November 18, 2020
Chipotle Mexican Grill is opening its first digital-only restaurant, called the Chipotle Digital Kitchen, in Highland Falls, NY. Rather than the typical fast-casual service line, the Digital Kitchen will consist of only a lobby designated for off-premise orders and food pick-up. Orders can be placed on Chipotle’s website, app, or through third-party delivery partners. The Digital Kitchen will also accommodate large catering orders available for pick up in a separate lobby. The new prototype comes as Chipotle looks to spread locations into dense, urban marketplaces without the costs of operating a full-scale restaurant. The virtual restaurant space will also help accelerate the digital business in non-traditional locations. Click here to request a list of future store openings.
Last Thursday, Amazon opened its third Amazon Fresh supermarket, in Northridge, CA. The 30,000 square-foot store is the smallest of the Amazon Fresh locations opened thus far. The first, a 35,000 square-foot store in Woodland Hills, CA, opened in mid-September, followed by a 40,000 square-foot location in Irvine, CA in late October. The Northridge, Irvine and Woodland Hills stores are among eight Amazon Fresh locations disclosed by Amazon thus far.
Yesterday, Amazon launched Amazon Pharmacy, an online store that allows customers to receive prescription medications delivered to their homes. Prime members would be eligible for free two-day delivery and discounts on medications when not using insurance. This new digital store is in addition to Amazon’s existing Pillpack service that aids customers in managing multiple medications for chronic conditions. Should this new service resonate with consumers, it will further increase the stickiness of Prime memberships and poses an additional threat to existing retailers selling prescription medications. On the news, CVS Health, Walgreens, and Rite Aid saw their stock down in mid-day trading around 8%, 4%, and 15%, respectively.
In addition, Amazon announced plans to launch a new fulfillment center in Madison County, MS. The Company launched its first facility in Mississippi in Byhalia in 2019, and then a new fulfilment center this August in Olive Branch. The Madison County facility will be the first in the state to feature Amazon’s innovative robotics technology.
Amazon is expanding its contactless Key In-Garage Delivery service to more than 4,000 U.S. cities and adding grocery offerings. Prime members can opt to have their Whole Foods Market or Amazon Fresh online grocery delivery orders placed inside their garage. The program, first offered in 50 cities in April 2019, has launched in select areas of Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle.Click here for a list of Amazon future openings.
Ahold Delhaize’s Food Lion announced November 10 that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has granted early termination of the waiting period under Hart-Scott-Rodino, which satisfies one of the conditions necessary for the Company to close on its purchase of 62 BI-LO/Harveys Supermarket stores from Southeastern Grocers (first announced in June). The stores will remain open under the BI-LO and Harveys banners until the transaction is complete; conversions are expected to take place over a staggered period from January to April 2021. Food Lion plans to ultimately operate all of the stores under the Food Lion banner. Click here to request a list of future store openings and closings.
Dollar General plans to build a combination dry and DG Fresh distribution center in Blair, NE, representing an approximate $85.0 million investment. At full capacity, the 800,000 square-foot facility is expected to support more than 1,500 stores in the Midwest. Construction is scheduled to begin next month, with completion currently slated for early 2022. The dual facility will be the first combination building constructed by the Company and will include approximately 650,000 square feet of dry goods and approximately 150,000 square feet of DG Fresh items. Click here to request a list of future store openings.
Home Depot announced it has agreed to acquire HD Supply Holdings, a national distributor of maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) products in the multi-family and hospitality end markets. The Company will commence a cash tender offer for HD Supply common stock at $56 per share, indicating an enterprise value of about $8.00 billion. Home Depot will use cash on hand and debt to fund the deal, which is expected to close in 4Q (ending January 31). This is a “re-acquisition,” as Home Depot spun off HD Supply in June 2007 to a group of private equity firms for $10.30 billion.
Camping World signed an agreement to acquire four existing dealership locations from Noble RV, in Owatonna, Madelia, Oronoco, and Jordan, MN. The acquisition is expected to close next month, and brings Camping World’s store count in Minnesota to eight. Management also announced the acquisition of the Outlet Recreation dealership in Fargo, ND, marking the Company’s first location in North Dakota. The deal is also expected to close in December. Camping World currently owns and operates more than 160 SuperCenters nationwide, with most locations specializing in RV sales and service, RV parts and accessories, outdoor lifestyle products, and Good Sam products and services. Camping World expects to announce several additional markets for expansion throughout the country in 2021, with plans to expand from 38 operating states currently to all 48 continental states by the end of 2021.
Southeastern Grocers, Inc. announced November 11 the opening of four new Winn-Dixie stores located in Boynton Beach, Gainesville, Jacksonville and Lakewood Ranch, FL. The new store openings are the first of eight new Winn-Dixie stores scheduled to open throughout Florida. Winn-Dixie’s expansion will include additional locations in Fort Myers, Lake Mary and Melbourne later this year, and Viera in early 2021. Click here to request a list of future store openings.
Fry’s Electronics permanently closed its Campbell, CA location on November 10, leaving just four locations in the San Francisco Bay Area (Concord, Fremont, San Jose, and Sunnyvale). This is the second Bay Area store to close in the last year, following the Palo Alto closure in December 2019 after its lease expired. Fry’s Electronics operates 30 units in 10 states, including 14 in California.
Captain D’s will open its first Express unit by mid-year 2021, offering a no-dining-room version of the concept that had been in the works at least a year before the COVID-19 pandemic. Captain D’s, which has more than 530 restaurants, will open the new prototype D’s Express store in the Atlanta area; the concept reduces the footprint from the typical 1,964 square feet to 960 square feet and offers only drive-thru and pickup windows, with no seating.
Francesca’s announced a plan to close approximately 140 boutiques by January 30, though this number may change. In connection with the closures, the Company expects to incur total impairment charges of approximately $29.0 million - $33.0 million during the 3Q and the YTD periods ended October 31. The impairment charges are not expected to result in cash expenditures. Francesca’s previously disclosed that if it is unable to raise sufficient additional capital to continue to fund operations and pay its obligations, it will likely need to seek a restructuring under the protection of applicable bankruptcy laws. The Company’s strategic plans are not yet finalized and are subject to numerous uncertainties, including negotiations with creditors and investors, and conditions in the credit and capital markets. Click here to request a list of store closures.
Luby’s has retained commercial real estate consultants JLL to assist in the orderly sale of the Company’s real estate holdings, which is part of its previously announced sale of operating divisions and assets. The Company currently operates 60 Luby’s Cafeteria restaurants and 24 Fuddruckers restaurants. Last September, Luby’s board approved a plan of liquidation and dissolution that provides for the sale of the Company’s assets and distribution of the net proceeds to its stockholders.
Franchise Group announced that it has refranchised 47 Buddy’s locations to bebe stores for $35.0 million. This agreement also includes a planned development schedule for bebe to open 20 new Buddy’s locations. The Company will use the proceeds to pay down its term loan. As a result of this deal, the Company’s sales and adjusted EBITDA will decline by $35.0 million and $6.0 million, respectively.
84 Lumber announced that it hit $4.00 billion in annual sales as of November this year, for the first time in its history. The Company was established in 1956 and is now the largest privately held building materials supplier, with 250 stores in more than 30 states. In addition to breaking sales records in 2020, the Company also moved forward with expanding existing stores and opening in new markets. 84 Lumber opened manufacturing plants in Cleveland, OH; Greensville, SC; and Philadelphia, PA this year, and plans to expand to Northern California; Boise, ID; and Detroit, MI next year.
Farmer Bros. announced it will initiate the wind-down of its manufacturing operations in Houston, TX in December. The last day of production is expected to occur in late January 2021. The Company explained that the Houston action is part of Farmer Bros.’ supply-chain optimization strategy, which also includes significant improvements to the Company’s Dallas-Fort Worth, TX facility and a new West Coast distribution facility in Rialto, CA. Farmer Bros. noted that it will continue to maintain a sales presence in the Houston area.
Bed Bath & Beyond completed the sale of its Christmas Tree Shops retail banner, its institutional Linen Holdings business, and a distribution center in Florence, NJ. Total cash proceeds from the three separate sale transactions totaled $250.0 million. The Company plans to continue optimizing its portfolio, including a potential sale of additional non-core assets. Over the past year, Bed Bath & Beyond has generated more than $750.0 million through divestitures, with funds to be reinvested in its “digital-first, omni-always transformation.” Click here to request a list of store closures.
In the Stein Mart bankruptcy case, the Debtors filed a motion seeking approval to sell their intellectual property assets as part of an auction process. The stalking horse bidder is Stein Mart Online, Inc., a majority-owned subsidiary of Retail Ecommerce Ventures. The agreement provides for a purchase price of $4.0 million. The deadline for qualified bids was November 16, with an auction scheduled for today. Retail Ecommerce Ventures owns the intellectual property assets of dressbarn, Franklin Mint, Linens ‘n Things, Pier 1 Imports, and Modell’s Sporting Goods. Click here for a list of store closures.
In the Tailored Brands bankruptcy case, the Court entered an order confirming the Plan of Reorganization. As a result, Tailored Brands expects to successfully emerge from Chapter 11 protection by the end of November, after it has satisfied customary conditions to the effectiveness of the Plan. Under the terms of the Plan, Tailored Brands will eliminate $686.0 million of funded debt from its balance sheet.
The Plan is supported by Consenting Term Loan Lenders, the DIP Lenders, the Exit ABL Facility Lenders, the Exit Term Loan Facility Lenders, and the Creditors’ Committee. Click here for more information.
Mac’s Convenience Stores LLC, a subsidiary of Alimentation Couche-Tard, acquired Pride C-Stores Inc., which owns and operates seven convenience stores in Indiana. Each store is about 3,000 square feet and sells CITGO-branded fuel.
In the ascena retail group bankruptcy case, the Court approved the sale of the Justice brand intellectual property to Justice Brand Holdings LLC, an entity formed by Bluestar Alliance LLC. Total consideration is $90.0 million, including the assumption of certain liabilities. The transaction is expected to close before the end of the month. Bluestar owns, manages, and markets a portfolio of consumer brands that span many tiers of distribution, from luxury to mass market. The portfolio consists of retail brands including Brookstone, Tahari, Bebe, Kensie, Catherine Malandrino, Nanette Lepore, Joan Vass, Michael Bastian, English Laundry and Limited Too. The Justice stores will remain open and continue serving customers through the holiday season; a wind-down of all Justice locations is expected to conclude by early 2021.
Separately, the Debtors filed a motion to reject additional leases (click here to request a list), including 23 Justice units, 14 Lane Bryant locations, one Ann Taylor store. They also identified three stores they plan to close in the future (two LOFT locations in Brooklyn, NY and Philadelphia, PA, and one Lane Bryant in Mansfield, TX). The confirmation hearing is scheduled for November 23.