July 10, 2019
Boston Market said it recently closed 45 stores as it proceeds with its “multi-faceted transformation plan” amid declining sales in recent years. Published reports indicate the Company closed six locations on June 30 and another 39 restaurants on July 7 (click here to request a list of the closures). The closures represented 10% of the Company’s 454 U.S. locations.
Walmart is anticipating about a $1.00 billion loss on e-commerce for this fiscal year (estimated e-commerce revenue of $21.00 billion – $22.00 billion).
In other news, Walmart said it plans to invest $1.20 billion to build or renovate more than 10 distribution centers in China during the next 10 to 20 years. The Company operates more than 20 DCs in China, which support 420 locations in 180 cities in China. The announcement comes on the heels of the March opening of its first perishable food distribution center in China, which currently serves more than 100 Walmart stores there. In June 2016, Walmart and Chinese e-commerce company JD.com announced an alliance to combine e-commerce and brick-and-mortar resources in China.
On July 8, Walmart will open its largest self-standing grocery pickup and delivery center in the U.S. in Lincolnwood, IL. The facility is about 40,000 square feet. As of Walmart’s first quarter end, the Company had about 2,450 grocery pickup locations, almost 1,000 stores with grocery delivery, and more than 900 pickup towers.
Walmart India opened its 25th cash-and-carry store. The store operates under the Best Price brand name and caters to the business needs of small businesses, offices and institutions, and hotels, restaurants, and caterers in the region.
Last week, Amazon announced the launch of its new “Counter” program at 100 Rite Aid locations. The program serves as a network of staffed pickup points for customers to pick up Amazon packages at a partner location. Amazon has also recently partnered with GameStop, with the first pickup spot to be in Dallas, TX. Currently, Amazon has thousands of pickup hub lockers in 900 cities, apartment buildings, 7-11 locations, and 1,100 Kohl’s locations; it recently expanded pickup spots at Whole Foods and continues to add more retailers. This benefits both retailers for foot traffic and provides Amazon another last-mile location for shoppers. See below for future store opening & closing map for Amazon banners, click here to request a list.
J.C. Penney is closing 27 stores in 13 states nationwide this year. As of July 5, most of the 16 stores whose locations have been announced were closed. This leaves 11 stores slated for closure, whose locations have yet to be announced. The Company currently operates about 800 locations nationwide.
Walgreens Boots Alliance is closing some 200 of its more than 2,500 Boots stores in the U.K., consolidating them with other Boots locations. The closings are part of the Company’s “global cost management transformation program,” which is expected to provide funding for its technology upgrades and development investments. Boots UK Managing Director Sebastian James said the stores to be shuttered were local pharmacies in locations where the Company has a large number of stores within close proximity. Last year, the Company announced plans to close 750 U.S. stores, through this fall.
Target plans to open three more small-format stores on or near university campuses this fall. They will include a 20,000 square-foot store on the University of Kentucky campus in Lexington, KY; a 22,000 square-foot store on Michigan State University’s campus in East Lansing, MI.; and a 21,000 square-foot store near the University of Washington in Seattle. Currently, Target operates 23 small-format stores on or near college campuses in 13 states, including 10 locations opened last year. Click here to request the latest list of Target future openings.
The Court approved a revised Disclosure Statement submitted by Sears Holdings Corporation, DIP in connection with the filing of a second Amended Chapter 11 Plan. The Plan, which is considered a liquidating Chapter 11 Plan, reflects a settlement agreement between the Debtors and the Creditors’ Committee, enabling creditors of Kmart Corporation to be treated better than creditors of Sears Roebuck and Co. and other entities. The disparate treatment reflects the value available for distribution at the respective entities, and the claims that have been asserted against the entities, including claims that the various Debtors have against each other. Under the Plan, holders of general unsecured interests will receive beneficial interests in a liquidating trust. The Committee recommends that creditors vote to accept the Plan, under which the following recoveries are estimated: (i) 100% for administrative claims totaling $78.0 million (including 503(b)(9) claims of $77.0 million); (ii) 2.7% for allowed general unsecured claims for Kmart Corporation, totaling $1.21 billion; and (iii) 2.3% for allowed general unsecured claims for all other units, including Sears Roebuck, totaling $2.31 billion. The Debtors cautioned that they are currently engaged in ongoing litigation with Transform Holdco (New Sears), raising the possibility that the Debtors may lose some or all of the issues, which could render the estate administratively insolvent. If that were to occur, a Chapter 11 Plan could not be confirmed, and the case would be converted to Chapter 7, under which a trustee would be appointed to liquidate the Debtors’ assets for distribution in accordance with the statutory priorities established by the Bankruptcy Code. A hearing to consider confirmation of the Chapter 11 Plan is schedule for August 16.
In the Shopko Holding, DIP, Chapter 11 case, McKesson filed a statement of issues on appeal from the confirmation order, questioning whether the Court erred in concluding the Plan met the requirements of the Bankruptcy code. Included in its filing, McKesson questioned whether the Plan met Bankruptcy code requirements where claims of professionals were treated more favorably than other administrative claims, and administrative claims were not paid in full either on or subsequent to the effective date of the Plan.
The Debtors also filed a motion for bidding procedures for the sale of any remaining properties, including a bid deadline of July 22 and auction on July 24.
On August 4, Schnuck Markets will close its store in East Alton, IL. The Company decided not to renew the lease for the 22,000 square-foot underperforming store as part of its ongoing store-optimization effort. Thus far in 2019, Schnucks has closed three other stores, including two in Missouri and one in Illinois. Schnucks now operates 116 supermarkets in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Iowa. The retailer has said it will continue to seek potential new store sites in metro St. Louis, where it operates more than 75% of its stores.
Burlington Stores plans to open a 32,280 square-foot store in Newport, KY in the fall of 2019. It will replace an existing location nine miles away in Covington, KY. Burlington is investing $310.0 million to open 75 new stores this year, of which 25 were opened during the first quarter; it also plans to close 25 underperforming locations and complete 28 remodels, see below for Future Openings & Closings Map (click here to request a list). The Company sells over 5,000 brands at up to 60% off other retailers’ prices.
Broome + Greene, a lighting and décor brand, is opening a 9,000 square-foot experiential flagship store in Montgomery, NJ. The Company plans to offer complimentary Designer on Call services, as well as weekly programmed events such as in-store yoga classes, health-and-wellness classes, interior design classes, book and art meetings, and cocktail events. The Company joins other retailers including L.L. Bean, Ulta, Turning Point, Panera, and Whole Foods, opening in the Montgomery Promenade shopping center, in late 2020.
Primark, a value-focused fashion retailer, will open its first store in the Midwest, a 45,000 square-foot store in downtown Chicago, IL. An opening date has yet to be announced while the site undergoes a complete exterior and interior remodeling. Primark, which is based in Ireland and owned by Associated British Foods, currently has over 370 stores across 12 countries. Its newest location is a 160,000 square-foot store opened in April 2019 in Birmingham, U.K. The first U.S. store was opened in 2015 in Boston, MA. The Company now has nine U.S. locations, all in the Northeast. Primark is also on track to open stores in Sunrise, FL and East Rutherford, NJ over the next year.
Sprouts Farmers Market will open a new store in Los Angeles, CA on July 10. The 26,000 square-foot location will feature Sprouts’ newest operational and design enhancements.
The Company has also inked a lease for its third Central Florida location in Orlando. The store is about 25,300 square feet. No opening date has been set. The Company has 10 existing locations in Florida, with more planned in to open in the next two months in New Port Richey, Deerfield Beach and Jacksonville.
Lucky’s Market will unveil a new, 120,000 square-foot central distribution center in Orlando, FL this fall. This location will primarily house produce and bulk foods. The Company opened a store in Tampa Bay last year and now operates nine stores within a 100 mile radius of the new distribution center (click here to request the latest list of future openings).
L&W Supply, a building products distributor based in Chicago, IL, opened new locations in Frisco, TX, Springfield, VA, and Inglewood, CA. The Company now has 14 stores in Texas, seven locations in Virginia, and 15 stores in California. L&W Supply distributes wallboard, suspended ceiling tiles, steel studs, joint treatment, insulation, fasteners, and related building products. The Company is a subsidiary of ABC Supply and operates 173 branches in 35 states. ABC, which operates more than 760 locations nationwide, acquired L&W in 2016.
Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage will open a new store in Fredericksburg, TX. The opening date has not been disclosed, but the Company recently held interviews for job positions. Natural Grocers operates 148 stores in 19 states.
Published reports indicate the Hudson’s Bay Company is exploring the possibility of closing some of its namesake department stores in Canada, and is reportedly actively looking to restructure some of its leases with store landlords. In a conference call last month, CEO Helena Foulkes said that Hudson’s Bay and Saks Fifth Avenue represent the Company’s “greatest growth opportunities” in North America, however first quarter comps declined 4.3%. HBC owns some of the 89 Hudson’s Bay stores, and leases the others.
PriceSmart’s June net merchandise sales increased 3.9% to $253.1 million. Currency exchange impacted sales negatively by $7.6 million or 3%. For the ten months ended June 30, net merchandise sales increased 0.8% to $2.58 billion. Comps increased 1.9% in June and fell 1% for the 40-week period. The Company opened two new warehouse clubs over the past year, bringing its total store count to 43. This includes the opening of its fifth store in the Dominican Republic on June 27 in Santo Domingo. The location is the Company’s second new small-club format, following one opened in May 2019 in Santiago de Veraguas, Panama, and is its first new small club in a densely populated urban area.
Nordstrom is looking to hire nearly 1,200 employees for its New York City flagship location set to open on October 24, 2019. The store, which has been in the works for more than a decade, will be across the street from its existing men’s location, a 47,000 square-foot store opened in April 2018. The store will occupy seven floors of a building located in Columbus Circle, and reportedly cost more than $500.0 million to build.
Published reports indicate that Project Southern Charm, which is considered a codename for Stitch Fix, intends to invest $56.0 million in a 925,800 square-foot distribution center in Lithia Springs, GA that will employ nearly 1,000 workers. Georgia is offering nearly $8.6 million in job tax credits and $981,000 in discretionary incentives. According to sources, the Company has “no presence in the Southeast,” so an expansion there would allow it to better service clients in the region, optimize its distribution network, and reduce transportation costs. Stitch Fix currently operates five warehouses, located in San Francisco, CA; Indianapolis, IN; Dallas, TX; Phoenix, AZ; and Bethlehem, PA.