Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Developer proposes converting part of CambridgeSide mall to office space

Boston Business Journal
New England Development is proposing to convert a portion of the third floor of the CambridgeSide Galleria Mall in Cambridge from retail to office space, another example of landlords taking creative steps to open up leasable space in a tight market.

The proposal to convert 140,000 square feet of retail into office space follows New England Development’s $30 million investment last year to revitalize the 1.2 million-square-foot mall, which opened in 1990 at 100 Cambridgeside Place. At the time of its opening, the mall was one of the first urban enclosed shopping centers in the U.S. . . . more

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Aerie comps soar 32%

Retail Dive
American Eagle Outfitters on Tuesday reported that total third quarter net revenue rose 5%, or $43 million, to about $1 billion from $960 million last year, with the calendar shift bringing down results by $40 million.

Overall store comps rose 8%. By brand in the quarter, American Eagle comps rose 5%, and Aerie's comps soared 32%, following a 19% increase last year, the 16th consecutive quarter of double-digit comp growth, according to a company press release.. . . more

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

A look inside Macy's new retail strategy

Retail Dive
A new in-store strategy at Macy's is on prominent display at its Herald Square flagship in New York, where both The Market @ Macy's and b8ta concepts are placed just inside one of the entrances, at the intersection of 34th and 7th streets. Both installations came into being this year, the same year that Macy's acquired store concept Story, and invested in and partnered with b8ta.

The department store's most recent experiments sit alongside another shop-in-shop concept, a Samsung mini-store, and the three mark a departure from the usual in-store experience at Macy's. The move could be seen as a response to the perception that it has struggled to stand out from the pack in the past, resulting in shuttered stores and a turnaround that finally seems to be taking hold. . . . more

Your shuttered Sears store could soon be demolished. Here's why

If a Sears store near you has already closed or is in the process of closing, it's likely the owner of that property will opt to demolish it rather than find someone to fill the space.

The bankrupt department store chain has already said it will shut 142 stores by year's end. And its future while it's in bankruptcy court proceedings is still uncertain, with a total liquidation being one potential outcome. That would mean more than 500 additional Sears and Kmart stores going dark.. . . more

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Ascena Retail Group Q1 income, sales beat Street

Chain Store Age
The parent company of such brands as Ann Taylor, Lane Bryant and Dressbarn started its fiscal year on a high note, fueled by strong sales at Ann Taylor, Loft and Justice.

Ascena Retail Group reported net income of $6 million in the quarter ended, compared to net income of $7 million in the year-ago period.

Net sales were a better-than-expected $1.592 billion compared to $1.590 billion. Total same-store sales rose 3%. By division, same-store sales rose 8% at premium fashion (Ann Taylor and Loft) and 12% at kids fashion (Justice). Same-store sales decreased 3% at value fashion (dressbarn and maurices) and 2% at plus fashion (Catherines and Lane Bryant). . . . more

Francesca’s swings to Q1 loss; to evaluate store portfolio

Chain Store Age
Francesca’s Holdings Corp. posted a loss in its first-quarter as traffic to its stores slowed.

The women’s apparel and accessories retailer had a net loss of $16.2 million in the quarter ended Nov.3, compared to earnings of $0.2 million in the year-ago period.

Sales fell 10% to $95.4 million, slightly ahead of estimates of $95.1 million. Same-store sales fell 14%.. . . more

Sears seeks offers on stores Lampert needs for turnaround

Chicago Tribune
Sears Holdings Corp. is shopping around its stores, looking to gauge what they're worth in the open market while it weighs Chairman Edward Lampert's $4.6 billion bid to buy the entire chain and keep it open.

The firm has hired real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle to market its portfolio of about 500 U.S. stores and so far has seen high interest in major markets, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Bids have come in from retailers and mall owners, and other parties are interested in potentially converting stores for non-retail use, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing the private plan.. . . more

Monday, December 10, 2018

Eddie Lampert's Sears Bid Comes With a Key Demand: Legal Shelter

Eddie Lampert’s $4.6 billion bid to salvage what’s left of bankrupt Sears Holdings Corp. was pitched by the hedge fund manager as a way to preserve tens of thousands of jobs. To some others in the industry, it’s also seen as a way to sweep a decade of potential problems under the rug.

The bid, if successful, would come with an important condition: a full release from liability over controversial deals his fund made before the 125-year-old retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. . . . more

GNC: The Store Base

Seeking Alpha
GNC is on track to close about 200 company stores in the current year.

The company announced during the third quarter call plans to close 700-900 additional company stores over the next three years.

However, these numbers relate only to company owned stores – total store closures including franchisees and store-within-a-store locations are running at a higher rate.. . . more

Friday, December 7, 2018

Ten Retail Brands to Watch in 2019

Chain Store Age
Brand-building consultant and author Denise Lee Yohn has released her annual Brands to Watch list — the brands that she will be keeping her eye on in the coming year. There are 26 companies on the list (one for each letter of the alphabet), with retail and restaurant brands accounting for 10 of the spots. Here is Yohn’s take on the top 10 brands:

• Amazon: No surprise, Amazon will dominate the headlines. . . . more

Retail Sales Are Robust for November

Apparel News
November retail sales jumped 8.8 percent, paving the way for a very good holiday season.

November sales were way above the 4.2 percent increase forecast by Retail Metrics president Ken Perkins. “Holiday 2018 is likely to be a merry one,” Perkins wrote in a Dec. 6 retail note.. . . more

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Sears chairman/CEO Eddie Lampert submits bid to buy bankrupt chain

Chain Store Age
The drawn-out saga of embattled Sears Holdings Corp. may have entered its final chapter.

In a move to save the bankrupt retailer, ESL Investments, the hedge fund run by Sears chairman and CEO Eddie Lampert, submitted a $4.6 billion bid on Thursday to purchase its remaining stores, which total about 500, headquarters, distribution locations, as well as Sears brands Kenmore and DieHard. . . . more

Weaker Sears holiday forecast heightens doubts about its survival

Chicago Tribune
Revised internal forecasts show that Sears Holdings Corp. will bleed hundreds of millions of dollars more than it expected over the coming weeks, casting new doubt on whether the bankrupt retailer can avoid liquidation.

When the company declared bankruptcy Oct. 15, it filed a budget with revenue forecasts of $241 million for the week of Christmas and $1.93 billion for the two months ending Jan. 12. But an updated budget filed Friday shows only $215 million the week of Christmas and $1.69 billion for the entire two months, almost $246 million less than originally projected.. . . more

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Gymboree to shutter Crazy 8 stores amid 'strategic review'

Retail Dive
Gymboree announced Wednesday it has begun a "comprehensive review of strategic options," which could include a sale or "other transactions" for its Gymboree, Janie and Jack, and Crazy 8 brands, according to a company press release.

The children's retailer said in the release that it plans to close all of its Crazy 8 locations and is "significantly reducing" the number of Gymboree locations in 2019, though for now all of the retailer's locations remain open.. . . more

All the space department stores take up could build 350 malls—that may be way too much

Even with Sears and Bon-Ton filing for bankruptcy protection this year, and shutting hundreds of locations, department stores still account for more than 350 million square feet of mall space across the United States. And that's likely way too much.

Companies like Macy's, J.C. Penney and now-bankrupt Sears — which still has hundreds of locations open — continue to evaluate their massive real estate portfolios, and industry analysts expect more store closures to come. . . . more

Hudson’s Bay posts lower Q3 loss as Saks Fifth Avenue drives improvement in overall sales

Star Business Journal
Hudson’s Bay Co. says it had a smaller overall third-quarter loss than last year as sales increased by 5.6 per cent to $2.2 billion, with its Saks Fifth Avenue brand of luxury retail stores continuing to show improvements.

Comparable-store sales from continuing operations increased 2.9 per cent overall, with Saks Fifth Avenue up 7.3 per cent and the Saks OFF 5th off-price brand down 2.3 per cent on a comparable-sales basis.. . . more

Christopher & Banks closing up to 40 stores

Boston Business Journal
Women's clothier Christopher & Banks plans to close 30 to 40 stores over the next two years but has seen a rise in e-commerce and expects net sales to increase in 2019, the company said in a quarterly call with analysts.

The Plymouth, Minnesota-based company’s net sales for the quarter ended Nov. 3 fell 7.3 percent to $91.3 million, Fashion Network reported, while comparable sales decreased 7.5 percent, for a quarterly net loss of $8.8 million.

But online sales posted a revenue increase of 10.7 percent over the same period, and the company said that it expects net sales for fiscal 2019 to increase 2 percent to 3 percent, Nasdaq reported. . . . more

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Seritage Says 70% of Signed Lease Income Coming from Non-Sears Tenants

Benjamin Schall, president and CEO of Seritage Growth Properties, said that the REIT ended the third quarter with 70 percent of its income on a signed lease basis coming from non-Sears tenants. “That income is now with new, growing retailers who are attracted to the quality of our sites and the first-class environments that we’re developing,” he said.

Asked about the potential impact on investors if Seritage’s master lease with Sears were to end, Schall said the company has “more than sufficient” income coming online in the next 12 to 24 months from its commenced and completed redevelopment activity.. . . more

RH details expansion strategy, other developments for 2019

Chain Store Age
RH upped its expansion strategy and raised its guidance for the year amid third-quarter earnings that beat Street expectations.

The luxury home retailer is accelerating its expansion starting in 2019, with plans to open five to seven new “Gallery” locations per year, up from three to three to five. . . . more

Clothing is back in fashion for the holidays

One takeaway from this year's Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping extravaganza is that there will be a lot more sweaters and coats under the tree this year.

Shoppers are turning up at stores such as Lululemon, Abercrombie & Fitch, Old Navy and Urban Outfitters this holiday season to buy clothing for themselves and for others. It's a stark contrast from the years that followed the Great Recession, when cash-strapped consumers stuck to their budgets and bought only necessities. For many people, for many years, that meant less clothing. But now, the apparel industry seems to be bouncing back.. . . more

Monday, December 3, 2018

Neiman Marcus restructuring talks end

Chain Store Age
Neiman Marcus Group and its lenders have ended their debt negotiations — at least for now.

The discussions between the luxury department store retailer and its lenders and bondholders ended nearly after a month with no deal to extend debt maturing in the next two to three years, the Wall Street Journal reported. . . . more

Sears workers, galvanized by Toys 'R' Us, ask for bankruptcy assurances

Employees of Sears Holdings Corp., inspired by the hardship fund for workers affected by the collapse of Toys “R” Us Inc., are asking Chairman Eddie Lampert and the firms involved in the chain’s bankruptcy to preserve jobs and stores, as well as guarantee severance pay and pensions.

Sears says it has no plans to liquidate after filing for Chapter 11 court protection in October, but it has been closing stores and cutting jobs as part of that process. It’s still working to keep several hundred outlets alive as part of Lampert’s plan to buy the company out of bankruptcy. Sears has lost billions of dollars since Lampert combined the Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based company with Kmart in 2005.. . . more