Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Top-Tier Malls Are Latest Victim of Retail Headwinds

The Wall Street Journal
For years, the prime malls with the best locations escaped much of the havoc being wrought in the retail world by internet competition.

But now, even they are beginning to feel the pain, setting off new alarm bells on Wall Street. Some of the landlords of the most highly trafficked malls are warning of slowing income growth as they try to come up with new ways to cope with changing consumer behavior and billions of dollars of sales shifting online.. . . more

Monday, December 23, 2019

Forever 21 hires expert to help with brand transformation

Chain Store Age
Forever 21 has hired a marketing expert to lead its efforts to redefine and transform its brand.

The struggling fast-fashion retailer said it has retained Marisa Thalberg, former global chief brand officer of Taco Bell and current strategic advisor to Yum! Brands (parent of Taco Bell), in a short-term project to lead its efforts in redefining and transforming the Forever 21 brand. Thalberg is working directly with Linda Chang, Forever 21 executive VP, on shifting the brands’ position in the market, and establishing a stronger brand purpose, strategy and messaging, the company said.. . . more

Stephen Lebovitz on transforming the enclosed mall

Chain Store Age
Here’s the understatement of the year: retail leasing is changing.

CBL has responded by actively executing our redevelopment strategy. We are transforming our properties from apparel-based, enclosed malls to market-dominant, suburban town centers featuring a diversity of users. Our redevelopments and leasing efforts are delivering a variety of uses customized to the local market that range from entertainment to hotels to casinos to fitness. . . . more

Friday, December 20, 2019

Construction wraps up on New Jersey's $6B American Dream project

Retail Dive
Since its inception more than 20 years ago, American Dream Meadowlands has been a work in progress.

The project has outlived two developers and at least two general contractors, several lenders, the Great Recession and the rise of e-commerce, which has revolutionized the way Americans shop. First envisioned in 1996 as Meadowlands Xanadu, the concept has evolved over the last two decades to keep up with changing consumer tastes.. . . more

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Retail will be ‘driving force’ of Greendale Mall project

Worcester Telegraph
The redevelopment of Greendale Mall may include housing and office space, but retail will shape the mixed-use complex envisioned by the developer.

“At the end of the day, the new mix of retail will be the driving force,” said Todd Finard, CEO of Finard Properties, which purchased the 22-acre site at 7 Neponset St. for $7.1 million.. . . more

5 Bold Retail Predictions For 2020, For Walmart, Amazon And More

Predicting the future is a fool’s pursuit, it’s been said, but sometimes the need to do so overwhelms any amount of common sense or logic.

That’s even more the case at the end of the year, when forecasting what’s likely to happen in the new year seems to be epidemic. It’s even worse when the decade turns.. . . more

L Brands downgraded as changing tastes present 'significant risk'

Retail Dive
Moody's downgraded L Brands and put the company on review for further downgrade, according to a Tuesday press release.

Analysts lowered the company's corporate family rating from Ba1 to Ba2, citing "continued negative comparable store sales and operating margin compression at Victoria's Secret," Moody's Vice President Christina Boni said in the release.. . . more

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Developer Plans To Transform Dying Mall In Worcester Into Mixed-Use Complex

Worcester stands to gain another mixed-use development in the Central Massachusetts city’s ongoing revitalization. Finard Properties bought the Greendale Mall in Worcester for $7.1M in a deal that closed Monday, according to the Worcester County Registry of Deeds. The previous owner, a subsidiary of Irving, Texas-based C-III Capital Partners, bought the mall at a 2016 auction for $11.6M. Finard plans to redevelop the more-than-300K SF, nearly defunct shopping complex into a mixed-use project. . . . more

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Deep discounting is running rampant before Christmas

Yahoo Finance
A shopper gushed over the weekend about a $5 flannel shirt she scored at Kohl’s a few days earlier. It was marked down several times, much like most other apparel at my mother’s favorite store, she noticed.

Ultimately what’s good news for my mom’s wallet during her holiday spending travels is likely to be bad news for Kohl’s come fourth quarter earnings report day sometime in March 2020. And Kohl’s probably won’t be alone — after a strong start to the holiday shopping season on Black Friday, apparel retailers of all kinds have been swept up into a profit-busting discounting vortex. . . . more

Hudson’s Bay Group Said to Consider Shelving Takeover Offer

Hudson’s Bay Co. Chairman Richard Baker may scrap an offer to take the struggling retailer private after regulators delayed a vote on the deal following complaints from a minority shareholder.

The investor group that controls the owner of Saks Fifth Avenue is “evaluating next steps, including terminating the transaction,” according to a memo sent to advisers. The group plans to make a final decision in a week or so, according to the note. Until then, it’s “pens down” until further notice, meaning no work is to be done on the deal.. . . more

It’Sugar unveils massive new store at American Dream

Chain Store Age
It’Sugar has opened what it calls the “world’s first department store of candy” at American Dream, the new 3 million-sq.-ft. mega-retail and entertainment center in East Rutherford, N.J. A three-story-tall replica of the Statue of Liberty covered in more than 1.5 million Jelly Belly beans stands guard outside the entrance of the three-level, 22,000-sq.-ft. store.

On the inside, shoppers can explore the first floor’s centerpiece, an immersive lollipop garden filled with nearly ten-thousand lollipops. Some 5,000 sq. ft. of candy bins housing an endless variety of sweets surround the garden. The second floor is home to dozens of branded shops, including Sour Patch Kids, Nerds, Starburst, Reese’s and others. . . . more

Jared opens new format

Chain Store Age
Two jewelers are sharing the same roof.

Jared opened a new concept store in collaboration with digitally native James Allen. The store, at Francis Scott Key Mall in Frederick, Md., combines the best of the two retailers, both of which are owned by Signet Jewelers Ltd.’s portfolio.. . . more

Monday, December 16, 2019

Hudson’s Bay Company postpones big meeting

Chain Store Age
The battle to take Hudson’s Bay Company private drags on.

The department store conglomerate, whose holdings include Saks Fifth Avenue, has postponed its special meeting of shareholders called to consider the agreement by a group of investors led by Hudson’s Bay executive chairman Richard Baker to take the retailer private. The meeting had been scheduled for Dec. 17, 2019. . . . more

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Teens could be a saving grace for malls, new research says

Millennials may have fled the malls, but brick-and-mortar retail is apparently more appealing to Generation Z.

People born between 1997 and 2010, particularly the teens in that group, are becoming big spenders, and they like to do a lot of that spending in actual stores, according to new research from commercial real estate firm CBRE.. . . more

Store Concept of the Year: Nordstrom Local

Retail Dive
In a category frequently criticized for its inability to evolve, Nordstrom stands out among department stores for its innovative approach and generally positive earnings results (though there have been some bumps).

At the forefront of this innovation is Nordstrom Local, the department store's merchandise-free concept store, which first opened in October 2017. Experts point to Local as a smart differentiator for Nordstrom and, potentially, its savior, as department stores struggle for relevance.. . . more

Lululemon's new product investments hit holiday quarter profit forecast

Lululemon Athletica Inc forecast holiday quarter profit largely below analysts’ expectations on Wednesday, as the athleisure pioneer invests heavily to launch new products to fend off intensifying competition.

The company’s shares fell a little over 4% in extended trading. They have nearly doubled in value this year as a big push into menswear and online helped the company beat revenue estimates for the first three quarters of the year.. . . more

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Moody's slashes outlook for department stores — again

Retail Dive
Moody's Investors Service on Monday cut its forecast for department stores, saying now it expects the sector to record a 20% operating income decline this year. That is worse than their previous expectations of a 15% decline and the second time analysts have slashed their forecasts since September.

Off-price and discount retailers continue to take share, thanks in part to their popularity among millennials, according to a report emailed to Retail Dive​. The trend helped Nordstrom, which was able to take advantage through its Rack stores, where sales rose 1.2%, while full-line store sales fell 4.1%, Moody's noted.. . . more

GameStop’s sales plunge 26% in third quarter and its stock price follows suit

The Dallas Morning News
Grapevine-based GameStop Corp., the ailing video-game retailer, plunged in extended trading Tuesday after posting a third-quarter loss that was larger than even the most dire Wall Street estimate.

Sales plummeted 26% from a year earlier to $1.44 billion, and GameStop also reduced its forecast for the year.. . . more

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

You Have Three Years to Save Lord & Taylor. What Do You Do?

Near the entrance of the Lord & Taylor store in Yonkers, New York, a new mini-store appeared out of the blue a few weeks ago. It bore a name—Le Tote—perhaps unfamiliar to the department store’s regular shoppers, and contained clothing racks with the words "Rent. Return. Repeat.”

It’s the first step in a lengthy transformation process planned by Le Tote. The internet-based apparel subscription service acquired Lord & Taylor from Hudson’s Bay in a deal that closed earlier this month. For about $75 million in cash, Le Tote now has rights to the Lord & Taylor brand, its inventory and control of its e-commerce site, along with the chain’s 38 stores, five of which will shutter. . . . more

Hudson's Bay Co. quarterly loss widens on heavy discounts

Canadian department store operator Hudson's Bay Company reported a bigger third-quarter loss on Tuesday, hit by higher discounts at luxury chain Saks Fifth Avenue and weak sales at its namesake stores.

The company has been trying to fend off fierce competition from e-commerce retailers including Amazon.com as well as from other department stores Macy's and Nordstrom.. . . more

Monday, December 9, 2019

One last Black Friday at the Hanover Mall

Patriot Ledger
Black Friday was more of a trickle than a blitz at the Hanover Mall last week.

Nearly 50 years after the Hanover Mall first opened its doors in time for the holiday season, the shopping center off Route 3 - once the largest of its type in the region - saw some of its final crowds this week before it shuts down for good at the end of January. . . . more

Hudson's Bay special committee 'disappointed' with ISS recommendation

Hudson’s Bay Co’s special committee said on Monday it was disappointed with proxy adviser Institutional Shareholder Services’ recommendation to vote against the takeover bid by a consortium led by the retailer’s chairman, Richard Baker.

ISS last week recommended shareholders to vote against the Baker-led consortium’s C$1.9 billion deal, which was topped by Toronto-based buyout firm Catalyst Capital Group Inc.. . . more

What the holidays could do to department stores

Retail Dive
Department stores once owned the holidays, staging celebrations that seemed above the sales hustle while simultaneously making the season lucrative for themselves.

These days the holidays own them.

Department stores aren't alone in their dependence on the fourth quarter; the period is critical for many, if not most, retailers. And they remain popular on Black Friday: The National Retail Federation this year found that half of the 189.6 million who shopped during that five day shopping weekend visited a department store.. . . more

Friday, December 6, 2019

RTW to shutter up to 30 stores in coming weeks

Retail Dive
RTW Retailwinds, formerly known as New York & Co., said Thursday it will shutter up to 30 stores in coming weeks.  Plans are to open one New York & Co. store and close 27 stores (19 New York & Co., four Fashion to Figure and four outlets), executives said. For the year, RTW expects to have opened nine stores and closed 31.

The brick-and-mortar contraction comes amid disappointing third quarter results, including a 5% net sales decline to $200.1 million from $210.8 million last year.

A 4% store comp decrease furthered that drop, as did last year's closure of 14 stores, according to a press release. . . . more

J. Jill CEO steps down as sales fall nearly 5% in Q3

Retail Dive
J. Jill CEO Linda Heasley has stepped down from the position as well as her board post, the women's apparel seller said in a press release Thursday. The company did not disclose a reason for her departure.

Board member James Scully has taken over as interim CEO while the company searches for Heasley's permanent replacement. The board has already begun the search, and Scully is set to stay in the position until the process is complete, the company said.
Also on Thursday, J. Jill reported that third quarter comparable sales fell 7% and top-line sales fell 4.6% to $166.1 million. Net income fell by more than 64% to $2.4 million.. . . more

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Lululemon could reach Nike-like profits, Cowen analysts say

Retail Dive
Analysts with Cowen & Co see a path for Lululemon Athletica to someday reach a $40 billion market cap, generate a Nike-esque $1 billion in cash flow a year and reach a return-on-investment rate of 44%, which would stand as the highest in softlines retail, according to an emailed report.

The analysts cited as growth factors Lululemon's "consistent innovation, luxury-like brand positioning and a community-based model."

They also pointed to potential growth in menswear and international sales, as well as targets for $4.3 billion in women's apparel that would "put the brand in line with Nike and Adidas women's current global apparel businesses.". . . more

Macy’s exec takes top spot at Tractor Supply

Chain Store Age
Tractor Supply Company has named Hal Lawton as its president, CEO and a member of the board, effective January 13, 2020. Lawton, who is currently president of Macy’s, will succeed Greg Sandfort, who previously announced his intent to retire. Sandfort has led Tractor Supply since December 2012, and previously served as president and COO.

Lawton, 45, has served as president of Macy’s since September 2017, responsible for all aspects of the Macy’s brand, including merchandising, marketing, stores, operations, technology and consumer insights and analytics. . . . more

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Madewell IPO gets the green light from lenders

Retail Dive
J. Crew on Monday said in an earnings call that it had reached an agreement to spin off its Madewell denim brand and take it public some time in the first quarter of next year.

The announcement came as the apparel retailer also reported a 1% third quarter revenue rise to $625.6 million, with J. Crew sales falling 4% to $415.8 million and Madewell sales rising 13% to $151.6 million, according to a company press release. Digital sales drove more than half of that, executives said on a conference call.. . . more

J.C. Penney escapes NYSE de-listing threat

Retail Dive
J.C. Penney is back in compliance with the New York Stock Exchange, the company reported Monday. The NYSE warned Penney in August that it was at risk of being dropped from the exchange following a dip in the company’s average share price below $1. The retailer regained compliance after its stock rose above the dollar mark for more than 30 consecutive trading days.

Penney shares got boosts this fall as it announced it was launching an outdoor private label apparel line for men, unveiled a re-imagined store and reported improved profit metrics in the third quarter. . . . more

Monday, December 2, 2019

Chico’s swings to loss but Soma maintains momentum

Chain Store Age
Chico’s FAS saw top- and bottom-line losses in its third quarter but still managed to beat Street estimates.

Net sales fell to $484.7 million from nearly $500 million last year. Analysts had expected revenue of $473.2 million.

Total same-store sales were down 2.2%. By brand, same-store sales fell 3.6% at Chico’s and 5.7% at White House | Black Market. But same-store sales jumped 11.3% at the company’s intimates brand, Soma, on top of 10.9% growth last quarter. It was Soma’s fifth consecutive quarter of growth.. . . more