Friday, March 29, 2019

J. Crew once again in debt restructuring talks

Retail Dive
J. Crew is once again working with restructuring lawyers as it grapples with its debt amid falling sales and ebbing cash reserves, Reuters reports, citing unnamed sources.

The struggling apparel retailer has Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP on the line, according to the report. That's the same law firm J. Crew hired during last year's debt-driven drama and the practice is known for its bankruptcy expertise.. . . more

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Untuckit continues to expand store footprint

Chain Store Age
A fast-growing digitally native brand is stepping up its presence in Simon malls.

Simon announced the opening of seven more Untuckit stores in key centers throughout the U.S. In addition to the first set of stores debuted at Simon in 2018, Untuckit openings in the Simon portfolio this year include ABQ Uptown, Roosevelt Field, SouthPark, The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, Penn Square Mall, The Westchester and Burlington Mall. . . . more

Department stores make a bid for relevancy

Retail Dive
Department stores have been faltering for some time now — and according to a recent report from Moody's Investor Services, will continue to suffer in the near future. Even when some of these retailers notch positive comps, it's minisculewhen compared to others in the industry.

That's not to say retailers haven't made significant efforts to adjust their approach with changing customer needs.. . . more

Lululemon flexes on plans for a 50% digital business

Retail Dive
As Lululemon executives reflected on the last year, they described it as an "inflection point in the business." That's meant investments in a new loyalty program, e-commerce, new and remodeled stores, and international expansion — which appear to be paying off.

On the e-commerce front, executives said they see potential for digital to represent 50% of the business in the years to come. . . . more

JCPenney is closing 27 stores in 2019, company confirms

TODAY Style
"As part of a standard annual review, the decision was made to close 18 stores across the country, including the three previously announced stores in early January," the department store's spokesperson, Carter C. English, told TODAY Style.

In addition, nine home and furniture stores will close this fall, bringing the total to 27. . . . more

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

J.C. Penney Taps New CFO as Retailer Fights Falling Sales

The Wall Street Journal
J.C. Penney Co. named a new finance chief on Tuesday, filling the post after a nearly six-month vacancy as the retailer battles falling sales and searches for a turnaround strategy.

The Plano, Texas-based retailer said Bill Wafford will become finance chief effective April 8. Mr. Wafford has served as CFO at Vitamin Shoppe Inc. since June 2018 and was previously the company’s senior vice president for strategy and business development.. . . more

J.C. Penney adds 9 more stores to closure count

Retail Dive
J.C. Penney on Tuesday told Retail Dive in an email that it will "close nine home and furniture stores this fall, which are not reflected in the official store count in the Company’s 10-K," in addition to the 18 stores previously slated for shutdown. The nine home stores are selling off their remaining inventory through the summer and most will shutter this fall, later than the other 18 locations, most of which are expected to close July 5, according to a company spokesperson.. . . more

How Bad is the Mall Business These Days?

KeyPoint Partners
It will be two years in May since Credit Suisse came out with its bold prediction that up to 25% of regional enclosed malls would close by 2022. At the time, there were roughly 1,100 malls in the U.S., which translates to approximately 275 mall closings. Many skeptics rejected the idea, saying it would never reach that level, and that the dire calculation was way overblown.

We’re not even halfway to that 2022 end date, yet it’s starting to feel as if that forecast by Credit Suisse may not be so unreasonable. After all, the ongoing brick-and-mortar fallout experienced at regional malls is showing no sign of abatement.. . . more

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

12 retailers walking a dangerous line toward bankruptcy in 2019

Retail Dive
Despite a big year in Chapter 11 filings last year, 2019 doesn't appear to have slowed much. As always, we've been keeping track of some of the major retailers that have filed for bankruptcy so far, and the list is already a long one. Big names include Payless, which announced plans to liquidate its roughly 2,500 stores in February, as well as Gymboree, which sold off its brands to Gap Inc. and The Children's Place, respectively. Both of those retailers have filed twice in the past two years.

With those major retail bankruptcies as a backdrop, we're looking again at who in the industry might be vulnerable in a world that keeps shifting.. . . more

Monday, March 25, 2019

2019 store closures close to surpassing last year's total

Retail Dive
The American brick-and-mortar landscape continues to undergo a massive retraction, but that's tempered by store openings that largely reflect a new wave in physical retail. Year to date, U.S. retailers have announced 5,399 store closures and 2,396 store openings, compared to 5,726 closures and 3,243 openings for all of 2018, according to the latest Coresight Research store tracker report.

Bankrupt Midwestern discounter Shopko offered the notable closure story of the week, with plans to shutter 120 stores on top of 251 from earlier in the year. Shoes of Prey is also closing down, which will free up space in Nordstrom stores in the U.S.. . . more

Neiman Marcus lenders gave it 3 years to show it can grow out of its overwhelming debt

Dallas Morning News
Neiman Marcus said Monday that it has an agreement with a majority of its lenders to extend debt maturities by three years, which the Dallas-based company said will give it the time it needs to carry out plans to grow out of its vexing debt problems.

The agreement is with holders of 55 percent of its term loan and 60 percent of its unsecured notes and follows a preliminary agreement announced March 1. . . . more

Ascena to sell majority stake in Maurices; Gap exec to come on board

Chain Store Age
Ascena Retail Group has signed a definitive agreement to sell a majority interest in Maurices to an affiliate of London-based private equity firm OpCapita LLP for about $300 million. (The 943-store Maurices division is part of Ascena’s “value” brand division.). The move is part of a comprehensive and ongoing portfolio review that is expected to yield run-rate cost savings of $300 million by July.

In a statement, Ascena chairman and CEO David Jaffe, citing “structural changes in our industry,” said the company has also developed plans for an additional $150 million in savings, which will drive operating margin rate expansion. . . . more

Friday, March 22, 2019

Hibbett Sports on hunt for CEO; to close 95 stores

Chain Store Age
Hibbett Sports is losing its chief executive.

The sporting goods retailer announced that Jeff Rosenthal plans to retire as president and CEO once a successor is named.

Hibbett also announced that it will close about 95 stores in its current fiscal year while opening 10 to 15 Hibbett and City Gear stores as it continues to adopt to “changing shopping patterns.” . . . more

GameStop names former Victra, Advance Auto Parts exec as its new CEO

Venture Beat
GameStop has named George Sherman as its new chief executive officer. Sherman previously served as the CEO of Verizon Wireless retailer Victra. Now, he’s taking over the largest game-specific brick-and-mortar store chain.

Prior to Victra, Sherman worked as an executive at Advance Auto Parts, Best Buy Services, Home Depot, and Target. So he has a lengthy history of overseeing retail stores. GameStop wants him to navigate the uncertain digital future. . . . more

Beauty Sector Players Expand Physical Footprints Amidst Retail Industry Struggles

NREI
Struggling retailers may soon be asking beauty industry giants Sephora and Ulta Beauty what their secret is, as both are expanding their bricks-and-mortar footprints at a time when many retailers are retrenching.

Beauty is one of the few retail categories that’s growing in the tumultuous retail environment, and that’s good news for retail center owners.. . . more

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Nine West exits bankruptcy with new name

Chain Store Age
Nine West Holdings emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with a new name and financing to support its growth initiatives to become a leading wholesale provider.

Nine West said on Wednesday it successfully completed its financial and operational restructuring and emerged from Chapter 11 under the majority equity ownership of CVC Credit Partners and Brigade Capital. The company has been renamed Premier Brands Group Holdings.. . . more

J.Crew swings to Q4 loss; taking ‘immediate’ action to reverse course

Chain Store Age
J.Crew Group struggled in the fourth quarter amid inventory write-downs and strategies that ultimately proved unsuccessful.

The apparel retailer reported a net loss of $74.4 million for the quarter ended Feb. 2, compared with net income of $34.7 million in year-ago period. The fourth quarter loss reflects the impact of excess inventory write-downs, the company said.

Total revenues increased 3% to $733.8 million. Total same-store sales increased 9% following a decrease of 3% in the year-ago period. . . . more

Williams-Sonoma Q4 earnings beat Street; West Elm, online surges

Chain Store Age
Williams-Sonoma Inc. raised its dividend by nearly 12% and increased its share buyback program amid strong fourth-quarter earnings and continued momentum in its West Elm division and online sales.

Revenue rose 9.3% to $1.8 billion, in line with expectations. E-commerce net revenue grew 14.3% and accounted for 54.6% of total company net revenues during Q4.. . . more

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Judge dismisses Marble Ridge suit against Neiman Marcus

Retail Dive
A Texas judge on Tuesday dismissed Marble Ridge's lawsuit against Neiman Marcus, concluding that the lawsuit lacked "subject matter jurisdiction," according to court documents. In response, a Marble Ridge spokesperson said the ruling does not address "the key issues, which are the inappropriate transfer by Neiman Marcus of the MyTheresa assets; the questionable financial condition of Neiman; and its implication for stakeholders."

In a statement, Neiman Marcus said it's looking forward to working with debtholders. "These holders chose to engage in constructive discussions with the company rather than engage in a campaign of false and misleading statements designed to harm the company and disrupt those negotiations.". . . more

Monday, March 18, 2019

Zumiez Delivers Robust Holiday Quarter

SGB Media
Zumiez Inc. reported total net sales for the fourth quarter ended February 2, 2019 (13 weeks) decreased 1.2 percent to $304.6 million from $308.2 million in the quarter ended February 3, 2018 (14 weeks). Comparable sales for the 13-week period ended February 2, 2019 increased 3.9 percent compared to the same thirteen-week period ended February 3, 2018.

Net income for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 increased 48.5 percent to $29.6 million compared to net income of $19.9 million in the fourth quarter of the prior fiscal year. . . . more

No Relief for Retail Landlords as Store Closures Ramp Up Once Again

NREI
It’s only mid-March and already a slew of prominent retailers have announced thousands of store closures around the U.S. And the pace of closings isn’t expected to slow anytime soon.

So far this year, 10 national retail chains have filed bankruptcy.. . . more

What Do Axe Throwing And eSports Have In Common? They Make For Good Mall Tenants

Forbes
Back in the day darts or pool were games played in the shadows – in seedy pubs where you were as likely to stick to the floor or get lost in a plume of cigarette smoke as you were to get a decent drink. But now these games, and many others, have made their way out of back-room bars and dimly lit pool halls all the way to urban retail corridors, shopping centers, and even malls. They’ve done so as leisure retail tenants with concepts that generally involve some form of activity like ping-pong or video games coupled with food and beverage (of the adult variety).

Today, people have many different options beyond their local watering hole to spend a night out with friends. . . . more

Friday, March 15, 2019

Ascena Retail’s Q2 loss widens amid apparel ‘headwinds,’ uneven brand sales

Chain Store Age
All brands are not created equal. Just ask the parent company of Ann Taylor, Loft, Lane Bryant and other apparel nameplates.

Ascena Retail Group reported a wider-than-expected loss and less-than-expected sales for its second quarter amid slumping sales at several of its banners. In a statement, company CEO David Jaffe cited a “challenging selling environment” which he said is the result of “macro headwinds impacting our sector.”. . . more

Macy's plans additional Backstage stores

Newsday
Macy's is planning to get a bigger slice of the off-price market by opening 50 more Macy’s Backstage outlets this year inside existing Macy’s stores.

Macy’s launched the Backstage concept in 2015 and had 55 locations as of April 2018. There are now 172, all but seven of which are inside Macy’s stores.. . . more

Thursday, March 14, 2019

'Old Sears' sues 'new Sears'

Retail Dive
"The old Sears" — the remnant of the company that sold its stores and other assets in bankruptcy last month — is suing the buyer of those assets, Transform Holdco or "new Sears," for $57.5 million it says it is owed from the sale, according to court documents filed Monday.

The old Sears alleges that Transform Holdco (an entity of Eddie Lampert's hedge fund) is in violation of its contractual obligations under the asset purchase agreement and automatic stay, and that the funds it's requesting are being unlawfully withheld. . . . more

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Moody's: 2019 will be another tough year for department stores

Retail Dive
Despite a healthy consumer, improved inventory control and investments to enhance their customer experience, department stores will continue to face margin pressure following the sales drop-off seen in December, according to a report on the sector by Moody's Investors Service emailed to Retail Dive.

Moody's expects square footage within the sector to fall some 4% after a 13% or so decline last year, driven mostly by Sears' bankruptcy, according to the report. So far this year, Kohl's has already announced four closures and J.C. Penney 18, and that should help them add share in remaining stores, Moody's said.. . . more

Tesla walks back its plan to close most showrooms

Boston Herald
Tesla is walking back plans to close most of its showrooms worldwide and announced price hikes for most of its electric vehicles.

Tesla announced last month that it would shutter most of its stores to cut costs so it could sell its lower-priced Model 3 for $35,000. The company continues its shift to toward online-only sales, but now says it won’t close as many stores as originally thought. . . . more

Monday, March 11, 2019

Z Gallerie files for bankruptcy; to close select stores

Chain Store Age
Z Gallerie will restructure after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

As part of the restructuring, the home furnishings and d├ęcor retailer is seeking court approval to proceed with closing 17 of its 76 stores. It expects the Chapter 11 process to last approximately four months. . . . more

Why big retailers are getting smaller

CNN Business
Big box retailers and department stores are going small.

Target said this week that it will open around 30 slimmed-down stores this year in cities like Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C. and on college campuses. These stores, which average about 40,000 square-feet, are one-third the size of Target's traditional sprawling stores. . . . more

Friday, March 8, 2019

We went to JCPenney to see why sales are sinking — and it revealed why giant mall-based department stores are dying

Business Insider
JCPenney CEO Jill Soltau said last week that the department-store chain is failing to adequately deliver on some fundamentals of "good retail."

Soltau made the remarks on an earnings call in response to a question about what she's learned since taking the helm at JCPenney in October, just two weeks before the start of the critical holiday quarter, during which JCPenney's same-store sales fell 4%. . . . more

Edward Lampert’s New Sears Faces Legal Troubles

The Wall Street Journal
Edward Lampert has been at the helm of the new Sears for just weeks, but the retailer is already sparring with the old company left behind in bankruptcy as well as with Stanley Black & Decker Inc.

Mr. Lampert’s new Sears, known as Transform Holdco LLC, claims the old Sears, still known as Sears Holding Corp. , intentionally delayed payments to vendors and shortchanged it on promised inventory, breaching the purchase agreement between the two companies. Mr. Lampert’s hedge fund, ESL Investments Inc., paid $5.2 billion for 425 Sears and Kmart stores in early February after a bankruptcy-court auction.. . . more

Retail store closures announced this year climb to 4,810

CNBC
The pace of retail store closure announcements didn’t slow down much this week, following a brutal last week for malls and shopping centers across the U.S.

Dollar Tree said this week it will be closing up to 390 Family Dollar stores. Apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch said it plans to shut 40 stores. . . . more

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Simon Property Group’s CBD Kiosk Deal Is a Smart Way to Benefit from an Emerging Trend, Experts Say

NREI
Simon Property Group is introducing a new line-up of mall kiosks, which many might agree is not your “typical” mall retailer—at least not yet.

Indianapolis-based Simon, the biggest mall operator in the U.S., has inked a deal to open 108 kiosk locations that will sell beauty and personal care products infused with cannabidiol, or CBD, a chemical produced by the cannabis plant.. . . more

American Eagle forecasts profit below estimates

CNBC
American Eagle Outfitters forecast current-quarter profit below analysts' estimates on Wednesday as the apparel maker spends more on advertising and new Aerie store openings.

Those investments in building Aerie's brand image as a designer of bras, bralettes and lingerie for women of all body types has been responsible for its surge in demand as it strikes a chord with younger shoppers who have struggled to find the same products at rival brands like Victoria Secret's Pink.

American Eagle, which had a total of 262 Aerie stores at the end of its fiscal year, said its expects to open 60 to 75 Aerie stores this year.. . . more

Abercrombie shares up on strong earnings, outlook

The Columbus Dispatch
Shares of Abercrombie & Fitch jumped more than 14 percent in early morning trading after the New Albany-based retailer reported strong sales and profits for the fourth quarter.

Abercrombie reported net income of $1.42 per share for the quarter, well above Wall Street predictions of $1.15 per share. Comparable-store sales, a key indicator of a retailer’s health, increased by 3 percent, also well above Wall Street expectations of a 1.4 percent rise. . . . more

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Jeans Brand Diesel USA Files for Bankruptcy

Bloomberg
Diesel USA Inc., the premium denim and accessory brand whose five-pocket pants dominated pop culture in the 1990s and early 2000s, filed for bankruptcy in Delaware Tuesday. The unit of Italy’s Diesel SpA blamed plummeting sales, a botched turnaround, pricey leases and unwavering landlords -- plus several instances of cyber fraud and theft.

Unlike some other retailers that have announced massive store closures, Diesel USA doesn’t plan to shutter. Instead, its court papers described a plan to restore the Diesel brand in the U.S., including opening new stores and retrofitting some old ones to make them cheaper to operate.. . . more

Chico’s names new president; to close 60-80 stores amid Q4 loss

Chain Store Age
Chico’s FAS is making a change at the top of its Chico’s brand and shuttering 60-80 stores in 2019 following a disappointing fourth quarter.

Chico’s is appointing Karen McKibbin president of its Chico’s brand, effective April 1, 2019. In this role, McKibbin will oversee all business activities for Chico’s and will report directly to Shelley Broader, CEO and president of the company.. . . more

Retailers outside the mall defy industry gloom in the Amazon era

The Union Leader
The U.S. retail sector is looking just fine for 2019 — as long as it’s not inside a shopping mall.

Shares of Target and Kohl’s jumped Tuesday after both retailers gave optimistic profit projections for the current year. The companies, which traditionally occupy big-box locations in strip malls, are showing how to defend market share in the age of Amazon.com, which continues to disrupt the industry.. . . more

Hedge fund wants L Brands to spin off Victoria's Secret

CNN Business
Struggling retailer L Brands reported lousy earnings last week because its Victoria's Secret chain continues to lose customers. One investor has had enough.

James Mitarotonda, CEO of activist hedge fund Barington Capital, urged L Brands to make some big changes Tuesday. Barington Capital owns a small stake in L Brands.. . . more

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

S&P cuts Neiman Marcus' credit ratings over concerns about debt restructuring

The Dallas Morning News
S&P Global Ratings on Monday lowered the credit ratings on Neiman Marcus' nearly $5 billion in debt because it doesn't expect the retailer's creditors to receive what they were promised.

The rating agency's downgrade, with a negative outlook, is a response to Neiman Marcus' disclosure Friday that it had reached a proposed debt restructuring with most of its lenders.. . . more

Monday, March 4, 2019

Malls Take a 48-Hour Beating as Retailers Cull Over 300 Stores

NREI
You can’t blame America’s teenagers for no longer congregating at the mall like generations past: There aren’t all that many stores left.

In the last 48 hours alone, several shopping-center staples unveiled plans to trim their footprints across the U.S. Gap Inc. said it would slash the store count of its struggling namesake brand by 230 locations over the next two years, just hours after J.C. Penney Co. confirmed it would shutter 18 department stores. That news came on the heels of L Brands Inc.’s decision to close 53 Victoria’s Secrets in North America this year. And it’s not just apparel: Tesla Inc., whose galleries are often inside shopping centers, just said it’s moving all its sales online.. . . more

In U-turn, Tesla closing retail stores

Boston Business Journal
Tesla Inc. plans to shutter most of its retail stores and shift the bulk of its global sales to online-only, the California-based electric car manufacturer disclosed in a securities filing. The sudden about-face came days after Tesla's annual report said the company would be expanding its retail locations.

Tesla has 130 stores in the U.S., including three in Massachusetts at 888 Boylston St. in Boston, 840 Providence Highway in Dedham and in the Natick Mall. The company previously operated a Tesla of Hingham dealership at 94 Derby St., but that location closed prior to Friday’s announcement. . . . more

Friday, March 1, 2019

Nordstrom profit beats Wall Street, helped by discount stores

Reuters
Department store operator Nordstrom Inc on Thursday reported better-than-expected quarterly profit but missed Wall Street’s sales estimates, as customers bought more merchandise at its off-price stores and less at its full-price stores.

Nordstrom, like other brick-and-mortar retailers, has struggled to react to consumers moving towards fast-fashion brands and online outlets rather than visiting malls.. . . more

Foot Locker on top of its game in Q4 as sales soar

Chain Store Age
Foot Locker Inc. reported stronger-than-expected fourth quarter earnings and sales and forecast double-digit profit growth in the coming year.

Sales rose 2.8% to $2.27 billion, ahead of analysts’ estimates of $2.18 billion. Same-store sales surged 9.7%, more than double expectations. . . . more