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  • 5/3/2024

    Sam Ash closing all stores

    Closing Bed Bath and Beyond - Closeup of store closing banner (Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA) - 04\07\2023; Shutterstock ID 2291215901

    Sam Ash Music is going dark.

    The family-operated, 100-year-old music instruments retailer announced that, with a heavy heart,” it was closing all 42 stores nationwide.  The New York-based retailer said store closing sales started May 2.

    “This unfortunate news also presents a fantastic opportunity for great deals across our premium selection of musical instruments & pro sound equipment,” the Ash family said in the announcement, which was posted on its website and Facebook page. “We will also be offering specials on during this time. Thank you for allowing us to serve musicians like you for 100 years.”

    News of the store closings spread quickly on social media as fans posted fond memories of Sam Ash stores. 

    Sam Ash was founded by immigrant Sam Ash, a violinist from Austria, who opened a store in 1924, in New York City. It has always been family-run, with the fourth generation now at the helm, and has stayed true to its longtime motto was “come in and play.”



  • 5/3/2024

    Walmart enables scan-free Box Tops for Education donations

    Walmart partners with Box Tops for Education (Photo: Business Wire)

    Walmart is streamlining the process for customers to support local schools with their purchases.

    In time for Teacher Appreciation Week (May 6-10), Walmart shoppers can now give back to their school of choice by connecting their Walmart account within the Box Tops For Education app to earn cash for schools. (The Box Tops school fundraising program was founded by General Mills in 1996.)

    Utilizing Box Tops' new "Connected Accounts" app feature, consumers can purchase products that participate in Box Tops for Education at a Walmart store or on its e-commerce site and automatically earn money for their selected schools without having to go through the usual process of scanning or submitting receipts.

    "Since 1996, schools have earned nearly $1 billion through Box Tops for Education, and data shows a large amount of our program supporters are Walmart shoppers," said Lilly Moeding, Box Tops for Education brand experience manager. "Box Tops has always been one of the easiest ways to support schools and teachers, and we’re excited to make it even easier by partnering with Walmart on our new Connected Accounts app feature. "Now you can earn cash for your school every time you buy Box Tops products at Walmart — with no scanning required."

    Headquartered in Bentonville, Ark., Walmart Inc. operates approximately 10,500 stores and numerous e-commerce websites in 19 countries.

  • 5/3/2024

    Rue21 to close all stores, sell IP after third bankruptcy filing


    A longtime mall staple is going dark. 

    Long-struggling teen apparel and accessories retailer  Rue 21 filed for bankruptcy protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of  Delaware. It plans to close its 540 stores in the next four to six weeks and sell its intellectual property. 

    Rue21, which previously filed for bankruptcy in 2003 and 2017, has hired Gordon Brothers to assist with the store closing sales. (As part of its 2017 bankruptcy, the chain closed approximately 400 stores.) 

    In its filing, Rue 21 also said that its debtors have recently experienced operational losses resulting from, among other things, “under-performing retail locations, increased industry competition and the uptick in online shopping, inflation and macroeconomic headwinds, and challenges raising capital.”\

    The company also said it tried to sell its business, but could not find a buyer willing to pay more than the projected assets that would come with conducting store closing sales and liquidating its assets. Rue 21 has of between $100 million and $500 million, and liabilities in the same range, according to court documents.

    Rue 21’s filing comes two weeks after fashion retailer Express filed for bankruptcy with plans to close 95 namesake stores (including full-price and factory outlet stores) and all 10 UpWest locations.  Express operates a total of 450 locations. 

    Based in Warrendale, Pa., Rue 21 is backed by financial firms Blue Torch Capital and Nut Tree Capital Management.

  • 5/3/2024

    Kroger to renovate stores in Greater Cincinnati area — here are the locations


    The Kroger Co. is investing in its hometown region.

    The grocery giant plans to invest a total of $84 million to renovate 15 stores, including 12 in the Greater Cincinnati area, and open one new store, in Hamilton Township, Ohio. The renovations are scheduled to begin this year.

    The 15 Kroger locations that will be remodeled are located in:

    • Mt. Washington
    • Sharonville
    • Colerain
    • West Chester
    • Middletown
    • Kings Mills
    • Blue Ash
    • Green Township
    • Monfort Heights
    • Fairfield
    • Lebanon
    • Two locations in Kettering
    • Huber Heights
    • Connorsville, Ind.

    "This investment is yet another demonstration of the commitment Kroger makes each and every day to the customers and communities in which we serve," said Ann Reed, Cincinnati/Dayton division president, in a statement. "It also reconfirms our dedication to increasing career advancement for our associates, economic growth and supporting local producers who supply our stores with high quality products."

  • 5/2/2024

    JLL hires L.A. real estate veteran as managing director

    Los Angeles

    Real estate management and investment firm JLL has added to its Southern California team.

    The firm has hired 16-year Los Angeles industry veteran and urban street retail expert Matthew Fainchtein as managing director. Fainchtein will continue working with tenants and landlords in their leasing and investment needs with a focus on Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Santa Monica, Studio City, Hollywood, Malibu, and the greater Los Angeles area. He will also lead the firm’s urban high street retail leasing practice throughout Los Angeles.

    Fainchtein joins JLL with more than 16 years of experience in the retail real estate industry. Most recently, he served as executive managing director of retail for Los Angeles at Lockehouse Retail Group. Previously he spent nine years at Cushman & Wakefield specializing in urban and high-street retail. Throughout his career, Fainchtein has completed transactions valued at more than $900 million. 

    With the addition of Fainchtein, JLL now oversees leasing of more than 20 million sq. ft. of retail properties in Southern California.

    “We continue to see growth in urban street retail in Los Angeles as the best retailers want to be here and landlords want to position themselves as leaders in this specialty," said Chris Wilson, national agency retail lead and executive VP at JLL. "Matthew is the perfect senior partner for us with his experience doing deals on Los Angeles' best streets. He also gives us the experience to service our national urban clients, partnering with our JLL national urban brokerage colleagues who bring their clients to Los Angeles.”

    JLL has an annual revenue of $20.8 billion and operations in over 80 countries around the world withmore than 106,000 employees.

  • 5/1/2024

    Publix stock price up — so are Q1 sales


    Publix reported earnings and sales increases for its first quarter.

    Net earnings increased 10.1% to $1.4 billion for the quarter ended March 30, compared to $1.2 billion in the year-ago period. Adjusted earnings per share were $0.33, compared to $0.32 per share in 2023.

    Sales rose 5% to $15.1 billion. Comparable store sales increased 2.8%. The company estimates sales increased 1% due to the effect of the Easter holiday being in the first quarter of 2024. In 2023, the effect of the Easter holiday was in the second quarter.

    Effective May 1, 2024, Publix’s stock price increased from $15.20 per share to $16.25 per share. (Publix stock is not publicly traded and is made available for sale only to current Publix employees and members of its board of directors.)

    “I’m proud of our associates, the owners of Publix, for continuing to make shopping a pleasure for our customers,” said Publix CEO Kevin Murphy.

    Based in Lakeland, Fla., Publix is the largest employee-owned company in the U.S. with more than 255,000 associates. It currently operates 1,376 stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Kentucky.

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