US shoppers hesitate as coronavirus infections surge again | Kimco Realty's green bond offering sees strong investor demand | Pandemic has put mall owners in a tough position
July 9, 2020
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Some shoppers are hesitant to visit stores amid the coronavirus resurgence. National footfall has recently slipped after rebounding at shopping malls in May and early June, according to Safegraph and Jefferies.
Full Story: Financial Times (subscription required) (7/8),  The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (7/8) 
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Industry Tracker
Kimco Realty has sold $500 million in green bonds amid strong investor demand that boosted the offering by $200 million, according to a source. There has not been "a time more imperative than now" for the REIT to focus on sustainability, according to CEO Conor Flynn.
Full Story: Bloomberg (tiered subscription model) (7/7) 
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Mall owners have felt the effects of the pandemic, and it is unclear what their rental income will look like in the future. Some large retailers are negotiating for rent reductions, and mall owners are also dealing with debt and the growth of e-commerce.
Full Story: The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (7/8) 
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Gyms, once viewed as solid tenants for shopping centers, are facing challenges during the pandemic amid potential health concerns. Foot traffic in the fitness sector declined 57% on a year-over-year basis for the week of June 15, according to Placer.ai data.
Full Story: The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (7/7) 
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Retail News
Retailers looking to reduce their risks during the pandemic are exploring flexible supply models, Chainge Capital Chairman John Thorbeck says. The model, also known as postponement, has manufacturers churning out generic goods that can be customized and finished once retailers have gauged demand for specific items.
Full Story: Footwear News (7/8) 
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Sephora is participating in a study to determine how racial bias affects the retail experience for both employees and store guests, and to devise data-driven solutions. "Sephora has been at work on some of these issues for some time, but the current conditions make these needs more salient and more urgent," said Deborah Yeh, the beauty retailer's chief marketing officer.
Full Story: Forbes (7/7),  Glossy (tiered subscription model) (7/7) 
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Levi's to trim workforce amid slower sales
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Levi Strauss & Co. will cut about 700 jobs, or 15% of its global corporate workforce, after pandemic-related store closures led to a 62% drop in second-quarter sales. About 90% of the brand's stores have now reopened, but sales are still behind last year's numbers as consumers working at home have opted for less-restrictive non-denim apparel.
Full Story: CNBC (7/7) 
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Retailers can't expect things to return to the old normal anytime soon and instead must prepare for a changed landscape accelerated by the pandemic, branding expert Denise Lee Yohn writes. Retailers will need to focus even more on creating unique in-store experiences for shoppers who show up, and also invest in creating innovative, consistent experiences and services for digital shoppers.
Full Story: Harvard Business Review online (tiered subscription model) (7/6) 
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