Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Neiman Marcus sales down as it considers sale of MyTheresa

The Dallas Morning News
Neiman Marcus said Tuesday that sales declined in its just completed quarter and it's considering the sale of its European subsidiary MyTheresa.

The announcements by the Dallas-based luxury retailer were made in a filing that also detailed the launch of an exchange offer for $1.62 billion of unsecured debt.

Neiman Marcus said sales are estimated to decline 1.3% to 1.9% in its fiscal third quarter that ended Saturday. The decline follows six consecutive quarters of sales increases. . . . more

Monday, April 29, 2019

Justice, Lane Bryant parent Ascena Retail Group at low ebb

The Columbus Dispatch
A big retailer with two nationally known brands based in central Ohio is in big trouble.

Share prices have plummeted, debt has skyrocketed, market capitalization has plunged and comparable store sales at one of its two national chains have declined precipitously.

No, it’s not L Brands. It’s Ascena Retail Group, the parent of Lane Bryant and Justice, both based in Columbus. . . . more

Washington Prime CEO: 'We are far from delusional' but retail sector not as bad as reports say

Washington Prime Group Inc. is doing just fine, thank you very much.

The Columbus-based operator of malls and shopping centers reported a 20% increase in leasing volume across its portfolio to 1.4 million square feet, with occupancy in its tier-one malls down a bit at 93.3 percent.

But what was on CEO Lou Conforti's mind was the continued media and analyst drumbeat of a looming 'retail apocalypse.' In a quarterly earnings report, he called out two instances, one a news report and the other a data analysis.. . . more

Friday, April 26, 2019

Indochino in U.S. store expansion; lays groundwork for global growth

Indochino is expanding its presence in the Northeast and also looking overseas for growth.

The made-to-measure menswear retailer will open three stores in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, this year and into 2020, adding to the brand’s growing retail presence across North America. Indochino will open its 44th location on April 26, in downtown Greenwich, Conn. The new store will have Indochino’s signature high-tech-meets-high-touch feel, and feature high ceilings, large windows, and a lounge area where customers can relax and enjoy a coffee before designing their one-of-a-kind garments. . . . more

Eight Operating Cost Rent Issues for Restaurant Tenants

Restaurant tenants are rarely happy with their operating costs; at best, they’re ambivalent to them and, at worst, they’re upset with them. The two issues that most upset restaurant tenants are ever-increasing operating costs and the landlord’s lack of attention to fully maintaining the commercial property. . . more

Fleming's Seizes the Fine-Dining Opportunity

Outback Steakhouse’s resurgence has, rightfully so, garnered its share of headlines. The brand is riding an eight-quarter run of positive same-store sales. Its fiscal 2018 jump of 4 percent was Outback’s best annual comp result in six years. Naturally, this led to something few casual brands in today’s overcrowded climate can boast: Growth. Dave Deno, who recently took over the Bloomin’ Brands CEO role from Liz Smith, said last quarter there’s room for at least 50 more incremental Outbacks in the U.S. to add to the chain’s 733-unit footprint. But a less publicized opportunity is quietly forming at Bloomin’s smallest chain—Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar. . . . more

Blaze Pizza is Fire’d Up For Growth in Washington DC

Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza, the recognized world leader in fast artisanal pizza, announced today its franchise growth strategy targeting Washington DC, northern Virginia and parts of Maryland. Blaze Pizza’s development team is hosting an exclusive discovery dinner in Fairfax, Virginia on Friday, April 26 for individuals interested in learning more about the franchise opportunity. Individuals interested in attending should email Carolyne Canady at carolyne@Blazepizza.com to get the full details on the dinner. . . . more

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Retail sales strong in March

Consumers were busy in March after weaker-than-expected spending in the prior month.

Retail sales rose 1% in March seasonally adjusted from February and 0.8% unadjusted year-over-year, according to the National Retail Federation. The NRF numbers, which exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants, are based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which said that overall March sales were up 1.6% seasonally adjusted from February and up 3.6% unadjusted year-over-year. That was the biggest increase since September 2017 and followed an unrevised 0.2% drop in February. . . . more

By CHLOE to 'Take It to the Next Level' By More than Tripling Its U.S. Presence, CEO Says

Vegan fast-casual restaurant By CHLOE plans to capitalize on growing interest in vegan and plant-based diets by more than tripling the amount of locations it operates in the U.S. and abroad. CEO Patrik Hellstrand said By CHLOE is "ready to take it to the next level" by gearing up to expand from 13 to more than 50 locations in the U.S. by 2023, as well as licensing locations internationally in Canada, the UK, and the Middle East.. . . more

Lululemon plans push into footwear, more ‘agile’ store formats

A surging Lululemon Athletica is looking for new markets to conquer.

The athletic apparel retailer on Wednesday detailed an ambitious five-year growth plan that includes doubling its men’s and online revenues and quadrupling its international growth during the next five years. The company is also getting into the footwear business. . . . more

Mother’s Day expected to deliver highest consumer spending to date

Mother’s Day spending is expected to total a record $25 billion this year, up from $23.1 billion in 2018, according to the annual survey released today by the National Retail Federation. A total 84 percent of U.S. adults are expected to celebrate in honor of their mothers and other women in their lives. . . . more

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Malls Need More of These Kinds of Businesses to Lure Shoppers

Changes are afoot in shopping centers around the country, not only as retailers vacate stores due to bankruptcy or shrinking footprints but also as landlords bring in new businesses like fitness centers and co-working spaces to fill the empty storefront.

But what do shoppers really want to find when they make a trip to their local mall? According to a new report from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), the answer is often “something to eat . . . more

Gyms restore muscle, movement where retail giants have fallen

As shopping center owners see weakness among their retail tenants, many are turning to fitness gyms to beef up their portfolios, experts on the local commercial real estate market say.

As big-box stores close, many of them are being replaced by gyms, according to two Boston-based spokesmen for CoStar Group, a commercial real estate data firm headquartered in Washington, D.C . . . more

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Neiman Marcus acquires stake in one of retail’s fastest-growing sectors

Chain Store Age
The booming resale market has gone mainstream.

Neiman Marcus Group said it is acquiring a minority stake in Fashionphile, an online retailer of previously-owned ultra-luxury handbags, jewelry and accessories. The upscale department store company is the first major luxury retailer to directly invest in the fast-growing pre-owned apparel and accessories market, which is projected to grow from $24 billion to $51 billion by 2024, according to a new report from reseller ThredUP. It did not disclose the amount of its investment. . . . more

Monday, April 22, 2019

After retail, these are biggest drivers to shopping center traffic

Chain Store Age
The food and beverage category and entertainment are taking up more and more of shoppers’ time — and money.

Since January, 81% of shopping center visitors have spent money on food and beverage services at a shopping center and 80% have purchased from traditional retailers, according to the International Council of Shopping Center’s Mixed Use survey. About two-fifths (38%) of U.S. adults now spend more on eating/drinking at dining establishments (including takeout). And 50% of all consumers want to see more dining options in centers; 40% want to see more leisure and entertainment options. . . . more

ESL Investments responds to ‘baseless’ allegations in Sears lawsuit

Chain Store Age
ESL Investments has responded to the federal lawsuit filed on Thursday by Sears Holdings Corp.

The suit that accuses former CEO Eddie Lampert, his ESL Investments hedge fund and others associated with Sears of stripping the chain of some two billions of dollars worth of assets even as the retailer racked up huge losses.

In a statement emailed to Chain Store Age, ESL Investments said it “vigorously disputes” the claims in the complaint, which repeats “baseless allegations and fanciful claims. “As we have previously said, the debtors’ allegations are misleading or just flat wrong.”. . . more

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Sears sues Eddie Lampert; claims he stripped chain of $2 billion in assets

Chain Store Age
Sears Holdings Corp. on Thursday filed a blockbuster federal lawsuit that essentially claims former CEO Eddie Lampert drove the company into bankruptcy, by siphoning off the company’s assets and preventing it from being able to pay off debts.

The suit accuses Lampert, his ESL Investments hedge fund and others associated with Sears and ESL — including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, a former investor and executive at ESL — of stripping the chain of billions of dollars worth of assets even as the retailer racked up huge losses. . . . more

Any Takers for Toys R Us Space Yet?

KeyPoint Partners
It seems that, on an annual basis, we see another national big box chain fall to online competition, high debt, and, in some cases, mismanagement. Go back a decade or more and the list becomes extensive: Circuit City, Linens ‘N Things, Borders, Comp USA, Mervyn’s, Bombay, Filene’s Basement, Sports Authority, Mill Stores, Building 19…have we missed any? This means that every year the real estate industry is searching for replacements, sometimes successfully – and other times not.

The latest liquidation casualty is Toys R Us. Along with Babies R Us stores, this chain vacated 30 stores and more than 1.0 million square feet of retail space across the three regions covered by KeyPoint Partners’ proprietary GRIID: Eastern Massachusetts/Greater Boston, Southern New Hampshire, and Greater Hartford. . . . more

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Diesel USA's Ch. 11 plan approved

Retail Dive
Diesel USA, which filed for Chapter 11 protection on Tuesday, attributed the filing to a decrease in wholesale orders, a "general downturn in the brick-and-mortar retail industry," expensive long-term leases, a decrease in net sales and multiple instances of theft and fraud, according to supplemental court documents. 

The company's reorganization plan includes relocating specific stores to locations with a smaller footprint, opening a temporary pop-up concept in Miami, launching new stores in strategic locations and a rebranding effort. It will also not pursue the renewal of leases for a number of underperforming locations, according to the documents.. . . more

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Retail apocalypse watch: Apple and Tesla won’t save dying malls

Fast Company
While Apple and Tesla are some of the hottest brands around, even they can’t stop the mallpocalypse. Not even Eataly’s promise of wine, cheese, and freshly made focaccia can get people to malls, it seems.

Analytics firm Thasos has just released a new report revealing that foot traffic at U.S. malls has been dropping since last August, save for a small uptick during the holidays, CNBC first reported. . . . more

Esports Lounges Might Offer Another Way to Drive Foot Traffic to Retail Destinations

The rise of esports—organized multiplayer video game competitions—will “certainly have an impact” on commercial real estate, according to James Cook, head of retail research at real estate services firm JLL.

As commodity retail increasingly shifts towards online, both chain retailers and regional malls are growing their leisure sections, specifically geared toward “competitive socializing.” Activities include mini-golf, darts and ping-pong, and the locations often serve food and alcohol. These kinds of tenants take up around 32.1 percent of the leisure market, according to JLL. Esports takes up around 7.1 percent of the leisure segment.. . . more

Friday, April 12, 2019

Anchors away: Why grocers are heading to the mall

Retail Dive
The struggles of mall stalwarts such as Macy's, Sears and J.C. Penney could spell opportunity for supermarket chains. Just last month, beloved Connecticut chain Stew Leonard's began renovating an 80,000-square-foot location at New Jersey's Paramus Park Mall formerly occupied by Sears.

A wide range of grocers, including Wegmans, Lidl, Whole Foods and The Fresh Market, have pounced on vacant mall space recently. Drawn by the prospect of high visibility, a destination location and generous enticements from landlords, these so-called "mall marts" have been cropping up across the country.. . . more

Women’s retailer to open 2nd CT store in Danbury

Westport News
Soft Surroundings is adding a second Connecticut store on May 3 at Danbury Fair mall, with the company selling women’s apparel, shoes, skin care products, makeup and home goods.

The St. Louis, Mo.-based company launched its debut catalog in 1999 and since has expanded to more than 75 locations, including in 2007 when it opened its first Connecticut location in South Windsor at the Promenade Shops at Evergreen Walk.. . . more

J. Crew is considering an IPO for its Madewell clothing brand

J. Crew is exploring a potential initial public offering for its faster growing brand Madewell, the company said in a release Thursday.

The IPO for the preppy fashion retailer could happen as early as “the second half of 2019.”

J. Crew said the move is a part of its initiative to “maximize value, position both the J.Crew and Madewell brands for long-term growth, and deleverage and strengthen the Company’s balance sheet.”. . . more

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Moody's downgrades L Brands' outlook on Victoria's Secret woes

Retail Dive
Moody's Investors Service on Tuesday downgraded L Brand's outlook from "stable" to "negative," with Moody's Vice President Christina Boni citing "the deteriorating operating margins and negative comparable store sales at Victoria's Secret for the past 10 quarters."

Moody's anticipates that L Brands, which "has very good liquidity and moderate leverage," can continue to generate around $375 million of free cash flow to reduce debt, according to a note emailed by Moody's to Retail Dive.. . . more

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Fitch Sees 'High Losses' for CMBS If Malls Can't Refinance

Commercial mortgage-backed securities could see big losses if troubled mall loans aren’t refinanced before they mature in 2020, according to Fitch Ratings Inc.

The biggest risk is if the borrowers decide to walk away from the property in order to avoid foreclosure, Fitch analyst Huxley Somerville wrote in a research note Friday.. . . more

75,000 more stores need to close across the US as online sales and Amazon grow

Clothing retailers, consumer electronics companies and home furnishing businesses will need to close more stores across the U.S. as e-commerce sales proliferate, according to UBS.

In a note to clients this week, the investment firm said “store rationalization needs to accelerate meaningfully as online penetration continues to rise.” Assuming online sales’ share of total retail sales in the U.S. grows to 25% by 2026, from 16% today, roughly 75,000 more retail doors, excluding restaurants, need to close, analysts Jay Sole and Michael Lasser said.. . . more

Monday, April 8, 2019

Hot Topic Is Still Hot

The New York Times
Though Hot Topic has not publicly disclosed its financials since the private equity firm Sycamore Partners acquired it in June 2013 for about $600 million, the brand’s endurance in the narrowing market of juniors apparel suggests that the brighter, broader inventory is selling. (Sycamore Partners declined to comment for this article.)

In a 2018 report, the youth marketing research firm YPulse found that Gen Z and millennial shoppers deemed Hot Topic the top retail destination for “unique styles,” with Nike coming in second. . . . more

Friday, April 5, 2019

As Neiman Marcus Opens its First NYC Store it Seeks to Gain Time to Escape its Debt Burden

Dallas-based luxury department store chain Neiman Marcus opened its newest store on Manhattan’s west side in March and pulled out all the stops.

The flagship department store is part of a 1-million-sq.-ft., seven-story, glitzy shopping complex called the Shops and Restaurants at Hudson Yards developed by the Related Cos. and Oxford Properties Group. The store is part of the first phase of the $25 billion mixed-use new neighborhood.

Neiman Marcus occupies 188,000 sq. ft. on three levels and it’s the first-ever namesake store in New York City. . . . more

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Sears, after bankruptcy, is opening new stores for home goods

Sears is opening stores again.

The embattled department store chain, which has shut hundreds of Sears and Kmart locations over the years and recently got another shot at life after filing for bankruptcy protection in October, still sees a chance to be a shopping destination for hard-line goods like appliances, tools and mattresses.
. . . more

Kay, Jared owner to shutter 150 stores

Retail Dive
Signet, which runs some 3,300 stores under various jewelry banners including Kay Jewelers, Zales, Jared, The Galleria Of Jewelry, H.Samuel and Piercing Pagoda, on Wednesday said it will shutter 150 underperforming stores during its current fiscal year — and that by fiscal year's end "it will have reduced its store base by 13% over a three-year period." The company closed down 262 during its just-completed full year, according to a company press release.

Same-store sales in the quarter fell 2% after a 5.2% decline the year before.. . . more

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Sears Went Into Bankruptcy—but Its Lavish Rewards Program Won’t Quit

The Wall Street Journal
During one of her regular Sears shopping sprees, Kyra Dwyer picked out $150 of clothes for herself and her daughter. She was charged $18.

The 47-year-old is a member of Shop Your Way, Sears’s loyalty program. She regularly stopped at the store near her home in Fairfield, Conn., until it closed in January, on her way home from her work for the Coast Guard. She scooped up Craftsman tools, Lee jeans and a snowblower for her parents. Nearly all of the items were paid for with rewards points. . . . more

Monday, April 1, 2019

Foot Locker Gets Back To Center Of Sneaker Culture By Focusing On More Than Shoes

Foot Locker, the largest U.S. specialty athletic-shoe retailer, no longer wants you to think of it as just a sneaker shop. Instead, try identifying it as a place for “youth culture empowerment.”

Changing consumer behaviors have brands of all kinds scrambling to respond, and Foot Locker is no different. The New York-based retailer is transforming itself at its fastest pace since it opened its first store in 1974. . . . more