December 2, 2020
In the J.C. Penney bankruptcy case, the Court entered an order confirming the Plan of Reorganization. The Plan provides for a sale transaction under which an entity controlled by Brookfield Asset Management, Inc. and Simon Property Group (OpCo) will purchase the Debtors’ operating assets and run the retail business as a going concern. OpCo will be the counterparty to the Debtors’ vendor contracts and the tenant on its store leases.
A newly formed entity (PropCo) will hold 160 owned and ground-leased store properties and six distribution centers. At those locations, PropCo will be the landlord to OpCo under terms of a master lease agreement, which will govern the relationship between OpCo and PropCo. Following the sale transaction (closed November 25) and consummation of the Plan, the Debtors’ estates will be liquidated. The Plan is supported by the Debtors, the First Lien Lenders, and the Creditors’ Committee. Click here for a list of store closures.
Dick’s Sporting Goods announced a new outdoor concept called Public Lands, with two stores to open next year in Clovis, OH and Pittsburgh, PA, both taking over Field & Stream stores. The stores will feature elevated merchandise at higher price points, with just 20% or less product overlap with Dick’s stores. Initially, the brand will take over real estate that Dick’s already owns, particularly Field & Stream stores that the Company is exiting. Last year, Dick’s sold eight Field & Stream stores, as it has been pulling back from the hunting category; it currently operates 26 locations.
As was reported last week, Dick’s 3Q20 comps jumped 23.2%, on top of a 6% increase in 3Q19, including double-digit brick-and-mortar performance, and a 95% increase in online sales, which grew to 21% of sales compared to 13% in the prior-year period. The Company also announced Edward Stack, longtime CEO and son of the founder, will transition to executive chairman, and is being replaced by Lauren Hobart, who has served as president since 2017. Click here to request a list of future store openings and closings.
Big Y opened its 12th Big Y Express Gas and Fresh Convenience Market in Westfield, MA. The 2,000 square-foot Express is the Company’s third location in Westfield. The new store includes two pumps, a coffee bar, and grab-and-go prepared foods. The other area stores are a newly remodeled World Class Market and a Big Y supermarket. Click here to request a list of future store openings.
Long anticipated, especially following its 2018 acquisition of PillPack, Amazon recently announced it is expanding further into the retail pharmacy space by launching Amazon Pharmacy, which offers free two-day delivery of prescriptions to Amazon Prime members, discounts for uninsured consumers, and a pharmacy helpline. Click here to request a Special Analysis Report.
Amazon also said last week it would pay an additional $300 to full-time employees who package and deliver its goods, as part of a special recognition bonus. Part-time employees working for Amazon from December 1 to December 30 will be paid a $150 appreciation bonus. The Company said it spent $2.50 billion on special bonuses in 2020 globally. In October, Amazon indicated it would hire 100,000 seasonal workers ahead of the holidays across the U.S. and Canada. Click here for a list of Amazon future openings.
Wakefern announced family-owned and operated Madison Foods has joined the cooperative, with plans to convert three Save-A-Lot stores to Price Rite Marketplace stores in Massachusetts (Roslindale, Roxbury, and Brockton). The stores will be converted in the “coming weeks.” Madison Foods also plans to open a new Price Rite Marketplace in Dorchester next month. Save A Lot’s turnaround plan relies upon existing licensees or other parties to acquire the Company’s hundreds of existing stores, so that Save A Lot can operate more as a wholesaler. The loss of licensees runs counter to the Company’s aspirations. Click here to request a list of future store openings and closings.
Earlier today, Kohl’s and Sephora announced a long-term strategic partnership; beginning in fall 2021, Kohl’s will open “Sephora at Kohl’s” at 200 locations. Sephora at Kohl’s will operate within a 2,500 square-foot space, sell roughly 100 Sephora products, and be prominently located at the front of the store. When the first 200 locations open, the Kohls.com online beauty selection will also convert to exclusively showcase an expanded assortment of Sephora’s product offerings. The partnership will expand into at least 850 stores by 2023. The agreement expires in 2031, but both parties have renewal options. Click here to request a list of future store openings.
Instacart has partnered with Vallarta Supermarkets and will be launching a “Vallarta Go” program for same-day delivery from all of its 52 supermarket locations throughout Southern and Central California. Curbside pick-up is also an option in select locations. This is the 5th Latino grocery partner for Instacart.
On December 1, NPC International, Inc. canceled auctions for all of its assets, possibly an indication of a potential sale of the entire company to the Flynn Restaurant Group LLC. Wendy’s Co. has opposed the sale to Flynn and instead made its own offer with a consortium of regional franchisees. Wendy’s is in talks with NPC to drop its opposition in return for an agreement by Flynn to invest tens of millions of dollars in NPC’s Wendy’s restaurants, according to people familiar with the matter. Flynn owns more than 1,200 restaurants, including Applebee’s, Arby’s, Taco Bell, and Panera Bread units across 33 states. Some of those brands compete with Wendy’s. A bankruptcy judge already designated Flynn’s $816.0 million offer for NPC as the best offer last month, subject to higher and better offers. The sale to Flynn requires Bankruptcy Court approval. Click here for more information.
Best Buy will close its 41 remaining stores in Mexico, beginning December 31, citing the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this year, the Company closed eight stores in Mexico. Fernando Silva, president of Best Buy Mexico, commented, “The effects of the pandemic have been deep, and it’s not viable to keep our business in Mexico.” Click here to request a list of future openings and closings.
Saladworks opened its first unit in a Kroger store in Cincinnati, OH last week, launching a new partnership between the companies. The move to open Saladworks within grocery chains and other nontraditional venues began in early 2019, when Saladworks opened its first in-store location at a ShopRite in Philadelphia, PA. Saladworks currently has restaurants in seven grocery stores in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New York, with more than 10 new openings planned through 1Q21.
Weis Markets recently opened a 46,000 square-foot store in Dingmans Ferry, PA. The store offers Weis 2 Go Online ordering with curbside pick-up and delivery.
AMC Theaters permanently closed a location in Columbus, OH, though it did not provide a reason for the closure. The Company also operates theaters in West Columbus, Grove City, Dublin, and Easton, OH.
On November 16, Francesca’s announced plans to close approximately 140 of its 700 boutiques by January 30, 2021, although the actual number may change. Management previously disclosed that if it is unable to raise sufficient additional capital to continue to fund operations and pay its obligations, it will likely seek a restructuring under the protection of the bankruptcy laws. Click here for more information.
On November 26, ascena retail group entered into an asset purchase agreement (APA) with Premium Apparel LLC, an affiliate of private equity firm Sycamore Partners. Under the agreement, the Company will sell its Ann Taylor, LOFT, Lane Bryant, and Lou & Grey assets to Premium Apparel for $540.0 million, subject to the assumption of certain liabilities. Premium Apparel has committed to retain a substantial portion of the retail stores. Sycamore will have until February 18, 2021 to designate certain unexpired leases for assumption and assignment to Premium Apparel (with Premium Apparel paying the related cure costs). A hearing to approve the APA is scheduled for December 8.
The transaction is expected to be completed by mid-December. FullBeauty Brands Operations, LLC has completed its acquisition of the Catherines unit’s intellectual property and e-commerce business, and Justice Brand Holdings LLC, an entity formed by Bluestar Alliance LLC, has completed its acquisition of the intellectual property of Justice.
Finally, the hearing to consider confirmation of the Plan of Reorganization was rescheduled to December 15 from December 1. If the sale closes, the confirmation hearing will be further rescheduled. Click here for a list of store closures.