Wednesday, July 31, 2019

The biggest mall owner in the US could be the one to save retailers on the cusp of going out of business

The biggest mall owner in the U.S., Simon Property Group, on Wednesday said it’s considering more opportunities where it would invest in a retailer to help keep it afloat.

“I think it’s very possible — we’re going to be very smart about it,” Simon CEO David Simon said on a post-earnings conference call when asked if he would consider investing in more of the landlord’s tenants. . . . more

Urban Outfitters takes on Rent the Runway

Chain Store Age
Specialty retailer Urban Outfitters is officially a member of the rapidly-expanding apparel rental club.

Initially announced in May, Urban Outfitters’ monthly apparel rental subscription service known as Nuuly went live on July 30. For $88 a month, consumers can select any six items from the retailer’s namesake, Free People and Anthropologie brands, along with third-party labels and one-of-a-kind vintage pieces.. . . more

Victoria’s Secret is spiraling down the drain. Here are 3 reasons why

Fast Company
Since 2000, Victoria’s Secret’s revenues had been climbing consistently, with a small blip in the aftermath of the Great Recession. But in 2017, the brand’s sales took a major tumble, with sales falling to $7.4 billion down from nearly $8 billion the year before. This is exactly the moment when the #MeToo movement took hold. The New York Times published its first exposé of Harvey Weinstein in October of 2017. This may have been on people’s minds when they went out to do their Christmas shopping that year. Over the past two years, the brand has not been able to climb out of this rut.. . . more

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Amid Reports That It Hired Debt Restructuring Advisers, J.C. Penny Insists It’s Just Fine

The embattled J.C. Penney Co. may be considering debt restructuring options.

Earlier this month, Reuters reported that the retailer hired advisers to explore debt restructuring options that could potentially give the flailing department store chain more time to execute its long-running turnaround.

Citing sources familiar with the matter, the news agency reported that the retailer has had discussions with lawyers and investment bankers specializing in advising struggling companies on debt restructuring and other financial workouts. . . . more

J.Crew Group cut dozens of corporate jobs

J.Crew Group eliminated several positions at its New York corporate headquarters last week, as the retailer continues to cut costs ahead of a potential initial public offering of its Madewell brand. However, the cutbacks only occurred at the J.Crew brand. "As part of our continued work to strengthen J. Crew's business, we've reduced a limited number of filled and open positions primarily at our corporate headquarters," a spokeswoman told WWD on Friday. . . . more

Monday, July 29, 2019

J.C. Penney added to Fitch's 'loans of concern' list

Retail Dive
J.C. Penney is among the latest additions to Fitch Rating's "loans of concern" list, indicating a high risk of default on a $1.6 billion loan balance at the department store retailer, according to an emailed report.

In adding Penney, the ratings firm noted debt restructuring concerns, which likely intensified with recent reports that the retailer was working with adviserson its debt load.
. . . more

Can retailers break up with the mall?

Retail Dive
A lot of stores are leaving the mall these days.

Singer-songwriter Paul Simon made it sound easy. "Just slip out the back, Jack. Make a new plan, Stan," goes his 1975 ditty. "Just drop off the key, Lee, and get yourself free."

Supplements retailer GNC earlier this month did make it sound fairly easy to leave. The company July 22 said it would likely halve its mall presence in the process of closing down as many as 900 locations, most of them in traditional malls.. . . more

Thursday, July 25, 2019

The Second Lives of America’s Iconic Shopping Malls

Commercial Observer
Some malls refuse to die. Long after the department stores have been shuttered, parking lots overgrown with weeds, and the halls emptied of bored teenagers, wailing children and daytime walkers, some malls attempt to live on long past their heyday. Although “living” might not be the right word.

Instead, they’ve mutated.

Many retain something of their original form, with medical clinics and gyms for anchor tenants rather than the retail temples of yesteryear. . . . more

JC Penney is fading. Nordstrom is struggling. Walmart is thriving. That sums up what’s happening in retail.

Retail earnings overall this quarter aren’t looking good when compared with a year ago. A drop is being forecast for the industry.

And department store chains in particular are still struggling to grow sales, whereas Walmart and Target have found pockets of growth in grocery, through their e-commerce businesses and with their in-house brands.. . . more

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Malls are filling their empty spaces with doctor's offices

CNN Business
While mall leases for clothing retailers declined by more than 10% since 2017, medical clinics at malls have risen by almost 60% during the same period, according to Drew Myers, real estate analyst at CoStar Group. The growth of medical clinic leases at malls has been the "strongest among all major retail sectors over the past five years," he said.

Mall landlords are betting that when patients visit for a flu shot or eye exam, they'll shop around for clothes or electronics. Adding medical clinics also makes sense for mall owners because they draw in doctors, nurses and technicians every day who may shop and eat at restaurants, according to a May research report by real estate firm JLL. . . . more

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

GNC plans to close up to 900 stores with a focus on mall locations

USA Today
Health and wellness retailer GNC plans to close up to 900 stores with big cuts to mall locations expected.

Officials with the Pittsburgh-based chain spoke of their continued "store optimization effort" during the GNC's second-quarter earnings call with analysts Monday.

“I think it could be likely that we'll reduce our mall count by a nearly half,” said Tricia Tolivar, GNC chief financial officer. “So we've got a little over 800 malls today and over the long-term, we could bring that closer to 400 to 500.”. . . more

Stage Stores drives onward with off-price conversions

Chain Store Age
A majority of Stage Stores Inc. stores will operate under the Gordmans off-price banner by the end of next year.

Stage plans to convert an additional 100 stores to Gordmans off-price in 2020, bringing the total number of 2020 off-price conversions to 250. In 2019, the company expects to complete 89 conversions, including 37 converted stores in March, 35 converted stores and one new store in June, and 17 planned conversions in September. . . . more

Monday, July 22, 2019

Food Halls in U.S. Malls are Thriving, but is There Fear of Oversaturation?

There’s been an explosion in the number of food halls across the U.S., and some experts say it’s not about to slow down anytime soon. In fact, activity is ramping up.

A new report by commercial real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield predicts there will be about 450 food halls open across the country by the end of 2020; that’s a jump from 120 in 2016.. . . more

The CEO of Athleta explains why the brand has been successful, and it's a stark reminder of why Gap is struggling

Business Insider
Athleta has become one of Gap's biggest sweet spots, endearingly referred to by analysts as one of its " crown jewels," along with the recently spun-off Old Navy.

It's becoming a symbol of everything that Gap isn't — it's a buzzy chain that's in "high growth mode" (according to its CEO Nancy Green), acquiring new customers, and opening stores while its big sister is forced to scale back, shutter hundreds of locations, and figure out how to make itself relevant again.. . . more

Penney: We haven’t hired advisers for in-court restructuring
J.C. Penney, looking to soothe rattled investors, said Friday it hasn’t hired any advisers to prepare for an in-court restructuring or bankruptcy.

The company’s statement came after a report said Penney was hiring experts to help restructure its debt. . . . more

Monday, July 15, 2019

Nordstrom Really Needs an Anniversary Sale Win

If you’ve spent any time in the Instagram fashion bubble recently, you probably know that Nordstrom Inc. is holding a massive promotional event that kicks into high gear on Friday. It’s called the Anniversary Sale, and it’s a weeks-long run of price reductions on new merchandise that the retailer has done a remarkable job of getting the fashion influencer-set to hype.

This time around, the deals bonanza represents an especially important test for the department store. Some of it has to do with the timing. Wall Street sentiment has curdled on this chain in recent months. In fact, Nordstrom is the worst-performing stock in the S&P 500 Index year-to-date. . . . more

Friday, July 12, 2019

Charming Charlie to close all stores

Chain Store Age
Charming Charlie is closing up shop.

The jewelry and accessories retailer has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy — the second time in less than two years — with plans to close all of its 261 stores. Going-out-of-business sales are already underway in many locations, with all stores expected to close no later than Aug. 31. Charming Charlie’s website is no longer taking orders.. . . more

Thursday, July 11, 2019

World Trade Center Mall Has a Plan to Get You to Stick Around

There are always crowds at the shopping mall inside the Oculus transit hub in lower Manhattan: commuters rushing to their trains, tourists wandering about after a stop at the nearby 9/11 Memorial & Museum or a photo shoot at the Statue of Liberty.

The mammoth, butterfly-shaped Oculus draws as many as 120 million visits each year -- often people passing through on their way to somewhere else. Visitors spend just a little over a half hour on average at the mall, Westfield World Trade Center. Now, its operator has plans to get them to linger longer.. . . more

Mega-Mall Vs. Mall Next Door? A Shopping Showdown In The Garden State

Westfield Garden State Plaza has been ranked one of the 10 best performing malls in the United States. The New York Times has called it “perhaps the single most influential mall in the country” because it is a favorite of Wall Street analysts, who grade retailers based on what they see there.

So why is it embarking on an ambitious plan to transform itself from a suburban mall into a live, work, play community with apartments, offices and public parks?

First, it sees an existential threat to all malls in the digital age if they don’t evolve. Second, it sees a more immediate threat—the American Dream mega-mall under construction ten miles away, in the New Jersey Meadowlands.. . . more

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Macy’s new ‘story’ is the outdoors

Chain Store Age
Macy’s is celebrating the great outdoors — with a little help from Dick’s Sporting Goods and Miracle-Gro — in its latest experiential store concept.

The department store retailer has added Outdoor Story shops to 36 locations nationwide. The shops are the second iteration of Story at Macy’s, and come about 14 months after Macy’s acquired Story, the experiential Manhattan retailer that reinvents itself with a new theme every couple of months.. . . more

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Parent company of Famous Footwear, other brands to open stores in China

Caleres is expanding globally.

The footwear company said it will begin to distribute footwear in greater China, including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, through a joint venture with Brand Investment Holding, a member of the Gemkell Group. The venture will kick off with Caleres’ Naturalizer and Sam Edelman brands, which will be marketed and sold across multiple channels, including branded retail stores and e-commerce sites. . . . more

Kohl’s goes nationwide with Amazon returns

Kohl’s “biggest” initiative of the year involves Amazon.

The department store retailer is now accepting unpackaged Amazon returns at its more than 1,100 stores nationwide. Kohl’s and Amazon previously piloted the program in some 100 Kohl stores in the Los Angeles, Chicago, and Milwaukee markets. In April, the chain announced it planned to roll out the service to all stores in July. . . . more

Monday, July 8, 2019

Long-delayed mega-mall sets opening date

The waiting may finally be over.

American Dream, the 3 million-sq.-ft. retail and entertainment destination located next to Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., announced it will open on Friday, October 25, 2019. It is the first time the developer — Triple Five Group — has set a specific date for the opening. In May, it announced a “fall” opening and back in March, it had announced a “late summer’ opening. . . . more

Primark sales grow 4 percent, continues retail expansion

Fashion United
Primark, part of the diversified group Associated British Foods plc has announced through a statement that sales in the year-to-date were 4 percent ahead of last year at constant currency and actual exchange rates, driven by increased selling space but offset by a decline in like-for-like sales. For the full year, the company expects good profit growth in Primark and, group adjusted earnings per share are expected to be in line with the previous year. . . . more

uBreakiFix Opens 25 New Stores in Q2, Celebrates 10th Anniversary and 500th Store Opening

Yahoo Finance
uBreakiFix announced significant growth for the second quarter of 2019, boasting a total of 25 new stores. These second quarter additions bring the brand’s total footprint to 522 stores across North America.

The brand’s highest growth markets included Texas, with four new locations; Ontario, with three new locations; and Oklahoma—a new market for the brand, which welcomed three locations in Q2, including the uBreakiFix’s 500th store opening in Tulsa on April 10.. . . more

Vision benefits giant makes a power play in physical store strategy

As the lines between health care and retail continue to blur, VSP’s newest deal is poised to give the company a strong foothold in the retail marketplace.

VSP Global, whose businesses include national vision benefits company VSP Vision Care, on Thursday announced that it will acquire San Antonio, Texas-based VisionWorks — the sixth largest optical chain in the United States. . . . more

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

UBS: Nordstrom is a 'no-growth retailer'

Retail Dive
Nordstrom and even its Rack off-price unit are losing customers and sales to lower-price rivals, according to new research from UBS analysts led by Jay Sole. The team has downgraded the department store to a "no-growth retailer," according to their report, which was emailed to Retail Dive.

Shoppers once flocked to Nordstrom for special occasion and other pricier apparel, but are now looking for wedding and other attire elsewhere, according to the report. The trend of wearing more casual clothing is also an issue for the retailer, UBS said.. . . more

Monday, July 1, 2019

Forever 21 Officials Approached Landlords About Possible Purchase

A small faction of officials at Forever 21 Inc. has asked its biggest landlords if they’d consider taking a stake in the clothing retailer, as the company’s leadership battles internally about how to turn around the struggling store chain.

The group, which didn’t have the backing of the company’s co-founder, talked to Simon Property Group Inc. and Brookfield Property Partners LP about a range of options including a sale, according to people with knowledge of the matter.  . . . more