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Retailers in Growth Mode

BY Marianne Wilson

There’s no doubt that Canada is very much on the minds of U.S. retailers these days. As our cover story points out, Canada is attractive for a number of reasons, from its growing population to its resilient economy. But there is plenty of expansion going on here at home too. The extent of the activity is detailed in the “Spring 2012 Retailer and Restaurant Expansion Guide” from ChainLinks Retail Advisors. The comprehensive report, which details the current expansion plans for more than 2,500 U.S. retail and restaurant chains, finds retailer demand is up approximately 5% over last year’s levels.

“Demand is being driven by discounters, grocery store chains, off-price apparel retailers, fast food and fast-casual dining concepts,” said Garrick Brown, national retail research director, ChainLinks.

Retailers cited in the report include Subway, which is planning up to 2,500 stores worldwide in 2012, and Dollar General, on track to open 650 stores. Other retailers include Family Dollar (500), 7-Eleven (at least 300) and Dollar Tree (300).

Additional chains that are expanding in 2012: Chipotle Mexican Grill expects to open 155 to 165 locations — its most ever in one year. Big Lots is also in a growth mode and anticipates opening 90 U.S. stores. Vitamin Shoppe plans to open some 50 stores. Bed Bath & Beyond has 40 stores in the works across its banners.

In the off-price segment, Ross Stores continues to expand at a fast clip, both its namesake brand and its dd’s Discounts format. Ross still has plenty of room for expansion.

In sporting goods, Dick’s Sporting Goods expects to open 40 locations for 2012. Hibbett Sporting Goods, which has flown under the radar for years, will add 55 to 60 stores in 2012.

Outdoor gear retailer Cabela’s will debut a smaller-sized concept, Cabela’s Outpost, this fall, in Union Gap, Wash. Gander Mountain Co. also has a smaller-sized prototype in the works.

Notably missing from the list so far are specialty apparel retailers. There is no getting round the fact that some of the largest apparel chains, from Gap Inc. to Abercrombie & Fitch, are closing more U.S. locations than they are opening new ones. But the sector has by no means grown dark. Specialty apparel remains a vibrant category, with newer players and spin-off concepts injecting fresh blood. Here is a sampling:

• Francesca’s Holdings: The fast-growing accessories and apparel brand will open 75 stores this year.

• Charming Charlie: The accessories brand has wasted no time in ramping up, with 60 locations on tap for its current fiscal year.

• Madewell: The casual young women’s apparel brand from J. Crew is ready for rollout. It will open about 15 locations this year, with a bigger ramp-up in 2013.

• Athleta: Gap has identified its women’s activewear brand Athleta as a primary growth vehicle for the United States, with plans to have 50 stores open by the end of 2013.

• C. Wonder: Launched in New York City last fall, this women’s apparel and lifestyle start-up has since opened in three mall locations, with several additional stores set to open. Owner Chris Burch plans to grow C. Wonder to more than 100 stores nationally.

As I said, there is plenty of activity in U.S. retail these days.

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B.Brent says:
Nov-30-2012 03:26 pm

Resilient economy with a
Resilient economy with a budding population are two important factors in expansion. As a matter of fact, this is the "magnet" for businesses. - Garrett Hoelscher

B.Brent says:
Nov-30-2012 03:26 pm

Resilient economy with a budding population are two important factors in expansion. As a matter of fact, this is the "magnet" for businesses. - Garrett Hoelscher

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Neiman Marcus gets new information chief

BY CSA STAFF

DALLAS — Neiman Marcus has named Michael Kingston SVP, CIO of The Neiman Marcus Group. He succeeds Phillip Maxwell, who earlier this month announced his retirement.

Kingston joins The Neiman Marcus Group from Ann Inc., parent company of Ann Taylor, where he was the EVP enterprise transformation and technology. Prior to Ann Inc., Kingston was VP applications at Coach Inc. and international director information services at LVMH.

"Michael Kingston is the perfect choice for us to lead our Information Technology team, " said Karen Katz president and CEO of Neiman Marcus Inc. "The use of new technology and integrated systems is key to our omni-channel strategies. Michael’s background in the retail industry, combined with his impressive skills planning, designing, implementing, and supporting applications for large multi-national corporations will blend perfectly with our very talented management team."

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Walmart makes sustainable progress

BY CSA STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Significant waste reduction and greater use of renewable energy are detailed in Walmart’s just-released fifth annual Global Responsibility Report (GRR). Entitled “Beyond 50 Years: Building a Sustainable Future,” the report highlights the chain’s global top 10 list of achievements to reduce its impact on the environment, improve efficiency in its supply chain and stores, and address social issues.

The study unveils data and progress against Walmart’s three primary sustainability goals to use 100% renewable energy; create zero waste; and sell products that sustain people and the environment. The top 10 achievements highlighted in the report include:

  • Reduced waste by 80%: Walmart prevented 80.9% of the waste generated across all U.S. operations from going to landfills. Walmart achieved this by implementing its Zero Waste Program, which consists of recycling, donating and repurposing waste. Similar efforts are under way globally. ASDA, Walmart’s U.K. operator, sends zero food waste to landfills, and Walmart stores in China and Brazil diverted 52% of operational waste from landfills.

  • Utilized 1.1 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of renewable energy: The U.S. EPA Green Power Partnership program now ranks Walmart as the second-largest onsite green power generator in the United States. Renewable energy projects provide 1.1 billion kWh annually, or about 4% of electricity for Walmart buildings globally.

  • In addition, Walmart purchases another 18% from the grid for a total of 22% renewable electricity as of 2010. Walmart has 180 renewable energy projects in operation or under development, which use a diversity of innovative technologies, including solar power, fuel cells, micro-wind, and offsite wind projects.

  • Nurtured diversity and inclusion: Walmart has continued to focus on making the company a workplace of opportunity. Fifty-three percent of 179,000 hourly promotions in U.S. stores were women and 200,000 female associates have been with Walmart for 10 years or longer. In the last five years in the United States, Walmart has increased female store managers by 46%.

  • Expanded locally grown produce: By the end of 2011, Walmart increased the amount of locally grown produce sold by 97%, which accounts for more than 10% of all produce sold in U.S. stores.

To read the full report, click here.

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