With roughly 4,000 major retail chain store closings last year and up to another 10,000 expected in 2017, brick-and-mortar retailers are scrambling to remain relevant. Our Store Activity and Retailer Health Analysis provides insight into not only who is closing locations but who is expanding into new markets. Click here for more information.
Lidl said last Wednesday that it plans to open its first U.S. stores on June 15. The Company will open 20 stores this summer in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. By next summer, it plans to have up to 100 stores across the East Coast and could have more than 330 U.S. stores by 2020. The first 100 stores are newly constructed standalone retail properties that Lidl owns and developed. The Company opened its U.S. headquarters in Arlington County, VA in June 2015. Lidl’s U.S. stores will span six aisles over 20,000 square feet of selling space. About 90% of the goods sold will be Lidl’s private label; previous reports had implied a higher percentage of branded products relative to private label. According to the Company, its products will cost up to half the price of other U.S. supermarkets.
Click here for Lidl Denmark's full store list.
Stein Mart’s first quarter sales decreased 5.2% to $337.3 million, and comps were down 7.6% due primarily to lower traffic. Profit fell 72.2% to $3.7 million. CEO Hunt Hawkins said, “We continue to experience softer than planned store traffic and sales. As a result, markdowns were significantly higher for the quarter despite our focus on inventory management. Given the uncertain retail environment, we are being more conservative planning for the fall, keeping a higher percentage of our buying in reserve to opportunistically take advantage of any sales upside. We expect to see additional inventory reductions as the year progresses.” The Company operated 292 stores at the end of the first quarter, compared to 283 in the prior year period; five new stores were opened during the quarter, and three underperforming locations were closed. Stein Mart now expects to open 10 new stores and close seven underperforming stores in 2017.
Click here for Stein Mart's full store list.
On May 16, Meijer opened two new supercenters in Howard and West Bend, WI, bringing its store count in the state to nine. The stores are part of an investment of more than $375.0 million in Wisconsin and across the Midwest, which includes six other new stores and 22 different remodel projects throughout its six-state footprint. Meijer’s home delivery service will be available at all Meijer locations through Shipt starting June 8.
Click here for Meijer's full store list.
New York & Company
New York & Company’s first quarter sales decreased 2.9% to $209.9 million, and comps were down 0.7%, reflecting double-digit growth in e-commerce offset by decreases in comps in brick-and-mortar stores due to traffic declines. The Company’s net loss narrowed 26.7% to $4.2 million. CEO Gregory Scott stated, “Our first quarter top and bottom-line results were in line with our guidance, and were highlighted by the continued success of our celebrity collaborations, a double-digit percentage increase in e-commerce sales and strong gross margin expansion to its highest level in the first quarter since 2008. While we saw a soft start to the quarter due to reduced mall traffic, we saw comps significantly improve for the combined March and April period. Moreover, for the quarter we recorded our highest ever average unit retail, demonstrating the increasing strength of the New York & Company brand.” During the quarter, the Company opened five new New York & Company stores and one new Outlet store, remodeled three existing NY&C stores and closed eight underperforming NY&C stores and one Outlet store during the quarter. The Company ended the first quarter with 463 stores, including 123 Outlet stores.
Click here for New York & Company's full store list.
Hy-Vee is reportedly looking to open a 137,000 square-foot fulfillment center in the Kansas City, KS area that would support the Company’s online grocery ordering program, Hy-Vee Aisles Online. Hy-Vee introduced the service, which features both in-store pickup and delivery components, at select locations in 2015 and has committed to rolling it out across all 240 of its stores in eight Midwestern states, including Kansas and Missouri. In addition, last month the Company confirmed its plans to start building its first hybrid 12,000 – 16,000 square-foot “Hy-Vee Fast & Fresh” store in West Des Moines, IA later this year. The store will offer groceries and fuel and will serve as an alternate pickup point for online orders.
Click here for Hy-Vee's full store list.
Hibbett Sports’ first quarter sales decreased 2.3% to $275.7 million, and comps were down 4.9%. Profit fell 25.1% to $20.9 million. CEO Jeff Rosenthal stated, “After a double-digit decline in comparable store sales in February, trends improved in March and April with comparable store sales in the positive low to mid-single-digit range. However, the sales shortfall in February was not fully offset, which led to a 4.9% decline in comparable store sales for the quarter. Footwear continued to perform well with comparable store sales in the positive low single-digit range, but apparel and equipment posted negative comparable store sales. Given the softer sales environment, we were able to keep tight controls on expenses, which helped overall profitability.” During the quarter, the Company opened 13 new stores, expanded four high-performing stores and closed nine underperforming locations, bringing the store base to 1,082 stores. Looking ahead, management updated its fiscal 2018 guidance, now expecting EPS of $2.35 – $2.55, down from previous guidance of $2.65 – $2.85. Fiscal 2018 comps are now expected to be negative 1% to positive 1%, compared to an increase in the low single-digit range.
Click here for Hibbett Sports' full store list.
ALDI proposed a 19,000 square-foot store for Vernon Hills, IL. While store plans have yet to be approved, the Company is hoping to open in early 2018. ALDI plans to expand from 1,600 to 2,000 stores in the U.S. by late 2018 and has announced a $180.0 million plan to remodel 130 stores in Chicago and the suburbs, including a location in Mundelein, which is the closest to Vernon Hills.
Click here for ALDI's full store list.
Foot Locker’s first quarter sales inched up 0.7% to $2.00 billion, and comps were up 0.5%. However, profit fell 5.8% to $180.0 million. CEO Richard Johnson said, “The first quarter was one of our most profitable quarters ever, but it did fall short of our original expectations. The slow start we experienced in February, which we believe was largely due to the delay in income tax refunds, was unfortunately not fully offset by much stronger sales in March and April.” During the first quarter, the Company opened 30 new stores, remodeled or relocated 61 stores, and closed 39 underperforming locations. As of April 29, the Company operated 3,354 stores in 23 countries.
Click here for Foot Locker's full store list.
Published reports indicated that Target held discussions to buy Casper Sleep, one of the top selling of a number of bed-in-a-box start-ups, for $1.00 billion. However, sources said Target gave up after a deal couldn’t be worked out. Instead, Target plans to take a minority stake in Casper and has partnered with Casper to sell its mattresses beginning next month on its website. Casper products will be available in 1,200 of Target’s 1,800 U.S. stores, with mattresses on display in 35 locations.
In other news, Target will open a small-format store in Denver by next summer (its first small-format store in Colorado). The 28,000 square-foot location will have a grocery assortment, including fresh produce and grab-and-go items; home décor and home office products; an assortment of apparel and accessories; health, personal care and beauty products; a selection of entertainment and electronics products; and a CVS Pharmacy and order pickup.
Meanwhile, Target plans to open a 41,500 square-foot store in Arlington, VA. Projected to open in 2021, the location will be the Company’s fourth small-format store in the greater Washington, D.C. area, joining the Rosslyn location and two stores in Maryland. Target plans to operate more than 130 small-format stores by the end of 2019.
Lastly, Target will open a 27,400 square-foot small-format store in downtown Evanston, IL in March 2018. Before the store debuts, the Company will open nearby small-format stores in the Lakeview neighborhood, as well as the suburbs of Skokie and Oak Park. Target’s push into the Chicago, IL area comes amid ALDI’s announcement that it will invest $180.0 million to enhance 130 stores in the Chicago market as part of its $1.60 billion nationwide plan to remodel and expand more than 1,300 U.S. stores by 2020.
Target said it will open 30 small-format stores by the end of the year, having opened four during the first quarter. In addition, the Company said will complete 100 remodels of its larger locations before the close of calendar 2017. Looking ahead, the Company expects second quarter and full-year comps to be in the low single digits.
Click here for Target's full location list.
Dick's Sporting Goods
Dick’s Sporting Goods reported first quarter sales increased nearly 10% to $1.83 billion due to the addition of 75 stores and a 2.4% increase in comps. EBITDA increased 3.2% to $143.1 million, despite a 60 basis-point decrease in EBITDA margin. The comp growth was below Wall Street’s expectations, which may indicate an inability to fully capture market share following Sports Authority’s liquidation and the acquisition of its customer lists. Another area of disappointment was the 11% rate of e-commerce growth during the quarter, which was well below the 26% rate achieved in fiscal 2016. During the conference call, the Company indicated store growth plans will be reduced significantly. In 2017, the Company expects to open 43 DICK’S stores, of which 19 are former Sports Authority stores. In 2018, it plans to open between 15 and 20 stores; most of these leases are already signed. In 2019, there could be as few as five to 10 store openings. The strategy is to slow growth now as more real estate comes onto the market to position the Company to capitalize on lower lease rates in the future.
Click here for Dick's Sporting Goods' full store list.
Wegmans announced plans to open its first store in Washington D.C. It will anchor the redevelopment of Fannie Mae’s headquarters (Fannie Mae is scheduled to move out of the complex late next year). The 80,000 square-foot Wegmans is expected to open in 2020 or 2021 and is much smaller than the Company’s typical suburban footprint, which usually runs about 150,000 square feet. Wegmans will operate a 6,000 square-foot standalone restaurant above the store, although it has not yet decided on the branding or theme. Wegmans currently operates eight stores in Maryland and 10 in Virginia. It is moving into D.C. as part of a broader expansion in the region. Upcoming stores are planned for Tysons Corner and Chantilly, VA, and there have been reports that the Company is also scouting locations in Alexandria and Reston, VA.
Click here for Wegmans' full store list.
The Children's Place
The Children’s Place reported first quarter sales increased 4.1% to $436.7 million, and comps were up 6.1%. Profit rose 39.4% to $36.2 million. CEO Jane Elfers said, “Comps, operating margin and EPS were significantly above both last year and the high end of our guidance range. Our first quarter comps increased 6.1%, our highest Q1 comp in over a decade, on top of a positive 5.1% comp in the first quarter of 2016. We generated positive comps in both our brick and mortar and digital channels for the quarter and our traffic continued to improve sequentially compared to the fourth quarter. Our inventories are very well positioned heading into the second quarter at up only 2.8%.”
During the quarter, the Company closed seven underperforming stores and opened one new store. The Company ended the quarter with 1,033 stores, a decrease of 2.8% from the prior year. Looking ahead, the Company updated is fiscal 2017 outlook, now expecting EPS of $7.10 – $7.20, up from $6.50 – $6.65.
Click here for The Children's Place's full store list.
Martin’s Food Markets, a division of Ahold Delhaize, announced it will close the remaining nine Richmond, VA-area stores not being sold to Publix, by this summer. It has been attempting to sell them for nearly a year but has not had any luck. Martin’s announced the sale of 10 of its 19 stores to Publix last July. Martin’s disclosed that one of the nine Richmond-area stores that Publix is not buying will close on June 30 when its lease expires. Martin’s also has informed the Virginia Board of Pharmacy that it plans to close pharmacies at three stores by the end of May.
Click here for Martin's Food Markets' full store list.
Walmart will open a new Sam’s Club in Northwest Arkansas on May 25 in Springdale. The club will feature a Fresh Island that offers organic and grass-fed beef, an expanded seafood section, and fresh sushi. It will also have a café with self-order kiosks, expanded seating with charging stations and an updated menu that includes premium coffee, made-to-order sandwiches, and smoothies. The new club will provide pharmacy services as well as a hearing center and optical department.
One new Walmart Neighborhood Market store in Raleigh and four store remodels are expected in the Triangle region of North Carolina in 2017. The Company is also working to roll out more online ordering pickup options in the region. According to Walmart, the Raleigh store is one of three new Walmart stores opening in the state in 2017. Four of the Company’s existing stores in the Triangle are also among a list of 18 in North Carolina that will be undergoing complete remodels in 2017.
Meanwhile, published reports indicate that Walmart will be remodeling a total of 12 stores in Michigan in 2017 as part of a multimillion dollar plan to update 400 – 640 of its U.S. store portfolio. Two of these stores, located in Van Buren Township and Woodhaven, have recently reopened with their new looks. Remodeling efforts include moving in-store pickup areas to the front of the store; testing online grocery ordering with in-store pickup in three southeast Michigan markets; creating a relaxing lounge-like area for shoppers picking up online orders; increasing the number of fresh and organic items; expanding several departments including produce, deli, bakery and baby products; improving navigation, including making aisles wider and angling them; and improving sight-lines, with lower product shelves and more signage.
Click links above for full store lists.
Forever 21 entered into a partnership with mall owner GGP Inc. to debut a new, freestanding brick-and-mortar retail format. The Company will launch Riley Rose, a beauty boutique, at 13 GGP regional shopping centers, with 10 locations opening in 2017 and three in 2018. Forever 21 describes Riley Rose as “experiential” and says the stores will focus on accessories, cosmetics and home goods for the millennial customer. GGP operates 127 retail properties in 40 states.
Click here for Forever 21's full store list.
Whole Foods will open a 40,000 square-foot store in Charlotte, NC on May 23. The location will feature two in-store restaurants— the Queen’s Pearl (seafood) and Kei Jei Kitchen (Korean and Japanese).
Click here for Whole Foods' full store list.
For the first quarter of fiscal 2017, Ace Hardware generated $1.24 billion in consolidated sales, up 0.2% from the same period last year. Comps were down 0.2% due to lower consumer traffic. Retail revenues from Ace Retail Holdings increased 2.8% to $52.0 million as a result of new retail stores added over the past year. Ace added 16 new domestic stores in the first quarter of 2017 and cancelled 21 locations. This brought the Company’s total domestic store count to 4,358 at the end of the first quarter of 2017, an increase of 56 units over the last year. Despite the tepid quarterly top line, the Co-op was able to record earnings of $28.3 million, an increase of 8.4% from last year.
On April 27, the Company announced plans to open a new 1.1 million square foot retail support center (RSC) in Fredericksburg, PA in 2018. Additionally, Ace announced that it will be closing its Prince George, VA RSC, its cross-dock operation near Baltimore, MD, and the Emery wholesale distribution warehouses in Portland, ME and Pittston, PA. The business from the closed facilities will be transitioned in phases over the next two years to the new Fredericksburg RSC and the Company’s recently expanded Wilton, NY RSC. The consolidation of these facilities will create operational efficiencies across the Co-op’s distribution network.
Click here for Ace Hardware's full store list.
Trader Joe’s will open its first location in Brevard County, FL in Merritt Island. The Company currently operates about 18 stores in the state.
Meanwhile, last week Trader Joe’s opened a 12,000 square-foot store on San Diego State University’s campus. The Company has about 15 locations in San Diego County and close to 180 in California.
Click here for Trader Joe's full store list.
American Eagle Outfitters
American Eagle Outfitters reported first quarter sales increased 1.7% to $761.8 million, and comps were up 2%. However, profit fell 37.7% to $25.2 million due to restructuring and related charges totaling $5.4 million related to home office restructuring and the conversion of Company-owned and operated stores in Hong Kong, China and the U.K. to licensed partnerships. CEO Jay Schottenstein commented, “The first quarter results reflected mall traffic headwinds, especially early in the quarter, with improved trends over Easter and a strong digital business throughout. As we look ahead, we are taking the right steps to improve our results and adjust our business for today’s rapidly evolving retail environment.” During fiscal 2017, the Company plans to open 35 stores throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico, while it plans to close between 25 and 40 stores. Internationally, the Company expects to open 45 licensed stores and close two licensed locations.
Click here for American Eagle Outfitters' full location list.
Alex Lee’s Lowes Foods continues to expand in South Carolina with the opening of the first of two new stores in Lexington this Thursday. The second will open later this summer. The Company also announced plans for a new store in Columbia, SC in a former BI-LO site, set to open in the middle of 2018. It will be the Company’s third Columbia location. Lowe’s also has a store under construction in Summerville near Charleston, and a store planned for Mt. Pleasant, SC.
Click here for Lowe's Foods' full store list.
The Cato Corporation
The Cato Corporation’s first quarter sales fell 16.7% to $239.7 million, and comps dropped 17%. Profit decreased 38% to $22.2 million. CEO John Cato commented, “Our negative sales trend persisted throughout the first quarter, impacting margins and earnings as we continued to work through our merchandise missteps. It is taking longer to work through these issues than expected and the remainder of the year will be impacted. We expect earnings for the year to be below last year.” During the quarter, the Company opened three stores and relocated one existing location. As of April 29, the Company operated 1,374 stores in 33 states.
Click here for Cato Fashions' full store list.
Yum! Brands’ Pizza Hut Canada division has entered into a development arrangement with Franchise Management Inc. (FMI). Under the agreement, FMI has agreed to purchase 38 existing Pizza Hut restaurants in Quebec and the Greater Ottawa / Kingston region, as well as to add new DelCo (Delivery/Carry Out) model stores in Eastern Canada over the coming five years. The agreement represents a first major step in Pizza Hut Canada’s plans to relaunch expansion into Quebec.
Click here for Pizza Hut Canada's full location list.
Future Retail Store Closings
AggData monitors upcoming retail store closings throughout the day and maintains an active database of store locations and anticipated closing dates. Here is a sample of recently announced store closings.
Please contact AggData to request a full future store closing list.
Amazon is reportedly seriously pursuing the $300.00 billion pharmacy business. The Company is said to be hiring a general manager to lead a potential unit and other prospects from the pharmacy sector. For the last few years, Amazon has held at least one annual meeting to discuss whether it should enter the business, but with the rise of high-deductible plans and the trend towards consumers paying for healthcare, it’s ready to get more serious. The Company also recently started selling medical supplies and equipment in the U.S.
Shares of potential rivals in the retail pharmacy sector were impacted by the news, with both CVS Health and Walgreens’ stocks down more than 3% last Wednesday (they have since rebounded). Nevertheless, entering the industry will not be easy, as drug distribution is more challenging and susceptive to regulatory issues than standard commercial goods.
Amazon.com is seeking to grow its share of the U.K. grocery market and has begun laying the groundwork to move in with its checkout-free Amazon Go concept. The U.K. Intellectual Property Office recently approved Amazon’s application to trademark a number of slogans that promote the Amazon Go concept. Last year, Amazon launched its online grocery delivery service Fresh in the U.K. and also partnered with Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc to bolster its product range.
Amazon has reportedly identified its first site in Los Angeles, CA for a new Amazon Books store. The 5,230 square-foot Amazon Books will be located in the upscale Century City mall.
Lastly, Amazon has launched a new team to build air-traffic control software for its fleet of delivery drones. The Prime Air Development Center will employ a dozen software engineers and developers at Amazon’s Clichy office outside Paris. Prime Air has development centers in the U.S., U.K., Austria, Israel and now France. The new software team is tasked with incorporating Amazon’s drones beyond line-of-sight into the existing air traffic control system for manned airplanes. The Company has won a number of drone patents in recent months, including features for safety, energy efficiency and ways to reduce their buzzing sound.
Jack in the Box
Jack in the Box reported second quarter sales growth of 2.3% to $369.4 million. Jack in the Box system comps fell 0.8%, with Company-owned comps falling 2.4%, driven by a 7.1% decrease in transactions and partially offset by average check growth of 4.7%. Qdoba comps fell 3.2% system-wide and 5.9% for Company-owned restaurants, reflecting an 8.2% decrease in transactions, partially offset by growth in average check and catering sales. Quarterly net income rose 15.4% to $33.1 million.
Looking ahead at fiscal 2017, the Company expects comp growth of 1% at Jack in the Box system restaurants and a decline of 1% – 2% at Qdoba Company restaurants. It expects to open 20 – 25 new Jack in the Box restaurants system-wide, the majority of which will be franchise locations; and 50 – 60 new Qdoba restaurants, of which approximately 30 are expected to be Company locations.
Chairman and CEO Lenny Comma announced the Company has retained Morgan Stanley & Co. to assist the board in its evaluation of potential alternatives with respect to Qdoba, as well as other ways to enhance shareholder value. Mr. Comma stated, “At our investor meeting last May, we said one of the factors that would cause us to reconsider our strategy with respect to Qdoba was valuation. It has become more apparent since then that the overall valuation of the Company is being impacted by having two different business models.”
Click here for Jack in the Box's full store list.
AutoZone’s third quarter sales increased 1% to $2.62 billion, while comps slipped 0.8%. Profit rose 1.3% to $331.7 million. CEO Bill Rhodes said, “Our sales performance for the first five weeks of our quarter was significantly below our expectations, challenged by the well-publicized timing delays in IRS tax refunds. The last seven weeks of sales demonstrated improvement, but not enough to make up for our soft start.” During the quarter, AutoZone opened 35 new stores and relocated two stores in the U.S., and opened eight new stores in Mexico. The Company had 5,381 stores nationwide, 499 stores in Mexico, 26 IMC branches, and nine stores in Brazil.
Click here for AutoZone's full store list.
On May 19, Supervalu and Unified Grocers jointly announced that the FTC had granted early termination of the waiting period under Hart-Scott-Rodino with respect to Supervalu’s proposed acquisition of Unified Grocers. The early termination of the waiting period satisfies a closing condition for the transaction. The transaction is also subject to approval by Unified’s shareholders at a meeting set for June 22 and is currently expected to close in late June. The companies announced last month that they entered into a definitive merger agreement for Supervalu to acquire Unified Grocers in a transaction valued at approximately $375.0 million, comprised of approximately $114.0 million in cash for 100% of the outstanding stock of Unified Grocers plus the assumption and pay-off of Unified’s net debt of approximately $261.0 million as of April 1.
In other news, Moody’s assigned a Ba3 rating to Supervalu’s proposed new term loan and affirmed the Company’s B1 Corporate Family Rating, its B1-PD probability of default rating, the B3 rating on the Company’s senior unsecured notes and its SGL-1 speculative grade liquidity rating. The outlook is “stable.” The new term loan will be partially used to fund the Company’s acquisition of Unified Grocers. The Company previously said it would fund the transaction with $175.0 million in cash and $200.0 million in borrowings under either its revolver or term loan.
Click here for Supervalu's full store list.
Red Robin reported first quarter revenue growth (includes Company-owned restaurant revenue and franchise royalties) of 4.1% to $418.6 million, driven by new restaurant openings and acquired restaurants, partially offset by a 1.2% comp decline and closed restaurants. The comp decline was driven by a 1.7% decrease in guest counts, partially offset by a 0.5% increase in average guest check, comprised of a 1.6% increase in pricing and a 1.1% decrease in menu mix. Net income was down 18.7% to $11.6 million.
During the quarter the Company opened six Red Robin restaurants, including one restaurant that was temporarily closed during 2016, and relocated one. Franchisees opened one restaurant during the quarter.
Click here for Red Robin's full store list.