Shawn Massey, CCIM, SCLS

Weekly CRE and Retail Article Round-Up – September 20th, 2012

I am adding on a going forward basis additional information other than simply CRE and Retail articles.  You will see posts of emails that I receive from two of the most influential CRE sources that I know.  This includes Garrick Brown from Terranomics and Al Taf from Marcus & Millichap.  In addition, I am including some post of upcoming events that may be of interest in teh Mid-South.

If you find this site useful please tell others in the industry and have them register on my blog!

Pie fight: Mellow Mushroom plans Eastgate pizzeria

Little Rock’s Main Street Redevelopment on Fast Track

Abandoned Walmart is Now America’s Largest Library

In A Lease Or Other Agreement, Saying That Something Needs To Be “Material” Is Perfectly Acceptable!

Real estate firms revisit plans for smaller cities

Five-year law concerns bankers dealing real estate

What makes a great city street?

What makes a good park? Part 3

The Payoff from Parks

The Magnificent Seventh: Site Selection Names TVA Top Economic Development Utility for the Seventh Straight Ye

Section 8 Rentals – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Got to Admit It’s Getting Better. 10 Reasons Why from The National Real Estate Investor

Smaller version of Cabela’s coming to Saginaw

Nike, Champs launch football-only retail concept

What the LIBOR Scandal Means for Real Estate

DunkinDonuts Targets College Crowd With More Shops

From the desk of Al Taff


Bank planning to open 50 New York retail branches

September 12, 2012, One of the nation’s fastest growing banks is elbowing its way into the top ranks of New York City institutions. TD Bank last week opened its newest city branch in Gramercy Park. “We have ambitious goals,” said Alan Nossen, SVP of Retail for TD Bank. “We plan to open over 50 new stores in the next four years and our goal is to become New York’s third largest retail bank.”

The newest addition on 19th Street and 1st Avenue in Gramercy Park marks the 94th TD Bank branch in New York City and the 7th new branch since January. Branches are scattered throughout the five boroughs, most of which are located in Manhattan. A recent Greenpoint branch opening is the first TD bank in the popular neighborhood, and another rapidly expanding neighborhood, Long Island City, will have its first TD branch grand opening on Sept. 28.

First Data report: BTS boosts card spending in August

SEPTEMBER 12, 2012 Atlanta — First Data Corp. reported Wednesday that consumers responded well to back-to-school and summer clearance sales in August, prompting an increase in August same-store consumer spending by credit, signature debit, PIN debit, EBT, closed-loop prepaid cards and checks at U.S. merchant locations.

The First Data SpendTrend analysis, which tracks year-over-year overall dollar volume growth, was up 7.2% in August, the largest increase since March 2012. Transaction growth increased 6.5%, also a five-month high. Overall average ticket growth increased 0.6% in August. While higher gas prices contributed to the increase, most industry categories saw higher average tickets compared to July as consumers were in a more favorable mood to spend.

Big retailers think small for new stores

September 12, 2012, Large-scale retailers in Michigan and across the country are discovering bigger isn’t always better. Target, Best Buy and Grand Rapids-based Meijer Inc. are among retailers downsizing, from the traditional big-box stores, to cater to a growing urban customer base and a changing economy. The less-is-more mentality has helped Target and Meijer locate outside suburbia into cities such as Atlanta and Chicago.

Best Buy, the world’s largest consumer electronics retailer, this year opened 11 smaller stores in shopping malls in Michigan and others across the country. Another 100 nationwide are planned for next year. The focus on smaller space — as well as mobile phone sales — is part of the company’s effort to cut costs in the wake of sagging revenue and increased competition from web retailers.

CMBS deliquency drops for first time in months

September 5, 2012, The U.S. CMBS delinquency rate declined for the first time since February, the latest report from Trepp shows. After five consecutive months of increases, including three months that set all-time records, the rate fell 21 basis points, from 10.34 in July to 10.13 percent – the largest one-month drop since November 2011.

“Over the last few months, we predicted that the Trepp CMBS Delinquency Rate would hit a high point in the early to mid-Summer and then decelerate in the second half of the year,” a report from Trepp stated.  “That prognostication came to fruition this month when the delinquency rate fell sharply.”

Apparel Stores

Specialty Apparel Retailers to Remain Cautious On Store Growth

Sep 13, 2012, In spite of posting strong overall same-store sales growth this year, the specialty apparel sector has been split into winners and losers, with few chains in the middle ground, industry insiders say. This morning’s report that Abercrombie & Fitch, once the star of the sector, has hired Goldman Sachs as an advisor, only underlines that the sector looks very different today than it did before the recession.

 Year-to-date apparel chains as a group posted same-store sales growth of 6.1 percent, representing the strongest growth in several years, according to ICSC data. In August, the 12 specialty apparel and accessories retailers tracked by Kantar Retail, a Columbus, Ohio-based research firm, delivered a composite same-store sales increase of 7.7 percent. (At the same time last year, same-store sales went up an anemic 1.3 percent.) Kantar’s sales composite looks at retailers ranging from the Gap and Wet Seal to TJX and Nordstrom.

 Teen store planning roll-out

September 12, 2012, Fast-growing teen apparel retailer, Rue 21 Inc., has tapped Sabre Real Estate Group for a roll-out of up to a dozen stores.

 The Pittsburgh-based retailer, which currently operates two stores in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, intends to open more than a dozen stores in the region, said Beth Lamport, executive vice president of Sabre, who is representing the chain along with Sabre senior associate Doug Bomzer.

 Ann Taylor sets date for international debut with store in Toronto

SEPTEMBER 11, 2012 New York — Ann Taylor on Oct. 5 will open its first store outside of the United States, in the Toronto Eaton Centre. The company will open a second store in Canada, located in Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre, in November.

 The Canadian stores will feature Ann Taylor’s updated store design, which is inspired by a stylish modern contemporary home. The residential influence is brought to life through white washed maple hardwood floors, luxurious crystal chandeliers, modern tufted furniture and sleek feminine fixtures inspired by the ultimate closet.

 Big Dogs previews new prototype

SEPTEMBER 10, 2012 Manchester, N.H. — Clothing retailer Big Dogs has opened a new prototype for future expansion. The new format has opened in three 2,400-sq.-ft. stores, in outlet shopping centers in Alabama, Missouri, and Nevada.

 Big Dogs’ new look was created by ID+A Architecture and Image 4, a national visual marketing and environmental branding firm. In addition to repairing and refreshing the leased retail spaces, Image 4 finished the interiors and designed and installed fresh brand graphics. To define the merchandise areas, custom-fabricated architectural columns were wrapped in graphics of the iconic Big Dogs logo. They serve as a striking contrast to the paint and hardware treatments used throughout the stores.

 Gap moves ahead with global expansion

Sept. 8, 2012, Gap Inc. will open its first stand-alone store in Mexico as the clothing retailer moves forward with its international expansion plans. “A stand-alone store is the natural next step for expanding our presence in the country,” said Stefan Laban, Gap’s managing director for strategic alliances.

 The retailer previously operated in the country through a partnership with Mexican department-store chain Distribuidora Liverpool, S.A. DE C.V. The partnership allowed Gap merchandise to be sold through the “store within a store” concept in Liverpool department stores.

 Department Stores

 Nordstrom set to announce expansion into Canada

SEPTEMBER 12, 2012 New York — Nordstrom will announce on Thursday that it will open its first four stores in Canada by 2015, according to the Globe and Mail. Executives of Nordstrom and Cadillac Fairview, the landlord of the four malls where the stores will be located, set to unveil the sites at a news conference in Toronto, the report said.

 The stores will be located in Pacific Centre in Vancouver, Chinook Centre in Calgary, Ottawa’s Rideau Centre and Sherway Gardens in Toronto, according to previous reports.

 Sears narrows loss in Q2; Lampert stock buy sends shares upward

September 7, 2012  HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — Sears Holdings Corp. reported a loss of $132 million for the second quarter, tightened from a loss of $146 million in the year-ago period. Sales dropped 6.6% to $9.47 billion and same-store sales declined as well, by 2.9% at U.S. Sears stores and by 4.7% at its Kmart units.

 As part of its turnaround attempts, CFO Rob Schriesheim told Bloomberg that the retailer is adding mobile checkout systems, as well as offering credit card and layaway program promotions to spur sales. It is already in a heavy cash-generation mode with the spinoff of its Hometown, Hardware and Outlet stores and the partial spinoff of its Canadian arm.

 Discount Stores

 Five Below reports loss on one-time costs; revenue surges 40%

SEPTEMBER 11, 2012 Philadelphia — Tween discounter Five Below Inc. reported Tuesday a loss in the second quarter of $64.2 million due to one-time costs that were attributed mainly to dividend payments made to preferred shareholders, among others. That compares with a loss of $1.7 million in the year-ago period. However, adjusted profit of $1.2 million beat expectations and the company’s third-quarter and full-year estimates are in line with Wall Street’s forecast.

 Five Below, which went public in July, saw sales surge 40% to $86.8 million, which handily beat estimates of $82.1 million in revenue. Same-store sales rose 8.6%. The company opened 27 stores and ended the quarter with 226 stores in 18 states.

 Walmart to open three to five more India stores by year-end

SEPTEMBER 11, 2012 Bangladesh, India — A Tuesday report by Reuters said that the Indian joint venture of Wal-Mart Stores and Bharti Enterprises has announced plans to open three to five cash-and-carry/wholesale stores in India by the end of the year.

 The partnership currently operates 17 wholesale stores in India.

 Walmex same-store sales rose 4.1% in August, beating Street

SEPTEMBER 11, 2012 Mexico City — Wal-Mart Stores’ Mexican arm Wal-Mart de Mexico reported Monday that same-store sales for the month of August rose 4.1%, beating analysts’ expected 2.8% increase.

 The retailer, which is being investigated for bribery to expedite store openings, projects improved results for the second half of the year.

 Shopko expands offering of private brand consumables

September 10, 2012 GREEN BAY, Wis. — Shopko has expanded its line of private brand consumable products with the introduction of approximately 70 new items.  The new products are available in stores now and include primarily health and beauty products and cleaning products.

 Shopko intends to continue to expand its private brand line with the next wave of new products arriving in spring of 2013.  At that time more than 175 new items will be introduced in a number of existing categories, including skin care, sun care, hair care, laundry detergent, cleaning, vitamins, oral care, incontinence, diapers and shave.

 Drug Stores

 Walgreens August sales down 4.5%; reports Q4, year-end sales

September 7, 2012 DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens reported August sales of $5.9 billion, a decrease of 4.5% as compared with the same month in fiscal 2011.

 August pharmacy sales decreased 7.2%, while comparable-store pharmacy sales decreased 12.4%. In addition to the Express Scripts impact, comparable-store pharmacy sales were negatively impacted by 7.9 percentage points due to generic drug introductions in the last 12 months. Pharmacy sales accounted for 64.1% of total sales for the month.

 Electronic Stores

 Best Buy Takes on RadioShack in Mobile Strip-Mall Push: Retail

September 11, 2012, Even before starting work as Best Buy Co.’s new chief executive officer, Hubert Joly zeroed in on the chain’s strategy to open smaller stores dedicated to selling mobile phones, e-readers and tablets.

 In the next three years, Best Buy will more than double the number of mobile stores to as many as 800 even as it closes and shrinks big-box locations to reverse declining same-store sales. Score told Joly he was targeting strip malls, pocked with vacant storefronts in the wake of the downturn and the bankruptcies of such chains as Blockbuster. The move pits Best Buy against RadioShack Corp. (RSH), which also favors strip malls and is focusing on mobile devices and services.

Grocery Stores


A& P king to Sell off N.Y. Food Emporium Stores

Sep 13, 2012, The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Co. (A&P) will sell its 16 Food Emporium stores in Manhattan, a spokeswoman for the Montvale, N.J.-based grocer has confirmed to Progressive Grocer. A&P’s Marcy Connor said that grocer had “commenced a marketing process of The Food Emporium in early September.” She added that the company couldn’t anticipate when a sale might be finalized.

 One remaining store in the gourmet food chain, located in New Canaan, Conn., won’t be part of any sales deal. “We intend to continue operating the Connecticut store,” Connor told PG. “We’ve not made any decision about the banner name.”

 Natural Grocers on Track to Open Seven New Stores by Spring 2013

Sep. 12, 2012, DENVER, Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottagetoday announced that it has plans to open seven new stores by March 2013, bringing the total number of Natural Grocers’ stores to 64 in 12 states by the spring. In addition, the company has relocated and expanded one of its flagship Denver stores.

 The seven new stores will be opened during the next six months in Sedona, Arizona; Steamboat Springs, Colorado; Helena and Missoula, Montana; Omaha, Nebraska, and Denton and Lubbock, Texas. Natural Grocers has already signed long-term lease agreements for the new locations, and is currently renovating the spaces to adhere to Natural Grocers’ core values, including employing a variety of energy-efficient features such as motion light sensors, 100 percent post-consumer content tiles, polished concrete flooring and commercial-grade LED lights. In addition to an expansive shopping area, the new stores will also have meeting spaces, demo kitchens and community rooms, like many Natural Grocers’ stores.

 Increased customer loyalty drives up Kroger Q2 performance

September 7, 2012 CINCINNATI — Kroger attributed its gains in sales and earnings in the second quarter to cost control and increased customer loyalty and was confident enough to raise its earnings guidance.

 The retailer reported net earnings of $279.1 million, or 51 cents per diluted share, compared with net earnings of $280.8 million, or 46 cents per diluted share, for the same period last year.

 Home Improvement & Office Products

 Pier 1 Imports Q2 profit surges; raises forecast again

SEPTEMBER 13, 2012 Fort Worth, Texas — Pier 1 Imports reported Thursday that net income for the quarter ended Aug. 27 surged to $26.2 million from $16.6 million last year, prompting the home goods retailer to raise its full-year adjusted profit forecast for the second time in three months.

 Total sales increased 8.3% to $367.6 million from $339.6 million in the year-ago period, edging Wall Street’s expected $367.2 million in revenue. Same-store sales rose 6.7% on top of last year’s 10.8% gain.

 Ace Hardware on track to open 170 stores in 2012

SEPTEMBER 12, 2012 Oak Brook, Ill. — Ace Hardware Corp. has reported substantial growth and expansion in priority markets across the country.

 Ace retailers opened 30 stores in the first quarter and 36 stores in the second quarter for a total of 66 new activations year to date, an 8% increase compared to 2011. By region, Ace experienced 31 openings in the Midwest, Northeast and Atlantic Coast; 17 openings in the Southeast and 18 openings in the West. 

 Orchard Supply swings to loss in Q2; on track with opening/remodeling program

SEPTEMBER 11, 2012  San Jose, Calif. — Orchard Supply Hardware Stores Corp. reported Tuesday a loss of $26.7 million for the quarter ended July 28, compared with net income of $3.9 million in the year-ago period. The results include write-offs and charges related to real estate sale-leaseback transactions.

 Sales dipped to $194.1 million from $196.4 million, and same-store sales edged up 0.9%.

 Mattress Firm acquiring 35-store Mattress X-Press chain in Ga., Fla

September 7, 2012, HOUSTON — Rapidly growing Mattress Firm announced its second major acquisition of the year by agreeing to buy Florida-based Mattress X-Press for $15.8 million. Mattress Firm said the 35 Mattress X-Press stores in Georgia and South Florida would be converted to Mattress Firm locations within one month after the deal is closed.

 “The addition of the high-performing Mattress X-Press stores complements our earlier acquisition of Mattress Giant stores in the same markets,” he said. “Combining these recently acquired stores with the company’s existing operations in South Florida and Georgia results in an increasingly strong presence in these markets, which we believe will lead to increased sales and profits, and most importantly, drive long-term value for our shareholders.”


 Corner Bakery to open 18 Seattle-area units starting next year

SEPTEMBER 13, 2012 Dallas — Fast-casual bakery concept Corner Bakery Café said Thursday it has executed a deal with a franchise group to open the chain’s first restaurants in the Pacific Northwest beginning in 2013.

 Northwest Bakery Cafe, a group of restaurant operators that owns 95 Jack in the Box locations, is slated to open 18 Corner Bakery franchised restaurants in and around Seattle over the next seven years.

 Dunkin’ Donuts steps up expansion at universities

September 12, 2012  Dunkin’ Donuts is stepping up its presence on college campuses with the opening of branches at 10 universities across the country.

 The Canton, Mass.-based beverage-snack operator recently opened units at Emory University, Providence College, State University of New York at Old Westbury, Seton Hall University and the University of Alabama Tuscaloosa. Plans also call for future openings at Middle Tennessee University, University of Baltimore, Montclair State University, Virginia Tech and Liberty University.

 McDonald’s global same-store sales rise 3.7% in August

SEPTEMBER 11, 2012 Oak Brook, Ill. — McDonald’s Corp. reported Tuesday that same-store sales overall increased 3.7% in the month of August.

 By segment, same-store sales rose 3% in the U.S., 3.1% in Europe, and a hearty 5.7% in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa. Systemwide sales for the month increased 1.2%.

 Papa Murphy’s to open 100 Middle East locations

SEPTEMBER 11, 2012 Vancouver, Wash. — The international arm of Take-and-bake pizza operator Papa Murphy’s announced Monday it has signed a master franchise agreement with MAM Foodco to open 100 locations throughout the Gulf Cooperation Council.

 The first location, which marks the chain’s debut outside North America, is slated to open in Dubai, UAE, before the end of 2012.

 Dollar Stores, Warehouse Club & Other Retailers


Casey’s to Acquire 27 C-stores by November

September 12, 2012, ANKENY, Iowa — Casey’s General Stores Inc. is under contract to purchase 27 convenience stores, 22 of which are being acquired from fellow Midwest convenience retailer Kum & Go LC. The Kum & Go stores are located in Iowa, Missouri and North Dakota, with the transaction expected to close in November.

“These stores are an excellent fit to our existing store base and will allow us an opportunity to operate in a new state,” said Robert J. Myers, president and CEO of Casey’s. “We expect this acquisition to be accretive in the first year of operation and enhance future earnings as we integrate our prepared food operations.”

Casey’s profit slips in Q1 but beats Street

SEPTEMBER 11, 2012 Ankeny, Iowa — C-store operator Casey’s General Stores Inc. reported Monday a profit of $39 million in the quarter ended July 31, compared with a profit of $39.4 million last year.

Results beat Wall Street expectations, although flat revenue of $1.87 billion missed forecasts of $1.93 billion in sales.

Brown Shoe reunites Sam & Libby brand with founders

September 10, 2012 NEW YORK — Brown Shoe Company has acquired the Sam & Libby brand and reunited it with its founders, Sam and Libby Edelman. For the last eight years, the brand was owned by The Jones Group.

Nine West opens new retail concept

September 10, 2012 NEW YORK — Nine West has opened the first standalone store for its Vintage America Collection line. The store, in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood, reflects the modern bohemian ethos of the brand.

Nine West, a division of The Jones Group, collaborated with Stefan Beckman, a New York City-based designer, on the design of its newest format. Inspired by the turquoise blue of the ocean in Southern California and the palette of desert terrain of the American West, the space will be outfitted in sensual metallic, feminine antiques and unique finds from road trips across the country. While incorporating elements of New York, the store will also serve as a sanctuary from the city’s hustle and bustle and be simultaneously luxe vintage and eclectically gypsy.

Ritz Camera to liquidate after 94 Years.

September 10, 2012, Ritz Camera & Image LLC plans to go out of business after 94 years as it failed in a bankruptcy auction to find a buyer to keep the largest U.S. specialty camera retail chain open.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross in Wilmington, Del., approved a plan Monday to turn over most of Ritz’s assets to liquidation specialists Gordon Brothers Retail Partners LLC and Hilco Merchant Resources LLC, the high bidders at a Sept. 6 auction, court records show.

7-Eleven Expected to 91 Buy EZ Energy USA Sites

September 10, 2012 , SEVEN HILLS, Ohio — Although it would neither confirm nor deny reports for CSP Daily News, 7-Eleven Inc. is the likely buyer of EZ Energy USA Inc.’s 91 convenience stores in Ohio and Pennsylvania. As reported in a Raymond James/CSP Daily News Flash on Monday, The Dallas-based c-store giant is expected to close on EZ Energy’s retail sites in the next few weeks, according to a report in Crain’s Cleveland Business.

Parent company EZ Energy Ltd. is selling all of its gas station and c-store operations for $64 million to what the Israel-based company called a “foreign gas station operator.”

Outlet Centers Fill The Development Pipeline Globally

Sep 4, 2012, Cost-conscious shoppers are fueling demand for new outlet shopping centers in countries ranging from Canada and the U.S. to Russia and South Korea.

“Because of the economic downturn, shoppers are looking for value and outlet centers have always had that perceived value,” says Craig Delasin, chief operating officer and principal at Chicago-based Urban Retail Properties LLC. “That is why that segment of the market has continued to thrive.”

Al Taf

Vice President Investments

Director, National Retail GroupDirector, National Net Lease Group


Marcus & Millichap

1100 Abernathy Road, N.E.

Bldg. 500, Suite 600

Atlanta, GA 30328

License: GA: 233619

(678) 808-2700 ext. 2776

(678) 808-2710 fax

(678) 462-4442 mobile

Event Pushes Entrepreneurs to Seek Corporate Dollars

Bid opening for Traffic Bureau could lead to Union Avenue

Global retail real estate investment to hit $180bn pa by 2020

Inside Real Estate

What Nick Saban Knows About Success

Toys ‘R’ Us Has A Master Plan To Get People Into Its Stores For The Holidays

Specialty Apparel Retailers to Remain Cautious On Store Growth

Determining Purchase Price Based on Required Return

How To Fish For Commercial Real Estate Tenants

Corporations and Retailers‘ Need for Accurate Real Estate Lease Information

Streets with no cars

Places that pay: Benefits of placemaking

Call it what you want, but it’s not economic development

Free People to Open in Saddle Creek

We believe … The Tenant’s Bill of Rights

The September-October 2012 CoreNet Global Leader Magazine is out ( ) and takes a look at thought leadership in 8 key areas of workstreams:

* Value-Added Enterprise Leadership
* Location Strategy & the Role of Place
* Integrated Partnering with Key Support Functions
* Portfolio Optimization & Asset Management
* Service Delivery & Outsourcing
* Sustainability
* Technology
* Workplace Workstyles

Review it today via .

Why it can be a financial mistake to negotiate with a Landlord directly

Business Facilities names Memphis world’s best logistics market

Study: Shift to walkable urban places is good news for economy

Chickens, Eggs and Economic Development: Imaginary assumptions = imaginary outcomes

September 20th, 2012

How Much Can A Landlord Collect From An Evicted Tenant?

3 Ways Technology Will Change Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

Solar installations heating up for Memphis area businesses The Future of Property Flyers

The New Urban Planning: Look Upward, not Outward

Neighborland is Coming to Memphis!

Sunday, September 23rd at 2pm

Crosstown Arts, 427 N. Watkins

You may remember receiving an email from MRDC recently announcing that Neighborland was launching a Memphis page.  They are so excited about the activity on our page that they’ve decided to visit Memphis!

Come meet civic-minded Memphians, enjoy the Sunday afternoon, and learn about how we can make Memphis a better place together. They’ll bring the cold beer and other refreshments – you bring your family, friends and neighbors.

They’re co-hosting this Memphis Kick Off with their friends at ioby, a crowdfunding tool for neighborhood entrepreneurs and community leaders. They’re coming down from New York City to give an overview of how organizations and residents can fund tangible improvements in your community. The Neighborland team will take some time to introduce how Neighborland can help organizers engage residents and find the next wave of local leaders.

All are welcome, but space is limited so register for this free event today!

What: Neighborland Memphis Kick Off Event

Where: Crosstown Arts, 427 N Watkins Street, Memphis.

When: Sunday, September 23rd at 2pm

Thanks for making Memphis a better place! 

What Is Neighborland?    

Neighborland is a new way to make your neighborhood better. Share your ideas, support your neighbors’ insights, and connect with people who share your issues. No issue is too big or too small to bring up on Neighborland. If it matters to you, then it matters.

Check out

and share your ideas about how we can make Memphis a better place to live, work and play!

Four Strategy’s for a rent reduction

The Difference Between a CRE Broker and a Drug Dealer

Discount birthday: Walmart, Kmart, Target hit 50

The Five Competitive Forces That Shape Strategy

From the Desk of Garrick Brown

Terranomics Retail Newsline

Week Ending September 16, 2012


The baseball season is winding down. The football season is winding up. Kids are back in school and summer is slowly fading. For retailers, this means that the holiday shopping season is just around the corner. ShopperTrak released the first major forecast for the season this week. The Chicago-based research firm that specializes in tracking retailer foot traffic data predicts that this year’s holiday retail sales will reflect an improvement of 3.3% over last year’s totals. They also predict that consumer foot traffic will increase 2.8% over 2011 levels. The firm reports that foot traffic is up in general, with consumers visiting more stores on their shopping trips than they did last year.

This year’s forecast is stronger than the 3.0% gain that ShopperTrak predicted last year, but one of the reasons for the increase is that the trend of retailers moving holiday promotions up is only expected to intensify this year. Of course, we are all already used to seeing holiday decorations going up as soon as the day after Halloween. Look for many retailers to push that envelope even further this year. Layaway promotions are already being launched—Walmart is launching its first holiday layaway promotion this week. And we have already heard reports of a few retailers starting to put up limited Christmas “sections” within their stores, complete with trees and holiday décor.

I expect moves such as these to only have a minimally positive impact on the bottom line. Worse yet, I believe that retailers who are too aggressive in launching their holiday promotions this early risk the very real possibility of alienating consumers and actually losing sales. The fact is that even if accelerating the “Christmas Creep” may prove to marginally improve retailer numbers, consumers continue to react strongly against it when polled and retailers who are decking the halls before Halloween simply look desperate and crass.

If ShopperTrak is correct in its predictions and the earlier launch of holiday promotions is going to play a pivotal role in boosting sales, it won’t be from retailers trying to force feed consumers Christmas when back-to-school promotions are still winding down (and this actually fits in with ShopperTrak’s report, which predicts less shopping before the election, but a post-ballot box spike in spending). But there is a very real place where this boost could, and probably will, happen.

The ShopperTrak report points out that the interval between Black Friday and Christmas this year is 32 days—the longest possible period that can potentially exist. Because of this, retailers will get the bonus of two extra shopping weekends; one during the regular season and one that falls in the traditionally heavy week between Christmas and New Year’s. Likewise, Hanukkah falls 11 days earlier than last year, giving retailers a reason to launch promotions and reap a limited sales boost earlier in the season. The extra weekends would be enough to account for this year’s stronger forecast (by half a percentage point), with all else being the same. Now I am not 100% sure that all else is the same and I am still working on my own forecast for the season (which I will be releasing in a couple of weeks), but there is one other trend that I expect to have a major impact on boosting sales this year.

While I don’t see retailers reaping much of a benefit (at least not one worth the risk) from launching their holiday promotions too soon this autumn, I do see retailers getting a huge bump from jumping the gun on Black Friday. If you remember, last year Target, Best Buy, Kohl’s and Macy’s opened all of their stores at midnight on Black Friday. Meanwhile Abercrombie & Fitch, Ann Taylor, GameStop, Justice, Hollister, The Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic and dozens of other chains elected to open select locations (in some cases, the overwhelming majority) at midnight on Black Friday. Toys R Us, Walmart and a number of others went even further, opening stores on Thanksgiving itself.

While this prompted a little controversy (AM talk radio hosts do have a lot of dead air to fill), the moves were largely greeted by the public—which showed up in throngs. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), a record 226 million consumers shopped during the 2011 Black Friday weekend, spending an average of $398.62, compared to $365.34 spent the previous year. Total sales for the weekend topped $52.4 billion, much of it fed by the extra hours retailers were open and the numerous doorbusters that stores offered to entire shoppers into shopping at ungodly hours.

The move towards replacing Black Friday with Black Thursday will only intensify in 2012. Though none of the major retailers have announced their plans yet, I expect many of them to make the jump to Thanksgiving day or (most likely) late afternoon/early evening openings. Sales surged last year simply on the strength of midnight Black Friday openings. Over 86 million Americans shopped on Black Friday last year. ShopperTrac estimated that single day sales for Black Friday 2011 increased 7%, with a total of $11.4 billion spent in 24 hours. They also estimated that retail foot traffic increased by 5.1%. Considering this; much of this boost came from shoppers willing to wait in the cold and dark for midnight openings. However, crowds were just as large—if not larger—at those chains that opened earlier (on Thanksgiving evening). It only makes sense that more retailers will test the waters with Thanksgiving openings this year. It may still take another couple of years, but Black Thursday will eventually replace Black Friday and shopping will become as much a part of this country’s Thanksgiving tradition as football or gluttony.

– Garrick H. Brown,0,4934691.story&ct=ga&cad=CAcQAxgAIAAoATAAOABAtPXSggVIA1AAWABiBWVuLVVT&cd=y6QOK5ydlg8&usg=AFQjCNF9R3PltGBdJrwfvniVgJSEoozV_w

Retailers take ever-earlier aim at Christmas shoppers
Chicago Tribune 09/14

Solid Back-to-School Season Gives Modest Boost to August Retail Sales
National Retail Federation 09/14

Retail sector down 438,800 jobs since onset of recession
The Business Journals 09/13

What to Expect This Holiday Season
MediaPost 09/13,0,7476404.story&ct=ga&cad=CAcQAxgAIAAoATAAOABAtPXSggVIA1AAWABiBWVuLVVT&cd=y6QOK5ydlg8&usg=AFQjCNFRviSKlpbLeqXYsrzZ8rLibMIvbQ

Holiday retail sales expected to rise 3.3%
Chicago Tribune 09/12

Survey: Consumers more likely to buy products with ‘made in USA’ claim
Chain Store Age 09/13

Global Retail Development Surging; 94% of all new retail development over last five years has been outside of the U.S.
SCT News 09/12

More Retailers Take Shopper Marketing Reins
Supermarket News 09/12

Restaurants Going After Beverage-Only Occasions
Nation’s Restaurant News 09/12

Holiday hiring indicator suggests Merry Christmas
Retailing Today 09/12

Report: Online experience superior to marketplace shopping
Chain Store Age 09/11

US retail container imports expected to increase 8.5% in September
Daily News 09/10

 Germantown’s (TN) Saddle Creek retail center lands upscale retailer Free People
Memphis Business Journal 09/13

Ace Hardware on track to open 170 stores in 2012
Chain Store Age 09/12

Best Buy Targets Strip Malls for Its Retail Outlets; Chain to Open as Many as 400 Best Buy Mobile Stores Over Next Three Years—largely at strip centers
Bloomberg Businessweek 09/11

Grocery Grab Bag

Soda Ban Could Affect Supermarkets
Supermarket News 09/13

Bankruptcy/Closure Watch

Walgreens to close 76 USA Drug-affiliated stores
Chain Store Age 09/14

Ritz Camera going out of business 09/11

Ritz Camera division, Wolf Camera, starts liquidation sales
Triangle Business Journal 09/11 

Smart Growth: Complete Streets Info Session

MAAR secured a $15,000 NAR Smart Growth grant to work with Livable Memphis, The Community Development Council of Greater Memphis and other stakeholders to guide the development of a complete streets policy for Memphis and Shelby County. Complete Streets describes an approach to city and regional transportation planning that emphasizes the importance of all transportation options, including walking, biking, and public transit. Please join us to learn more on Wednesday, October 10 from 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. in the MAAR Martin Edwards, Jr. Education Center.

Easy-Way closing Downtown store,%202012&…&

Franchising driving chain restaurant growth, finds Technomic

CRE Struggles Continue

The Benefits of Hiring a Commercial Real Estate Team

CRE Brokerage Strategy and the 2012 Presidential Election

Top 10 Reasons Real Estate Investors Fail to Take Action

CRE Innovation – The View from Below

Shops of Laurelwood getting renovation

Retail Sees Plenty of Activity

Small Businesses Top of Mind For Green Line Marketing – Memphis

Xcelligent’s App

12 retail real estate trends for the remainder of 2012 | Kimco Realty

You Are A Commercial Real Estate Broker. How Long Will You Still Matter?

Rod Santomassimo on Brokers Who Dominate

Improving the Appraisal Process to Minimize Risks: Report

The new ‘super shopper’ and the fate of bricks and mortar retail

Commercial real estate industry contributes over $63 billion to

Jeff Heller Leaves CBRE for Avison Young

The Inevitable Decline of Retail

Home sales jump to highest since May 2010

I hope you will check out future weekly commentary at   If you enjoy the commentary please subscribe online.



Shawn Massey, CCIM, SCLS is a partner with The Shopping Center Group a 3rd party retail real estate advisory firm in their Memphis office, an adjunct professor in the graduate real estate program at The University of Memphis and a co-founder and Chairman of the Board for the Memphis Business Academy charter schools (K-12th grade) in the Frayser area of Memphis.  

For all your retail real estate needs (tenant representation, landlord representation and property, investment & land sales) I hope that you will choose The Shopping Center Group and me to represent you and your business.  We understand that representation is a privilege and that you have a choice!

The opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own.  They should not be considered the opinion of The Shopping Center Group, LLC in which I am associated.




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