REAL ESTATE

The Fresh Market trimming its store fleet

BY Marianne Wilson

The Fresh Market on Monday announced a round of store closings.

The specialty grocer, which was acquired in 2016 by private equity firm Apollo Global Management, on Monday said it plans to close 15 underperforming stores in Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina New Hampshire, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin.

The company said it made the decision following the completion of an organizational analysis and careful consideration of the overall growth strategy and long-term financial performance of the company. It doesn’t expect any additional store closings for the foreseeable future.

“Over the last eight months, our company has been executing a turnaround plan and we’ve seen great progress,” said Larry Appel, CEO, The Fresh Market. “However, for a variety of reasons unique to each retail location, that progress is not evenly distributed and, as a result, we have decided to close these long-term, underperforming stores. “Looking ahead, I am confident this move will better position The Fresh Market and enable us to continue delivering our great tasting meals, signature products and an incredible shopping experience.”

The Fresh Market Inc. operates 170 stores in 24 states.

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REAL ESTATE

Nordstrom expanding its inventory-free, small store concept

BY Marianne Wilson

Nordstrom is going local in two more locations.

The department store retailer said it plans to open two more Nordstrom Local stores in Los Angeles, one downtown and one in the Brentwood section. (There are also plans to expand to Manhattan, according to reports.)

Nordstrom opened the first — and still only — Nordstrom Local in October, on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. The 3,000-sq.-ft. store is designed as a neighborhood hub that offers an array of services, including onsite tailoring and alterations, curbside pickup, and buy online pickup in store. The Melrose store also offers manicures and a beverage bar. While it has no dedicated inventory, customers can have online orders shipped there and try on the clothes in one of the store’s fitting rooms. Stylists are available for consultation.

Nordstrom said the concept is one piece of its overall local market strategy.

“Nordstrom is continuing to invest in its growth strategy with the goal of increasing market share by providing customers with better and more convenient services and access to more products,” said Ken Worzel, president of Nordstrom.com and chief digital officer. “Through our local market strategy, we’re combining the scale of our national infrastructure with our local assets of people, product, and place to help reimagine the shopping experience for our customers.”

In Brentwood, Nordstrom Local will open in an approximately 1,200-sq.-ft. location at 214 26th Street, in the heart of the neighborhood. The 2,200-sq.-ft. downtown Los Angeles location will be situated amid commercial office towers and business-oriented hotels in The BLOC.

“We’re learning a lot from customers through our first Nordstrom Local store on Melrose and we’re looking forward to learning even more from the addition of the Brentwood and downtown L.A. locations,” said Shea Jensen, senior VP customer experiences. “We think there are more ways to serve customers on their terms and we are looking forward to introducing Nordstrom Local to customers who live in these neighborhoods.”

The Los Angeles area is Nordstrom’s largest market with 16 full-line stores.

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REAL ESTATE

First Look: Nike’s new store concept uses digital-user data to curate merchandise

BY Marianne Wilson

Nike is launching a format that breaks new ground in using technology to provide a shopping experience that caters to local tastes.

The new concept, called Nike Live, is inspired by — and built as a hub for — local members of the company’s NikePlus loyalty program. The first one, Nike by Melrose, will open on July 12, on trendy Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. (Click here for a video tour). It has pop-up vibes and a streamlined interior, and will operate as an experimental digital-meets-physical retail pilot. The products and services in the store are based on a deep understanding of the neighborhood, according to Nike. More neighborhood-specific locations will open in cities around the globe, including Tokyo, next spring and beyond.

The store will offer a selection of nike.com best-sellers and essential running, training and sportswear product. It will also will offer city-specific products, with the inventory determined by Nike’s digital commerce data. The retailer will analyze buying patterns, app usage and engagement of its local NikePlus members to stock shelves, with a goal of serving local NikePlus members what they want when they want it. New apparel, footwear and accessories — all specific to LA’s needs regardless of Nike’s broader seasonal priorities — will fill the store on a bi-weekly basis (a Nike first) and sometimes even exclusively.

The store’s features include a “Sneaker Bar” that is designed to make trying on and buying footwear quick and easy. It also boasts a “Dynamic Fit Zone” that boasts a lounge where customers can relax and an area where customers can get styling tips from Nike associates. Customers can try out products on a treadmill in the “Trial Zone.”

And in another example of how the concept blends the online with the physical, NikePlus members can redeem product or rewards by using their member pass at the NikePlus “Unlock Box” (essentially a digital vending machine).

According to Nike, data provided its NikePlus members in Los Angeles shows that they are running and style obsessed. They love basketball and are on the competitive side. They’re sneakerheads and visionaries. Consequently, for its opening, Nike by Melrose will be stocked with plenty of Nike Cortez styles, a ton of running product, bright colorways and hip packs.

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