July 13, 2022
Amazon recently opened its newest Fresh store in Crystal City, VA, steps away from the Company’s HQ2 office space in the city. The 15,000 square-foot supermarket follows two other Amazon Fresh openings in the last month in Manassas and Lorton, in northern Virginia. Click hereto request a sample list of Amazon Fresh recent and future store openings.
Amazon is launching its smart grocery carts at a Whole Foods store in Westford, MA. The Dash Cart, first introduced in 2020, tracks and tallies up items as shoppers place them in the cart, enabling them to skip the checkout line. Amazon is also launching a new and bigger version of the Dash Cart that will debut in the Westford store, and then expand it to additional locations, including some Fresh grocery stores. The Company said the upgraded cart will be able to fit up to four grocery bags instead of two and will have a lower shelf for oversized products. The carts build on Amazon’s “Just Walk Out” cashier-less technology.
Gap announced that Athleta is on track to open 30 to 40 new stores this year, including its first-ever outlet locations. The outlet format will debut with a 3,100 square-foot unit in Aurora, IL this summer, followed by a 3,300 square-foot store in Leesburg, VA this fall. Expansion plans also include Canada, where Athleta plans to add four additional locations by year-end. To date, Athleta has added 12 new stores in North America in 2022 (see adjacent chart for recent openings).
Meanwhile, a New York City Court rejected an appeal filed by Gap/Old Navy to terminate long-term leases at two flagship stores in Times Square for being unable to operate them during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the appeal, the Company argued that it qualified for the Yellowstone Injunction, which prevents a landlord from evicting a tenant for breach of lease. The Court also denied the Company’s reliance on the doctrine of “frustration of purpose,” as it was not “completely deprived” from using the premises when the stores were shut down due to government mandates. The Court required that the Gap / Old Navy immediately pay nearly $3 million in rent for July 2020, required the Companies to post a bond for more than $5.8 million toward rent arears for May and June 2020, and directed Gap / Old Navy to continue paying rent discounted by 10% as a result of the pandemic. Click here to request a sample list of future openings.
US Foods plans to open four additional Chef’Store locations over the next year, bringing its total count for the grocery and restaurant cash-and-carry chain to 87 locations across the U.S. Two of the locations are slated to open this fall in Merced and Santa Cruz, CA and will stand at 19,000 square feet and 23,000 square feet, respectively. With these new stores, US Foods will operate 17 Chef’Store locations in California. Additionally, in December, US Foods plans to open a 23,500 square-foot Chef’Store in Winston-Salem, NC, its second in the state, in December; and another in Helena, MT (its third in that state) in early 2023. Click here to request a sample list of Chef'Store's future store openings.
Aritzia’s 1Q23 sales increased 65.2% to $407.9 million, and comps grew 29.4%. Retail sales (70.6% of total sales) were up 101.3%, including an 81% increase in U.S. revenue (50.7% of total revenue). The increase in revenue was led by outstanding performance of the Company’s existing and new boutiques in the U.S., strong double-digit comp growth in Canada, and revenue from 34 locations that were closed for two-thirds of the prior-year period. E-commerce sales (29.4% of total sales) increased 15.5%. The Company expects to open eight to 10 new locations in FY23, including three in the U.S. and one in Canada opened in 1Q23. Another four or five locations will be expanded or relocated, mostly in Canada. Click here to request a sample list of future store openings.
PriceSmart’s 3Q revenues increased 15.1% to $1.03 billion, driven by comp growth of 12.8%. Net merchandise sales rose 16.5% to $999 million, negatively impacted by $19.2 million due to currency exchange. Over the past year, the Company opened three new warehouse clubs, bringing its total count to 50.
PriceSmart has purchased land and plans to open its third warehouse club in El Salvador. The small-format club is anticipated to open in spring 2023. Construction has also begun on a smaller-format warehouse club in Colombia, expected to open in summer 2023.
US LBM reached a definitive agreement to acquire Foxworth-Galbraith Lumber Company, which operates 28 locations across Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas under the Foxworth-Galbraith banner, and two locations in Oklahoma under the Forest Lumber brand. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Foxworth’s primary customers are professional builders, commercial contractors, and homeowners, which Foxworth serves from its building materials yards, distribution centers, home centers, and manufacturing locations. US LBM operates locations under the R&K Building Supply, Higginbotham Brothers, Parker’s Building Supply, and J.P. Hart Lumber and Components brands. Following the acquisition, US LBM will operate 80 locations in Texas, 13 in Arizona, nine in New Mexico, five in Colorado, and four in Oklahoma. The transaction is expected to close in 3Q22, subject to customary conditions.
Our report takes a closer look at the Company’s operational and competitive status, including market position, real estate and sales trends, and provides visual competitive analyses as well as key real estate metrics like store count, average sales per square foot, and the new Real Estate Intelligence analytics solution. Click hereto request a copy of the full report.
Starbucks is closing 16 U.S. stores, citing reports of drug use and other disruptions in cafes. The Company plans to permanently close six stores each in the Seattle and Los Angeles areas, two in Portland, OR, and single locations in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. by the end of this month.
In other news, Starbucks has partnered with Amazon Go to open a second NYC cashierless concept dubbed Starbucks Pickup with Amazon Go. The store is set to open today between 40th Street & 8th Avenue. Click hereto request a sample list of future store openings and closings.
Fomento Económico Mexicano, S.A.B. de C.V. (FEMSA) has agreed to acquire Valora Holding AG in a $1.20 billion all-cash transaction. FEMSA will launch a tender offer to acquire all of Valora’s publicly held shares for CHF 260 (US$264.66) per share. The Company will fund the deal with cash on hand. FEMSA operates the largest convenience store chain in Mexico and Latin America, and also controls the largest franchise bottler of Coca-Cola products in the world. Valora is one of the leading convenience store platforms, with operations in Switzerland, Germany, and other European countries. Once the acquisition is completed, Valora will direct the development of European markets as an affiliate within FEMSA’s Proximity Division.
Employees at a Trader Joe’s in Hadley, MA plan to vote on whether to unionize on July 27 and July 28, according to Trader Joe’s United, the group seeking to organize workers at that store. The announcement follows a May letter to Trader Joe’s CEO Dan Bane from Hadley workers, indicating that “a majority of the crew” at the location favors forming what would be the Company’s first union, with the goal of addressing concerns over pay, benefits and safety.
Workers at a Trader Joe’s store in Minneapolis are also considering forming a union. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which oversees labor union activity, notified Trader Joe’s in June that the federal agency has received complaints that the Company has retaliated against workers engaging in union-related activities. Click here to request a sample list of future store openings.
GameStop announced the launch of its non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace to allow gamers, creators, collectors and other community members to buy, sell and trade NFTs. The Company stated that its NFT marketplace “enables parties to truly own their digital assets” and noted that its marketplace will expand over time to encompass additional categories. We note that the launch is one of the many steps toward transforming the Company into a digital competitor from an underperforming brick-and-mortar retailer. However, the initiative entails risk, as the NFT space is already highly competitive. Earlier in 2022, the largest cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase Global Inc., launched its NFT marketplace, and in June, eBay purchased NFT marketplace KnownOrigin. The timing of Gamestop’s launch also comes amid deterioration in the broader cryptocurrency market, which has taken a toll on sales of tokens in other NFT marketplaces. The announcement follows the firing of Gamestop’s CFO last week and unconfirmed reports of layoffs amid operational deterioration. The Company has been closing about 5% of its store base annually, to a current level of about 4,500 units. We believe that significant store closings will need to occur for the transformation plan to coalesce, and to reduce costs. Store closures also enhance liquidity via the liquidation of inventory.
Yum! Brands transferred ownership of all of its Russian Pizza Hut franchisee assets to a local operator last month. The new owner of the units will rebrand the restaurants to non-Yum entities. Yum is also in “advanced stages” of selling its Russian KFC restaurants, operating system and master franchise rights to a local operator. Once the KFC transaction is completed, Yum will officially exit the Russian market. In March,Yum, which operated 50 Pizza Hut Units and roughly 1,000 KFC units in Russia, announced it had stopped all business activity in the country and was finalizing an agreement to cease its Pizza Hut operations there. At that time, Yum had also temporarily closed 70 of its Russia KFC stores.
Morton Williams, a family-owned chain of gourmet supermarkets, signed a lease for a new store that includes the entire west block of Broadway between 68th and 69th Streets in NYC. The supermarket is expected to open in summer 2023.
Ahold Delhaize’s Giant Food division recently opened a 50,340 square-foot store in Richboro, PA.