REI rethinks corporate campus plans amid the pandemic | Lowe's plans new facilities to meet e-commerce demand | Stein Mart to shutter stores after filing Chapter 11
August 13, 2020
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REI rethinks corporate campus plans amid the pandemic
(Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Outdoor gear retailer REI has put its new 400,000-square-foot, 8-acre corporate headquarters up for sale before it ever got a chance to use it, the company said. The facility's construction was nearly complete when the pandemic hit, and new plans call for remote working and eventually creating a series of smaller satellite offices in the Seattle market.
Full Story: The Seattle Times (tiered subscription model) (8/12),  The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (8/12) 
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Avoidable shipping mistakes can be costly
The shipping industry has changed dramatically with the pandemic, and if you're not keeping up, you're letting your bottom line take a big hit. Shippers are making five key mistakes as the industry shifts toward a D2C model. Find out what they are and how to fix them. Protect your bottom line
Industry Watch
Lowe's plans new facilities to meet e-commerce demand
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Lowe's will roll out four more e-commerce fulfillment centers and seven distribution sites for appliances and other bulky items, part of its $1.7 billion plan to bolster efficiency and revamp its supply chain amid higher e-commerce demand. The home improvement retailer said the expansion would make two-day delivery available to almost all Lowe's customers.
Full Story: The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (8/12) 
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Stein Mart to shutter stores after filing Chapter 11
(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Off-price department store Stein Mart has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with plans to liquidate and close most or all of its more than 280 stores in 30 states. The retailer also said it's exploring strategic options, including a possible sale of its intellectual property and e-commerce operations.
Full Story: BNN Bloomberg (Canada) (8/12),  The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (8/12) 
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J.C. Penney is still evaluating buyout bids and hasn't yet named any prospective buyers, but it has reportedly received an offer from mall operators Simon Property Group and Brookfield Property Partners, and another from Sycamore Partners. The retailer's 840 department stores have all reopened, and around 150 of them are slated to close permanently.
Full Story: The Dallas Morning News (tiered subscription model) (8/12),  The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (8/12) 
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Thank you retailers, employees and customers
NRF's Thank You campaign recognizes retailers, retail employees and consumers for practices that promote a safe and healthy shopping environment. Learn more at
Retail Trends
Uncertainty over whether kids will be learning at school or at home is driving back-to-school spending on items including furniture, computers, speakers and headphones. "If you have multiple kids learning at home, if possibly one or more parents is also still working from home, the family does need a sense of privacy," NRF's Katherine Cullen said.
Full Story: American Public Media/Marketplace (8/11) 
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Some malls in Southern California have turned parts of their parking lots into outdoor markets in response to a state ruling in July limiting indoor shopping. Mall operators have also been getting creative in other ways, including curbside pickup, attracting nontraditional businesses and investing in bankrupt retailers.
Full Story: The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.) (free content) (8/13) 
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The unprecedented growth of curbside pickup spurred by the pandemic has made the parking lots of many grocery stores a key new point of purchase, forcing many retailers to focus on the first impression their lots are making on customers. In addition to appearance, grocers are also innovating by trying different types of directional signs and better methods to blend foot and vehicle traffic safely.
Full Story: Progressive Grocer (8/12) 
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Retail Technology
Target has partnered with Minneapolis-based Summit Academy OIC to create a North Star Innovation Center that will provide IT training to students of color in the city. The center is part of Target's pledge to invest $10 million in social justice initiatives and further racial equity.
Full Story: HR Dive (8/11) 
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NRF News
Raley's O-N-E Market in Sacramento, Calif., is the first supermarket featuring highly curated fresh, organic, minimally processed and sustainably sourced products for customers. The store has carefully selected products excluding those that include things on Raley's banned ingredient list to support healthy nutrition, and the retailer educates consumers through in-store tours and personalized nutrition counseling from a full-time nutrition advisor and registered dietitian. Learn more.
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About 74% of customers agree it is incumbent upon retailers to provide a safe environment for employees. Source: McMillanDoolittle.
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With nonessential retail in the United States shut down for part of March and the full month of April due to the coronavirus pandemic, there were sharp differences between the inventory turnover rates of discretionary retailers versus essential retailers. Most apparel retailers reported lower inventory turnover ratios, while essential retailers saw a surge in sales supported by panic buying and stockpiling of food and household essentials in the first quarter of 2020. Learn more about the ways the pandemic affected inventory.
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Chain Restaurant News
Fat Brands to pay about $25M to buy Johnny Rockets
(Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Fat Brands, the parent of Fatburger, will acquire 1950s-themed casual dining chain Johnny Rockets in a deal valued at about $25 million. The deal, expected to close next month, will expand Fat Brands' portfolio to approximately 700 locations under nine banners.
Full Story: Reuters (8/13),  The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (8/13) 
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