January 6, 2021
Macy's has notified employees at about 45 of its stores that they will close by the middle of this year. The closures are part of a previously announced plan by Macy’s to shut 125 locations by 2023, which the retailer outlined last February. At some of these locations, liquidation sales have already started. The rest will begin later this month. Macy’s operates 544 of its legacy department stores, along with 34 Bloomingdale’s locations, 19 Bloomingdale’s outlets and 166 Bluemercury stores. Click here to request a list of store closures.
J.C. Penney announced that CEO Jill Soltau left the Company on December 31. Ms. Soltau joined J.C. Penney in October 2018 and led the Company through a tumultuous period culminating with the May 2020 bankruptcy filing. The new ownership group (Simon Property Group and Brookfield Asset Management) initiated a search for a new CEO. New ownership has established a temporary Office of the CEO led by the current management team. Simon’s Chief Investment Officer Stanley Shashoua became interim CEO on January 1.
On December 28, the Company provided notification as to : (i) extended deadlines for potential assumption and assignment, or rejection of unexpired leases; (ii) additional unexpired leases to be included as: (a) OpCo assigned contracts; and (b) PropCo assigned contracts.Click here to request additional information.
Haven, the joint venture created by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase to create a fully independent employee healthcare company, is reportedly being “disbanded” next month, three years after its original formation. Each partner in the venture was apparently pursuing its own very different strategic approach to its respective healthcare challenges. A Haven spokesperson highlighted some of the good results that came out of the partnership over the years, including improving access to primary care and making insurance benefits packages easier to grasp for employees. Meanwhile, Amazon has made progress on its own with its Amazon Care program, which is its internal healthcare program for employees at its Washington state facilities. Amazon Care includes virtual and in-person primary care doctor visits, and prescription delivery. Amazon is reported to be considering expansion of this service to other businesses. Click here for a list of Amazon future openings.
Yesterday, Bed Bath & Beyond announced another 43 stores will be shuttered by the end of February. The Company said the locations are currently going through store closing liquidation sales. Last July, Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. officials said 200 of its namesake stores were expected to close over the next two years, accounting for approximately 21% of its Bed Bath & Beyond stores. In September, the company announced 63 of the 200 stores would close by the end of 2020. Click here to request a list of store closures.
Yesterday, Ahold Delhaize and Centerbridge Partners completed their previously announced acquisition of NYC-based online grocer FreshDirect after receiving regulatory clearance from the FTC. Ahold Delhaize will hold an 80% majority share, funded by cash on hand, while Centerbridge Partners is a minority equity investor with a 20% stake. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. FreshDirect will retain its brand name and continue to independently operate out of its facility in New York City. Click here to request a list of Ahold Delhaize's future store openings.
On December 28, Save-A-Lot announced the sale of its 51 Company-operated stores in the Tampa, FL market to Fresh Encounter, a current Save-A-Lot Retail Partner licensee; financial terms were not disclosed. Save-A-Lot management commented, “Today’s announcement builds on the successful completion of a comprehensive recapitalization of the business and significant deleveraging of the Company’s balance sheet in early 2020. The sale of the Tampa stores to Fresh Encounter is part of an ongoing re-licensing program through which Save-A-Lot intends to transition to a wholesale model by selling more than 300 corporate-operated locations to new and existing retail partners who will continue to operate the stores under the Save-A-Lot banner. The Company will continue to operate 21 corporate stores locally in St. Louis, where it will continue to develop and launch new innovations as a testing ground to help its retail partners succeed in their individual communities across the country.” To date, Save-A-Lot has executed seven sale transactions, consisting of 82 stores, including the Fresh Encounter slate. As multiple sale transactions near completion, the Company expects to complete its re-licensing program in 2021.
7-Eleven is “refreshing” at least 30 of 100 convenience stores it acquired in central Oklahoma from 7-Eleven of Oklahoma in early 2019. The changes include bringing 7-Select brand items to the stores as well as cosmetic changes. It will also introduce the Laredo Taco Company to some of the stores.Click here to request a list of future store openings.
In December, approximately 40 former Pet Valu stores in seven states were acquired by Pet Supplies Plus, a competitor that has had a “record-breaking growth year,” according to a Company press release. These stores are located in Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia, and will open as early as this month; they are a mix of Company-owned and franchised locations. Pet Supplies Plus operates more than 500 stores in 35 states and plans to open 100 stores in FY21 (including the 40 stores mentioned above). Click here to request a list of future store openings and closings.
CEC Entertainment provided notification that December 30 was the effective date of the Plan of Reorganization. Management said, “CEC emerges with a significantly strengthened financial position, approximately $705.0 million of debt obligations eliminated from its balance sheet, and the full support of its new Board of Directors and ownership. At emergence the Company has over $100.0 million of liquidity to support operations and growth initiatives.” As of December 30, the Company and its franchisees operated 559 Chuck E. Cheese and 122 Peter Piper Pizza venues.
On December 29, Target announced it would sell its online beauty business Dermstore to The Hut Group (THG) for $350.0 million; the Company acquired Dermstore in 2013. THG is acquiring Dermstore to expand its presence in the U.S.; it owns other retail brands such as Lookfantastic and ESPA, a skin care products line. The sale price represents a multiple of about 1.8x.
Target reported strong 3Q results, with revenue and comps up about 21%. Entering the busy holiday season, the Company was in good financial condition, with low leverage and total liquidity of $8.50 billion.
In other news, Target is making it easier to return items, including a 90-day window for new, unopened items; returns can be made to any Target store (including online purchases); and drop off at UPS or FedEx access points with free printable return labels. Click here to request a list of future store openings.
The Court issued an order confirming Lucky’s Market Parent Company, LLC Plan of Liquidation. The Plan indicates that most of the Debtors’ assets have been sold to third-party buyers through Bankruptcy Court approved lease and asset sales. However, there are a few remaining assets which are currently in the process of being sold or liquidated. The Plan substantively consolidates the estates of all of the Debtors (other than Lucky’s Market GP 2, LLC and LFM Stores, LLC) into a single estate. The Debtors, the Prepetition Secured Lender, and the Committee believe creditors would receive less under separate plans than they stand to receive under the substantively consolidated Plan. All assets shall be transferred to a liquidating trust no later than January 15, 2022.
On December 22, Rite Aid announced that it has completed the previously announced acquisition of 69 Bartell Drugs stores in the Seattle area for $95.0 million. As of November 28, Rite Aid had $50.8 million in cash and estimated revolver availability of over $1.00 billion. Click here to request a list of future store openings.
Uncle Giuseppe’s opened a new 29,240 square-foot supermarket in North Babylon, NY. The space was previously occupied by King Kullen. It is Uncle Giuseppe’s seventh store on Long Island of its total nine locations.
24 Hour Fitness provided notification that the effective date of the Plan of Reorganization was December 29. CEO Tony Ueber stated, “The Company now has greater financial strength with an optimized cost structure and leaner balance sheet after eliminating $1.20 billion of funded debt. 24 Hour Fitness is now well-positioned and well-capitalized to become the leading fitness provider, serving club members and guests across nearly 300 clubs nationwide at a time when a supportive and motivating gym community has never been more important. I am optimistic about the long-term prospects for our business and our industry.” Click here for more information.
Charming Charlie plans to open a new 6,400 square-foot store at Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream, NY in April. The Company expects to roll out additional retail locations, as many as 25 stores annually, but was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Charming Charlie filed Chapter 11 in July 2019 and closed all of its 261 stores by the end of August. Its intellectual property was acquired by CJS Group LP, which is owned by Charming Charlie founder Charlie Chanaratsopon. The first Charming Charlie store under CJS ownership opened in September 2019 at Cumberland Mall in Atlanta, GA. Another five locations opened in Columbia and Towson, MD; Providence, RI; Gilbert, AZ; and Santa Monica, CA. Click here to request a list of future store openings.
Tiffany & Co.’s shareholders have approved an updated agreement under which the Company will be acquired by LVMH for $131.50 per share, down from the original deal price of $135 per share. The reduced consideration brings the total price to $15.80 billion and saves LVMH about $425.0 million. Once the deal closes, Tiffany will become an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of LVMH. The transaction is expected to close this Thursday (January 7).
On December 23, ascena retail group announced that it has completed the sale of the Ann Taylor, LOFT, Lou & Grey, and Lane Bryant brands to Premium Apparel LLC, an affiliate of Sycamore Partners. Premium Apparel has committed to retaining a substantial portion of the retail stores, associates, and corporate operations affiliated with these brands. As we previously reported, FullBeauty Brands has completed its acquisition of Catherines’ intellectual property assets and e-commerce business, and Justice Brand Holdings, an entity formed by Bluestar Alliance, has completed its acquisition of the intellectual property of Justice.
Meanwhile, the hearing to consider confirmation of the Plan of Reorganization was rescheduled to February 25 from January 14.
On December 22, Guitar Center emerged from bankruptcy following the successful consummation of its Plan of Reorganization. The Plan, which was confirmed on December 17, implements a series of previously announced recapitalizations, including exit financing and the extinguishment of all of the Company’s pre-petition debt.
Key elements of the recapitalization transactions include:
- Guitar Center’s indirect parent issued a new series of senior preferred equity plus cash to holders of the Company’s prepetition secured notes, and a new series of junior preferred equity to holders of Guitar Center’s unsecured notes, in satisfaction of the holders’ respective claims;
- Guitar Center’s indirect parent received a $165.0 million common equity investment from funds managed by Ares Management Corporation, Brigade Capital Management, and The Carlyle Group. These investors now indirectly own all of Guitar Center’s common equity;
- Guitar Center entered into a new secured asset-based revolving financing facility that provides for borrowings of up to $375.0 million; and
- Release of the net proceeds from Guitar Center’s $350.0 million note issuance, consummated on December 15. The proceeds were used to complete the recapitalization transactions.
CEO Ron Japinga said, “Guitar Center emerges with a stronger balance sheet as a result of the elimination of nearly $800.0 million of debt and $165.0 million in new equity funding. In addition, the recapitalization transactions boost Guitar Center’s liquidity, support the Company’s ongoing operations and enables it to invest in its strategic growth initiatives and execute its business plan. We are excited to have gained the financial and operational flexibility we need to reinvest in our business and support our long-term sustainable growth. We look forward to strengthening our business and to building upon this momentum as we enter this next exciting chapter.”
On December 31, Tuesday Morning emerged from bankruptcy following the confirmation of its Plan of Reorganization. The Plan provides that the Company will continue to exist as a separate corporate entity, with a new board, newly authorized common stock, and a new credit facility. Sources of funding for the Plan include: (i) cash from operations; (ii) proceeds of $60.0 million from a sale/leaseback of the Company’s owned real property; (iii) $25.0 million in proceeds from the issuance of Senior Subordinated Notes; and (iv) proceeds of a $40.0 million rights offering. During the proceedings, the Company closed approximately 200 of the 687 stores it operated on the petition date.
A Bankruptcy Judge has signed an order confirming the Chapter 11 Plan of Rubio’s Restaurants, Inc. and its affiliates. The Debtors filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October, with a Plan of Reorganization already in place. The Company will emerge with a strengthened capital structure, improved financial stability and enhanced liquidity to support continued operation of its restaurants. Debt has been reduced by more than $35.0 million and the Company has secured investment capital and long-term financing.