October 27, 2021
Congressman Chris Jacobs is urging the FTC to stop postponing a merger between Tops Market and Price Chopper, which was first announced in February. Mr. Jacobs says if the commission does not act before November 8, funding for the project will expire. Without the financing – or an extension of the financing commitment – the merger could fall through. A Tops spokesperson on Monday said the FTC review was moving forward. To facilitate clearance from the FTC, Tops and Price Chopper have agreed to sell about seven of the nearly 300 locations the combined company would have. The deal would create a supermarket company that stretches across upstate New York, with little overlap in their major markets, while also expanding each chain’s presence in New England and Pennsylvania. Click here for more info.
Our Hot Market Report takes a closer look at the Seattle, WA real estate landscape, and provides visual competitive analyses as well as key real estate metrics such as future openings, store count, market share, digital insights, and demographics. Click here to request a copy of the full report.
Wakefern’s retail sales fell about 3% to $17.80 billion for FY21 (ended October 2, 2021), compared to $18.30 billion for FY20, which had an extra 53rd week. The Company’s FY19 retail sales were $16.60 billion. During FY21, Wakefern opened four ShopRite stores, four Price Rite Marketplace supermarkets, and welcomed a new member, the Slawsby family. Massachusetts-based Madison Foods, a former Save-A-Lot operator, now operates four new Price Rite Marketplace supermarkets in the Boston area.
The Wakefern cooperative comprises nearly 50 member families who own and operate 361 supermarkets under the ShopRite, Price Rite Marketplace, The Fresh Grocer, Dearborn Market, Gourmet Garage, and Fairway Market banners in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. Wakefern marked its 75th anniversary during its Annual Meeting on Thursday, October 21. Executive Vice President Chris Lane also reported on new retail innovations, which include the continued expansion of its own brands, Bowl & Basket, Paperbird, and Fresh to Table, which is a store-within-a-store department that provides fresh foods, prepped ingredients and meal solutions. The Company is also investing in digital solutions, including piloting robotic delivery carts, an automated storage-and-retrieval system, and adopting the dunnhumby customer data science platform as its mainline category management and merchandising solution. In 2019 the Company partnered with Takeoff Technologies to open micro fulfillment centers.
Coborn’s is expanding into Michigan with the purchase of three Tadych’s Econofoods grocery stores in the Upper Peninsula of the state as well as three locations in eastern Wisconsin. The stores are operated by the Tadych family and will continue to operate under the Tadych name. The transaction, financial terms of which were not released, is expected to close in early December. With this acquisition and the opening of a new Coborn’s Marketplace store in Buffalo, MN in November, Coborn’s will expand to 66 stores across Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Michigan. Coborn’s also operates numerous fuel, liquor, and pharmacy locations. To support its 130 various retail business units, the Company has its own central bakery, dry cleaning facility, and grocery distribution center. Last July, we reported that Associated Wholesale Grocers will serve as the Company’s primary supplier, beginning in January 2022 from AWG’s new Upper Midwest Division in St. Cloud, MN. Coborn’s plans to temporarily supply stores from an existing facility, before the 330,000 square-foot perishables warehouse in St. Cloud, MN is completed, expected by fall 2022. The Company owns the land on which the new facility is being built, intending to build its own warehouse. This facility will ultimately supply dry goods as well, although management does not yet have a timeline for consolidating the facilities, which could be up to one million square feet. AWG said the St. Cloud facility will service 98 other stores in addition to Coborn’s, and it intends to continue to grow members throughout Minnesota, the Dakotas, Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan. Coborn’s management noted plans to continue to work with UNFI to supply its Hornbacher’s stores. Click here for a complimentary list of future openings.
This whitepaper discusses the pandemic-induced and lingering supply chain constraints, and their impacts on inventory levels, costs, retail pricing and profits, and overall inflation. Click here to request a copy of the full report.
Walmart has rolled out several convenient delivery options ahead of the holiday season. The Company is extending store delivery hours nationwide by two hours. It is also increasing the number of items available for delivery from local stores, including oversized items, and alcohol, which will now be available for pickup from 3,000 stores and delivery from 1,500 locations. This is in addition to offering Black Friday deals throughout the month of November, with early access for Walmart+ members.
Finally, Walmart plans to expand the footprint of a southeast Orlando location with the addition of more retail and commercial uses. An existing 41,590 square-foot Walmart Neighborhood Market filed plans with Orange County to build 14,000 square feet of retail; a 4,200 square-foot clinic; an 11,320 square-foot restaurant; and a 2,500 square-foot quick service restaurant. Click here for a list of future openings.
PriceSmart’s 4Q net merchandise sales grew 12.7% to $871.2 million. Foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations impacted net merchandise sales negatively by $10.1 million, or 1.3%. Comparable net merchandise sales increased 10.3%. Operating income was $32.5 million compared to $29 million in the prior-year period.
For FY21, net merchandise sales rose 8.6%, and comparable net merchandise sales grew 5.8%. Membership renewal rate has risen to 89.6% over the past year; its membership base now exceeds pre-COVID levels and is at an all-time high. The Company opened one new warehouse club over the past year, bringing its count to 47.
REI plans to open a new 17,200 square-foot store in Athens, GA in fall 2022. This will be the Company’s sixth location in Georgia and will feature a bikeshop, virtual outfitting, BOPIS and curbside pickup. Click here for a list of future openings.
Jack in the Box has awarded seven development agreements in 4Q21 to open 47 new restaurants. The Company has awarded a total of 23 development agreements in FY21 to build 111 units over the course of the next several years. The agreements will help the brand grow in existing markets, including Los Angeles, Dallas and Houston, and new markets like Salt Lake City, UT and Louisville, KY. In addition to its planned growth, Jack in the Box said it has experienced a 14% system-wide comp increase year-over-year through the end of its most recent 3Q. Click here for a sample list of future openings.
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Stop & Shop recently opened a new 37,000 square-foot home-delivery fulfillment center in Weymouth, MA, focused on processing and delivering online orders. Click here to request a list of future openings and closings.
Chipotle’s 3Q revenue increased 21.9% to $1.96 billion, including a 15.1% increase in comparable restaurant sales. Digital sales grew 8.6% annually to $840.4 million and represented 42.8% of sales. Chipotle recovered quickly from the COVID-19 pandemic, in large part due to continued development of its digital platform that enabled the Company to rebuild and maintain sales growth despite restrictions on indoor dining for most of the year. Comparable restaurant sales were down 9.8% at the height of the pandemic in 2Q20 but swiftly rebounded to 8.3% and 5.7% growth in 3Q and 4Q, respectively, resulting in a 1.8% increase for the full year. During the quarter, the Company opened 41 new restaurants including two relocations, bringing the total restaurant count to 2,892. Looking ahead at 4Q, the Company expects comparable restaurant sales to be in the low to mid double-digits range. Click here to request a list of future openings.
Target is more than doubling the number of dedicated Apple shops within its locations to 36. Target initially opened 17 Apple shop-in-shops in February. Target also opened the first shop-in-shop locations for beauty retailer Ulta in August and is planning to rollout a total 800 Ulta Beauty at Target locations nationwide. It will also triple the number of its Disney shop-in-shops to more than 160 from the initial 25 it announced in 2019. Click here for a list of future openings.
Topgolf began construction on a new location in Durham, NC, which will include 102 climate-controlled outdoor hitting bays, a restaurant, and sports bar. Slated to open next summer, this will be the chain’s third in North Carolina, joining two existing locations in the Charlotte area. Topgolf operates 66 units across the U.S.
In a filing with the SEC, sustainable shoe brand Allbirds indicated it is targeting a valuation of up to $2.20 billion in its IPO. The Company is offering 19.2 million shares priced between $12 and $14; at the high end of that range, Allbirds would generate roughly $269 million in its market debut. The Company has not given a date for its IPO, but it expects to list on the Nasdaq under the symbol “BIRD.” The Company said it expects a loss of $15 million – $18 million for the quarter ended September 30, more than double the loss of $7 million in the same period last year. Sales are expected to be $61 million – $62.5 million, up from $47.2 million last year. Allbirds primarily sells its products online, but it also operates 27 retail stores and plans to expand its brick-and-mortar presence in the future.
H.E. Butt will invest $3.8 million to expand its already massive 179,000 square-foot Far Westside H-E-B plus! store in San Antonio, TX. According to a recent filing with the state, the project calls for a 24,000 square-foot addition of the H-E-B Curbside Pickup space, which is currently on the east side of the building. The project will begin in May 2022. Click here for a list of future openings.
Saker ShopRites has reached an agreement to purchase seven ShopRite stores in New Jersey’s Ocean County. The stores — in Berkeley, Toms River, Jackson, Lacey, Stafford, Manchester and Waretown — are owned by the Perlmutter family, which has been a part of ShopRite for 74 years. Michael Perlmutter, the son of co-founder Julius Perlmutter, said the transaction with Saker Family ShopRites will take place before year end. Saker owns 32 ShopRites supermarkets, 30 pharmacies, and Dearborn Market and Garden Center in Holmdel.
Famous Dave’s opened a new “Quick ‘Que” restaurant prototype in Coon Rapids, MN. The line-serve model has a smaller footprint (3,000 square feet versus 6,000 square feet), with the goal of a quicker, more convenient customer experience. According to CEO Jeff Crivello, the Company has been working on the concept for about two years and are planning “a lot more Quick ‘Que locations opening in the future.”
BJ’s 3Q revenue increased 41.9% to $282.2 million. Comparable restaurant sales grew 41.8% and were down 0.5% compared to the same period in 2019. The Company’s heavy concentration in California, which mandated some of the most severe restrictions on indoor dining during the height of the pandemic, weighed on the Company’s performance and pace of recovery. Comparable restaurant sales fell 34% in FY20, leading to a 33% revenue decline to $778.5 million.
CEO Greg Levin said that staffing shortages have driven the Company to shorten its menu, cut dining room capacity, and reduce hours in certain locations. The Company expects staffing levels to improve, more tables seated back to pre-pandemic levels, hours to be expanded, and all of restaurants return to full menus by early November. BJ’s reported a net loss of $2.2 million, after a loss of $6.6 million last year. Adjusted EBITDA was $16.4 million, compared to $6.6 million last year.
Tractor Supply Company’s 3Q21 sales increased 15.8% to $3.02 billion, and comps were up 13.1%. Comps were driven by higher average ticket and transaction count growth of 9.5% and 3.6%, respectively. These results reflect robust demand for everyday merchandise, including consumable, usable, and edible products (C.U.E.), and continued growth in summer seasonal categories. E-commerce sales experienced strong double-digit growth (penetration not disclosed). Gross margin decreased 41 bps to 36%, as cost inflation pressures, higher transportation costs, and product mix shift towards less profitable C.U.E. categories offset price-management actions. SG&A margin improved 58 bps to 26.1% due to lower COVID-19 pandemic response costs and decreased incentive compensation. As a result, operating income rose 17.9% to $297.2 million. The Company opened 12 new Tractor Supply stores and three new Petsense stores during the quarter, for a total of 44 Tractor Supply and six Petsense stores opened this year. Tractor Supply maintains a strong liquidity position, with current cash and cash equivalents of $1.11 billion and no amounts drawn on its $500 million revolving credit facility as of September 25.
For FY21, sales are expected to be about $12.60 billion, up from management’s prior outlook of $12.10 billion – $12.30 billion. Comps are anticipated to rise 16%, up from 11% – 13%. EPS is projected to be $8.40 – $8.50, up from $7.70 – $8.00. Click here for a list of future openings.