Retail Refugees

Bright lights in retail darkness
April 13, 2010, 10:55 am
Filed under: Market Info, Stores | Tags: , , ,

While the majority of major retailers have been hit during the recession, Forbes reports that among others Apple, Amazon and Urban Outfitters have not only managed to stay afloat, but to do exceedingly well in recent times!

Apple, which has taken the retail world by storm with its own outlets. Customers regularly crowd into the small, cozy Apple Stores to scoop up Macs and iPods, vaulting Apple to the top of the industry for revenue per square foot. Apple Store sales have nearly doubled over the past three years to $9.6 billion. continues to roll up higher sales — almost 80 percent growth over the past three years — even though some industry analysts see the company maturing in the U.S. Once little more than an online bookseller, Amazon has become the go-to spot for shoppers looking for convenience and reasonable prices on a wide range of merchandise, including consumer electronics.

The casual dining sector is crowded and struggling, but some chains have carved out distinctive niches and rung up strong sales growth. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Texas Roadhouse and Buffalo Wild Wings have steadily opened outlets while growing revenue 47 percent to 61 percent since 2006. The keys: nice decor, friendly service, consistent food and, of course, low prices. Sounds simple enough, but too many chains trying this model fail to distract customers from the fact that they’re out for a discount meal.

Image: Urban Outfitters


Hotel News: Shore Club is a delinquent
October 21, 2009, 11:04 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , ,

In troubling hotel news, the almighty Shore Club- home to such infamous events as Suge Knight´s getting shot (among others), has gone delinquent on its nearly 112million USD mortgage.

“A renovation of the hotel is in progress and a spokesperson for Philip and Michael Pilevsky said there is a disagreement between the owner and the loan servicer about what the servicer is responsible for funding. The hotel went through a renovation in 2001 and was appraised for $176 million in 2005, when the owners mortgaged it at the peak of South Florida prices. That number might be a bit lower now. The Shore Club has 322 rooms and a spa but is more famous for its Nobu sushi restaurant, several night clubs and its enviable beachfront pool area. Tourism has been down in Florida overall and the hotel has seen occupancy fall this year. The hotel remains open and is currently offering a deal that includes overnight accommodations, priority seating at Skybar and a bottle of either Perrier Jouet Grand Brut or SKYY Vodka on arrival for $325.”

That is not a bad deal…

via Luxist

“Luxury in the Tank” means a bankrupt Barneys?
September 2, 2009, 11:17 am
Filed under: Market Info, Stores | Tags: , , ,

According to reports, Barneys (the NY-based luxe department store) could be making its second trip to bankrupcty court in the near future.  Their other option would be a buy out from Canadian department store chain Holt and Renfrew.  Daily Finance reports, “A spokeswoman said the Toronto-based chain would not comment on the report, which claimed that Holt & Renfrew had approached the hedge fund Perry Capital LLC about a deal. Perry Capital put together the $942 million deal in which Barney’s was sold in 2007. Holt & Refrew, a upscale chain akin to Bloomingdale’s, could be a good fit for Barney’s, which has struggled in the recession, like other high-priced stores with large apparel inventories.

“The bottom line is luxury is in the tank,” said Howard Davidowitz, chairman of Davidowitz & Associates, a New York-based retail consulting and investment banking firm.

“We’re in the biggest trade down effect in the history of retailing,” he said. The results posted this year by retailers including Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and others all point to a steep fall in luxury retail due to the recession. “Barney’s is in a state of collapse, along with all the luxury retailers,” he said.”

The Future of Shopping Malls
September 1, 2009, 11:46 am
Filed under: Market Info | Tags: , , , ,

Luxist had an intersting post today about how some shopping malls are dealing with the recession and subesequent departure of anchor department stores.  Big box stores such as costco have been occupying some of these spaces while some malls are bringing in grocery stores to fil the voids.

“For the past year or so I’ve been a little obsessed with the state of shopping malls. Some stories I’ve read have said that the shopping mall is evolving into more of an outdoor shopping venue such as the Grove in Los Angeles, others have said that its disappearing entirely. One thing is for certain many malls have a lot of vacant space lately, partly because some of those anchor department stores are disappearing or consolidating. All that vacant space is forcing mall owners to get creative. One mall, the Westfield North County Shopping Mall in Escondido near San Diego, California may move a supermarket into the area that once housed a Robinsons-May store.

Big box retailers like Costco have also moved into some malls, taking over prized anchor spots vacated by department stores. Westfield already has a Gelson’s Market at Westfield Century City in Los Angeles and a Bristol Farms at Westfield San Francisco Centre and has found that overall mall sales have increased as the mall becomes one-stop shopping. There’s a hope that the big retailers will lift the sales of the smaller specialty stores in the same way that department stores did in the past.”

World´s Worst Recession Brand… A&F
August 27, 2009, 10:51 am
Filed under: Fashion, Market Info, Stores | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Time Magazine just published an article where they deem A&F the worst recession brand.  Fashion and style points aside, the numbers actaully speak for themselves, “In the second quarter of 2009 alone, sales were down an eye-popping 30% across the company’s three name outlets: the flagship Abercrombie brand, which has 567 stores; Hollister, a 520-store teen chain; and Ruehl, a 29-store chain for young adults that Abercrombie shut down in June. Abercrombie & Fitch lost $26.7 million, which includes $24.4 million in charges associated with the closing of Ruehl, in the second quarter. During the same period in 2008, Abercrombie scored a $77.8 million profit.”

The article points out how A&F refused to lower prices or discount products like their cometitors for fear that it would cheapen the cachet of the brand.  While this is not completely inforrect, they article also points out that it was simply unsuccessful especially when compared to other companies who follow the same logic like Hermes and Four Seasons.

Additionally, “they were the quintessential American prep brand, but the world changed on them,” says Edward Yruma, an equity research analyst at KeyBanc Capital Markets. “We’re living in the Gossip Girl era, where we’re seeing some funkier fashions.” Abercrombie’s classic look went out of style, and the company is just starting to sell dresses, which have performed well. “I’ve noticed that my kids aren’t open to anything Abercrombie these days,” says one mother of two teenage girls.

Abercrombie & Fitch sweatshirts are displayed in one of its stores in Chicago

If you cannot afford a new house, invest in new furniture…
August 26, 2009, 6:19 pm
Filed under: Market Info | Tags: , , , ,

A new US advertising campaign launched by Ogilvy and Mather is urging Americans to consider their homes as the focus of their emotional lives in addition to their financial lives.  The $20million campaign states “things that fill our home also fulfills us” and has been seen in media such as Metropolitan Home and Elle Decor magazines. One ad includes a pricetag affixed to a couch saying: “22 percent cotton, 13 percent giggles, 15 percent group hugs, 11 percent afternoon naps.”

Behind the campaign is a bit of industry intrigue however according to Fast Company. “For decades the American furniture business has been based in High Point, North Carolina, where much of it was once (but no longer) manufactured. But over the past four years the momentum has shifted to the flamboyant World Market Center (above), a 1.3-million-square-foot showroom and exhibition space in Las Vegas. The Las Vegas group commissioned the ad campaign, which amounts to a declaration that it now speaks for the industry. “None of the individual companies has the ability to do something like this on their own so Las Vegas just stepped up and did it,” Shoulberg said. “They’re clearly trying to one-up High Point with this.””

is it home yet print

Against the Current: Bloomingdales
August 18, 2009, 11:09 am
Filed under: Market Info, Stores | Tags: , , , ,

Last week we saw how Hermes is using the recession as an opportunity to expand its retail presence on Madison Avenue while many other retailers are shutting down.  Today we see how Bloomingdales is following suit by undergoing a $45-$55 million renovation of its NYC flagship.

“Over the next two months, the 59th Street landmark department store is rebuilding its flagship’s entire 60,000-square-foot main floor — which includes beauty, fragrance, designer handbags, jewelry, men’s shirts and ties, sunglasses and watches — in a project they’re calling “the biggest makeover in NYC,” reports WWD.

Michael Gould, Bloomingdale’s chairman and CEO, told WWD: “It’s a game-changer. When you see all of the new installations, it will blow your socks off. Every solitary resource has a new shop. It’s like a brand-new store.”

The new layout will officially launch October 15 and will include wider aisles and high glossy walls that will allow each brand to personalize its space.”

(via AOL)

Getty Images