Openings, Closings, & Other Key Industry Highlights

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May 1, 2024


H-E-B finalized the purchase of nearly 500 acres in Hempstead, TX, where it plans to build a distribution campus that will be developed in multiple phases. The project's first phase of construction is expected to start in late 2024. In the long term, H-E-B's campus will include facilities to support its supply chain operations. The Hempstead campus is a Houston-area development, in Waller County, and its several distribution facilities will support H-E-B's growing business. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 


Aldi opened new stores in Pascagoula, MS and Texarkana, TX on April 25. The Company, which operates nearly 2,400 locations in the U.S., announced in early March that it plans to add 800 new U.S. locations by the end of 2028. 

Stew Leonards

Stew Leonard's will open a 56,000 square-foot Farm Fresh Food and Wine store in Clifton, NJ on May 17, marking its second location in New Jersey and eighth overall. It currently has seven stores in Norwalk, Danbury, and Newington, CT; in East Meadow, Farmingdale, and Yonkers, NY, and in Paramus, NJ. 


In the Express Inc., DIP case, the Court approved the following first day motions on an interim basis:

  • payment of prepetition amounts owing to critical vendors, 503(b)(9) claimants, and PACA claimants, in the ordinary course of business, amounting to $4.6 million, $32.7 million, and $42,000, respectively. 
  • an agreement with Hilco Merchant Resources, LLC authorizing 95 store closings, including the potential closing of additional stores at a later date. GOB sales at the initial closing stores are expected to start tomorrow and be completed, and the properties vacated by June 30, 2024;
  • use of cash collateral and access to a $224 million DIP Facility including: $25 million in new money term loans, and a roll up of the following prepetition obligations: (i) $136 million under the Prepetition ABL Facility, and (ii) $63 million under the Prepetition FILO Term Loan Facility (of which $25 million is rolled up under the interim order);
    A hearing to consider final approval of first day motions is scheduled for May 16. 

Foot Locker

Foot Locker unveiled a new retail concept at its Willowbrook Mall location in Wayne, NJ. Calling it the "store of the future," the location features "a bold storefront, distinct in-store environment, expanded footwear and accessory selections, an emphasis on sustainability, dynamic digital fixtures, and other technological advances." Throughout 2024, additional locations of the new concept are slated to open, including the chain's 34th Street flagship location in New York City. 

Hibbett-1JD Sports

Hibbett, Inc. announced a definitive agreement in which JD Sports Fashion plc (Finish Line) will acquire all outstanding shares of Hibbett for $87.50 per share in cash, representing an aggregate enterprise value of $1.1 billion.

Hibbett’s Board of Directors has unanimously approved the agreement and the transaction, which is expected to close in 2H24, subject to Hibbett stockholder approval, receipt of required regulatory approvals, and the satisfaction of other customary conditions to closing. The transaction is not subject to a financing condition.

Under the terms of the deal, Hibbett has agreed to suspend the payment of dividends on its common stock, as well as the purchase of shares under its existing stock repurchase program, through the closing of the transaction.

Following the closing of the transaction, Hibbett will join the JD Sports family of athletic footwear and fashion retail brands and will cease to be a publicly traded company.


In the Joann, DIP case, the Court issued an order approving the Disclosure Statement and confirming the Plan of Reorganization. The Plan reduced total funded debt by $504.7 million, from $1.06 billion to $555.5 million. Additionally, general unsecured creditors will be paid or otherwise satisfied in full in the ordinary course of business. The effective date is anticipated within the next 10 days. 

Franchise Group

According to sources, some of Franchise Group Inc.’s lenders have contacted law firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP seeking advice regarding issues surrounding the Company’s $1.1 billion of debt scheduled to mature in 2026 and the business dealings of former chief executive officer Brian Kahn.

Kahn stepped down in January 2024 after questions arose about his role in managing money for hedge fund Prophecy Asset Management before it collapsed. Investment firm B. Riley Financial Inc. has been targeted by short sellers for its relationship with Kahn and its financing of a management-led buyout of Franchise Group in 2023.


Gamut Capital Management, a New York-based middle market private equity firm, signed a definitive agreement to acquire DEX Imaging, a provider of managed print services, from Staples. Staples acquired DEX in 2019 and grew the business organically and through M&A, in partnership with the founding Doyle family. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions. 

Rite Aid

In the Rite Aid, DIP case, the Debtors identified 16 stores for closure, bringing the total of announced closures to 534. The Debtors also filed a notice of rejection for six leases, and a motion to extend the deadline date for store closings from May 31, 2024 to July 31, 2024.


London Drugs

London Drugs has reported that due to an "operational issue" it has closed stores across Western Canada until further notice. Despite the closures, the Company stated that pharmacists remain available to assist customers with urgent pharmacy needs.

Reports indicate the Company shared by email that the problem was caused by a cybersecurity incident, and that the stores were closed out of an abundance of caution. The Company also said in a statement, "At this time, we have no reason to believe that customer or employee data has been impacted."

In response to the incident, London Drugs has enlisted third-party experts to contain, rectify, and investigate the matter. London Drugs operates nearly 80 stores across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.


Walgreens introduced Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy, a new business unit dedicated to specialty pharmacy, which will fall under the U.S. retail pharmacy division. The Company is also making investments in a gene and cell therapy services business. Under the new business, Walgreens has a dedicated 18,000 square-foot Gene and Cell Services Pharmacy and Innovation Center in Pittsburgh, PA. Other services include four central specialty pharmacies that work together to dispense highly complex medications, nearly 300 community-based specialty pharmacies across the country, more than 1,500 specialty-trained pharmacists, and a growing roster of 240 limited distribution drugs. 

Majority owned VillageMD has added Jim Murray as president and COO. The appointment comes as VillageMD recently announced the closure of 160 clinics due to lower-than-expected performance stemming from slow patient growth and changes to Medicare reimbursement models. The Company said it exited certain states including Illinois, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Nevada. VillageMD now operates about 620 locations. Before joining VillageMD, Murray was chief operating officer and chief transformation officer for St. Louis-based health insurance and care management provider Centene. Prior to that, he was president and COO of managed care services provider Magellan Health, which was acquired by Centene in 2022. Murray also previously held various executive roles at Louisville, Ky.-based Medicare plan provider Humana for nearly 30 years.

CVS Health

A CVS pharmacy in Las Vegas, NC became the first to join a new national pharmacy union.

Tropical Smoothie

Private equity firm Levine Leichtman Capital Partners(LLCP) entered into a definitive agreement to sell its portfolio company, Tropical Smoothie Cafe, to private equity funds managed by Blackstone. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The deal reportedly values the chain at about $2 billion. Headquartered in Atlanta, GA, Tropical Smoothie has more than 1,400 locations across 44 states. LLCP bought Tropical Smoothie in September 2020, when the chain operated 870 locations. The Company opened more than 175 new locations in 2023, 70% of which were opened by existing franchisees. 


Chipotle reported strong 1Q24 sales and earnings as traffic rose across all income groups. It also reiterated plans to open 285 to 315 restaurants this year as it works towards its long-term goal of doubling its store count to 7,000 locations. Chipotle opened 47 new locations during 1Q, with 43 including a drive-thru, giving it a total of nearly 3,500 restaurants. 

The Company also revealed that it has dropped its plans for a spin-off. In February 2023, it debuted a new restaurant, called Farmesa, in ghost kitchen Kitchen United's food hall in Santa Monica, CA. However, the ghost kitchen closed in February 2024, and Chipotle has no plans to launch a freestanding version of Farmesa. 

Toys R Us Canada-1

WHP Global, parent of Toys "R" Us, signed a long-term license agreement with WHSmith as the exclusive in-store shop partner for Toys "R" Us in the U.K. Under the terms of the agreement, WHSmith will open 30 new shops this summer in their High Street stores. The deal follows the successful launch of Toys "R" Us in-store shops in select WHSmith stores last year. WHP Global acquired Toys "R" Us in March 2021 and has since grown the brand's presence in the U.K., India, Dubai, and Mexico, as well as its U.S. flagship in East Rutherford, NJ and 452 in-store shops at Macy's stores nationwide. 

The information contained in this newsletter is compiled from sources which RetailStat, LLC (“RetailStat”), does not control and unless indicated is not verified. Its contents are not to be divulged. RetailStat, its principals, and writers do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the information provided nor do they assume responsibility for failure to report any matter omitted or withheld because of their negligence.