Friday, November 30, 2018

Young women like Victoria's Secret, but will they buy?

Retail Dive
Consumer sentiment toward Victoria's Secret's brand has risen since April among U.S. women aged 18 to 49, according to new data from brand research firm YouGov. Its "buzz" score rose from 23 to a high of 29 in early October, but then it dipped to 26 after controversial comments in Vogue from L Brands marketing chief Ed Razek, according to the report.

Women aged 18-49 who report buying from the brand gradually rose to 24% up from 17% in mid-April, and satisfaction with the brand rose from 29 to 37, according to YouGov's 19,000 interviews between January 2016 and November 2018.. . . more

J. Crew cuts loss; to discontinue low-priced Mercantile unit

Chain Store Age
Earlier this month, J. Crew dismissed its CEO, James Brett, over reported disagreements with the board. Some of the programs he put in place are being discontinued, while others are being retooled. J. Crew is currently being run by an “office of the CEO” made up of four senior J. Crew executives.

In news first reported by The Wall Street Journal, J. Crew plans to discontinue its budget apparel division, Mercantile.

In an internal memo that was cited by the Journal, the company told employees its priorities are to “return the J.Crew brand to profitable growth” to focus on growing its lower-cost “factory” business online and in stores. . . . more

GameStop cuts full-year profit forecast

GameStop Corp cut its full-year adjusted profit forecast, as the world’s largest video game retailer struggles with weakness in used games from developers launching streaming services of old titles, sending its shares down 11.3 percent.

The company, which is exploring a potential transaction after receiving a buyout interest, last week said it would sell its Spring Mobile business to Prime Communications LP for $700 million.

“We are evaluating all aspects of our business, including our store and omni-channel experience, cost structure, strategic and economic partnerships ...,” Chief Financial Officer Robert Lloyd said in a statement on Thursday.. . . more

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Chico’s president out as sales plunge

Chain Store Age
The president of Chico’s is departing after a tough third quarter in which same-store sales fell 10.2%.

Total same-store sales fell 6.8%, driven by declines in transaction count and average dollar sales. By brand, same-store sales fell 10.2% at Chico’s and 5.1% at White House | Black Market. Same-store sales rose 2.4% at Soma, Chico’s intimate apparel division.. . . more

Abercrombie & Fitch shares soar on earnings beat, retailer expects to close fewer stores than expected

Abercrombie & Fitch shares soared 20 percent Thursday morning after the teen apparel retailer reported quarterly earnings and sales that topped Wall Street expectations, fueled by growth of its Hollister label and momentum in the U.S.

Sales at stores open for at least 12 months were up 3 percent, better than the 1.6 percent increase forecast by analysts who cover the company. Same-store sales at Hollister were up 4 percent during the quarter, while those at Abercrombie were up 1 percent. In the U.S., same-store sales were up 6 percent, while they were down 3 percent internationally. . . . more

Sears Entertaining Offers From Liquidators as ESL, Cyrus Prepare Takeover Bid

The Wall Street Journal
Sears Holdings Corp. is considering offers from liquidators that would result in the closure of all its stores while Chairman Edward Lampert and Cyrus Capital Partners prepare a bid that would keep the bankrupt retailer in business, according to people familiar with the matter.

Mr. Lampert, who believes a slimmed-down Sears can emerge from bankruptcy, and Cyrus are expected to make an offer for roughly 500 of Sears’s best-performing stores, the people said.. . . more

Top-Tier Mall REITs Post Solid Performance in the Third Quarter

While the retail sector continues to face challenges, REITs that own top-tier malls are posting solid performance numbers and respectable earnings.

Despite record numbers of retail bankruptcies and store closures over the last couple of years, several big mall REITs, including Simon Property Group, Macerich and Taubman Centers, reported increased store sales and occupancies in third quarter, solid measures of how their properties are performing.. . . more

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Just How Apocalyptic Is It?

KeyPoint Partners
If you haven’t read a story - make that ten stories - about the retail apocalypse by now, then possibly you’ve been living under a rock. The “thrashing” of brick-and-mortar retailers by online sellers over the past decade has taken a toll on shopping centers throughout the country, including our home region: retail vacancy in Eastern Massachusetts during that period quickly climbed from the mid-single digits to double digits and has been hovering around the 10% mark for the past few years. However, while the fallout is far from over, there are signs that the worst may be behind us.

To help put the current retail environment into perspective, we used our proprietary GRIID™ retail database to analyze the vacancy patterns of 270 shopping centers in Eastern Massachusetts...more

Dick’s Sporting Goods turns in mixed Q3 results as sales fall

Chain Store Age
Dick’s Sporting Goods beat profit expectations and raised its earnings outlook amid disappointing sales.

The sporting goods retailer reported that its net income rose 2% to $37.8 million in the quarter ended Nov. 3 from $36.9 million.

Net sales fell 4.5% to $1.86 billion, slightly below estimates of $1.88 billion. Same-store sales, based on an unadjusted calendar, declined 6.1%. (Adjusted for an extra week in 2017, same-store sales fell 3.9%.) . . . more

Kids clothing retailer Gymboree weighs closing half its stores

Gymboree Group Inc, a U.S. retailer of infant and children’s clothing, is considering closing more than half of its approximately 900 stores, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

The move would be a setback for Gymboree after it emerged from bankruptcy last year. It was one of the few brick-and-mortar retailers that managed to escape liquidation in a wave of bankruptcies that swept the sector, amid the rise of online shopping.. . . more

Amazon, Mass Merchants Win on Black Friday; Malls and Guns Lose

The presents may not yet be wrapped and under the tree, but at least they’re in transit with a tracking number. With spending increasingly moving online, a new set of winners is emerging as the Black Friday holiday shopping weekend comes to a close.

“We are seeing a fundamental shift in who’s considered winners and losers coming out of Black Friday this year,” Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Jennifer Bartashus said. “Whether you’re talking about department stores, mass merchants or specialty apparel chains, consumers are voting with their online spending and driving this evolution.”. . . more

Indoor Golf Concept That Takes Vacant Department Store Space Gets Private Equity Backing
Cain International has bought a stake in the company behind indoor crazy golf concept Swingers, and will help it to expand in the U.K. and U.S.

Cain said it made a "significant investment" (but didn't disclose how much) in Competitive Socialising, which was founded in 2014 by Matt Grech-Smith and Jeremy Simmonds. Competitive Socialising will be targeting more launches for Swingers in the U.S. and also launching a second concept in the U.K.  . . . more

Monday, November 26, 2018

Gap looking to close hundreds of namesake stores

Chain Store Age
Gap Inc. is set to take drastic action with regards to its ailing namesake division — and sooner rather than later.

Speaking on the chain’s quarterly call with analysts, Gap CEO Art Peck said that the biggest challenge with the Gap brand has to do with certain “legacy elements,” notably real estate obligations that currently “encumber” the business. The company operates 775 Gap stores globally, and “the range from the very best to the very worst is extremely broad,” Peck added. . . . more

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Online lingerie startup begins retail store push

Chain Store Age
The fast-growing Adore Me has big plans for brick-and-mortar.

The digitally native retailer has opened a store at Bridgewater Commons mall, in Bridgewater, N.J. The 3,600-sq.-ft space is the brand’s second physical store to date and double the size of its first location (photo above), which opened in June, at Staten Island Mall, in the Staten Island borough of New York City.. . . more

Foot Locker plays hard in Q3

Chain Store Age
Athletic footwear giant Foot Locker turning in a winning third quarter, with sales and earnings that topped Wall Street expectations.

Total third quarter sales decreased 0.5% to $1.86 billion this year, topping estimates. (The 53rd week shift impact reduced sales by approximately $60 million during the third quarter.) Same-store sales increased 2.9%, better than expected.. . . more

At J.C. Penney, Everything’s on Sale. Will That Be Enough?

Walk into a J.C. Penney and it’s a sea of red stickers. Almost everything is marked down, from apparel, jewelry and home goods to Christmas decor, bedding and appliances. And it’s not even Black Friday yet.

Even for a retailer whose identity is built on promotions and discounts, there’s an urgency to this holiday season. J.C. Penney Co.’s bonds are near record lows, its stock has slid toward a buck a share, and brand new Chief Executive Officer Jill Soltau is pushing her team to shovel out the dated goods that she says make the stores feel “over-assorted and heavy on inventory.”. . . more

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Sears is just one of five retailers that have no room for error this holiday season

Despite all the changes in retail, one thing remains constant: The holidays are the most crucial season of the year.

Many retailers can ring up a third or more of their sales during the holiday quarter. The extra shoppers give retailers such as Walmart, Amazon and Target a chance to test new technologies and tout new experiences — and hopefully win a customer's loyalty into the new year. But for those that have been struggling, the pressure is on to earn enough cash to support the business so it can make investments to reinvent the brand, stave off a bankruptcy filing or simply stay alive.. . . more

Monday, November 19, 2018

Sears seeks approval to give top execs ‘millions’ in bonuses

Chain Store Age
Despite filing for bankruptcy and struggling to stay afloat, Sears Holdings Corp. is seeking court approval to pay executives quarterly bonuses.

The struggling department store retailer is seeking approval to pay executives as much as $19 million in quarterly bonuses. Three top executives could get nearly $1 million each if the company goes out of business. If Sears remains in business, they could get nearly $500,000 each for hitting the top performance targets, according to . . . more

J. Crew CMO to exit as CEO departs

Ad Age
J. Crew CMO Vanessa Holden is leaving the brand, just two months after a relaunch designed to win back lapsed shoppers. She joined the New York-based retailer last year, and recently resigned, a company spokeswoman confirmed on Saturday.

Also on Saturday, J. Crew announced the departure of Chief Executive Jim Brett, effective immediately. . . . more

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

A fight is brewing over Sears' survival in bankruptcy

Retail Dive
The Sears bankruptcy is already taking on an adversarial climate, which is not unusual and not unexpected in the case of Sears. But the squabbles are not limited to how money gets moved around, as was the case with Claire's Stores, where warring parties each saw value in the retailer as a going concern. Rather, the fight between Sears' unsecured creditors and ESL is over the retailer's very existence, and the outcome could determine its fate.

Specifically, the creditor group pointed to Sears go-forward plan to cut out two-thirds of its administrative costs to return to profitability. The group described that as "a feat [Sears] could not accomplish in the six years leading up to" Chapter 11, adding that Sears has not provided the "basic qualitative data necessary" to evaluate the structure of a reorganized Sears or the sale process. . . . more

Coming soon to Bloomingdale's: LG TVs, washing machines and refrigerators

USA Today
Bloomingdale's, known for selling chic clothing to shoppers with champagne tastes, is about to sell TVs, washing machines and refrigerators for the first time.

The upscale retailer is teaming up with electronics maker LG, which will have a shop inside Bloomingdales' Manhattan flagship starting Nov. 19. The boutique will sell LG's premium Signature line, and its TVs, dishwashers, and other large appliances will also be for sale on . . . more

Macy's Smashes Q3 Earnings Forecast, Boosts 2018 Outlook Ahead of Black Friday
Macy's Inc. posted much stronger-than-expected third quarter earnings Wednesday, and boosted its full year profit guidance, as same-store sales growth numbers continue to point to a robust holiday shopping season for the iconic U.S. retailer.

 Comparable store sales rose 3.3% on an owned-plus licensed basis, Macy's said, adding it now sees full-year sales to rising between 0.3% and 0.7%.  . . . more

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

One part store, one part lab: Mall owner debuts BrandBox, a new way to fill vacant space

One of the nation's biggest mall owners has come up with a way to fill empty storefronts, and it's offering young brands plenty of perks to move in.

Macerich this weekend is launching a concept known as "BrandBox" at Tysons Corner Center just outside Washington, D.C., one of the most valuable shopping malls in the U.S. There, it will house six brands, including apparel retailer Naadam and makeup company Winky Lux, for six to 12 months. Each brand will have its own mini store inside an 11,000-square-foot space, with new retailers funneling in and out each year. . . . more

Once-Online-Only Brands Will Open 850 Brick-And-Mortar Stores Over Next Five Years

JLL Research recently put out a report noting that the top 100 digital-native brands they looked at have announced plans for at least 850 stores over the next five years.

Leading the charge are mattress retailer Casper, which will open 200 stores, and women’s intimates retailer Adore Me, which is planning 300 additional stores. But it’s not just sheer volume of store fleet, but also store size that some of these retailers are after. Allbirds, the wool sneaker company, recently opened a 4,800-square-foot New York flagship in SoHo as a launch to its store expansion, which will consist of opening additional stores in four other cities next year alone.. . . more

Creditors urge Sears to shut down all its stores, calling its plan for survival 'wishful thinking'

Business Insider
Sears' creditors are demanding that the company shut down all its remaining stores.

The retailer's plan to survive bankruptcy is "nothing more than wishful thinking" and "an unjustified and foolhardy gamble with other people's money," a group of unsecured creditors has declared in a new filing. . . . more

Monday, November 12, 2018

Retail Industry Has High Expectations for Black Friday, Holiday Sales Season

With Black Friday and the holiday shopping season just around the corner, it’s crunch time for many retailers and mall operators.

The season is critical for retailers because it can account for as much as 30 percent of annual sales.

And shoppers come out in mass. The National Retail Federation estimated that 174 million people shopped in stores and online during last year's five-day Thanksgiving weekend, which ends with Cyber Monday.. . . more

Friday, November 9, 2018

Sears lowers the boom on more stores

Chain Store Age
Sears on Thursday said that 40 locations — 29 Sears stores and 11 Kmart units — will close their doors in February 2019. Liquidation sales at the 40 stores are set to begin late next week.

The new closings are on top of the nearly 200 stores the company previously said it plans to shutter in the coming months. Combined, the closures are expected to leave Sears with fewer than about 500 store locations. The beleaguered retailer had previously estimated it has about 400 stores that could be profitable on their own if it survives bankruptcy.. . . more

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Dollar Shave Club plans vending machines in high-traffic areas

Retail Dive
Dollar Shave Club next week will debut vending machines with trial-size versions of its products, the company told Retail Dive in an email. The machines will feature six kits, for $12 each, of various products including shave, shower, hair care, skin care, freshen up and "greatest hits," with the most popular product from each product line. Dollar Shave Club members will get an app notification when they're near a machine, the company said.

The machines will be installed in high-traffic areas, including mass transit hubs like airports and train stations and "hyper-retail" shopping centers like malls and stadiums that feature entertainment and dining as well as retail, the company said.. . . more

Sears boss Eddie Lampert accused of possibly profiting from retailer's decline

USA Today
Sears Holdings chairman and investor Eddie Lampert may have profited from the company's plunge into bankruptcy, a group of creditors alleged Tuesday.

A committee organized to represent the retailer's unsecured creditors in court accused Lampert and his hedge fund ESL Investments of potentially structuring deals to gain an unfair edge as the company declined.. . . more

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Brookfield To 'Future-Proof' GGP Malls By Turning Them Into 'Mini Cities'
Brookfield has hinted at its plans for the malls it acquired late in the summer when it bought GGP in a $15B takeover.

According to Brookfield CEO Brian Kingston during the company's recent Q3 earnings call, some assets might be sold — about 25 — but most will be redeveloped.

"... [W]e do think within that 100-or-so core portfolio of assets on a longer-term base, introducing other uses and effectively turning them into mini-cities is really how to future-proof all of these assets," Kingston said, though he didn't go into detail about what constitutes a "mini-city.". . . more

Monday, November 5, 2018

Sears nears bankruptcy financing deal without Lampert's hedge fund

Sears Holdings Corp is nearing a deal with new lenders to increase a bankruptcy financing package to as much as $600 million, from $300 million, without Chairman Eddie Lampert's hedge fund contributing, people familiar with the matter said on Monday.

The deal, which may come as soon as this week, could provide enough money for the beleaguered U.S. retailer to keep its shelves stocked during the holiday shopping season and retain sufficient support from creditors and vendors to emerge from bankruptcy proceedings.. . . more

7 retailers that made pivotal deals in 2018

Retail Dive
Last year, retail and consumer deals remained relatively steady. But the pause in merger and acquisition activity is likely short lived, according to global strategy and management consultancy A.T. Kearney. In a report published earlier this year, the firm predicted more deals to occur as legacy brick-and-mortar players attempt to grow into new markets and find new customers. The firm also anticipated global M&A to heat up and private equity to continue its buying spree.

Retailers have not disappointed. This year, Walmart made its largest deal ever — $16 billion to acquire Indian e-commerce business Flipkart — Amazon made moves in the pharma and smart doorbell spaces, and Macy's picked up popular store concept creator Story.. . . more

Friday, November 2, 2018

Then and Now: Decade of Change?

KeyPoint Partners
This is a time of great change in the retail industry. Everyday there’s a new headline about the so-called “retail apocalypse” as we hear of another venerable old-school retailer closing up shop.
In that light, if I were to ask you how much a list of the Top 25 Retailers by Store Count in a given region of the country had changed in the last ten years, what would you say – the list had changed a great deal, somewhat, or not very much, really?

We decided to use our proprietary GRIIDTM retail database to see how much change this region (Eastern Massachusetts/Greater Boston) has experienced during the past 10 years. To do so, we listed the top 25 retailers by store count in 2008 and in 2018.. . . more

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Amazon’s second ever 4-star store opening in Denver

The Denver Post
Stores that offer customers a unique experience are all the rage in the retail industry these days. It’s not just about what you buy, it’s how much you enjoy visiting the place where you buy it.

With that in mind, the experience offered by the 4,000-square-foot Amazon store that opens Thursday inside the Park Meadows mall is best described as the physical equivalent of walking into the homepage.

The store is just the second Amazon 4-star in the country, trailing one that opened in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood by a few weeks. Plenty more are likely. A Berkeley, Calif., location has already be announced.. . . more

These 8 retailers can't afford a disappointing 2018 holiday shopping season

USA Today
In retail, it’s getting harder and harder for the have-nots to join the haves.

As Amazon, Walmart and Target increasingly suck up the retail oxygen, a slew of high-profile competitors are wheezing, turning the always-crucial holiday shopping season into a make-or-break scenario for some.

Department store chains Sears, J.C. Penney and Neiman Marcus are ailing, while strip-mall stalwarts Kmart and Bed Bath & Beyond are struggling to lure customers. And flailing mall retailers like Claire's and Charlotte Russe must deliver results.. . . more