On July 12, Fred’s announced another 129 store closings, leaving the store base around 80 retail units. This is the fourth round of announced closures since April, reducing the Company’s store count from 556 just a few months ago. The map below shows the most recent closures (click here to request a list of closures).
Fred’s is also trying to sell its remaining pharmacy script files (166) and other real estate, including its Dublin, GA disibution center. Fred’s also completed the sale of its Memphis, TN HQ and disibution center last week for $8.25 million, which will be used to pay down revolver debt.
Barneys New York is considering a bankruptcy filing in the coming weeks, although management has not yet made a final decision and is weighing other solutions to address its high rent expense, according to reports. It was also noted that the Company is working with Kirkland & Ellis LLP, which has represented Toys “R” Us, Inc., DIP and other bankrupt retailers. M-III Partners is the financial advisor. Earlier this year, the Company sought to downsize its Madison Avenue store in an effort to reduce rental expense, which totals about $30.0 million annually. Management issued the following statement: “Our board and management are actively evaluating opportunities to sengthen our balance sheet and ensure the sustainable, long-term growth and success of our business.”
In other news, Barney’s New York is opening a 57,000 square-foot store in Miami, FL, with an opening date yet to be determined. This will be the Company’s first Southeast location. The store will anchor Bal Harbour Shops, which secured $550.0 million in financing for a 300,000 square-foot addition to its shopping center, slated to finish by 2023.
Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus currently anchor the shopping center, which also includes luxury brands Chanel, Gucci, Van Cleef & Arpels, Tiffany & Co., Salvatore Ferragamo and Valentino. Neiman Marcus is expected to get a 20,000 square-foot addition as part of the expansion. It is estimated that Bal Harbour is one of the most productive shopping centers in the nation, with sales of about $3,000 per square foot.
In a July 8 email to employees, CEO of Boston Market Frances Allen said that the Company closed six locations at the end of June and an additional 39 restaurants on July 7 (click here to request a list). Mr. Allen explained the closures were part of a broad-based analysis by Boston Market of its restaurant locations, and cited “shifting consumer preferences and rising costs” for creating a challenging environment. According to published reports, the Company had been working with the consulting firm Hilco Global to renegotiate leases. Mr. Allen also said in the letter that Boston Market has the full support of its owners and lenders.
Dallas, TX Meo Area - Hot Market Report
The Dallas Meo Area is the fourth largest meopolitan area in the U.S.; with 7.5 million residents as of 2018, the area’s population grew 17.3% since 2010 and was the fastest growing meo area in the U.S. between 2017 and 2018. Dallas is the largest meo area in both Texas and the South, and the 10th largest in the world. As the economy continues to expand, one third of Texas’ new arrivals over the last decade have settled in/around Dallas. The growth is a function of the favorable business environment (Dallas is home to 24 Fortune 500 companies), affordable housing, and good public schools. As the saying goes, everything is bigger in Texas, so it comes as no surprise that the largest grocery retailer in Dallas is Walmart, followed by Kroger and Albertsons. Our report takes a closer look at the Dallas real estate landscape, and provides visual competitive analyses as well as key real estate meics such as future openings, store count, market share, and demographics.
Amazon will open a new, 700,000 square-foot fulfillment center in Gwinnett/DeKalb counties in Georgia. The Company also plans to open a new warehouse in Germany this year, its 13th DC in the couny. Amazon has faced a long-running battle with unions in Germany over better pay and conditions for logistics workers, who have staged frequent sikes since 2013.
Kroger and online grocery retailer Ocado announced plans for a new, high-tech customer fulfillment center (CFC) in Forest Park, GA. The $55.0 million, 375,000 square-foot facility will be located right next to an existing Kroger DC. It is expected to be operational in 2021. Kroger has committed to building 20 CFCs, powered by Ocado. The CFC model is an automated warehouse facility with digital and robotic capabilities, also known as a “shed.” Last month, Kroger broke ground on its first CFC in Monroe, OH.
Publix’s GreenWise Market specialty format continues to expand with a new store planned for the Channelside disict in Tampa, FL, which is expected to open in late 2021. The Company will also open a aditional Publix Super Market also in Channelside this August. To date, Publix has announced 11 locations for the GreenWise format, which opened its first store in Tallahassee, FL in October 2018, which followed locations in Mount Pleasant, SC and Mountain Brook, AL. It will open stores in Lakeland and Boca Raton, FL; and Lexington, SC later this year. The banner has a smaller footprint at an average 25,000 square feet and targets the atactive yet crowded intersection of freshly prepared items, limited assortment, and natural grocery.
On July 11, Charming Charlie LLC, DIP filed a voluntary Chapter 11 petition in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Disict of Delaware. The Honorable Christopher S. Sontchi was assigned to the proceedings, which were designated as case number 19-11537. The filing is the Company’s second in two years – it filed for bankruptcy on December 11, 2017 and exited on April 24, 2018. The Company plans to close its remaining 261 stores by the end of August (click here to request the list of locations). Hilco Merchant Resources, LLC and SB360 Capital Partners were hired on July 3 to conduct “going-out-of-business sales” (GOB), which began on July 8. Management anticipates the GOB sales will generate $30.0 million in proceeds. The Company said it made the decision to file for bankruptcy after ying numerous cost-cutting moves and closing about 100 stores during its previous bankruptcy.
After 10 years of ownership by two private equity firms, Grocery Outlet is now a public company. Results were song under Hellman and Freeman, which had owned the Company since 2015, with store count increasing 33.3%, sales up 40.1%, comps averaging 4.2%, and EBIA growing at a 12.6% CAGR. The IPO officially launched on June 24. Net proceeds of approximately $400.0 million are being applied to reduce debt. After repayment, the Company will have approximately $475.0 million outstanding under its first lien credit agreement. On a pro-forma basis, leverage is around 3.2x, still somewhat leveraged, but a significant improvement from 5.8x leverage at the end of Q1. The Company has further commented that it has no intention of pursuing further re-leveraging ansactions. Click here to request a list of Grocery Outlet future openings & closings.
Lunds Food Holdings dba Lunds & Byerlys closed all 14 of its Twin Cities, MN pharmacy locations yesterday, after the Company said it no longer could absorb “significant losses” (click here to request a list of the closures). A spokesman said that 27 pharmacy managers and staff pharmacists will lose their jobs, but technicians have been offered open jobs within the Company. A representative commented, “Unfortunately, it has become increasingly difficult for retail pharmacies given a number of economic challenges in the indusy.” The Company operates 24 stores in the Twin Cities area and St. Cloud. Prescriptions not picked up will be sent to the closest Walgreens. Lunds & Byerlys has had pharmacies in its stores since 2004, when it launched the PrairieStone Pharmacy brand in the Twin Cities.
On July 17,Ahold Delhaize’s Food Lion division will unveil 92 newly renovated stores in the greater Myrtle Beach, Florence, Columbia, and Charleston, SC, markets, as well as in Lumberton, NC. The remodels are part of the Company’s $158.0 million investment. Updated store features include expanded product assortments across all departments, more prepared foods, a more seamlined checkout process, and new signage. Additionally, six of the stores will now how have walk-in produce coolers. With the latest renovations, the banner now has remodeled 80% of its more than 1,000 stores across 10 Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic states.
ABC Supply opened a new branch location in Stockton, CA, its 44th location in the state. Last month the Company opened locations in Twinsburg, OH; Ypsilanti, MI; and East Orange, NJ. These stores joined locations opened in Florida, Virginia, Kansas, Massachusetts, Texas, and Arizona earlier this year. The Company currently has more than 760 locations across the U.S.
Lululemon Athletica opened a two-level, 20,000 square-foot store in Chicago, IL’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. In addition to Lululemon merchandise, the store features the Company’s first restaurant, and three studio spaces. Approximately six to 10 classes will be offered daily, at $25 per class. CEO Calvin McDonald calls this its first “experiential” store, and says that by 2023, about 10% of its total store fleet will be considered “experiential.” Lululemon now operates 446 stores nationwide.
IKEA announced that at year end it will shut down its Danville, VA manufacturing facility, which opened in 2008 and employs 300 workers. The Company will move operations to Europe, where it says it can cut costs. The facility makes wooden products, including shelves and storage units. IKEA pointed to the rising price of raw materials in the U.S. compared to Europe as part of its decision. IKEA owns manufacturing facilities in nine counies, employing roughly 20,000 workers. The Company has been shifting its focus towards online pickup services and digital fulfillment centers, and it has been opening smaller stores in larger cities. Last year IKEA laid off about 7,500 employees, or about 5% of its global workforce, and announced it would open 30 smaller-format stores globally in the next few years, which would create 11,500 jobs. Click here to request a list of IKEA future openings.
On July 10, Brinker International announced an agreement to acquire 116 Chili’s Grill & Bar restaurants from its franchisee ERJ Dining. As of the third quarter ended March 27, there were 1,248 Chili’s restaurants in the U.S., of which 940 were operated by Brinker and 308 were operated by franchisees, including ERJ Dining. The 116 restaurants to be acquired are primarily located in the Midwest and together generated about $300.0 million in annual revenues. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of fiscal 2020.
Starbucks opened its first express store format under the Starbucks Now banner, in Beijing, China. The format is designed to offer a seamlined experience for customers who have pre-ordered online and also for delivery drivers who are picking up online orders. Customers are greeted by a Starbucks employee assisting with ordering or order pickup at an elevated “concierge” counter. Customers can choose from a menu that is tailored with on-the-go options. Limited customer seating is also available. Starbucks plans to open more Starbucks Now stores in high-affic areas including business and ansportation hubs, as well as in new cities in China. Click here to request a list of Starbucks future openings & closings.
Costco’s June sales increased 6.5% to $14.57 billion. Comps (excluding fuel, currency exchange, and an accounting change concerning revenue recognition) rose 5.1%, consisting of 5.3% growth in the U.S., 4.3% in Canada, and 5.5% in Other International. E-commerce increased 20.8%. For the 44 weeks ended July 7, sales increased 8% to $126.13 billion, and comps rose 6.3% (6.5% in the U.S., 5.2% in Canada and 5.7% in Other International). E-commerce increased 23.2%.
PriceSmart reported first quarter revenue growth of 0.8% to $788.6 million. Net merchandise sales increased 0.6% to $755.0 million, negatively impacted by $27.9 million due to currency exchange. Comps fell 0.8%. Operating income was $22.0 million, down from $28.4 million last year. Net income fell 24.6% to $14.1 million, negatively impacted by $2.9 million from costs related to investments in its omnichannel capabilities, combined with operating results of the Aeropost legacy business. The Company opened one new club over the past year, bringing its store count to 43.
The Buckle’s June sales increased 5.5% to $74.8 million, and comps were up 6.2%. Year-to-date sales slipped 0.1% to $337.6 million, and comps increased 0.4%. The Company operated 448 stores in 42 states, compared to 455 stores in 43 states last year.
Cato Corporation’s June sales were up 5% to $76.6 million, and comps were up 8%. Year-to-date sales decreased 1% to $380.7 million, and comps were up 1%. CEO John Cato stated, “June same-store sales exceeded our expectations. However, we remain cautiously optimistic.” The Company closed one store during the month, ending with 1,301 stores operating in 31 states, down from 1,350 stores in 33 states last year.