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News Briefs

  • 3/6/2024

    Wawa in summer hiring offensive

    Wawa will open its first stores in Ohio in mid-2025.

    It’s only March, but Wawa is already thinking summer.

    The convenience-store chain has launched  hiring efforts for the summer season with the goal of hiring close to 1,500 new employees for roles at Wawa stores from the New Jersey Shore to the beaches of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.  With more than 60 stores located in those areas preparing for the summer season, the recruiting campaign will continue through the summer season. 

    The annual employment effort is focused primarily on filling the seasonal jobs needed to support summer store operations and bolster Wawa’s growing family of associates. 

    “It’s never too early to start planning for summer and that includes lining up seasonal work while spending time at the beach or shore,” said Maria Kalogredis, chief people officer, Wawa. “We have many associates that start with us during the summer and enjoy their experience so much that they stay with us and go on to soar to new heights in their careers.” 

    In February, the retailer announced plans to open more than 70 new stores in 2024. The openings will include Wawa’s first locations in three new states: Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina. 

    The privately held Wawa operates nearly 1,000 locations throughout Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, Florida and Washington, D.C. It has more than 40,000 employees.


  • 3/6/2024

    Ashley Home acquires Resident Home Inc.


    Ashley Home has acquired a leading digital mattress retailer.

    The furniture chain, an affiliate of Ashley Global Retail, will acquire Resident Home Inc., a digital retailer and wholesaler of mattresses and bedding accessories whose brands include Nectar, DreamCloud, Awara and Siena. The transaction, which was unanimously approved by the boards of both companies, provides Resident with an opportunity to expand its home furnishings assortment and global footprint.  

    Through Ashley's affiliate company, Ashley Furniture Industries, Resident will experience improved sourcing and efficiencies to foster additional growth in both its direct-to-consumer and wholesale businesses. 

     In addition to Resident's digital presence, Resident's mattresses are sold at over 2,500 U.S. retailers nationwide as well as in Canada and the U.K. As part of the transaction, Resident co-founders and co-CEO's Eric Hutchinson and Ran Reske, will remain in their positions post-closing.

     “This partnership marks a significant milestone for our team and our journey,” stated Hutchinson. “We believe that together, we can achieve even greater heights and deliver unparalleled value to our customers. Joining forces with Ashley enables new opportunities for growth and our team is excited about the possibilities ahead.”

    "We are incredibly excited about the possibilities that Resident brings to Ashley.  In only a few years, Resident has established itself as a premier destination for mattresses, and we believe this merger will strengthen both companies and accelerate our growth trajectories, together bringing more products to more homes," said Todd Wanek, CEO of Ashley.

    Ashley the largest furniture store brand in North America, with more than 1,125 locations in 67 countries.

  • 3/4/2024

    Joann reportedly considers filing for bankruptcy


    Joann may be looking to restructure. 

    The fabric and craft supplies retailer is reportedly considering a bankruptcy filing, with it coming as soon as this week, reported Bloomberg News. The deal would give control to its lenders while reducing the company’s debt and shoring up its finances, according to the report. (Joann’s long-term net debt was $1,148.2 million as of Oct. 28, 2023.).

    According to the report, Joann is hoping to get enough support from lenders to exit Chapter 11 quickly via a process called a prepack filing.

    Joann, which operates approximately 830 stores across 49 states,  has been without a permanent chief since May when Wade Miquelon retired as president and CEO. Chris DiTullio, executive VP and chief customer officer, and Scott Sekella, executive VP and CFO, are leading the “interim office of the chief executive officer” while the company searches for a permanent chief.

    For its third quarter, ended Oct. 28, Joann’s net sales fell 4.1% to $539.8 million with total comparable sales decreasing 4.1%. The company reported a net loss of $21.6 million compared to a net loss of $17.5 million in the same quarter last year.

  • 3/1/2024

    First Look: Leica Camera opens immersive flagship in NYC

    Leica Camera

    Leica Camera has opened a destination space that is part retail store and part photo gallery.

    The German camera and optics company, has opened a flagship store and gallery in New York City's Meatpacking District. The new location is intended to serve as a destination for the art and culture of photography, offering an immersive retail experience for customers to explore and purchase Leica's full range of products.

    Located steps away from the Highline and The Whitney Museum of American Art, the two-floor, 3,000-sq.-ft. flagship is designed to appeal to a wide range of consumers, from professional photographers to photography enthusiasts.  The ground floor is home to the Leica Store, with an assortment that includes the brand’s portfolio of cameras, lenses and sport optic products, along with its watch collection and new smart laser TV. 

    The ground floor is also home to the Leica Gallery NYC, with exhibitions showcasing the work of renowned photographers and emerging talent.

    The second floor features a photo studio where photographers can test and experiment with Leica's cutting-edge technology. In the Leica Library, visitors can browse through an extensive collection of photography book.

    "This new space will open up the world of Leica to the public and give people more opportunities to engage with up-and-coming talent, fellow Leica fans, and renowned photographers,” said Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, chairman of Leica's supervisory board.

    The flagship is the brand's seventh Leica Store and third gallery in the United States, located at 406 W 13th St.

  • 2/28/2024

    Kitchen and bath home improvement unit sales slow in 2023

    kitchen home improvement

    Consumers spent less on kitchen and bath purchases in 2023, signaling a move towards smaller do-it-yourself improvements, according to new data.

    New numbers from Circana show that kitchen and bath purchases accounted for 13% of U.S. home improvement retail spending, and year-over-year retail sales increased 5%. When compared to 2020, 2023 unit sales in the retail kitchen and bath home improvement segment this past year were 6% lower, with a 18% increase in retail sales revenue.

     “Amid economic challenges and following a bathroom boom during the pandemic, consumers have scaled down their home improvement efforts,” said Joe Derochowski, home industry advisor at Circana. “Major home renovation projects are on hold as consumers watch their finances, but they still have an appetite for lower-cost improvements they can do themselves.”

    Circana data shows that when consumers are spending, it is on different areas of the home. In 2023, 35- to 54-year-old home improvement buyers spent 1% less on the industry than in 2022, while the average for all other age groups grew 3%. Home improvement buyers allocated less of their overall home improvement spending to things like lumber, power tools, drywall/gypsum board, and toilets. Also, kitchen and bath consumers in this age group spent a larger percentage of their money on lawn and garden and hardware products.

    “There is pent-up demand that will bring opportunity for spending on larger home improvement projects over the coming year as the economy improves,” added Derochowski. “In the meantime, the kitchen and bath industry can leverage education around cost-effective approaches to inspire the consumer to engage in DIY activity that makes them feel good about the space.”

  • 2/28/2024

    Hawaiian Bros continues national expansion

    Hawaiian Bros Island Grill

     Hawaiian Bros Island Grill is expanding into a new state.

    The island-inspired, fast-casual chain has entered Arizona with two stores, one in Tucson which opened Feb. 12, and one in Glendale, which will open March 4. Hawaiian Bros currently operates two ghost kitchens in the state.

    "Arizona is the newest market for the western expansion of the Hawaiian Bros brand," said Adam Stine, president and owner of Stine Enterprises, the franchisee of the two Hawaiian Bros locations. "We received a tremendous response from our ghost kitchen locations in Phoenix and Tempe and are looking forward to doubling our Arizona footprint with the openings of two new Hawaiian Bros restaurants."

    Last March, Stine Enterprises signed a multi-unit agreement with Hawaiian Bros, with plans to develop 75 stores in Arizona and north Texas. The chain transferred 11 restaurants in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to Stine Enterprises as part of the deal.

    "Given the operational excellence of Stine Enterprises and their commitment to the communities they serve, they are an ideal first franchise partner for our brand," said Scott Ford, president & co-CEO of Hawaiian Bros at the time of the franchise agreement. "The combined experience from the team and expertise in the industry will help elevate the brand and aid in our rapid growth efforts.”

    Hawaiian Bros, which was founded in 2018, is known for its island-inspired plate lunch, which offers a variety of chicken or pork glazed with sweet, savory, or spicy sauces, macaroni salad, white rice or vegetables, and Dole Soft Serve for dessert.

    Hawaiian Bros owns and operates 50 restaurants in Arizona, Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.

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