Thursday, October 31, 2019

6 numbers that explain the fate of department stores

Retail Dive
Department stores were the 20th century's marvelous shopping destination. Retailers that were filled with varied and often unique merchandise, offering high levels of convenience and attentive customer service.

That heyday is over. The model, which went from dominating city downtowns to dominating malls, is beset by outside forces and in some cases by the retailers' own missteps. It's not clear yet whether it can be successfully updated for the 21st century — players like Nordstrom, Macy's and Saks are trying.

Here are six key metrics that serve as clues into department stores' woes:. . . more

CEO of biggest US mall owner says retail industry is ‘reaching the bottom’ of bankruptcies

The CEO of the biggest mall owner in the U.S., Simon Property Group, says the retail industry looks to be “reaching the bottom” of a tumultuous wave of bankruptcies.

“We are having a high bankruptcy year. ... There’s no denying that,” David Simon told analysts during a post-earnings conference call on Wednesday morning.. . . more

Bankrupt Forever 21 is closing 200 stores

CNN Business
As part of its restructuring after filing for bankruptcy last month, Forever 21 will close 200 stores, leaving the fast-fashion chain with a smaller footprint to help it emerge from Chapter 11.

Burdened by expensive store leases, unprofitable markets and continuing disruption from online shopping, the teenage clothing emporium became the latest casualty in a retail industry that is reeling from store closures and bankruptcies.. . . more

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Nordstrom family ends latest effort to take control

Retail Dive
Nordstrom on Monday stated that its board of directors and co-Presidents Pete and Erik Nordstrom said that they had "terminated by … mutual agreement" a proposal that "certain members of the Nordstrom family" would boost their share of common stock from about 31% to slightly more than 50%, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The notice puts to rest any notion that the family would retake firm control of the business, something they had also attempted two years ago with a take-private offer that the board last year eventually deemed insufficient. . . . more

Monday, October 28, 2019

Sears is reportedly exploring potential asset sales, including its DieHard brand

Sears’ current owner is exploring potential assets to sell off, including its DieHard brand, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Transform Holdco, the retailer’s parent, has hired investment bankers to advise on the potential asset sales, people familiar with the situation told the Journal.. . . more

New American Dream 'mall' has much more than retail

Yahoo Finance
On October 26, eight miles west of Manhattan in East Rutherford, New Jersey, the doors swing partially open to a mega, don’t-call-it-a-mall, entertainment and retail venue betting that it can sidestep the “Retail Apocalypse.”

“We have spent about $2 billion worth, plus we had another $3 billion dollars that had been spent by prior developers, so all-in, you’re looking at a magnificent $5 billion dollar project,” Paul Ghermezian, general partner of Triple Five Worldwide, the developer of American Dream, told Yahoo Finance during an on-site preview of the property.. . . more

Louis Vuitton and Tiffany Are Talking About Tying the Knot

LVMH, the French owner of Louis Vuitton and Givenchy, said it has held preliminary discussions with jeweler Tiffany & Co. on a possible takeover.

There’s no assurance that the discussions will result in any agreement, the French luxury giant said.

Bloomberg reported earlier that LVMH has offered about $14.5 billion for the jeweler in a deal that would expand its access to U.S. luxury shoppers.. . . more

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Sears, Out of Bankruptcy, Continues Shuttering More Stores. Can It Survive?

The number of Sears and Kmart store closures continues to escalate.

Sears, which was weighed down by billions of dollars of debt and filed for bankruptcy last October, will close more stores following continued weak performance.

The troubled retailer has already boarded up hundreds of stores in the past few years. According to the Wall Street Journal, roughly a quarter of the approximately 425 Sears and Kmart stores brought out of bankruptcy by former CEO Eddie Lampert have closed or are scheduled to close later this year or in early 2020.. . . more

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Retail-to-Warehouse Conversions Gain Momentum
According to January 2019 CBRE research, there are at least 23 retail-to-industrial projects that have commenced since 2016.

These projects are turning roughly 7 million square feet of aging retail space into 10 million square feet of new warehouse/industrial space, either by converting existing structures or by demolishing and replacing them with new buildings.. . . more

Hudson Yards was seen as a trial for the mall of the future. Here’s how it’s going so far

When the Hudson Yards megamall opened on the West Side of Manhattan roughly half a year ago, there were plenty of skeptics. And there still are.

The development, a sprawling 1 million square feet of retail space, is in many ways supposed to be the new blueprint for a shopping mall in the twenty-first century and age of Amazon. There’s a floor dedicated to brands born on the internet, only one department store, plenty of restaurants, co-working space, interactive art exhibits lining the walls and room to lounge outdoors. . . . more

As malls struggle with retail, more are embracing alternative occupants

Duluth News Tribune
In malls around the country shopping is drying up — and everything else is filling the void. Malls are becoming community catch-alls for government offices, dance studios, medical clinics, homeless centers, massage parlors, live theaters and even apartments.

The non-retail tenants are a smart response to a tough situation, say retail experts. They keep malls alive by maintaining foot traffic — even if no one is shopping.. . . more

Monday, October 21, 2019

American Dream Mall Is a Nightmare for New Jersey Shopping Centers

The malls of northern New Jersey, go-to destinations for shoppers from nearby New York City for more than half a century, are trying to find ways to stand out as a colossal new neighbor arrives to compete for customers -- and their dollars.

After 16 years of false starts and multiple developers, the American Dream retail and amusement complex in New Jersey’s Meadowlands is scheduled to open its doors on Oct. 25. Owner Triple Five Group is expecting 40 million visitors a year once the full mall is up and running, and if it attracts even a fraction of that traffic, it could spell bad news for some of the nine nearby malls already competing for the greater New York metropolitan area’s flushest residents.. . . more

Saks Fifth Avenue parent Hudson’s Bay to go private

Chain Store Age
Hudson's Bay Company has agreed to be taken private by a group of its shareholders after they upped their offer.

The group is headed up by Richard Baker, executive chairman of the Canadian department store company, and also includes Rhone Capital LLC, WeWork Property Advisors, Hanover Investments and Abrams Capital Management. The investors, who together own 57% of Hudson’s Bay, have agreed to pay C$10.30 ($7.84) a share in cash for shares outstanding. The offer represents an increase of 9% over the group’s initial proposal in June of $9.45 per share, which a special panel of Hudson’s Bay had deemed “inadequate.”. . . more

Friday, October 18, 2019

The department store of the 21st century isn't Macy's

In 2005, parent company Federated Department Stores (later renamed Macy's) was embarking on an expansion that brought its footprint to some 950 department stores, along with approximately 700 bridal and formalwear stores.

That appears to have been a mistake.

In recent years, Macy's has gone to great effort to undo that expansion, closing up 100 stores in a brick-and-mortar contraction that, despite executives' insistence to the contrary, some analysts say is far from over.. . . more

Lampert helps bankroll Sears as woes persist after bankruptcy

U.S. retailer Sears has borrowed about $150 million from lenders, including its billionaire owner Eddie Lampert, as it racks up losses less than a year after it emerged from bankruptcy protection, people familiar with the matter said.

The new financing will help stock Sears’ store shelves for the holiday shopping season, as it struggles to become profitable. Lampert is no stranger to bankrolling Sears, having extended loans through his hedge fund ESL Investments Inc to the department store chain over the past decade until its financial collapse last year.. . . more

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Barneys could end up at Saks, WSJ reports

Retail Dive
Authentic Brands Group is in discussions to buy the Barneys brand for some $270 million, in a plan that would entail licensing the brand to Saks Fifth Avenue, the Wall Street Journal reported. ABG, Saks and Saks owner HBC didn't immediately return Retail Dive's requests for comment. Barneys didn't immediately return Retail Dive's request for comment.

Saks would install Barneys departments in some of its stores as well as run its website, according to the report. Authentic Brands is also negotiating with Barneys landlords to keep some of those stores open, the Journal said.. . . more

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Sears Hasn’t Fared Better After Bankruptcy as Another 100 Stores Will Soon Close

The Wall Street Journal
Sears’s bankruptcy filing was supposed to give the troubled retailer a fresh start. But a year later, the chain is still struggling with many of the same problems it faced before it sought court protection.

Roughly a quarter of the 425 Sears and Kmart stores that financier Edward Lampert bought out of bankruptcy have closed or are closing, according to people familiar with the situation, a retreat the chains haven’t fully disclosed.. . . more

Gymboree to make retail comeback online and in stores

Chain Store Age
The Gymboree brand is being revived — by a former rival.

The Children’s Place plans to relaunch Gymboree in early 2020 with an enhanced website and shop-in-shop locations in more than 200 Children’s Place stores in the U.S. and Canada. Gymboree Group filed for bankruptcy in January 2019, saying it would close all its stores. In March, The Children’s Place paid $76 million to acquire the rights associated to the Gymboree brand and its value-oriented Crazy 8 brand. . . . more

Friday, October 11, 2019

First Look: The Vitamin Shoppe debuts innovation store concept

The Vitamin Shoppe is integrating technology with customer-friendly store design.

The specialty retailer of nutritional products is opening a new innovation store in Edgewater, N.J. Building off the footprint of the existing Edgewater store, the completely reimagined 3,185-sq.-ft. space features interactive elements such as on-demand digital product guides, enhanced mobile POS checkout, a designated area to take the retailer's new personalized health assessment, a complimentary body composition analysis station, and a supplement sampling machine. . . . more

Report: Strong public infrastructure essential for retail development success
Dozens of reports have lamented America’s collapsing bridges, pothole-scarred roads and gridlocked freeways. Rather than add to the chorus of complaints, a new ICSC white paper aims to chart a way forward on infrastructure.. . . more

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Fitness Centers Continue to Rise

Real estate and investment management firm JLL has released findings from its latest research report entitled “Fitness invigorates shopping centers.” The report examined more than 6,000 fitness center move-ins in retail real estate since the beginning of 2013. New data reveals that health movements have impacted the number of fitness center openings, which has increased 23.5 percent since 2010. Currently encompassing 11,055 locations, fitness center locations are poised to expand to a fleet of 120,700 outposts by 2024, or at a rate of 8.7 percent.. . . more

Report: Walmart reduces Bonobos headcount

Walmart is reportedly laying off staffers from its Bonobos omnichannel menswear brand. . . . more

INDOCHINO Celebrates Milestone 50th Showroom in Washington, DC

INDOCHINO, the global leader in custom apparel, has opened its 50th showroom in Washington, DC. The digitally native retailer is on a mission to bring affordable custom clothing to men across North America through widespread retail expansion, and further showrooms are slated to open in Cleveland, OH on October 18th and New Orleans, LA on November 8th.. . . more

JackRabbit, a Portfolio Company of CriticalPoint Capital, Announces Acquisition of Olympia Sports Stores

Yahoo Finance
JackRabbit, a leading omni-channel retailer of athletic footwear, apparel, and accessories owned by affiliates of CriticalPoint Capital ("CPC"), announced today the acquisition of certain assets and liabilities, including the online presence and the "Olympia Sports" brand from prominent retail sporting goods company, Olympia Sports ("Olympia"). Originally founded in 1975 in Portland, Maine, Olympia currently operates its brick and mortar stores primarily in the Northeast U.S. while also serving online customers via its e-commerce site . . . more

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

uBreakiFix Opens 26 New Stores in Q3, Joins the Asurion Family

Yahoo Finance
Leading tech repair franchise uBreakiFix announced 26 new store openings during the third quarter of 2019, bringing the brand’s total footprint to 545 stores across North America.

The highest growth markets included New York and Texas, each with three new locations, followed by Florida, Illinois, and Ontario, each with two. Third-quarter growth also included two independent repair shops that converted to the uBreakiFix brand. As part of the uBreakiFix franchise, conversion stores receive access to full corporate support, plus uBreakiFix’s authorized service partnerships with leading OEM brands like Samsung and Google . . . more

Target will support Toys ‘R’ Us omnichannel fulfillment

Customers making digital purchases from the revamped Toys “R” Us will receive their products courtesy of Target.

Through a partnership with Tru Kids Brands, the new parent company of Toys “R” Us, Target's toy assortment, digital capabilities and fulfillment services will support new omnichannel Toys "R" Us shopping experiences in the U.S. Consumers browsing and purchasing items on, which relaunches Oct. 8, can complete their order by clicking “Buy Now at” to be automatically linked to the same product page on to complete their purchase.. . . more

Cafes To Grow! Targeting 100 Units and $100 Million In Sales
Glen Johnson and Nick Crouch are 30-somethings with 56 Tropical Smoothie Cafes, 30 more under development, 1,400 team members, and a role as area developers--and the brand's largest franchisees.

Though Johnson and Crouch both have been in franchising for 8 years, it was only in 2017 that they merged their interests to form DYNE Hospitality Group. Today, with locations spread across Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Georgia, and Florida, Johnson says they are only halfway to their goal of operating 100 units with more than $100 million in sales. . . . more

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

These Customers Are Giving Shopping Malls a Fighting Chance

Footwear News
For a mall to thrive, it needs people to shop — but with so many department stores shuttering doors and an increasing share of consumer spending moving online, are Americans still spending their downtime in these air-conditioned icons of suburbia?

The answer: Yes, but it’s complicated.

Across all demographics, mall shopping declined 7.6% in 2018 year-over-year, while non-mall shopping rose 0.5%, according to a recent report from Deloitte. . . . more

Macy’s invests in stores

Chain Store Age
In 2019, Macy’s added 100 stores to the Growth50 initiative,which provided additional capital to 50 stores across the country received additional capital to enhance the customer experience and create a more vibrant and productive shopping destination.
 Work in the next 100 stores is expected to be fully complete in fall 2019.

The 150 stores comprise approximately 50% of Macy’s store sales. With the continued success of this initiative, Macy’s plans to add additional locations in 2020.. . . more

Monday, October 7, 2019

These retailers could benefit from Forever 21's bankruptcy

Retail Dive
With Forever 21 looking to close up to a third of its domestic footprint in bankruptcy, some $690 million in sales is "up for grabs" in the teen and young adult apparel market, according to a recent note from B. Riley FBR analysts led by Susan Anderson.

The analysts think American Eagle Outfitters, Express and Abercrombie & Fitch, as well as the latter's Hollister label, are "most poised to benefit" from Forever 21 closures. . . . more

Von Maur continues national expansion

Chain Store Age
Von Maur is building on its presence in new markets. The family-owned department store retailer will open an 85,000-sq.-ft. store at West Towne Mall in Madison, Wis. Scheduled to open in fall 2021, it will be Von Maur’s second Wisconsin location.

The new location builds on Von Maur’s targeted national growth strategy. The company opened its second Minnesota location in 2018, and it has grown in new states beyond its Midwestern footprint, including Georgia, New York, Alabama and Oklahoma. The company plans to open its third Michigan location, at Woodland Mall just outside of Grand Rapids, on October 12.. . . more

Friday, October 4, 2019

Mall Investment Sales Volume Is Down, But Investors Are More Willing to Buy Lower-Tier Assets

With the continuing retail bankruptcies, store closures and the overall upheaval in the physical retail sector, do investors still have interest in buying U.S. malls?

It all goes back to the case of the “haves” and “have-nots.” Strong-performing, class-A destination malls boasting experiential retail are still highly sought after by investors. However, there aren’t many of those up for sale. The country’s best malls are controlled primarily by the REITs as long-term holds, and they’re in no hurry to sell them off.. . . more

Ascena Retail Group swings to Q4 loss; wind down of Dressbarn ‘on track’

Chain Store Age
The parent company of Ann Taylor, Lane Bryant and other brands posted a loss in its fourth quarter as it completed the divesture of one of its brands and make progress on the shuttering of another.

During the quarter, Ascena Retail Group finalized the sale of its 934-store Maurices division to an affiliate of British private equity firm OpCapita. The company is also in the midst of closing down its Dressbarn division. Ascena said the wind down of Dressbarn is progressing well, and it is track to complete store closings by the end of 2019. (Dressbarn had 616 locations remaining at the end of the fourth quarter.). . . more

H&M's fresh strategy ushers in first profit growth in 2 years

Retail Dive
H&M's new strategy, which has entailed scaling back previous plans for a brick-and-mortar expansion, stoking e-commerce and amplifying sustainability efforts in manufacture and at retail, is gaining traction.

The fast-fashion retailer's pullback from opening stores, with a net 120 new locations this year from about 175 in April, doesn't apply across the board, however, CEO Karl-Johan Persson noted in a statement Thursday. "In parallel with the integration of stores and online shopping we keep optimising the store portfolio, including more consolidation in established markets and expansion in growth markets," he said. . . . more

US shopping mall vacancies hit eight-year high

Boston Business Journal
Vacancies in US shopping malls have hit an eight-year high but new data show that some areas are coping with the retail upheaval far better than others and the gap is widening.

The signs of difficulty in local retail property markets come as landlords brace for a wave of store closures following the bankruptcy of Forever 21 this week. The fast-fashion retailer, which has 32,800 employees globally, has earmarked 178 locations for closure across the US. . . . more

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Shoppers have more options for returning online purchases, even at rival retailers

The Dallas Morning News
Ahead of the holiday season, shoppers have more options to return unwanted items bought online as retailers look for new ways to drive traffic.

Plenty of retailers like Target and Walmart allow shoppers to easily drop off online returns at their stores. But now, a growing number of retailers are accepting rivals' returns.

The moves come as retailers aim to reduce costs while making it easier for shoppers to return online items. The average return rate for online transactions is 25% compared with 8% for store purchases, according to Forrester Research's online analyst Sucharita Mulpuru.. . . more

Forever 21 likely to shutter these Boston-area stores

Boston Business Journal
Forever 21 is likely to shut down three Boston stores, according to the store closing list included in its most recent filings related to its Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring.

Up to 178 U.S. stores will close, including the ones at 343 Newbury St. and 459 Washington St., and the store in South Bay Center in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood. The specialty fashion retailer operates 549 stores across the U.S., and another 251 are operated internationally by affiliates.. . . more

Amazon opens its first '4-star' store in Massachusetts

Boston Business Journal
Amazon expanded its physical footprint in the Bay State by opening a 4,000-square-foot, so-called "4-star" store on the first level of the Natick Mall on Oct 2.

The Natick store is the company’s first of its type in the state and its third physical store in Massachusetts, adding to two Amazon Books stores in Dedham and Lynnfield.. . . more

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Here’s why the Forever 21 bankruptcy could be really bad news for US mall owners

Multiple retail real estate analysts who spoke with CNBC agree that Forever 21 store closures could cause mall owners like Simon Property Group and Macerich more trouble than when other apparel retailers shut down.

The average Forever 21 store is close to 40,000 square feet but there are some locations that span more than 100,000, which is more like the size of a traditional department store. Larger locations can prove to be much more difficult to fill. . . . more

J. Crew is your ex who had 'potential'

Retail Dive
J. Crew has been drowning for quite some time. The specialty apparel store worked from the 1990s through the mid-2000s, but took a decided turn downward during The Great Recession.

During her tenure, then-executive director Jenna Lyons attempted to elevate the company. The most glaring movements away from the brand ethos came when, in a fit of horrible timing, Lyons introduced an edgier fashion vision and raised prices at the exact moment everyone was tanking financially.. . . more