Same-store sales in March fell 2.1 percent according to ICSC. Retail Forward, meanwhile, reported same-store sales were down 0.8 percent. That came after February same-store sales dropped 0.1 percent compared with last year according to ICSC, but rose 0.4 percent according to Retail Forward. Meanwhile, the Commerce Department reported that retail sales dropped 1.1 percent from February and are 9.4 percent below last March. That followed figures for February that came in better than expected. Sales fell 0.1 percent from February–less than what analysts had predicted.
Also, bankrupt grocer Bi-Lo was able to line up financing, as was troubled bookseller Borders.
Some restaurant chains are using the current downturn as an expansion opportunity, especially in cases where they can convert properties that belonged to other concepts. As a way of activating dead space, some malls have turned over vacant space to Flowriders, a contraption on which people can surf indoors.
Toys "R" Us, in an attempt to woo value-oriented shoppers, is experimenting with sections at the front of its stores selling items priced at $3 or less. Its “$1-$2-$3 Fun” shops will carry about 100 items at those prices.
CoStar reported on the growing phenomenon of land being made available by the closure of auto dealerships.
General Growth Properties, the second largest owner of mall properties, had a rollercoaster 30 days. It tried to seek forbearance from lenders. It later shuffled its executive ranks and got downgraded by debt-side analysts. Then it had some properties foreclosed upon. Eventually, the company had to admit it had failed to win a full reprieve from bondholders, although it has avoided filing for bankruptcy. Most recently, some bondholders have begun to seek a lawsuit against the company.
What was the total effect of Circuit City's disappearance? Try 22 million square feet. That's how much empty space the defunct consumer electronics retailer left behind.
Walgreen's purchased small New Jersey drugstore chain Drug Fair.
CBL & Associates Properties is experimenting with a shopping center users fee at a property in Florida. The fee—a 1.06 percent surcharge on purchases—will help pay for road, water and sewer infrastructure expenses CBL incurred in constructing the center with partner Benchmark Group.
Forbes ran a feature speculating about what retailers might close stores next. Guesses included Abercrombie & Fitch, Ann Taylor, Saks, Tiffany and others. Meanwhile, UBS predicted there would be a 10 percent reduction in the number of specialty stores at malls.
Lastly, Retail Traffic published its rankings of the Top Owners and Top Managers of retail real estate space. There was very little movement compared with last year's lists. And, as has become common, a number of retailers filed for bankruptcy or announced closures. Here’s a rundown of the announcements so far in 2009 when it comes to bankruptcies, liquidations and announced closings.
Bankruptcies and Liquidations:
- Jan. 7, Goody's liquidates, closing 287 stores
- Jan. 8, Against All Odds files for bankruptcy protection, operates 64 stores overall, plans to close West Coast stores
- Jan. 13, Shane Co. files for bankruptcy, operates 23 stores
- Jan. 14, Gottschalks files for bankruptcy, operates 58 storesUpdate: March 31, , Gottschalks will liquidate
- Jan. 16, Circuit City to Liquidate, closing 567 stores
- Feb. 6, Fortunoff, operates 20 stores
- Feb. 6, Bruno's, operates 66 stores
- Feb. 12, S&K Famous Brands, operates 136 stores
- Feb. 17, Innovation Luggage, operates 10 stores
- Feb. 23, Ritz Camera, operates about 1,000 stores
- March 6, Joe's Sports & Outdoor, operates 30 stores
- March 25, Bi-Lo, operates 215 stores
- April 13, Z Gallerie, operates 56 stores
- April 13, Ultra Stores, operates 181 stores
Potential Bankruptcies & Liquidation Impact: 1,362 confirmed closures out of about 2,713 stores
- Jan. 8, New York & Co., 50 stores
- Jan. 8, Macy's, 11 stores
- Jan. 9, Supervalu, 50 stores
- Jan. 13, Cost Plus, 26 stores
- Jan. 20, Yankee Candle, 28 Illuminations stores
- Jan. 21, Filene's Basement, 11 stores
- Jan. 22, Phillips-Van Heusen, 175 stores
- Jan 22, Brown Shoe, up to 35 Famous Footwear stores
- Jan. 26, Home Depot, 48 stores
- Jan. 29, Starbucks, 200 U.S. Stores (plus 100 international)
- Jan. 29, Chico's, up to 25 stores
- Feb. 9, Talbots, 20 stores
- Feb. 24, Jimmy'Z, 11 stores
- Feb. 24, Z. Gallerie, 25 stores
- Feb. 25, Zale Corp., 115 stores
- Feb. 27, Sears, 44 stores
- March 3, Virgin Megastores, 6 stores
- March 6, Ann Taylor, 37 stores in 2009, 163 total by end of 2010
- March 18, Drug Fair, 11 stores
- March 23, Pier 1, 80 stores
- April 3, Rite Aid, 117 stores
Total Closings: up to 1,175 U.S. stores
Potential Impact of All Announcements to Date: 2,537 closures out of up to 3,888 potentially affected U.S. stores