Openings, Closings, & Other Key Industry Highlights

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March 29, 2023

Target is planning to close four of its small concept stores based in urban areas; two locations are in the Washington D.C. metro area (Falls Church, VA and College Park, MD), and the others are in Minneaolis, MN and Philadelphia, PA. The stores are shutting down due to low performance and will close to customers May 13. Earlier this month, Target indicated that it plans to complete about 20 new store openings and 70 full-store remodels, as well as add more Ulta Beauty in-store shops during FY23. In November 2022, Target rolled out a new store design created to better serve the increasing needs of digital fulfillment. The new stores are about 150,000 square feet with more back-room fulfillment space, more convenient drive-up facilities, and re-designed in-store pick-up areas. The new design is about 20,000 square feet larger than the average Target store. According to the Company, starting in 2023, about half of the planned full store remodels will incorporate the new design and by 2024, all remodels and new stores will feature the new design elements.

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Kohl’s Corp. is adding another 250 Sephora in-store shops this year, bringing the total to more than 850. This completes the partnership’s initial planned goal at rollout. The 2,500 square-foot in-store shops launched in August 2021 and mimic the look and feel of a freestanding Sephora. In addition to expanding across more than 40 states, Sephora at Kohl’s will enter seven new states in 2023, including Arkansas, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, South Dakota, and Utah, bringing Sephora at Kohl’s presence to 48 states. As part of this expansion, Kohl’s will open 50 smaller format Sephora shops by year end, with a plan to roll out to the remainder of the chain’s 1,100+ stores by 2025. Kohl’s projects Sephora at Kohl’s will achieve $2 billion in annual sales by 2025. 

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In addition to shuttering nine Walmart retail units so far this year, as we reported in our February 28 edition, the Company is now closing another five locations across the country. The full list of store closures can be seen below. Walmart said these store locations were deemed as “underperforming” after a thorough review process. Last year the Company closed seven underperforming locations. In addition, according to reports, Walmart is eliminating hundreds of jobs at five e-commerce fulfillment centers in Pedricktown, NJ; Fort Worth, TX; Chino, CA; Davenport, FL; and Bethlehem, PA. The Company indicated that it was contracting its workforce due to a reduction or elimination of evening and weekend shifts. 

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Kroger plans to build three new Marketplace stores in the North Texas cities of Plano, Melissa, and Fort Worth, with construction slated to begin this summer. The units will range in size from 100,000 – 130,000 square feet and will have a multi-department store format offering full-service grocery, pharmacy, and expanded general merchandise, including outdoor living products, electronics, home goods, apparel, and toys. The locations are expected to open in 2024.

In other news, Kroger opened a new Customer Fulfilment Center (CFC) outside Denver, in Aurora, CO. The approximately 300,000 square-foot facility will deliver groceries and home essentials to customers up to 90 minutes away. Kroger now has eight CFCs around the U.S., which enables its delivery service to operate across 14 states. Kroger is the #1 grocer in the Denver MSA, with just over 40% of the market share, according to Nielsen. 

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Moe’s Southwest Grill, a subsidiary of Focus Brands, is currently eyeing national growth both in and outside of its Southeastern U.S. footprint. In order to boost that growth, the Company recently announced a cash back incentive for potential franchisees. Chief Development Officer Brian Krause stated, “For multi-unit development starting at three plus new commitments, we are going to give cash back incentives of up to $100,000 per location.” Traditional locations generate average unit volume north of $1 million, and the Company is also open to non-traditional spaces. Moe’s operates more than 630 locations nationwide, with nearly half located in Florida, Georgia, New York, and North Carolina.

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Grocery Outlet opened a fifth location in Philadelphia, PA, further expanding its presence on the East Coast. In FY22, the Company opened 27 stores and closed one, and for FY23, Grocery Outlet aims to add 25 – 28 net new locations nationwide. Currently, there are more than 440 units primarily in California, Nevada, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, with 34 in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland.

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Saks Off 5th re-opened two stores in Chicago, IL that initially closed in 2019 due to underperformance, including a 40,000 square-foot Lincoln Park store and a 23,500 square-foot downtown location. The re-opening of the downtown location on State Street will lower the retail vacancy rate that has spiked since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic due to a wave of store closings. Saks Off 5th operates three Chicago-area stores in Northbrook, Rosemont, and Aurora, and 99 stores altogether. 

Uniqlo, a division of Japan-based Fast Retailing, is planning to open 20 stores this year in the U.S., as part of its plans to open about 400 locations in the next few years. Currently, Uniqlo operates 46 U.S. stores and 16 Canadian stores. On March 24, Uniqlo opened a 7,800 square-foot store in Jersey City, NJ, its fifth New Jersey location. Future locations are planned for existing markets including New York City, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles in the U.S., and Vancouver in Canada. 

Beacon opened a new location in West Bend, WI that will service the greater Milwaukee market. The Company opened 16 locations in 2022 and plans to open another 15 this year. The West Bend unit represents the third new branch opened this year. Beacon operates over 480 locations in the U.S. and Canada. 

On March 24, Ahold Delhaize’s Giant Food opened its first in-store fast-casual restaurant in partnership with Nalley Fresh, in an Ellicott City, MD location. Nalley Fresh opened its first location in 2011 and now operates 10 in Maryland. 

CVS Health expects to complete its acquisition of Signify Health on or around March 29, subject to the satisfaction or waiver of the remaining customary closing conditions set forth in the merger agreement. The companies entered into a definitive agreement in September 2022 under which CVS Health announced it would acquire Signify Health for $30.50 per share in cash, for a total transaction value of $8 billion. Upon completion of the acquisition, Signify Health will continue to operate as a payer-agnostic (the care provided is not affected by the payer) business as part of CVS Health. 

Sprouts Farmers Market acquired two independently owned stores in Chula Vista, CA, that are operating under the Sprouts Farmers Market name pursuant to a legacy trademark license arrangement. The Company licensed the Sprouts Farmers Market trademark to a third-party operator many years ago in a one-of-a-kind operating structure. There are no other stores operating in this manner. According to a Company press release, acquiring these two locations will allow complete control of the Sprouts brand and open further expansion possibilities in Southern California.

Panera Bread is piloting Amazon’s palm-based identification solution, Amazon One, at two stores in St. Louis, MO, with plans to expand to additional locations in coming months. Panera is the first national restaurant company to use Amazon One, and it continues to test AI technology across multiple areas. Last year it began testing Miso Robotics’ automated coffee brewing system, and more recently it began testing OpenCity’s proprietary voice AI ordering technology, called “Tori,” for drive-thru orders. 

Hy-Vee, one of the nation’s top 25 retail grocery chains, opened three stores in 2022 in Ashwaubenon and La Crosse, WI and Springfield, MO. Thus far in 2023, two more stores have opened up in Wisconsin (Janesville and Oregon), and the Company recently agreed to acquire a store in Eldridge, IA. Management plans to expand into four new states and build its third distribution center in Nashville, TN, to support the opening of more than 20 new stores by 2025. The Tennessee DC will initially service seven new stores in Indiana, Tennessee, Alabama, and Kentucky; the facility is also slated to supply Hy-Vee’s stores in southern Missouri.

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Crisp & Green plans to open a store in Bentonville, AR, its first store in the state, this April. Four additional locations are in development in Arkansas. The chain has a 51-unit development deal with franchise partner Salads & Smoothies. It currently operates 29 locations in seven states. Crisp & Green is part of the Steele Brands portfolio, which also includes Stalk & Spade, and Paco & Lime. Steele Brands has more than 250 restaurants built and in development across all three brands. 

Dollar General opened Mi Super Dollar General in Escobedo, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, its first store outside the U.S. Each Mi Super Dollar General will include financial services, a bakery, and a tortilleria. Products are sourced primarily from Mexico, with an assortment that includes fresh produce, health and beauty products, home cleaning supplies, pet care, housewares, stationery, and other household essentials. Dollar General first announced its international expansion plans in December 2021, and last year set a goal of opening up to 35 stores in Mexico by FYE23. 

The below retailers recently released their earnings reports. 

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