Openings, Closings, & Other Key Industry Highlights

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May 8, 2024


Rue21, Inc., DIP filed a voluntary Chapter 11 petition in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. The proceedings have been designated as case number 24-10939. This is the third filing for the Company, following previous Chapter 11 petitions in 2017 and 2002 under the name “Pennsylvania Fashions.” The Company emerged from Chapter 11 protection in December 2017 after closing more than 400 stores and cutting $700 million in debt. The Company, which listed assets and liabilities each of between $100 million and $500 million, is majority owned by Blue Torch Capital. Court documents state that the Debtors will market the Company and pursue a potential sale under section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code “with any interested parties.”

As of the petition date (5/2), the Debtors estimate $65 million in unsecured trade claims were outstanding; they had only $27,000 total cash on hand. The Debtors lease all of their 543 store locations, as well as an 84,000 square-foot corporate headquarters, and a photo studio. They also lease a 375,00 square-foot distribution center. The Debtors intend to conduct "going out of business" sales at all of their retail locations. Proceeds from the inventory sales - on which Bank of America, N.A. (the Prepetition ABL Agent) holds a first lien interest - will be used to pay down the prepetition balance, and also to help fund operating disbursements during the cases. 

Sam Ash

Sam Ash Music Corporation indicated that it is closing all 45 of its retail stores. CEO Richard Ash said the Company is looking for a buyer to keep the online retail presence going. In that regard, the family recently engaged investment bank Capstone Partners to solicit interest from buyers. The Company is also working with restructuring advisers SierraConstellation Partners and law firm Cole Schotz. Ash declined to comment on possible plans to file for bankruptcy.

Ash said "Even though we invested heavily in our website business, which is still strong and vibrant, our customers gravitated to buying online and store sales suffered. We honestly believe we'll find someone who wants the brand and some of the locations." He said a decline in sales accelerated recently into a major slowdown over the last two to three years.

On February 29, 2024 we reported that Sam Ash Music Corporation was planning to close “a significant number” of its 45 stores. At that time, management acknowledged that it was closing a number of underperforming locations around the country as it right-sized its store footprint to accommodate the shift to online shopping. The Company was first attempting to negotiate leases before determining how many stores would ultimately close. The original plan was to close seven or eight units, but management said that number could double, such that only 30 stores may remain in business.


Walmart disclosed plans to shut down Walmart Health (launched in 2019 and now operating 51 clinics across Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, and Texas) and Walmart Health Virtual Care (stems from the 2021 acquisition of MeMD). This will not affect the Company’s nearly 4,600 pharmacies and more than 3,000 vision centers. The Company did not disclose any related charges.

Commenting on the decision on its official blog, the Company emphasized that the operations were financially unsustainable in the current operating environment. The blog post stated, "This is a difficult decision, and like others, the challenging reimbursement environment and escalating operating costs create a lack of profitability that make the care business unsustainable for us at this time."

Walmart’s decision to exit the primary care business is not isolated, and reflects the difficulty in disrupting the complex healthcare landscape. Walgreens recently announced the closure of 160 WillageMD clinics, and Amazon disclosed layoffs across its healthcare business, including clinic operator One Medical.


In the 99 Cents Only, DIP case, Wilmington Trust, National Association, the Trustee and Collateral Agent for the 7.5% Senior Secured Notes, due 2026, filed an objection to the Debtors' motion seeking final approval of the DIP Facility and use of cash collateral. Wilmington Trust cited “many fatal flaws,” including, (i) the DIP Facility is “unnecessary and inures solely to the benefit of the Prepetition ABL/FILO Secured Parties” rather than to the Debtors’ estates and their creditors, and (ii) the Debtors fail to carry their significant burden to demonstrate that there is no financing available “on less onerous terms than the DIP Facility.” 

Rite Aid

In the Rite Aid, DIP case, the Debtors identified seven stores for closure, bringing the total of announced closures to 541. 

Northeast Grocery-1

Tops Friendly Markets announced it has acquired five stores from Supermarket Management, a longstanding franchise partner. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The purchase includes four full-service Tops and a Tops Xpress in the greater Buffalo, NY area. Locations include Depew, Lockport, South Buffalo, West Buffalo, and Lancaster. Tops continues to have one franchisee-owned location in Lewiston, NY. 

Sprouts Farmers Market-1

Sprouts' 1Q24 sales advanced 8.7% to $1.88 billion, driven by comp growth of 4%, as well as 19 net new stores. During the quarter, the Company opened seven new stores, resulting in 414 stores across 23 states as of March 31, 2024. Looking ahead, management updated its FY24 guidance, now expecting sales growth of 7% to 8% with comp growth of 2.5% to 3.5%. Additionally, Sprouts is looking to open 35 new stores in FY24, in line with its target of 10%-unit growth.


Wakefern is opening a new 93,000 square-foot ShopRite store in South Plainfield, NJ on May 8. The new location will feature a broad selection of groceries from national brands and a line of international food products such as Southeast Asian specialties and Kosher and Halal products. The store will also include a bakery with freshly made bread, a meat and seafood department, a pharmacy, and a prepared foods department. 

Kroger 2023-1

Kroger is planning to spend $45 million in 2024 to remodel 15 stores in Ohio (13) and Indiana (2). The Company will also spend $39 million to construct a previously announced Kroger Marketplace due to open later this year in Warren County, OH. 


Aldi intends to reduce prices on more than 250 items during the summer, in a move it says will save shoppers more than $100 million. The price cuts cover a broad range of seasonal goods, including items for picnics, travel-ready snacks, and better-for-you foods. Most of the reductions will last through Labor Day. 



Hudson’s Bay has announced layoffs as part of a “realignment” of its organizational structure. This latest round of cuts represents less than 1% of the Bay’s workforce in Canada, or less than 100 jobs. A Company spokesperson said, “The retail sector in Canada continues to experience pressures, and we are right-sizing our organization to ensure the long-term success of our business.”

In 2023, the Company announced the elimination of approximately 500 corporate positions.


J.C. Penney lost its appeal in the Boulevard Mall eminent domain case against the Town of Amherst, NY. A legal filing on April 18, 2024 shows the Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal in the matter of Penney Prop. Sub Holdings, LLC v Town of Amherst. The appeal came after a court ruled in favor of Amherst in the eminent domain case in October 2023; J.C. Penney originally filed a petition in March 2023 asking the Court to reject Amherst's plan to take over the property. J.C. Penney has until May 18 to file a petition against the appeal to continue the appeal's process. As background, Douglas Development purchased a majority of the mall's property in 2019 and is redeveloping it. Most of the stores in the Boulevard Mall have closed, excluding those like J.C. Penney with an exterior entrance. 

Childrens Place-3

The Children's Place recorded 4Q23 sales were down 0.2%, primarily due to lower store count, increased promotional activity, and store traffic declines, partially offset by strength in e-commerce. Comps, which include e-commerce sales, rose 4.8%. The Company ended the period with 523 stores, down 90 from 613 at FYE22. Since the Company's fleet optimization initiative was announced in 2013, it has permanently closed 676 stores including 68 stores closed in 4Q23. 

Vail Resorts

Vail Resorts closed on its purchase of Crans-Montana Mountain Resort, a Swiss ski resort. The acquisition represents Vail's second investment in Europe. Remontées Mécaniques Crans Montana Aminona (CMA) SA, which controls and operates all the resort's lifts and supporting mountain operations, including four retail and rental locations. The Company acquired 100% of SportLife AG, up from the 80% that was previously announced, which operates one of the ski schools located at the resort.  also acquired full ownership of 11 restaurants located on and around the mountain. The valuation for the entirety of these resort operations is CHF 118.5 million (US$130 million), including approximately CHF 7 million (US$7.7 million) of debt that will remain in place.

As previously announced,  plans to invest approximately CHF 30 million over the next five years in one-time capital spending to elevate the guest experience, subject to the timing of capital project approvals and completion. The investments will focus on maximizing gastronomy efficiencies and improving and expanding snowmaking capabilities.

LL Flooring

LL Flooring announced that it had received a non-binding proposal to acquire all the Company's outstanding shares for $2.50 per share in cash, subject to completion of certain financing. The acquirer was not identified in the press release. The Company is in consultation with its financial and legal advisors and negotiating the proposal, which the Board has not yet accepted. After market closing at $1.55 per share on April 29, the stock price rose to $2.00 per share in after-hours trading.

Separately, the Company announced that it signed a cooperation agreement with Live Ventures and Isaac Capital Group about director nominations and the voting of their aggregate 3.8% ownership of LL Flooring common stock at the Company’s upcoming Annual Meeting of Stockholders set for July 10, 2024. Isaac Capital Group had previously nominated three individuals to stand for election to the LL Flooring Board at the Annual Meeting and, in connection with the cooperation agreement, has now withdrawn these nominations and will vote its shares in support of the Company’s directors.

FLoor & Decor

Floor & Decor opened a 129,000 square-foot store in Brooklyn, NY on May 6, replacing space previously occupied by Bed Bath & Beyond. Featuring a warehouse-style format, inventory consists of a vast selection of wood, natural stone, laminate and vinyl plants, wall tile, decorative accessories and installation materials. The assortment includes 70,000 square feet of flooring materials. The store is the Company's 228th unit, and 16th tri-state area location. The Company aims to have 230 stores by the end of 2024 and 500 locations by 2030. 


In the Joann, DIP case, the Debtors provided notification that the effective date of the Plan of Reorganization occurred on April 30, 2024. As we previously noted, 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. 


Indigo Books & Music announced that the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has granted an Interim Order under which Trilogy Investments L.P. will acquire 39.4% of the issued and outstanding common shares of Indigo that TILP, Trilogy Retail Holdings Inc., and their respective affiliates do not currently own for $2.50 per share in cash. The Interim Order authorizes a Special Meeting of the Company's shareholders, the granting of dissent rights to registered shareholders, and other matters relating to the conduct of the Special Meeting. The purchase price of $2.50 per share reflects a 69% premium to Indigo's closing price of $1.48 per share on the Toronto Stock Exchange on February 1, 2024, the last trading day prior to the public announcement of the acquisition. The Special Meeting will be held on May 27. 


Genuine Parts Co. said it has acquired Rockford, IL-based Motor Parts & Equipment Corp., the largest independent owner of NAPA Auto Parts stores in the U.S., operating 181 locations across Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In other news, Genuine Parts Co. announced on April 29 that Paul D. Donahue will transition from chairman and CEO to executive chairman, effective June 3, 2024. At that time, William P. Stengel, II, currently president and COO, will succeed Donahue as president and CEO of GPC and will serve as a member of the board of directors.

London Drugs

Following the cybersecurity attack last week that led to the temporary closure of all its stores, London Drugs reported it is gradually re-opening locations across Western Canada. Nearly half of its stores have reopened so far. The Company said it is “taking the time with each store to ensure systems are working and ready to serve customers. We ask for patience as we work with each store to ensure it is operating fully to meet the needs of our customers, and therefore we will not be communicating which stores are opening and when.

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.