Openings, Closings, & Other Key Industry Highlights

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April 5, 2023

Burger King franchisee EYM King of Michigan is closing all 26 locations it owns in that state, citing a failure to come to terms with the Company on a new deal. According to the WARN notice, 424 employees will lose their jobs. Locations began shuttering on March 17, and all are anticipated to be closed by the middle of April. Most closures will impact the Detroit area.

Burger King is owned by Restaurant Brands International. During FY22, Burger King opened 542 net new stores, representing 2.8% unit growth. There are currently 270 Burger King locations in Michigan.

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Lululemon reported strong 4Q22 performance across all products, channels, and regions, despite inflationary pressures. E-commerce sales increased 37% and represented 52% of total sales. The Company opened 32 net new locations, bringing the total to 655 stores. 

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Conn’s reported lower consolidated revenue reflecting an 18.7% decline in total net sales, and a 7.7% reduction in finance charges. The decrease in comps reflected lower discretionary spending for home-related products and a drop in lease-to-own sales. The Company opened four new standalone stores and closed one standalone store during 4Q23 bringing the total count to 168 in 15 states. During FY24, the Company plans to open 11 new standalone locations, a 6.5% increase in the store base.

In the Party City Holdco, DIP case, A&G Real Estate Partners, in its capacity as real estate advisor to the Debtors, provided an update on its plans to offer Party City leases as part of a court-approved auction. The bid deadline is April 10 and the auction will be held on or about April 14, 2023. Eight leases were made available after terms were not reached with the landlords and 17 leases are still available from previously announced tranches.

Cumulatively, the Debtors have identified approximately 42 stores which have been designated for closing. The Debtor’s milestone to emerge with a Plan of Reorganization has not been updated and is still anticipated for early May.

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Dick’s Sporting Goods signed a lease for an 80,000 square-foot space at Rosedale Center in Roseville, MN. The space was previously occupied by Herberger’s but has been vacant for the past five years. 

According to reports, Kroger is slowing down the rollout of its Ocado Customer Fulfillment Centers (CFC), but is still planning to add more facilities. In May 2018, the two companies announced an exclusive U.S. partnership with an initial commitment to build up to 20 CFCs across the country. Since then, 16 CFC locations have been announced, and currently, there are eight in operation (see chart below for full list). Last week, Ocado CEO Tim Steiner commented on its deal with Kroger saying, “They are committed to building more, they just want to make those (existing) ones work as well as they can before they roll out loads – very sensible thing to do." The most recent CFC opened last month in Denver, CO.

Wakefern’s ShopRite opened a 74,000 square-foot store in Elmsford, NY featuring Fresh to Table, an in-store space dedicated to food-to-go options. Three other ShopRite stores, in Philadelphia, PA and Norwich and New London, CT, have debuted the Fresh to Table concept. 

Retail sales in the U.S. are expected to grow 4% – 6% in 2023, to total $5.130 trillion – $5.230 trillion, according to the NRF, excluding vehicles, gasoline, and restaurants. This is lower than last year’s retail sales growth of 7% to $4.900 trillion, but higher than pre-pandemic annual retail sales growth of 3.6%. Non-store and online sales are expected to grow 10% – 12% YOY to $1.410 trillion – $1.430 trillion. NRF projects full-year GDP growth of 1%, reflecting a slower economic pace compared to the 2.1% increase from 2022. Inflation is expected to be 3% – 3.5% for all goods and services, down from the annual inflation rate of 6.5% for the 12 months ended February. 

H&M's 1Q23 sales by region increased 24% in North and South America, 8% in Asia, Oceania, and Africa, 9% in The Nordics, and 16% in Western Europe, but were down 21% in Eastern Europe. The Company closed 58 stores and opened seven. In addition, 175 stores were closed in Russia and Belarus; H&M ended the period with 4,414 locations. Looking ahead, management noted that the start of the spring season has been delayed in many important markets as a result of cold weather.

Belk recently opened five Belk Outlet locations. The Company debuted the concept earlier this year, converting its store in Greeneville, TN, into the first ever Belk Outlet. The new banner features discounted items that come directly from the Company’s larger stores across its footprint, and customers will have access to many new items, including high-end and designer brands that these stores may not have carried in the past. Belk operates nearly 300 stores in 16 Southeastern states.

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True Value Company announced it has purchased certain assets of Nova Wildcat Shur-Line Holdings, Inc., including the Shur-Line and WordLock range of products; terms of the deal were not disclosed. Shur-Line's product line includes brushes, roller covers, mini rollers, paint trays, poles, frames, surface prep, and edging and convenience tools, while WordLock provides combination padlocks, bicycle locks, and car key locks, among other products.

QuikTrip opened its first location in Clinton, MS, and plans to continue expanding throughout the state with an additional five stores scheduled to open in 2023. The location features a larger-designed lot and more spacious store than a traditional QuikTrip, a model created specifically for highly traveled areas that are also within a reasonable proximity to a QuikTrip Distribution Center. Last year, QuikTrip opened its first store in Colorado and expanded into new markets in Georgia; this year it plans to enter the Chicago, IL market. 

Costco relocated a club in London, Ontario, Canada. The nearly 152,000 square-foot warehouse features wider aisles and a larger selection of food offerings as well as a hearing aid center, tire center, food court, and a gas station with 24 pumps. The Company operates 847 warehouses worldwide and 107 warehouses across Canada. 

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Southern Grocers has renovated around 85% of its store base, freshening up to compete with and potentially attract acquisition targets. Southeastern Grocers is C&S' largest customer with a supply contract that reportedly goes through 2026.

Boscov’s plans to open a 151,000 square-foot store in Bridgeport, WV this fall. The new store will include the space of a former Sears and “a dozen other adjacent mall stores.” This will be the chain’s 50th store and first in West Virginia; the Company typically opens one new store per year. 

7-Eleven parent Seven & i Holdings Co. Ltd is getting pressure from one of its owners to remove four directors from its board. ValueAct Capital, which owns 4.4% of Seven & i, said it is growing increasingly frustrated over the “lack of strategy” and wants the Company to complete a spinoff of 7-Eleven through a listing on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in about one year. ValueAct has not publicly named the four directors it wants terminated, but said those individuals were involved in a failure to disclose a reported acquisition proposal in 2020, and a failure to conduct an objective succession review and independent strategic review. ValueAct suggested last year a move to add six new directors to the board. 

CVS Health completed its acquisition of Signify Health on March 29. Signify has a network of more than 10,000 clinicians nationwide. The combined company will work to improve care delivery capabilities, lower costs, improve levels of engagement, and enable broad access to high-quality care. Under terms of the transaction, each outstanding share of Signify Health common stock was exchanged for $30.50 in cash, representing a total transaction value of $8 billion. CVS funded the transaction with existing cash and available resources. 

Curbside drive-thru grocer JackBe raised $11.5 million in capital from several individual investors and strategic partners, including GP Investments LLC. JackBe opened its first store in January in Oklahoma City, OK, eliminating in-store shopping. Customers place an order on the mobile app, drive to the location, and pick up their groceries from their car. There are no membership or delivery fees for shoppers. Similar concepts include Opie, which operates a drive-thru store in Mount Pleasant, SC; Farm Stores, a drive-thru grocery store and bakery chain with several franchise locations in Florida; and Addie’s, which debuted earlier this year in Norwood, MA.

The below retailers recently released their earnings reports. 

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