Thursday, February 28, 2019

What Will Happen to All of the Vacant Sears/Kmart Boxes?

While Chairman Eddie Lampert and his hedge fund ESL Investment managed to buy Sears out of bankruptcy and avoid liquidation—saving about 400 Sears stores—the looming question is what will happen to the hundreds of other shuttered Sears and Kmart locations around the country.

Sears Holdings Corp., which owns Sears and Kmart stores, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last October after facing years of plummeting sales, while being saddled with a huge debt load. . . . more

Victoria’s Secret to close about 53 stores on heels of weak holiday performance

Chain Store Age
L Brands reported mixed results for its crucial fourth quarter amid falling sales at its embattled Victoria’s Secret division.

The retailer plans to close approximately 53 underperforming Victoria’s Secret locations in North America this year. The lingerie chain currently has some 957 U.S. stores. Victoria’s Secret same-store sales have fallen for the past three years.  . . . more

J.C. Penney to close 18 full-line stores, nine specialty stores

Chain Store Age
J.C. Penney is trimming its real estate footprint as it looks to allocate its resources to stores and initiatives that offer the greatest long-term value potential.

The retailer on Thursday reported earnings and sales for the fourth quarter that beat the Street. It also said it will close 18 department stores (including the three locations previously announced in January) and nine home and furniture stores in 2019. . . . more

Friday, February 22, 2019

Sears unveils new Craftsman line

Retail Dive
Sears on Thursday launched the Craftsman Ultimate Collection, featuring tool sets designed for mechanics that include newly redesigned, high performance ratchets, ratcheting wrenches and other items.

Sears in 2017 sold its famous tool brand to Stanley Black & Decker for $900 million and it's now sold at Lowe's and other retailers, though the department store was quick to assert that the Craftsman Ultimate Collection was exclusive to Sears.. . . more

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Expert says Woburn Mall work won’t impact traffic

Daily Times Chronicle
The new Woburn Mall owner contends a massive redevelopment of the 23-acre parcel into a lifestyle center with 350 apartments, a movie theatre complex, and more than 20 retail stores will have no discernible impact on area traffic.

Late last week, local officials posted on the City of Woburn website several parts of Edens LLC's special permit application package for its proposed Woburn Village project at 300 Mishawum Rd. in East Woburn. . . . more

Neiman Marcus Debtholders Prepare for New Round of Talks

Neiman Marcus Group Ltd. and its creditors are renewing talks about reworking the company’s debt before its term loan comes due next year, with some agreeing to curb their trading during confidential negotiations, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The luxury department store chain is reaching out to creditors and their advisers to see if they can get past issues that stymied previous efforts, said the people, asking not to be identified discussing a private matter. Certain unsecured bondholders have agreed to restrict their trades for a second time after the previous talks fell apart at the end of last year, the people said. . . . more

Payless store leases go on the selling block

Chain Store Age
The winding down of Payless ShoeSource’s North American operations has begun.

A&G Realty Partners has been retained to manage the sale of 2,587 Payless store leases across the United States and Canada. Payless filed for bankruptcy protection on Feb. 18, and announced that it planned to close all of its North American stores.. . . more

Macy's, Kohl's 'becoming yesterday’s news': Former Toys R US CEO

Fox Business
Gerald Storch, who formerly ran Toys R Us and the Hudson’s Bay Company, said keeping up with the consumer is what it takes to succeed in the retail.

“Retail sales have been very strong this holiday [season]," Storch told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo on Wednesday. “Of course there are winners and losers—the winners are the ones who are doing it right who are mastering the Internet and who are providing value to customers.”. . . more

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Charlotte Russe stores still open, but for how long?

Chain Store Age
Charlotte Russe Holdings Corp. is hoping a buyer will emerge but, if not, it is preparing for a possible liquidation — and sooner rather than later.

The bankrupt teen fashion retailer said that it is engaged in “active” discussions with prospective bidders for a sale that would allow it to continue to operate its brick-and-mortar and online platforms. At the same time, Charlotte Russe will simultaneously seek court approval of a “stalking horse” liquidation agreement with a contractual joint venture comprised of Gordon Brothers Retail Partners and Hilco Merchant Resources on February 20, 2019, in compliance with its postpetition financing milestones.. . . more

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Payless bankruptcy just latest in blow to Connecticut’s retail market

Payless ShoeSource is the latest in a series of companies to suffer a similar fate, including Charlotte Russe, Gymboree, Sears and Toys R’ Us, which have all left holes in malls and shopping centers and along commercial corridors.

Payless will shut down roughly 2,300 stores nationwide and get rid of its online platform. With dozens of store locations statewide, Connecticut will see even more vacancies brought on by an onslaught of retail chains calling it quits over the past year.. . . more

Lorna Jane continues U.S. expansion

Chain Store Age
An Australian activewear brand is building out its U.S. footprint.

Lorna Jane is expanding its presence in California, opening stores with Westfield in its new redevelopments in Westfield Century City, Los Angeles, and in University Westfield Town Center, La Jolla, Calif. The brand also plans to open a store with Westfield in San Jose, Calif., scheduled for completion later this year.. . . more

Friday, February 15, 2019

Payless plans to liquidate, close all US stores

U.S. discount retailer Payless ShoeSource Inc plans to close all of its approximately 2,300 stores when it files for bankruptcy later this month for the second time in as many years, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

The move would make Payless one of the most high-profile victims of the string of bankruptcies that have hit the brick-and-mortar retail sector as more shopping is done online. . . . more

Samsung Joins Apple And Microsoft In The Mall Between Auntie Anne's And Orange Julius

When you walked into a mall in the 1980s and 1990s (the height of indoor mall popularity) there was a sense of practicality to it. The mall had things you needed; new shoes for the family, a food court full of wonderful smells that reminded you of a high school cafeteria and possibly a comic book store. Then malls started to die because people stopped going. In recent years, luxury malls have seen a resurgence in retail. Where once was a failing shoe store now stands an Apple store, a Tesla show room, a Microsoft store and now, a Samsung Experience. . . . more

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

First Look: Cannabis brand begins national rollout of CBD shops

Chain Store Age
Green Growth Brands has big ambitions.

The cannabis and CBD-infused products company has opened its first Seventh Sense CBD shop, at the Fayette Mall in Lexington, Kentucky. The location represents the first of hundreds of shops that GGB plans to open across the United States.

The opening comes the day after the company announced an agreement with Simon Property Group to gain access to 108 locations in Simon malls nationwide . . . more

Lampert to shrink size of Sears stores

Chain Store Age
Eddie Lampert, who completed his $5.2 billion acquisition (via his ESL Investments hedge fund) of the bankrupt chain on Feb. 12, told The Wall Street Journal that his goal is to shrink the size of existing Sears stores and open more smaller-format locations. Less apparel and more tools and appliances is also part of his strategy.

In the interview, Lampert said he thinks Sears could be a public company at some point in the future.. . . more

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Lampert completes acquisition of Sears; chain to conduct CEO search

Chain Store Age
It’s official: ESL Investments, the hedge fund run by Sears Holdings Corp. chairman Eddie Lampert, has completed its acquisition of the bankrupt company for approximately $5.2 billion.

The company will be led by the same management team that constituted the “Office of the Chief Executive” of Sears Holdings, consisting of Robert A. Riecker, CFO; Leena Munjal, chief digital officer; and Greg Ladley, president, softlines. (The office was put in place when Lampert stepped down as CEO.). Sears said it intends to conduct a search for a CEO with a record of success “in managing platform businesses and effectuating large-scale dynamic transformations.”. . . more

How Can Sears Stay Viable in the Long Run?

Footwear News
During the bankruptcy court testimony, Sears indicated that it wasn’t in a position to hire a CEO with the business’ future hanging in the balance. Now, as the company approaches restructuring, it is expected to search for fresh leadership, with retail expert Ray Wimer pointing out the need for Sears to hire beyond the financier — a term he used to describe Lampert’s management.

“You need to be a merchant. You need to understand the customer who you’re trying to serve. You need to understand the merchandise,” said Wimer, . . . more

Monday, February 11, 2019

J.C. Penney's controversial former CEO is unsure if the retailer will be around in 5 years

Yahoo Finance
Saving J.C. Penney won’t be easy, and there could be no guarantee it can be done. And guess who couldn’t agree more: former CEO Ron Johnson.

“It depends on how they execute,” Johnson said when asked if J.C. Penney would be around in five years. “They are obviously going to have to reduce their store footprint somewhat. They are going to have to get customers back into the store. But they have a lot of smart people. They are going to work really hard. It’s a challenge because the middle American mall is struggling. So they will work really hard at it and if they execute, they will be around in five years.. . . more

Urban Outfitters Q4 same-store sales fall short

Chain Store Age
Urban Outfitters’ total company net sales for the quarter ended January 31, 2019, increased 3.7% $1.13 billion. Total same-store sales rose 3%, missing the 4.5% increase analysts had expected. Comp-sales were driven by double-digit growth in the digital channel, partially offset by negative retail store sales.

By brand, same-store sales rose 4% at Free People, 4% at Urban Outfitters and 2% at the Anthropologie Group. Wholesale segment net sales increased 3%.. . . more

Payless ShoeSource reportedly preps for bankruptcy

Chain Store Age
Payless ShoeSource may be taking its second trip to bankruptcy court in less than two years.

The footwear retailer is preparing to file for bankruptcy, reported CNBC.Payless, which currently has more than 2,700 stores in North American, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April 2017.. . . more

Friday, February 8, 2019

How the Apple store lost its ‘wow factor’

Washington Post
Apple is not just a giant of technology; it has also grown into one of the biggest American retailers, with more than 500 stores across five continents. But the shine of its signature stores has dimmed, and they’re facing a pivotal moment — even before Apple announced this week that its retail chief will soon depart.

Industry analysts say that the same product woes and slowed upgrade cycle that have led to Apple’s declining sales are reflected in the waning perception of the stores themselves — with a focus on iterations of marquee products that no longer dazzle and lack immersive, loyalty-inspiring experiences.. . . more

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Sears will stay in business as judge approves Eddie Lampert’s bid

Chain Store Age
Sears Holdings Corp. has been given a lifeline.

A Federal Bankruptcy Court judge on Thursday approved Edward Lampert’s bid through his ESL Investments hedge fund to purchase the struggling retailer’s assets for $5.2 billion. It was the only submitted offer that would have kept Sears alive and in business.

In allowing Lampert’s bid to go through, Judge Robert Drain rejected arguments from the retailer’s unsecured creditors who had urged the court to shut down the company down and liquidate the assets.. . . more

What will Sears look like on the other side of bankruptcy?

Retail Dive
A bankruptcy filing from one of the most iconic U.S. retailers was bound to be unique. But the series of events that have played out over the last several months have resulted in polarizing perceptions of what the future holds for Sears.

On one side, former CEO Eddie Lampert and his hedge fund ESL Investments have painted a picture of themselves as heroes swooping in to save the chain, along with roughly 425 stores and 45,000 jobs. They envision a world where Sears regains its competitive edge and a stable balance sheet.. . . more

Things Remembered files for bankruptcy to facilitate acquisition

Chain Store Age
Things Remembered has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as part of its plan to be acquired by a leading giftware company.

Enesco intends to operate Things Remembered online, direct mail, and B2B retail businesses. It also will keep a “portfolio” of stores open under the Things Remembered brand. (Things Remembered currently operates about 400 stores.). . . more

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

JCPenney is ditching appliances and most furniture from its stores

CNN Business
JCPenney is trying to reinvent itself again. It's getting rid of appliances and most furniture to return its focus to clothing sales.

The company hasn't turned a profit since 2010, and it forecast several more years of losses. New CEO Jill Soltau pledged "quick action" to put JCPenney on the path to profitability.. . . more

Charlotte Russe plans for full chain liquidation if no buyer emerges

Retail Dive
Charlotte Russe Holdings (and its subsidiaries) on Monday said on Feb. 3 it filed for relief under Chapter 11 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

The company intends to shutter 94 of its stores and pursue a going-concern sale of the business and its assets, according to a company press release. Charlotte Russe also said it has received a commitment for debtor-in-possession financing in the maximum amount of $50 million, which awaits court approval.. . . more

Charlotte Russe closures will hit Simon Property Group and General Growth Properties hard

Charlotte Russe filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy, detailing its plan to close "approximately 94 of its store locations" in a press release on Monday.

In terms of exposure to the closures, Simon Property Group looks to be hit hardest. It currently leases 106 Charlotte Russe locations, which sit inside its vast shopping mall portfolio. General Growth Properties looks to be hurt as well with exposure to 78 stores.. . . more

Sears plans to load pensions and close more stores

CBS News
Eddie Lampert's $5.2 billion offer to buy what's left of Sears is drawing fire from the bankrupt retailer's creditors as well as current and former employees.

The judge who will determine whether to approve Lampert's bid for the retailer, which the billionaire investor still chairs, is hearing from creditors who oppose the deal. That includes the government entity that guarantees pensions when an insured plan closes without enough money to cover benefits. . . . more

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Ralph Lauren Q3 income, sales beat Street on strong holiday sales

Chain Store Age
Ralph Lauren Corp. turned in a strong quarterly performance fueled by a big marketing push and an online surge.

Revenue rose 5.1% to $1.73 billion. North American sales rose 3%, with a 4% increase in same-store sales. North America wholesale revenue was down 3% as the company continues to cut back on sales to the off-price wholesale channel.

Online sales surged 20% in the quarter, with strength across all regions. . . . more

CBL secures financing to renovate mall portfolio

Chain Store Age
CBL announced it had closed on $1.18 billion in financing that will allow it to avoid debt maturities coming due soon and focus its resources on renovating its portfolio of 90-plus malls.

“We’re working with virtually the entire portfolio at this point. We started 15 redevelopments in 2018 and it will be closer to 20 in ’19,” CBL CEO Stephen Lebovitz said. “We started last year with 42 Sears and we ended the year with 12. We also had 14 BonTons [that closed]. Between those two anchors, most of our properties are touched.”. . . more

Dispute between Sears and Eddie Lampert's hedge fund could jeopardize bid to save retailer

USA Today
A new dispute between Sears Holdings and its prospective buyer could jeopardize the last-minute bid to save the retailer from liquidation.

Sears bankruptcy attorney Ray Schrock said Monday in a court hearing that the company does not agree with hedge fund ESL Investment’s interpretation of their deal to preserve Sears in shrunken form.. . . more

Monday, February 4, 2019

Retail distress deepens in U.S. on drag from debt, web spending

Valley News
The U.S. retail apocalypse is far from over.

While the collapse of storied merchants like Sears and Toys R Us has left stores shuttered across America, retailers still make up about a fifth of the universe of distressed borrowers. Consumer confidence is slumping.

On Friday, the head of the biggest mall owner in the U.S. cautioned that more retailer bankruptcies are coming.. . . more

Stage Stores gets delisted warning

Chain Store Age
Stage Stores is at risk of being delisted from the New York Stock Exchange.

The company, which operates 728 stores under the Bealls, Goody’s, Peebles, State and Palais Royal banners along with 68 Gordmans off-price locations, said it received notification from the NYSE that the retailer is no longer in compliance with the NYSE continued listing criteria that requires listed companies to maintain an average closing share price of at least $1.00 over a consecutive 30 trading-day period.. . . more

Charlotte Russe files for bankruptcy; pursuing sale

Chain Store Age
Mounting debt and sluggish mall traffic has taken a toll on another specialty apparel retailer.

Charlotte Russe Holdings Corp. announced it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The young women’s fashions retailer said it plans to close about 95 stores while continuing to pursue a sale of the business and assets. Charlotte Russe operates more than 500 stores, including 10 under its Peek Kids banners.
. . . more

Sears bankrutpcy watch: Lampert and creditors face off in court today

Chicago Tribune
On Monday, Sears Holdings Corp., as the combined company is now known, and its creditors are expected to appear in court to square off over whether Lampert, the retailer’s chairman and former chief executive, should get yet another chance to rescue the iconic American retail chain and avoid a liquidation.

Sears named Lampert’s $5.2 billion offer to buy the retailer’s assets and keep the company alive the winner of a bankruptcy auction last month. But Lampert’s proposal, made through his hedge fund ESL Investments, still needs the endorsement of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, and it has run into opposition from creditors skeptical that Sears will be any more successful after exiting bankruptcy. . . . more

Friday, February 1, 2019

The running list of 2019 bankruptcy victims

Retail Dive
Last year delivered some of the biggest bankruptcies in retail history, including the Chapter 11 filing of 125-year-old department store, Sears.

During the fall of 2018, Retail Dive looked at data and FRISK scores from CreditRiskMonitor to predict which retailers could go bankrupt in 2019. Those stores at risk included J.C. Penney, Neiman Marcus, J. Crew and 99 Cents Only. . . . more

H&M to shutter 160 stores amid profit slump

Retail Dive
H&M on Thursday said that fourth quarter net sales rose 12%. Online sales rose 24%.

For the full year, net sales rose 5% with sales and market share rising in most markets during the second half, the company also said. Online sales rose 22%, reaching 14.5% of total sales. . . . more

Francesca’s Holdings CEO out, exploring alternatives

Chain Store Age
Francesca’s Holdings Corp. may put itself on the selling block.

The struggling fashion apparel and accessories retailer on Thursday announced it is exploring strategic alternatives, including a potential sale of the company and a financing or refinancing. Francesca’s also said that Steve Lawrence has resigned as CEO “to pursue other opportunities,” effective February 1, 2019. . . . more