REAL ESTATE

Amazon reportedly to split HQ2 between two sites

BY CSA Staff

There may be a new plot twist when it comes to where Amazon will open its newest North American headquarters.

Rather than settle on one city, the e-commerce giant is reportedly planning on crowning two winners to host the business office, which it is calling HQ2, according Business Insider, which cited the Wall Street Journal.

The e-commerce giant “plans to split its second headquarters evenly between two locations rather than picking one city for HQ2,” a person familiar with the matter told The Journal. Each location would host roughly 25,000 Amazon employees.

Operating two locations would increase Amazon’s ability to recruit enough tech talent, and ease issues related to housing, transit, among other factors.

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Lowe’s to close 51 stores

BY Marianne Wilson

Lowe’s Companies is closing 51 underperforming U.S. and Canadian stores as part of a “strategic assessment.”

The home improvement giant is closing 20 stores in the United States (the majority of which are located within 10 miles of another Lowe’s) and 31 in Canada in a move to improve the overall health of its store portfolio. The closures are expected to be completed by Feb. 1, 2019 (the end of the company’s 2018 fiscal year), with an anticipated impact on per-share earnings from 28 cents to 34 cents.

Lowe’s is in the midst of a restructuring under new CEO Marvin Ellison, who took the reins in July. In August, the company said it was pulling the plug on its Orchard Supply Hardware division — closing all 99 stores — in order to focus on its core home improvement warehouse model. Lowe’s is also working to rationalize store inventory and reduce lower-performing inventory while investing in increased depth of high velocity items,

“While decisions that impact our associates are never easy, the store closures are a necessary step in our strategic reassessment as we focus on building a stronger business,” said Ellison.

The retailer is planning to conduct store closing sales for most of the locations with the exception of select stores in the U.S., which will close immediately. Lowe’s has partnered with Hilco Merchant Services to help manage the process in the United States. Ellison said that most employees in the U.S. stores scheduled to close will be given the opportunity to move to a similar role at a nearby Lowe’s.

To see a list of the store locations that will be closing in the U.S. and Canada, click here.

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Regional home-improvement/furnishings chain liquidating

BY Marianne Wilson

Home Owners Bargain Outlet is going out of business.

The chain, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on October 26, 2018, is closing its seven stores (five in the Chicago area and two in Wisconsin). Joint venture partners Tiger Group, Great American Group (a subsidiary of B. Riley Financial) and HyperAMS are liquidating HOBO’s entire inventory of about 1.5 million items (valued at more than $23 million) in ongoing sales at all HOBO stores.

“The home improvement business has always been incredibly competitive,” said Tiger Group COO Michael McGrail. “In addition to the top two big-box chains with their tremendous economies of scale and dominant real estate positions, the advanced e-commerce efforts of these players, Amazon and others clearly have created huge challenges for smaller operators like HOBO.”

The sales includes flooring, housewares, furniture, bath products, appliances, electronics, hardware, tools, home decorations lawn/garden items, along with furniture and bedding.

Store locations are as follows:

Chicagoland:
2650 Belvidere Road, Waukegan
8716 S. Cicero Avenue, Oak Lawn
300 W. North Avenue, Villa Park
1693 S. Plainfield Road, Crest Hill
7630 W. Roosevelt Rd, Forest Park

Wisconsin:
800 S. 108th Street, West Allis
3545 S. 27th Street, Milwaukee

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