REAL ESTATE

Target thinking small is best for store expansion

BY Marianne Wilson

More smaller, “flex-format” stores are in Target’s future.

Target Corp. CEO Brian Cornell sees the chain eventually opening hundreds of smaller “flex-format” stores, he told reporters Wednesday prior to the company’s fall national meeting at its Minneapolis headquarters, Bloomberg reported.

Target has opened 23 smaller stores in major cities, with plans to add nine more this year, including one in the Tribeca section of downtown Manhattan.

The retailer plans to open at least 16 flex-stores in 2017.

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FINANCE

Another sports retailer files for bankruptcy

BY Marianne Wilson

The waning popularity of golf has taken its toll on the nation’s largest specialty golf retailer.

Golfsmith International Holdings Inc. on Wednesday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, amid increasing debt and citing a strategy that it launched several years back to open bigger, most costly stores at a time when golf was beginning to decline in popularity. (Just last month, Nike last month announced it was leaving the golf hardware business, its worst-performing division. Adidas is selling its golf equipment business. )

“Unfortunately, the rippling effect of these market factors coincided with GSI’s company-wide expansion efforts, leaving Golfsmith with an oversized store footprint,” Brian Cejka, the chief restructuring officer, said in court papers filed in Delaware.

Golfsmith operates 109 stores in the United States. The filing also includes its Canadian affiliate, Golf Town, which it acquired in 2012. Golf Town operates 55 stores in Canada.

Golfsmith listed estimated assets and debts of as much as $500 million each in its filing. The retailer said it would try to sell part of the chain as a going concern and shed some underperforming stores.

If that fails, the company will liquidate, according to a resolution by Golfsmith directors included in the bankruptcy filing, Bloomberg reported.

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TECHNOLOGY

Report: Get ready for most demanding consumers in history

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

The first generation to grow up online — Gen Z— is also poised to rank as the most demanding consumer group in history.

That’s according to a new report from Fung Global Retail & Technology, which warns that retailers, restaurants and leisure companies will have to adapt to the wants and needs of Gen Zers (refers to those born in 2001 and later.

Having grown up with social media and assuming instant access to almost all things digital, from music to video to information, Gen Z want it all — and they want it now as they acquire apparel, cosmetics and experiences.

"The new technology products and services have broadened consumers' range of choice and quickened the pace of life," said Deborah Weinswig, managing director of Fung Global Retail & Technology. "It is hard not to see these creating a more demanding, image-conscious consumer."

Gen Z comprises 19% of the U.S. population, and will rise to 25% in 2020. In the EU, the generation accounts for 16% of the population, and is forecast to peak at 21% in five years.

The only generation to grow up with the on-demand economy, Gen Zers likely will continue to be highly demanding consumers, whether they are requesting instant access to video, ride-hailing apps or delivery services.

"Exposure to near-infinite choice and access to near-endless information makes this generation more demanding than any of its predecessors,” Weinswig said. “As Gen Z matures, it will become more discerning, but its demanding nature is unlikely to be diluted. We think brands and retailers will be the ones that need to change, because Gen Z looks unlikely to compromise on its high expectations."

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