March 10, 2021
Sprouts Farmers Market plans to open approximately 20 stores this year, including four new smaller-format units and one relocation. CFO Dave McGlinchey commented, “This year, Sprouts will densify its footprint with more stores opening in California, Florida and Texas. We’re excited to introduce our newest format in four stores in the second half of 2021 and plan to feature this format with even more stores next year, when we will be expanding at unit growth of 10% or more.” Among the new openings are 10 stores in Florida, where Sprouts currently operates 23 locations. The four new stores that will feature the Company’s smaller format, which averages 25,000 square feet, will be located in Dania Beach, FL; Las Colinas, TX; Phoenix, AZ; and Smyrna, GA. Sprouts’ store in Tustin, CA will be remodeled this year with the new layout. The Company also plans to open two new local produce distribution centers this year, one in Aurora, CO this month and another in Orlando, FL later in the year. The new centers will drive supply chain efficiencies by positioning stores within 250 miles of the centers. Click here to request a list of future store openings.
Topgolf International and Callaway Golf Company announced they have completed their previously announced merger. Pursuant to the transaction, Callaway issued approximately 90.0 million shares of common stock to shareholders of Topgolf (excluding Callaway, which owned 14% of Topgolf prior to the deal). After the merger, Callaway shareholders and Topgolf shareholders owned 51.3% and 48.7% of the combined Company, respectively. The combined Company now has 13 directors, including three new directors appointed by Topgolf. Chip Brewer, president and CEO of Callaway, will continue to lead the combined Company. Dolf Berle, CEO of Topgolf, will continue overseeing the Topgolf business through a transition period, at which time he intends to step down to pursue other leadership opportunities. The combined Company’s headquarters will be in Carlsbad, CA, and Topgolf will continue operating out of its Dallas, TX headquarters. Click here to request a list of future store openings.
Amazon opened its first checkout-free grocery store in the U.K. The Amazon Fresh store in Ealing, West London will be powered by the same cashier-less “Just Walk Out” technology featured in Amazon Go stores in the U.S. since 2018, when it opened its first physical store in Seattle, WA. The 2,500 square-foot store has a booth where customers can pick up online orders and make returns. The Company already operates seven standard supermarkets in the U.K. under its Whole Foods Market brand and plans to open additional high-tech grocery stores in the Greater London area.
Amazon’s telehealth arm Amazon Care, which started as a pilot service for Seattle-area employees and their families, has quietly filed paperwork to operate in 21 more states. The service launched a year ago as an app providing on-demand chat and video consultations with medical professionals for Amazon’s 54,000 Puget Sound employees. Users can also book in-person visits at their home or office with clinicians, and they make payments through Amazon.com.
Amazon spent $131.0 million to acquire about 13.5 million shares of Air Transport Services Group Inc. (ATSG), exercising warrants Amazon had previously acquired. It first received warrants to purchase ATSG shares in 2016, as part of an agreement that saw ATSG begin flying aircraft for Amazon’s new air cargo unit. ATSG CEO Rich Corrado said it anticipated operating 46 aircraft for Amazon by the end of this year, up from 33 at the end of 2020.
Earlier this year, Amazon announced its first aircraft purchases, buying 11 Boeing Co. 767-300 jets to join a fleet of leased planes. The Company is also set to complete work later this year on an air-cargo hub at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. Amazon has acquired warrants to purchase shares in Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings Inc. and Sun Country Airlines Holdings Inc., two other carriers that operate Amazon Air jets.
In other news, the Company is expanding its Amazon One contactless identity system to additional stores in the Greater Seattle, WA area over the next few weeks, bringing it to a total of 12 physical retail locations. The technology offers a new way of identifying and paying for goods. Click here for a list of Amazon future store openings.
Last week, Michaels announced it agreed to be acquired by Apollo Global Management for $5.00 billion. The closing is expected to occur in the first half of Michaels’ fiscal year and is subject to a 25-day “go-shop” period. The Company subsequently released very strong 4Q20 results, with comps up 12.9% and EBITDA jumping 32%. Michaels invested $162.0 million in capital expenditures during FY20, a 34% increase from the prior year. The Company opened six new stores during the full year, with no openings during 4Q, while 25 stores were also closed during the year, including 18 during 4Q. Click here to request a list of future store openings and closings.
Dollar Tree’s consolidated 4Q net sales increased 7.2% to $6.77 billion. Enterprise same-store sales rose 4.9%; comps for Family Dollar and Dollar Tree increased 8.1% and 2.4%, respectively. Gross margin was up 80 bps to 31.8%, driven by sales mix, reduced markdowns, leverage on occupancy costs from strong comps, and shrink results, partially offset by higher freight and distribution costs. Operating income was $681.6 million for a 10.1% operating margin and a 90 bps improvement. The balance sheet continues to improve, with net debt down 40% from last year.
During the quarter, the Company opened 124 new stores, expanded or relocated 11 stores, and closed 45 stores. It also completed 106 Family Dollar renovations. For FY21, the Company plans to open 600 new stores and renovate 1,250 Family Dollar stores. The new stores are expected to consist of 400 Dollar Tree stores and 200 Family Dollar stores. The new Family Dollar stores will be comprised of H2 and Combination Store formats, based upon market locations. Click here to request a list of future store openings.
Wegmans cancelled plans for a store in Cary, NC’s new Fenton commercial and residential development, following the opening of three other Wegmans stores in the Triangle over the past two years. The stores are located in Raleigh, west Cary and Chapel Hill. The Company commented, “Online shopping has grown tremendously, fueled in part by COVID-19, enabling us to serve customers in a much greater radius than was originally projected.” Click here to request a list of future store openings.
Walmart announced its goal of investing $350.00 billion in U.S. manufacturing (items made, grown or assembled in the U.S.) over the next 10 years to support more than 750,000 new jobs in the U.S. In 2013, the Company committed to investing $250.00 billion in a similar initiative; Walmart said it is on track to meet that goal and expand on it. The Company will focus its U.S. manufacturing investment on six priority categories -- one of which is food processing. The other five are textiles, plastics, small electrical appliances, pharmaceutical and medical supplies, and ‘Goods Not For Resale’.
Separately, as part of Walmart Canada’s $3.50 billion investment over the next five years aimed at generating growth and making the online and in-store shopping experience more convenient, the Company it is accelerating its e-commerce expansion with its first fully-automated fulfillment center in Scarborough, Ontario. The 22,000 square-foot facility will automate online grocery picking and dispensing, and it will feature automated kiosks that serve as vending machines for online grocery orders. Walmart Canada is also expanding grocery pickup service to more than 60 stores this year, which means 85% of its stores will offer the service, and is expanding grocery delivery to more communities.
In other news, Walmart’s online Indian retailer Flipkart is reportedly considering going public in the U.S. through a merger with a blank-check company, according to people familiar with the matter. Flipkart’s advisers have approached several SPAC entities; the Company is said to be seeking a valuation of at least $35.00 billion. In 2018, Walmart bought a 77% stake in Flipkart for $16.00 billion. Click here to request a list of future store openings and closings.
Target plans to invest $4.00 billion annually during the next several years to continue scaling capabilities across its retail platform. The Company is aiming to accelerate new store openings and store remodels, enhance fulfillment services, and strengthen its supply chain. Target said it will increase its total fresh and frozen food pickup assortment for Drive Up and Order Pickup services nationwide. The Company will also offer adult beverage pickup in 800 more stores in the next few months, following a successful initial trial in hundreds of stores. Among other initiatives, Target is planning to open 30 - 40 new stores each year in urban centers, college campuses, and dense suburban cities. In urban centers and college campuses, Target will open more small-format stores and identified sites for new mid-sized stores to fill retail gaps. Target is testing a new type of facility in Minneapolis, MN called a sortation center and expects to open five more in 2021. Regarding its supply chain enhancements, Target expects to open two distribution centers, one in Delaware and one in Chicago, IL, during 2021. Two more are planned in 2022 to support the East and West Coast areas. Click here to request a list of future store openings.
Neiman Marcus Group is selling two distributions centers, in Longview and Las Colinas, TX, and expects to close the deals by the end of this month. The Company did not disclose the buyers or any transaction terms. Neiman will operate the Longview facility through the 2021 holiday season, and Las Colinas will stay open into fall 2022. The Company will be left with two DCs in (Pinnacle Park) Dallas, TX and Pittston, PA. Neiman previously announced its intention to invest $85.0 million in supply chain innovations over the subsequent two years, specifically in warehouse and order management systems, and increasing the size, speed, capacity, and efficiency of its remaining distribution centers. The Pittston and Dallas centers are omnichannel facilities serving the Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman brick-and-mortar stores and online businesses. Management noted that restructuring the supply chain will make the Neiman Marcus Group less “Texas-centric.” In Pittston, Neiman will relocate its 200,000 square-foot distribution center to a 500,000 square-foot facility in the same industrial park. The Dallas distribution center is 470,250 square feet. Neiman closed 10 department stores and all but five of its Last Call locations during the bankruptcy process.Click here to request a list of store closures.
As part of its efforts to expand across the 48 contiguous states, Camping World announced plans to open its first stores in Delaware, Nebraska and Montana. Plans are in various stages of development in Georgetown, DE; Lincoln, NE; and Billings, MT. Management indicated that in states where it is unable to find a dealership to acquire, the Company will build new locations. Camping World owns and operates more than 170 locations in 38 states. Click here to request a list of future store openings.
Earlier this month, Asian e-grocer Umamicart launched in the New York metro area and Mid-Atlantic region with next-day delivery. Umamicart sells more than 500 ingredients and products, including Asian vegetables, fresh fruits, meat, pantry staples, rice, noodles and other items.
Costco reported strong 2Q21 results, with revenue up 15% and comps improving 13%. Digital also performed well, up 75%. Members continue to flock to warehouses, with membership revenue up 8%. While certain categories such as electronics, appliances, and gym equipment did well, the Company is still experiencing supply chain issues on these products. No new clubs were opened during the quarter, and there are still an additional 13 clubs planned for 2021. The balance sheet remains healthy, with a net cash position.
During its earnings call with analysts, the Company said it is testing curbside pickup at three warehouses in Albuquerque, NM and that the test is going well. Click here to request a list of store openings and closings.
Charming Charlie plans to open 14 stores in March and April, with a focus on Texas (four stores) and California (four stores); the other six stores will open in Florida, Iowa, Arizona, Illinois, Colorado, and New Jersey. Additional locations are planned for the summer and fall. The openings come after the Company shuttered its 260 stores and e-commerce site after filing Chapter 11 in July 2019. Company founder Charlie Chanaratsopon acquired the chain’s intellectual property and is now reviving the brand as an omnichannel retailer. The first store opened in September in Atlanta, GA, and five additional locations followed. Click here to request a list of future store openings.
Tailored Brands announced the closing of a $75.0 million investment by a group of existing shareholders and lenders, which consists of $50.0 million of mandatorily convertible notes and $25.0 million in additional senior secured debt. This provides additional liquidity for the Company as it continues to advance its strategic plans not long after emerging from bankruptcy.
Meanwhile, the Trustee for the Liquidating Trust filed a motion seeking approval of a settlement agreement with Silver Point Capital, L.P., under which common stock held by the Trust would be purchased for $3.3 million, or $5.86 per share. This exceeds the price of $1.12 per share, which was the basis for the estimate of the expected recovery to general unsecured creditors of 1.3% of allowed claims, which appeared in the Disclosure Statement.
The Trustee stated that the stock represents the Trust’s most significant asset. In the motion, the Trustee stated that the recovery under the settlement agreement is between 3.9 and 7.8 times the current value of the Liquidating Trust assets, with a midpoint of 5.2 times its current value. If the Court approves the settlement it appears the expected recovery to general unsecured creditors could potentially increase to just over 6% of allowed claims. A hearing on the motion is scheduled for March 15.
Simply Mac opened a new 1,500 square-foot store in Orlando, FL. The store offers the entire suite of Apple products and third-party accessories, as well as service and warranty repairs on all product categories by its Apple-certified technicians. This is the 10th Simply Mac store to open in the last five months, of which five were new locations and five were relocations. The Company plans to open more stores in the months ahead to expand its footprint across North America. So far there are 45 locations in 16 states.
Disney announced plans to “significantly” reduce its global footprint of Disney Store locations to focus more on its e-commerce operations. The Company said it would close at least 60 units in North America this year, out of 300 global stores. The closures will not affect the more than 600 stores in Disney Parks, in-store shops in stores such as Target, and lifestyle and outlet locations.