Inside | Real news, curated by real humans
Inside Retail

Inside Retail (May 17th, 2017)

Target Corp. (TGT) reported same-store sales fell 1.3 percent in the first quarter, better than the Street view but marking a fourth straight quarterly decline. Both Target’s earnings of $1.21 per share and revenue of $16.02 billion beat analysts’ view. “We are in the early stage of a multi-year effort to position Target for profitable, consistent long-term growth, and while we are confident in our plans, we are facing multiple headwinds,” CEO Brian Cornell said in a statement. Target has gained significant market share since the Great Recession as more consumers hunt for bargains. – THE STREET

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

Rue21, a teen-apparel retail, has filed for bankruptcy, confirming speculation that the retailer was folding under pressure from the general down turn in mall-based shopping. Rue21, saddled with $1 billion in debt, had already started closing some of its 1,179 stores before the Chapter 11 filing late Monday. Rue21 is determined to emerge from bankruptcy within months, according to its plan to restructure financing. Many of its lenders have reportedly already agreed to go along with its plan to survive. The retailer had been paying roughly $118 million per year in rental payments for its stores. – WSJ

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

Web startups in retail are opening brick-and-mortar locations at a time when traditional retailers are scaling back their footprints. Retailers like Casper Sleep Inc., a mattress company that sells exclusively online, is seeing a need for a storefront where customers can test and touch products. Next month, Casper will sell its pillows, sheets and other products at Target, although its mattresses will still be sold only on the internet. Harry’s Inc., an online razor company, also announced a deal with Target. “If I had a crystal ball, I’m not sure if I would have predicted it,” said Harry’s co-founder Jeffrey Raider said of the move to sell in stores. – WSJ

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

Lowe’s Inc. employees may soon have access to a robotic “exosuit” that can help them lift heavy products with less fatigue. The exosuit, designed by a team at Virginia Tech, is lightweight and reinforces proper lifting form. It absorbs much of the energy that an employee would use to move and transport goods, so workers can use less force and save their own energy. A common bag of concrete would feel significantly lighter to an employee wearing the device. Four suits are in pilot testing at a Lowe’s store in Virginia, where employees will provide feedback on how well it helps with their work. – RETAIL DIVE

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

Sears Holding Corp. CEO lambasted toolmaker One World Technologies for reneging on a contract in connection with Craftsman tools and then suing Sears. “We will not simply roll over and be taken advantage of – we will do what’s right to protect the interest of our company and the millions of stakeholders we serve,” Sears CEO Eddie Lampert said in a blog post. One World wants to back out of its contract with Sears unless Sears reduces its orders, saying it is concerned the retailer will not be able to pay. – BUSINESS INSIDER

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

The fitness industry is feeling no pain from the crunch in declining foot traffic that other brick-and-mortar retailers are facing. Health club customers cannot go online for the services they want, so businesses like Planet Fitness, Pure Barre and Soul Cycle are not suffering the same bleeding customer base as other retailers, many of which are filing for bankruptcy or closing locations. Instead, the number of health clubs has increased every year in the past decade. The fitness industry is “not being hurt by Amazon, which is the key,” said Jefferies analyst Randal Konik. – EMARKETER

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

Subscribe to Inside Retail