December 15, 2021
Costco's FY22 got off to a fast start as 1Q22 sales jumped almost 17% and comps improved just under 10% (excluding fuel). The International segment (excluding Canada) was the top performing region with comps growing 11%, followed by the U.S. at 10%. E-commerce growth was back up in double-digits at 13% after falling to single digits (9%) in 4Q21. Membership growth continued during the quarter, improving about 10%. The Company has added about 1 million new members since the start of the pandemic back in 2020. The Company added 25 new clubs year over year and the balance sheet remains healthy with a net cash position. Meanwhile, Costco announced plans to have pickup lockers in more than 200 of its U.S. retail locations by the end of 2022, which is more than twice the number of stores where it currently operates the self-service offerings. Click here to request a sample list of future openings.
Dollarama’s 3Q sales increased 5.5% to C$1.12 billion, driven by growth in the total number of stores over the past year, from 1,333 on November 1, 2020, to 1,397 stores on October 31, 2021. Comps rose 0.8%, over and above 7.1% growth in the prior year, and consisted of a 2.8% decrease in average transaction size and a 3.7% increase in the number of transactions, reflecting a gradual reversal in consumer shopping patterns compared to the prior year. Over a two-year period, comparable store sales growth for the third quarter averages 3.9% per year. Looking ahead at FY22, the Company expects to open 60 – 70 new store openings and capex of C$160 million – $170 million.
In a media appearance on Friday, Saks Fifth Avenue CEO Marc Metrick said that spinning off the Company’s e-commerce business from its brick-and-mortar business is allowing Saks to “focus on customer acquisition” while offering a frictionless, cross-channel experience. He added that the move makes sense for a luxury retailer, adding, “It’s a new focus and it’s a new way of running the business and the customer is actually the biggest winner.”
Kroger announced the planned addition of a new customer fulfillment center (CFC) in Concord, NC, powered by the Ocado Group. The North Carolina CFC will stand at 200,000 square feet and is expected to become operational within 24 months after groundbreaking. Kroger currently operates CFCs in Groveland, FL and Monroe, OH. The Company plans to open sites in California; Dallas, TX; Forest Park, GA (Atlanta); Frederick, MD; Phoenix, AZ; Pleasant Prairie and Romulus, (Detroit) MI; and sites in the Northeast, Pacific Northwest, and West.
Casey’s General Stores’ top line was up more than 47% in 2Q, primarily on a 72% increase in fuel revenues, driven by a 15.8% increase in the number of gallons sold, and a higher retail price of fuel; the contribution from recently acquired stores also benefited sales. Same-store fuel gallons sold were up 2.5%, reflecting the positive impact of higher guest traffic, lapping COVID-19 restrictions in place a year ago. During 2Q, same-store sales of Grocery and General Merchandise increased 6.8%, while Prepared Food and Dispensed Beverage comps increased 4.1%. Casey’s expects to add 225 stores in FY22. Click here to request a sample list of future openings.
Publix Super Markets has signed a lease for a second store in Kentucky, in Louisville. The store will feature a 55,700 square-foot supermarket, including a drive-thru Publix Pharmacy and an adjacent 2,800 square-foot Publix Liquors. It is expected to open in 1Q24. The Company announced its entry into Kentucky, its eighth state, in September. Click here to request a sample list of future openings.
Our Hot Market Report takes a closer look at the Miami, FL real estate landscape, and provides visual competitive analyses as well as key real estate metrics such as future openings, store count, market share, digital insights, and demographics. Click here to request a copy of the full report.
ABC Supply opened a new branch location in Lufkin, TX, its second greenfield opening in Texas in the past two months and the Company’s 45th overall location in the state. This follows ABC’s greenfield openings (constructing a new space instead of converting an existing space) earlier in 2021 in Salt Lake City and St. George, UT; Port St. Lucie, FL; Lihue, HI; Centreville, MD; and Redmond, OR. The Company operates more than 800 locations across the U.S.
Designer Brands’ 3Q sales were up 31%, with comps up 40.8%, following a 30.4% comp decline in the prior-year period due to the pandemic. Compared to 3Q19, revenue was down 9%. The top-line improvement was driven by continued strength in athleisure and kids. The dress category continued to recover but was still down 34% compared to pre-pandemic levels, though an improvement compared to down 40% last quarter. As of October 30, Designer Brands operated a total of 515 domestic locations and 144 stores in Canada. Looking forward, the Company plans to close 65 domestic locations over the next four years. For 4Q21, the Company expects sales to be flat to up low-single digits compared to 4Q19.
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Last week, Albertson’s Jewel-Osco opened its first micro-fulfillment center (MFC) in southwest suburban Westmont, IL. Located in a former Hobby Lobby next to a Jewel-Osco store, the high-tech, 20,000-square-foot warehouse will be able to fill 1,000 online orders a day, expediting grocery deliveries to shoppers within 20 miles. The MFC will carry approximately 6,500 items, which will cover about 60% of what would normally be in an online order. The rest of the order will be selected from the Jewel-Osco that's adjacent to this building. The fulfillment center cost $7.6 million. Albertson’s now operates four MFCs, and expects to have a total of seven by FYE. Click here to request a sample list of future openings.
Raley’s will close a Market 5-ONE-5 in Sacramento, CA on January 7, 2022, after about four years in operation. The Company said the decision was driven by an absence of daytime workforce, as well as stalled development of urban housing around the store location.
Festival Foods opened two Wisconsin stores on December 10, located in Wausau and Weston. These are part of a three store- acquisition announced in October from T.A. Solberg Co. On December 3, the Company opened the first in Stevens Point, WI store. Skogen’s Festival Foods will now operate 39 full-service supermarkets in Wisconsin.
WOWorks, the parent company of 'good-for-you' restaurant brands Saladworks, Frutta Bowls, Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh and The Simple Greek, announced an expanded partnership with Ahold Delhaize’s The Giant Company, with plans to open four new units. The deal includes two Saladworks and Frutta Bowls co-branded ‘restaurant-within-a-store' locations. Last month, WOWorks opened new co-branded Saladworks and Frutta Bowls inside Giant stores in Philadelphia and Trexlertown, PA. Additionally, a new Saladworks opened in a newly remodeled Giant in Harrisburg, PA.
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Employees at a Buffalo, NY-area Starbucks store have voted to form a union, the first of the nearly 9,000 Company-owned stores in the U.S. to be organized. The successful unionization result, which was announced on Thursday by the National Labor Relations Board. Starbucks has long resisted all efforts towards unionization. The unionized employees will now join Workers United, an affiliate of Service Employees International Union (SEIU). A second Buffalo store has voted not to form a union, and results at a third store are not yet finalized. Three additional Buffalo stores have begun the process to hold their own votes on whether to unionize, as well as one store in Mesa, Arizona. Click here to request a sample list of future U.S. openings.
California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) launched its first ever domestic franchise program. The Company’s current store network of nearly 200 locations includes 40 international franchised restaurants and 16 franchised restaurants in U.S. airports, casinos, and stadiums. Management plans to allow new domestic franchisee partners to choose between several store prototypes currently in use in international markets, which range from smaller express models to more traditional full-service models. At the same time, the Company plans to continue signing new international franchise partners in several new markets in the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America.
A published report in early December indicated that activist investor Engine Capital LP is pressuring Kohl’s Corp. to consider selling itself or split off its e-commerce business “to improve its lagging stock price.” Last week, Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass said the Company is “doing due diligence” based on Engine Capital’s recommendation” and is “putting a lot of resources to understand what this means for [Kohl’s].” Engine Capital owns a roughly 1% stake in Kohl’s. Also last week, another of Kohl’s activist investors, Macellum Advisors GP LLC, announced plans to nominate directors to Kohl’s board early in 2022. This is the private equity firm’s second action in less than a year; in February 2021, Macellum sought to replace nine directors as part of a campaign with Ancora Holdings and Legion Partners Asset Management, but dropped the matter when the Company expanded its board by three directors. Macellum is concerned about Kohl’s stock price and the Company remaining undervalued despite sufficient free cash flow and management initiatives. Kohl’s stock is currently at the level it was a decade ago. Macellum declined to comment based on a standstill agreement with Kohl’s that expires on January 11. The trend of splitting off a retailer’s digital business has gained in popularity following the spinoff of Saks Fifth Avenue’s e-commerce business in March 2021, with the new entity reportedly preparing to go public in 1H22 at a valuation of $6.00 billion, roughly six times revenue. Click here to request a list of future openings.
Camping World announced an agreement to acquire the Lloyd Bridges Traveland RV dealerships in Chelsea, MI. The acquisition is anticipated to close in early 2022. Traveland operates two locations in Michigan; both will transition to the Camping World brand.
Finally, on Friday, the Company announced the development of a new 33,000 square-foot location on approximately 12 acres of land near Cape Girardeau, MO. Construction has commenced, with an anticipated opening in summer 2022; this will be Camping World’s fifth store in the state of Missouri. Click here to request a list of future openings.
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Last week, Vail Resorts announced its purchase of three Pittsburgh, PA-area ski resorts — Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Hidden Valley Resort and Laurel Mountain Ski Area. Terms of the deal, expected to close this winter, were not released. The sale includes all assets related to mountain operations, but Seven Springs will continue to own several nearby attractions and operations in Laurel Highlands. Vail Resorts owns 37 resorts in three countries and 15 U.S. states.
Academy Sports + Outdoors continued to benefit from increased demand for sporting goods in 3Q21, as sales increased 18% over 3Q20 and 39% over 3Q19. 3Q21 comps grew 17.9%, marking the ninth consecutive quarter of positive comps. Sales were strong in all four product divisions, with apparel and footwear posting the highest comps. Private label sales constituted 20% of revenue, relatively unchanged from pre-pandemic levels, while less profitable e-commerce sales are now 8% of revenue, up from 4.5% prior to the pandemic. The store base remained unchanged in YTD21, and management plans to return to expansion mode by opening eight to ten units in FY22. Click here to request a list of future openings.
The continued return to in-person shopping boosted lululemon’s 3Q21 sales, which exceeded expectations, rising nearly 30% from a year ago and 58.3% on a two-year stack basis. The gains came in the wake of increasing competition in the athleisure space, including Free People’s FP Movement, Gap’s Athleta, Aerie’s OFFLINE, and Kate Hudson’s Fabletics. Revenue was up 28% in North America and up 40% internationally. E-commerce sales rose 23% from 3Q20, representing 40.4% of total sales. To date, the Company has opened 19 locations and closed one, bringing the total to 552 stores; lululemon is also expected to open temporary pop-up locations through the holiday season. Click here for a list of future openings and closings.
A Pea in the Pod has partnered with turnkey retail operator Leap to open two stores. The first 1,800 square-foot unit opened in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood two weeks ago, and the second 900 square-foot unit opened in New York City’s Upper East Side on Friday. The Company and sister brand Motherhood Maternity are owned by Marquee Brands, which also owns Martha Stewart, Bruno Magli and BCBG Max Azria. A Pea in the Pod was part of Destination Maternity’s bankruptcy filing in fall 2019; in December 2019, the brand was purchased by Marquee. Management commented, “After we completed the sale to Marquee two years ago next week, we focused on direct-to-consumer. That’s still the backbone of the company going forward, and it worked very well for us during the pandemic, but we got feedback from our customers that they wanted brick and-mortar. So we decided to work with Leap to help us do it quickly.” Based in Chicago, Leap offers a full-service platform to manage a brand’s brick-and-mortar launch; in addition to owning the lease and any financial commitments, Leap handles staffing, experiential design, tech integration and some day-to-day operations.
Torrid reported mixed 3Q results, following a strong second quarter in which the Company completed its IPO. Net sales rose 13% annually and 19% on a two-year stack to $306.2 million; while supply chain disruptions limited product availability, the increase was driven by growth in online sales and improved store productivity. Same-store sales were up 14% from last year and 18% compared to 2019. Torrid opened 11 stores during the quarter. Fiscal 2021 capital expenditures of approximately $23 million reflect about 23 planned new stores for the year. Click here to request a list of future openings.
J.Jill’s 3Q sales increased 29.4% from the prior year, with comps up 42.2%. However, sales were still down 9% compared to 3Q19, partially due to 16 net store closures. Direct-to-consumer sales were down about 8% over the prior year period, and represented 45% of total sales. FY21 capital expenditures are expected to total $6 million, and management anticipates about 20 store closures for the full year, including seven stores closed so far through YTD21.
FAT Brands, parent company of Fatburger, Johnny Rockets, and 13 other restaurant concepts, announced December 10 a deal to enter Libya with 10 new franchised restaurants. The new stores will be made up of five co-branded Johnny Rockets and Hurricane Grill & Wings locations and five co-branded Fatburger and Buffalo's Express restaurants, which are slated to open over the next three years.
Empire Company Limited, parent of Sobey’s, reported results for 2Q21. Food retail sales increased 4.9% to C$7.32 billion, reflecting added sales from the Longo’s acquisition, higher gasoline sales, and benefits from Project Horizon initiatives, including the expansion of Farm Boy and Voilà in Ontario and FreshCo in Western Canada. The increase was partially offset by the consumer buying behavior as COVID-19 restrictions are eased across Canada. Same-store sales were up 0.4% but were down 1.3% excluding fuel; comps were still up 6.8% on a two-year stacked basis. The Company is expecting same-store sales to continue to fall for the rest of this year, as industry volumes decrease compared to the unusually high COVID-19 driven sales impacts. For the first half of the year, food retail sales rose 4.3% to $14.94 billion. Comps were flat overall but down 1.8% excluding fuel.
Voilà service launched in June in the greater Toronto area, powered by an Ocado automated customer fulfillment center (CFC) in Vaughan, Ontario. Empire has accelerated plans to construct three more CFCs. They include a second CFC in Montreal to support the Voilà par IGA home delivery service in Ottawa and cities in Quebec, which is expected to go into operation in Spring 2022. Two more CFCs are slated to be built in Western Canada, including in Calgary, Alberta, which is expected to begin delivering to customers in the first half of calendar 2023.
During FY22, the Company expects to open seven new Farm Boy stores and seven FreshCo sites.
A Ball’s Price Chopper store in Waldo, MO reopened on December 8 after an extensive remodel and upgrade. The 37,000 square-foot store now offers expanded grocery, bakery, produce, and pharmacy departments, as well as self-checkouts. Price Chopper’s 52 Kansas City stores are locally owned by the Ball, Cosentino, McKeever, and Queen families.
Big Y opened its 13th Express Gas and Fresh Convenience store, located in Northampton, MA. This locale has 12 pumping stations, a free air machine to fill tires, fresh coffee, and quick grab and go snacks.