Wal-Mart tests direct-to-fridge; Amazon ups restaurant game

September 21, 2017 in Latest News

(Reuters) – Wal-Mart Stores Inc is testing a service to stock groceries directly to customers’ refrigerators as it seeks to take on e-commerce giant Amazon.com.

The delivery of groceries and meal kits is emerging as the next frontier of competition among retailers.

The world’s biggest brick-and-mortar retailer said on Friday it is partnering with August Home, a provider of smart locks and home accessories, to test the service with certain customers in the Silicon Valley. (bit.ly/2ffqqvT)

The grocery business is set to be upended through Amazon’s acquisition of upmarket grocer Whole Foods last month and the online retailer is also entrenching itself more deeply in the restaurants business.

Amazon Restaurants on Friday teamed up with online food ordering company Olo whose network of restaurants includes Applebee’s and Chipotle.

The partnership will help Olo’s restaurant customers connect with Amazon’s delivery services.

The competition in the meal-kits business is also heating up. Supermarket operator Albertsons Cos Inc said it would buy meal-kit delivery service Plated while rival Kroger-owned Ralphs started selling meal kits in stores this week.

ONE-TIME PASSCODE DELIVERY

As part of the test, Wal-Mart delivery persons gain access to a customer’s house using a pre-authorized one-time passcode and put away groceries in the fridge and other items in the foyer.

Homeowners would receive notifications when the delivery is in progress and could also watch the real-time process from their home security cameras through the August Home app.

The Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer has been exploring new methods of delivery and in June said it was testing using its own store employees to deliver packages ordered online.

Source: Reuters

Analyst: Amazon poised to enter drugstore market

July 5, 2017 in Latest News

Dive Brief:

  • Walgreens Boots Alliance’s CEO Stefano Pessina on Thursday shrugged off the idea that Amazon might get into the drugstore business, saying the e-commerce giant was more likely to focus on less complicated retail areas. “Honestly I don’t believe that Amazon will … because they have so many opportunities around world and in many other categories, which are much, much simpler than healthcare, which is a very regulated business,” Pessina told analysts, according to a transcript from Seeking Alpha.
  • Amazon already sells medical devices and employs executives to deal with health care-related regulatory issues, and is said to be exploring how to ramp up its efforts in the pharmacy space.
  • Despite reservations, Pessina did say that Walgreens would be open to partnering with Amazon if it came to that: “If we were wrong and our belief was wrong, I believe that at the end of the day, we could find our goal in the new environment and we wouldn’t exclude to partner with them, we wouldn’t exclude to analyze the new situation of the market and to find our place adapting ourselves.”

Dive Insight:

Sales of prescription drugs provide drugstore chains with a steady stream of customers, but it’s a volatile space. Big-dollar corporate and government contracts are won and lost, generic versions of often-prescribed medicines can ding sales, and the Affordable Care Act has brought some price pressures to the health care sector in general, bringing costs down for consumers but not necessarily for retailers. Added to the instability is the current political environment, where recent actions by Congress and the Trump administration are poised to disrupt the space further.

Amazon’s major foray into brick-and-mortar via its proposed $13.7 billion acquisition of grocer Whole Foods has led to speculation that it could make a similar play in pharmacy.

Although Pessina downplayed Amazon’s ambitions in the segment, Leerink Partners analyst David Larsen said in a note to investors that the segment is primed for an entry by Amazon, considering Rite Aid’s availability and Amazon’s strengths, including its logistical prowess and sticky Prime membership base. Amazon has “the scale, logistical expertise, distribution footprint, and devoted consumer following,” he wrote, according to Barron’s. “What it lacks are relationships with pharmaceutical companies and distributors.”

It’s not just Walgreens, Rite Aid or CVS that would be challenged by such a move; Amazon in the pharmacy space would also challenge Walmart, a major pharmacy player with the advantage of a huge physical store fleet that is increasingly willing to go head-to-head with Amazon in e-commerce. With new features added to its mobile app for pharmacy and money services customers, including new ways for shoppers to skip regular checkout lines, Walmart is looking to differentiate the shopping experience by offering the same level of convenience as Amazon while continuing to leverage its physical footprint, Stephan Schambach, founder and CEO of mobile platform NewStore, told Retail Dive in an email. (Schambach is also the founder of e-commerce platform Demandware, which recently sold to Salesforce).

But Walmart’s new features won’t necessarily stop Amazon from bringing its own strengths to the space, which is highly regulated, but also highly lucrative, he noted. “Though challenges may arise in entering a regulated market, breaking into a multi-billion market opportunity for the e-commerce company can lead to huge success,” he said. “Speedy delivery options and lower drug prices is the next step for Amazon in addressing the massive demand for a simpler, faster, overall more convenient shopping experience.

Source: Retail Dive

The Day That Changed Retail

June 19, 2017 in Latest News

 

It’s the moment Amazon.com investors have been waiting for and everyone else has been dreading. For years, Amazon watchers have wondered when founder and CEO Jeff Bezos would pull the trigger on a broader plan to remake the retail landscape. Friday seems to be the day.

 This morning, Amazon announced it had agreed to buy Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion.

The idea has been percolating in recent months, but it still caught Wall Street by surprise. Shares of the big grocery chains tumbled on the news. Kroger was down 13% and Sprouts fell 11%. Even more diversified names are feeling the pain, with Target down 9%, Costco down 6%, and Wal-Mart falling 5%. Amazon shares, already on a tear in the last 18 months, were up 3% on the news.

(Wal-Mart made its own purchase Friday, buying online apparel maker Bonobos for $310 million.)

Whole Foods investors were thrilled that Amazon had arrived to save the struggling chain. Its stock soared 27% on the offer, even though the deal, priced at $42 per share, values Whole Foods at 35% less than its 2013 peak.

After reshuffling — some might say ravaging — the bricks-and-mortar landscape from the sidelines, Amazon is now jumping in with both feet. The company was typically demure in its short press release on the deal. “Whole Foods Market has been satisfying, delighting and nourishing customers for nearly four decades – they’re doing an amazing job and we want that to continue,” Bezos said in a press release. But it would be naive to think Amazon simply wants to nourish organic food customers. Grocery stores are a tough business without much profit to be made.

For Amazon, the deal is likely part of a broader strategy to bring Amazon physically closer to customers. Having a network of bricks-and-mortar stores could shorten delivery windows for all manner of products, whether heirloom tomatoes, batteries, or books.

Amazon has been working on ways to improve its network for years. It’s started AmazonFresh, a grocery delivery service in 2008. And it’s been leasing planes to create its own shipping service. Whole Foods has become the latest piece of the puzzle.

Source: Barrons Next

How Amazon, Walmart And Whole Foods Are Losing To Mom-And-Pop Grocers

May 1, 2017 in Latest News

Once upon a time, mom-and-pop grocers could succeed with the basics: standard product offerings, a good location and decent customer service. But as leading grocery chains and e-retailers like Whole Foods, Walmart and Amazon continue to innovate, they are rendering many independent grocery stores obsolete. To survive, these local players within small markets are stepping up their game to compete.

“For truly independent grocers, there’s so much great competition from existing grocers,” Weitzman executive managing director Bob Young said. “Small format grocers used to be able to offer better levels of service.”

Weitzman leases more than 44M SF and manages more than 22M SF of retail space throughout Texas with a focus on grocery-anchored centers. Across that space, Young has seen many chains offer new services aimed at customer convenience and many small operators struggle to keep up.

Grocery shoppers have never had such an abundance of options from which to fill their pantries and refrigerators. Busy consumers can order groceries online from e-commerce retailers like Amazon Fresh and Thrive Market, or opt for delivery from local grocers using Instacart or Shipt. Then there are the big-box chains like Walmart that have a pool of shipping and distribution resources, usually resulting in cheaper products.

This shift in customer preference toward online convenience is a costly expense that forces independent grocers to charge higher prices than the big chains, decreaing their appeal and ability to compete.

Competing With A Niche Concept 

It is for this reason that local staples like Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Zingerman’s are carving out a space for themselves in the market.

“Strengths lead to weaknesses,” Zingerman’s Community of Businesses co-founding partner Ari Weinzweig said. “Every grocery store now has high-quality olive oils and goat cheese, and when that’s more widely available, [we’re forced to] compete with everyone.”

When Zingerman’s first opened its doors as a corner grocery in 1982, many of its specialty foods were novel. Since then, Zingerman’s has turned into a community of businesses that includes a creamery, a bakery, a deli, a coffee company and several other concept locations throughout Ann Arbor.

“If a grocer goes in a neighborhood where large grocers already are, they have to have a merchandising niche that’s specific to their area, and then they must have the wherewithal to operate the store well,” Weitzman’s Young said.

For example, Young has seen concepts linked to a cultural group, such as an Asian market with fresh fish and imported goods, succeed in a trade area matching its demographics.

The Definition Of Great Shopping

Sevananda Natural Foods Market general manager Ahzjah Simons said that though her Atlanta store competes with chains like Whole Foods and Sprouts, they also have somewhat of a symbiotic relationship.

“Now that some of the major stores carry some specialty items we’ve been carrying for years, it’s more competitive,” she said. “But we sometimes tell customers to look at the chains for things we don’t have, and Whole Foods does the same for us.”

Sevananda and Zingerman’s focus on things that set them apart.

“If your definition of great [grocery shopping] means free delivery, then there’s Amazon for you,” Weinzweig said. “If your definition of great [grocery shopping] is having a conversation with a store owner, tasting the product and learning where it came from, that’s us.”

A renewed interest in healthy eating has simultaneously revitalized interest in many small natural grocers, spurring the creation of more healthy options from national grocers.

A Sense Of Community

Both Sevananda and Zingerman’s have worked hard to attain something most big grocers lack: a sense of community. Sevananda’s distributes a magazine for co-op owners and hosts public programming and workshops for the community, while Zingerman’s hosts events such as food tours and baking classes through sister businesses for local residents.

Despite troubling retail trends, Sevananda is on the upswing. The consumer-owned store has been around for more than 40 years and has about 3,800 member owners. In addition to other perks, a board can vote to pay owners returns.

“Over the last five or six years, we weren’t profitable and did not pay our owners,” Simons said. “We’ll be back in a position do to that soon. Sales have returned to where they were and are starting to surpass that.”

Source: BISNOW

How Zombie Retailers Are Dragging Down The Industry

March 20, 2017 in Latest News

Zombie retailers—companies that are living on the edge of bankruptcy—such as Sears Holding Corp. (SHLD), Payless Shoesource Inc. and J.Crew Group, Inc. are undermining the margins of healthier companies such as Macy’s Inc. (M) by keeping significant amounts of uncompetitive, brick-and-mortar capacity alive while more traditional retailers struggle with their online competitors, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The fraction of retailers whose debt Moody’s Investors Service has rated as either speculative or worse—currently standing at 13.5% of the retailers it rates—has surged since the end of 2011, when it stood at 5.6%, and is currently nearing the figure of 16% reached during the financial crisis, the Journal reported.

A Republican proposal to tax imports could make the situation worse, according to CNBC. Stephen Sadove, who is on the board of the National Retail Federation, described this potential policy as “the biggest threat” that retailers have seen in years during a CNBC interview. The retail industry could also suffer should the United States pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Retailers on Life Support

Amid these treacherous conditions, some companies have been harnessing creative financing techniques, for example taking part in distressed-debt exchanges, the Journal reported. Investors, who take a haircut by agreeing to these exchanges, have simply refused to throw in the towel in some cases. Many of them are holding onto hope that the retail industry is suffering not as a result of secular decline, but because of more temporary factors.

By enabling troubled retailers, investors are contributing to the oversupply of brick-and-mortar locations that have been hurting the margins of stronger retailers such as Sears, according to the Journal.

Is This Only the Beginning?

While a large number of more traditional retail stores have been impacted by electronic commerce (e-commerce), the widespread impact that e-commerce has had thus far may only be the beginning, Tenpao Lee, interim dean and professor of economics at Niagara University, told Investopedia in an interview. He noted that while Amazon.com, Inc.‘s (AMZN) sales represent a small fraction of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.‘s (WMT) sales, Amazon could easily enjoy robust sales growth going forward.

Past that, Lee offered some broader trends. While 20% of retail sales are currently online and 80% take place through brick-and-mortar stores, this ratio could soon change to 40-60.

As for which large retailers suffer the most as online retail transactions proliferate, he specifically singled out Ralph Lauren Corp. (RL) and Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. (KORS). Lee emphasized that these luxury retailers can only reduce their price so much in the face of competition if they want to stay true to their brand. He said that in the current global economy, businesses are having a harder time distinguishing themselves.

 

Source:  Investopedia

Amazon Set To Build 2.3 MSF Florida Center

August 1, 2016 in Latest News

amazon-fulfillment-ruskin-floridaAn affiliate of online retail giant Amazon paid $15 million for 155 acres in Jacksonville, where the company plans to build a major distribution and fulfillment center.

The development will bring  1,500 Amazon jobs to the Northside area of Jacksonville, culminating years of quiet negotiations to convince the online retailer to build the distribution center in Jacksonville.

The city government, which code-named the Amazon campaign “Project Rex,” offered $13.4 million to attract the distribution center, mostly $10 million of property tax rebates over 12 years.

Amazon’s distribution center will measure 2.4 million square feet, Jerry Mallot, executive vice president of JAX Chamber, told the St. Augustine Record.

Mallot also told the newspaper that contractors have started preparing the site of the distribution center for construction and may finish it by late 2017.

He said the effort to attract the jumbo-sized Amazon fulfillment center spanned seven years and included officials of the chamber, city and state.

USAA Real Estate, which builds and manages fulfillment centers for Amazon, bought the 155-acre site for the Jacksonville distribution center.

USAA Real Estate also paid $700,000 to SunTrust Bank for another 20 acres.

 

Source:  The Real Deal

Evolving Retail Trends To Watch In 2016

January 4, 2016 in Latest News

2016 retail trends2015 has come and gone, and for the retail industry, it has been a year of big change. From a variety of new payments options and requirements to new ways to sell online, there are a number of trends propelling the industry forward. Here are some predictions for which retail trends will bubble to the top in 2016, and how winning retailers will react.

Main Street Retail Will Strut Its Omnichannel Chops

Big box retail brands have long been developing robust ecommerce destinations to match their brick-and mortar superstores, but many independent retailers have been more internet-averse due to the seemingly overwhelming task of opening an online store. Thanks to a new class of tech tools, however, online stores are more affordable and easier to build than ever. In fact, a recent survey we conducted of more than 1,500 independent retailers found 61 percent plan to increase their ecommerce budget in 2016, and 39 percent predict more online sales will be the biggest revenue driver next year. This coming year, independent retailers will shed their outdated notions and prove that they are an omnichannel force to be reckoned with.

Social Will Gain Ground, But Won’t Replace Ecommerce

2016 will be the year social media tries to take on ecommerce. We’ve already begun to see efforts from Facebook and Twitter. Facebook is keen on developing itself as the small business owner’s trusty sidekick, with new click-to-buy options, small business concierge messaging apps and the testing of their new “Local Market” feature. This year will be an important time for retailers to get involved in social media channels, testing and experimenting as much as they can to find out what works best, before social ecommerce becomes the accepted norm among consumers.

That being said, Facebook is like a shopping mall — a great place for convenience and discovery, but full of distractions and not necessarily representative of a retailer’s ideal brand experience. Merchants will add social commerce to their ecommerce playbooks next year, but they won’t be using it as a replacement channel.

Apple Pay Will Be Off to a Slow Start in 2016

Whether it’s researching products or looking for coupons, smartphones have become an integral part of the shopping experience. It’s somewhat surprising to find out then, that as of October 2015, only 16.5 percent of iPhone 6 users have ever tried Apple Pay. Even among those who have tried it, only about a third (35 percent) reach for their phone before their wallet. Consumers are dragging their feet when it comes to using Apple Pay and only 34 percent of retailers planning to accept Apple Pay by the end of 2016.

The promise of points and miles lead hoards of consumers to instinctively reach for the plastic. Apple and other mobile payment providers will need to think similarly about incentives that will drive widespread adoption. In 2016, mobile payments providers will implement new ways to drive adoption including strategic partnerships with retailers to offer discounts in exchange for using mobile payments, or rewards points for customers who choose to pay with their mobile devices. Android Pay has already enabled easy storage of retailers’ loyalty cards, and Google recently partnered with Coca-Cola so consumers can earn loyalty points directly through Android Pay vending machine purchases. As retailers develop their own loyalty programs, they’ll look to Apple Pay to offer seamless integrations that help capture the return customer.

Independent Retailers Will Begin to See Value in Amazon-like Subscription Models

Amazon relies heavily on its Amazon Prime memberships to provide the convenient experience that keeps their customers shopping online. In 2015, we saw the rise of similar brand loyalty programs with brands like Instacart, Fabletics and Sephora, which have all designed membership programs that promise discounts and perks in exchange for an up-front fee.

In 2016, we can expect growth in the number of upfront fee-based loyalty programs, even from smaller retailers. But merchants need to be sure the program is profitable – both in terms of bringing in revenue, and as a successful tool to build customer loyalty. Achieving that has been a challenge to date: data shows just a quarter of independent retailers currently have a loyalty program in place. Retailers see the future value in them though, with 30 percent more planning to implement one in 2016. Providing free shipping is far from free for the retailer, and similar perks that come with the subscription model mean increased overhead cost. Smaller merchants will need to support those programs with sound business management software to ensure they prove to be smart decisions.

Consumers are constantly raising the bar on shopping expectations and retailers have plenty of options when it comes to meeting those expectations with technology and innovative business models. But not all trends were created equally. As 2015 comes to a close, retailers should reflect on what has worked so far, what customers have been asking for and what will really make an impact on the business. Only after a thoughtful look back and clear view of what’s ahead can retailers  make the smartest, most profitable decisions for the new year.

 

Source:  MultiChannel Merchant

Walgreens To Close 200 Stores

April 13, 2015 in Latest News

walgreensWalgreens Boots Alliance is set to begin restructuring after its merger, and part of that restructuring means closing 200 stores in the United States.

That news came at the same time Walgreens Boots (NASDAQ: WBA) said its quarterly sales were up to $26.6 billion from $19.6 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported. Pharmacy sales, in particular, jumped thanks to a tough cold season, going up 35.5 percent, the report said.

Ultimately, the company hopes to realize some $1.5 billion in cost savings by the end of 2017, the WSJ said, which is more than the original estimates of $500 million.

It’s unclear where the stores will be closed.

Bloomberg reported that the cost-cutting could be preparation for another deal, perhaps a move to buy rival Rite Aid. The company could see that as a preemptive measure given competition from both CVS and, increasingly, Amazon, the report said.

 

Source:  SFBJ

Amazon, Sprint, Others Eyeing RadioShack’s Stores

February 16, 2015 in Latest News

radioshackAmazon.com Inc., aiming to bolster its brick-and-mortar operations, has discussed acquiring some RadioShack Corp. locations after the electronics chain files for bankruptcy, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

Amazon has considered using the RadioShack stores as showcases for the Seattle-based company’s hardware, as well as potential pickup and drop-off centers for online customers, said one of the people, who asked not to be named because the deliberations are private.

The possible move, discussed as part of RadioShack’s looming trip to bankruptcy court, would represent Amazon’s biggest push into traditional retail. Amazon joins other potential bidders, including Sprint Corp. and the investment group behind Brookstone, in evaluating RadioShack stores, people familiar with the situation said. RadioShack has more than 4,000 U.S. locations and is moving toward a deal to sell a portion and close the rest, according to some of the people. Sprint has discussed buying 1,300 to 2,000, they said.

As part of the negotiations, Sprint and RadioShack have discussed co-branding the stores, two of the people said. Liquidation isn’t inevitable: It’s possible that another bidder could emerge that would buy RadioShack and keep it operating, the people said. Amazon’s talks also may not lead to a deal.

Retail locations would put Amazon on more of an even footing with Apple Inc., which has hundreds of stores in choice shopping districts. While Amazon’s Kindle has been a breakthrough success, some of its other devices haven’t connected with consumers. Its Fire smartphone didn’t sell well and contributed to a $170 million inventory writedown in the third quarter of last year.

Amazon continues to invest in new hardware as it pushes beyond its core business of selling things online. In November, it introduced the voice-activated Amazon Echo speaker that lets people stream music and add things to Amazon shopping lists. The company also has opened temporary “pop-up” shops to entice shoppers during the holidays.

RadioShack traces its roots to 1921, when it began as a mail-order retailer for amateur ham-radio operators and maritime communications officers. It expanded into a wider range of electronics over the decades, and by the 1980s was seen as a destination for personal computers, gadgets and components that were hard to find elsewhere. In more recent years, competition from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and an army of e-commerce sellers — including Amazon — hurt customer traffic.

 

Source:  Bloomberg

17 New Retail Concepts You Should Keep Your Eye On

December 8, 2014 in Latest News

lorna-janeAs the ICSC New York National Deal Making Conference draws near and leasing executives hope to bring in new tenants to their malls and shopping centers, this year’s crop of new and expanding retail concepts promises to give them plenty to work with. From international brands looking to break into the U.S. market to fast fashion chains spawning more and more new concepts to online and catalog operators opening their first physical stores, current trends clearly show the era of the bricks-and-mortar retailer is far from over.

Here’s a look at some of the more promising names on our 2014 list:

Primark

A possible competitor to such fast fashion powerhouses as Forever 21 and H&M, this Dublin-based chain has been a huge hit in Europe, where it currently operates more than 270 locations. Primark’s first U.S. store will open in 2015 in a 70,000-sq.-ft. space at the high-profile Downtown Crossing project in Boston. In addition, in October the chain signed a deal with Sears Holdings Corp. to lease seven locations in Northeastern U.S. from the department store operator, including at New York’s Staten Island Mall and Philadelphia’s King of Prussia Mall.

COS

A brainchild of Swedish fast fashion giant H&M, COS might be the one to watch out for as most likely to enter every mall in the country. The chain offers more timeless and slightly more expensive pieces than H&M, with $125 dresses and $99 pairs of jeans—as the company explains “COS prices start where H&M’s finish.” Cos already operates approximately 46 stores in Western Europe, and it opened its first two U.S. stores this fall, including a 5,683-sq.-ft. location on North Beverly Drive in Los Angeles and a 4,950-sq.-ft. in New York’s Soho neighborhood.

& Other Stories

Another H&M spin-off, & Other Stories sells curated apparel and accessories at decidedly un-fast fashion prices. Dresses start at approximately $70, while the cheapest pair of shoes costs $150. & Other Stories recently opened its first U.S. store, a 6,400-sq.-ft. location in Soho. A company spokesperson says that for the moment, there are no plans for additional stores in the U.S. In total, the brand operates 14 stores worldwide.

F21 Red

Just when you thought that Forever 21 was everywhere, the fast fashion favorite has launched a new concept, boasting a men’s department and even cheaper prices, with many shirts and pants selling for under $10. The first F21 Red store opened at an 18,000-sq.-ft. location in South Gate, Calif. in May. More stores are coming, in the 15,000-sq.-ft. to the 18,000-sq.-ft. range, likely at power centers and lifestyle centers, according to Jim Davis, senior vice president of leasing with commercial real estate firm Olshan Properties. “I would say that this is a concept that Forever 21 will grow based on opportunities, they are looking for locations all over the country,” says Davis.

Amazon

Though the precise purpose of the first Amazon store in New York remains shrouded in secrecy, chances are that like Apple and Microsoft before it, the online shopping powerhouse will want to expand to multiple retail locations. For now, all that we know about Amazon’s inagural physical store is that it will open on 34th Street in Manhattan this holiday shopping season. The store will likely allow customers and delivery services to pick up same-day orders, but its function may be expanded in the future.

Lorna Jane

A potential new competitor for Lululemon and Athleta, this Australian retailer specializes in women’s athletic gear, including $64 “flashdance” pants and $40 tanks. Today, Lorna Jane operates close to 40 stores in Western states, including California, Arizona and Washington. But the chain would eventually like to grow in Southeastern and Northeastern markets. Lorna Jane stores average 2,000 to 2,500 sq. ft. and, according to Davis, the retailer can fit into different types of formats, from street locations to lifestyle centers to enclosed malls.

Urban Decay

The make-up brand, purchased by cosmetics giant L’Oreal in 2012, has just opened its first store at Fashion Island Mall in Newport Beach, Calif. The 1,000-sq.-ft. store comes with a coffee bar and an interactive photo booth. Though plans for a further rollout remain shrouded in secrecy, a second store will open in London this December and there are indications there may be locations on the East Coast by 2015. “We plan to be bi-coastal at some point,” said a company spokesperson.

Arc’teryx

This British Columbia-based chain, named for the first reptile to develop feathers, specializes in outdoor wear, including insulated jackets, fleece “layers,” and duffle bags. Prices range from $29 for a baseball cap to $575 for a hardshell men’s jacket. Act’teryx opened its first U.S. store in Seattle in 2013, followed by stores at Calhoun Square in Minneapolis and CityCenterDC in Washington, D.C. in 2014. Another store is scheduled to open in Portland next year. Arc’teryx stores range from roughly 2,500 sq. ft. to 3,000 sq. ft. plus.

Dune London

This U.K.-based shoe and accessories chain just debuted in New York, and plans to open another store at the World Trade Center mall next year. According to a company spokesperson, “The great thing about Dune is that we have really broad customer appeal, so our demographic is more defined by lifestyle and attitude than by age. For our customers, it’s about investing in stylish, wearable pieces that translate this season’s fashion trends in a relevant way.” Prices range from $65 for high heel shoes to upwards of $300 for boots. The size of Dune London’s stores varies, but the New York location is 2,000 sq. ft.

Yolk

A Chicago-based breakfast and lunch concept, Yolk offers its customers not only omelets, but French toast, Belgian waffles, crepes, soups, salads, sandwiches and coffee, most of it for under $13. There are six locations currently in operation, including five in Chicago and one in Indianapolis. Next year, Yolk may double its fleet, opening from three to five new restaurants, primarily in the Midwest, according to Davis. The chain prefers street locations and spaces in lifestyle centers, with a footprint of approximately 5,500 sq. ft.

B Spot

A burger concept launched by celebrated Cleveland-based chef Michael Symon, B Spot is in expansion mode. The chain’s offerings include such fare as burgers with chorizo sausage and salsa verde ($9.99) and beer brats with BBQ pulled pork ($7.99). Currently, B Spot operates seven locations in Cleveland, Columbus and Detroit, but it’s looking for new spaces throughout the Midwest, in the 4,500 sq. ft. to 5,000 sq. ft. range. The chain has the potential to open three to four new locations a year, according to Davis.

Kitson

A California-based chain that caters to fashion-conscious and well-to-do juniors (an ironic t-shirt can cost up to $175), Kitson is looking to move east, and has been considering locations in New York and Chicago. The retailer takes locations ranging from 5,000 sq. ft. to 15,000 sq. ft. and has an opportunistic mindset, according to Davis.

Bonobos

Bonobos is one of those retailers that started as an e-commerce site and expanded into a bricks-and-mortar store. The menswear seller opened its first physical location in 2011, but it has since grown to 10 stores in major markets, including New York and Los Angeles, and has raised $55 million this year to quadruple the size of its store portfolio with 30 new stores over the course of the next three years. Among locations Bonobos is considering are additional stores in Manhattan and Long Island. Bonobos stores average about 1,500 sq. ft. in size. And the brand may be expanding its audience as well—this year, it opened the first location for its women’s spin-off, Ayr.

Elaine Turner

An upscale women’s shoes and accessories brand, Elaine Turner is looking to break out of the department store universe and into stand-alone stores. There are already eight stores operating, in New York, Texas and Tennessee, with two more scheduled to open this December. The retailer prefers stores of about 1,500 sq. ft. to 2,000 sq. ft. in lifestyle centers, with co-tenants including Anthropologie, J.Crew and Kendra Scott, according to CEO Jim Turner. “We find that our shoppers like to create an experience out of coming to our stores. They take the time to find what they really need and want to try things on, chait with our retail team…and have a glass of Prosecco while they shop.” Eventually, Elaine Turner would like to operate more than 135 stores nationwide.

Silverspot

An upscale movie theater chain coming from Venezuela, Silverspot already has one location open in Naples, Fla. Going forward, the chain plans on an aggressive U.S. expansion, according to John Bemis, executive vice president and retail market lead with real estate services firm JLL. Silverspot takes spaces ranging from 30,000 sq. ft.to 35,000 sq. ft. and “they are looking for higher-end type of audience,” says Bemis. “I think that they are going to be particular about what opportunities they can get versus geography—they want big plush chairs and very high-quality sound.”

Woolrich

The outdoor wear manufacturer may have been around since the early 1880s, but this year the company opened its very first retail store, in a 1,900-sq.-ft. space in New York City. Published reports indicate Woolrich executives would like to open additional locations in Boston, Chicago and Aspen, Colo. before year-end 2014, and eventually want to operate a fleet of at least 50 stores, in major cities and ski resort spots. Be aware, Woolrich clothes are not for the budget-conscious: a woman’s flannel shirt costs from $49 to $69, while a man’s down coat may go for as much as $500.

Lizard Thicket

Another brand that has been around for some time, women’s apparel seller Lizard Thicket got its start in 1981, but it’s been stepping up its regional expansion recently, according to Bemis. Lizard Thicket currently has 10 locations, concentrated in Georgia, Tennessee and Arizona, but “I can see them opening eight to 10 stores a year for the next several years, possibly increasing that if they go public,” he says. Lizard Thicket’s core audience is women aged 18 to 35 looking for reasonably priced, somewhat bohemian styled clothes (think Urban Outfitters, but a few price points lower). The chain’s average store size is approximately 3,000 sq. ft.

 

 

Source:  NREI