Crew has resisted selling its products on the online site.. . . more

RH waxes poetic, literally, to bricks-and-mortar retail

RH, the retailer formerly known as Restoration Hardware, quoted poet Robert Frost in its quarterly earnings statement Tuesday to double down on its bet on bricks-and-mortar stores and shopping as a life experience.

“While most in our industry are closing or downsizing stores, we remain committed to our quest of revolutionizing physical retailing,” RH RH, -9.29% Chief Executive Gary Friedman said in a letter to shareholders that accompanied the retailer’s second-quarter earnings.. . . more

Zara owner Inditex to sell all its brands online by 2020

Inditex, the world's largest clothing retailer and owner of the Zara chain, said on Tuesday it would sell products from all its brands on the Internet around the world by 2020, including in markets where it does not have any stores.

Faced with younger, online-only merchants like and Missguided, the Spanish company which pioneered the fast-fashion concept in the 1980s is developing new technologies, pairing up with tech firms and testing new ways of handling stock.. . . more

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Department stores' fortunes rise as they shun inventory

Retail Dive
The department store retailers in recent quarters have been able to improve both their top-line sales and margins through better management of their inventory, as well as creating a seamless shopping experience for customers, according to a recent Moody's report emailed to Retail Dive.

Analysts led by Christina Boni pointed to Kohl's fourth straight quarter of comparable sales increases, and also strong sales performances at Macy's and Nordstrom in recent quarters as evidence of sector improvement. During the same period, inventory levels at the stronger department stores have declined.. . . more

Mall REITs: Retail Rejuvenation

Seeking Alpha
Goodbye retail apocalypse, hello retail resurgence. Following a brutal two years for the retail industry, conditions have broadly stabilized and pockets of rejuvenation have emerged.

Tenant sales per square foot have surged nearly 5% over the past year at Class-A malls, consistent with the growth rate of overall retail sales. Mall-based categories have seen a solid recovery.. . . more

Lululemon profits jump in Q2, boosts outlook—again

Chain Store Age
Lululemon’s surging online growth, as well as increasing sales across China contributed to strong second-quarter earnings that topped analysts’ expectations.

Revenue rose 25% to $723.5 million, an increase of 25% compared to $581 million a year ago.

Same-store sales were up 20%, surpassing analysts forecasts of 9.6% growth. This also included a 48% jump for Lululemon’s direct-to-consumer revenue. . . . more

As Sears Circles The Drain, Its Real Estate Spinoff Flourishes
Eddie Lampert is the chairman of two companies headed in opposite directions.

As chairman and CEO of Sears Holdings, Lampert decided to spin off much of the company's real estate — 235 Sears and Kmart stores — into a new real estate investment trust called Seritage Growth Properties in 2015, paying the original company $2.7B to settle some debt obligations. While Sears has continued to bleed money and shutter stores in hopes of avoiding an almost certain end, Seritage has flourished. . . . more