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News Briefs

  • 5/22/2024

    First National Realty acquires Jewel-Osco-anchored center


    Commercial real estate firm First National Realty Partners (FNRP) has acquired a new property in Illinois. 

    The company has closed on Townes Crossing, a 105,731-sq.-ft. shopping center located in Oswego, a village just outside of Aurora. Townes Crossing is anchored by a 65,000-sq.-ft. Jewel-Osco store, which has been a tenant at the center for over 30 years.

    Jewel-Osco is joined by daily-needs retailers including Phenix Salon Suites, Oswego Dental, The UPS Store, and Subway.

    "Townes Crossing is a testament to strong competitive positioning, with tenants boasting a weighted average tenure at the property exceeding 25 years," said Matt Annibale, vice president of acquisitions at FNRP. "The center is situated in a neighborhood trade area, and we believe is poised to benefit from continued migration to Kendall County."

    Within a five-mile radius, the population exceeds 220,000 people with average household incomes of over $124,000. The center sees over 54,000 vehicles per day.

    "Townes Crossing marks our fourth off-market acquisition in 2024,” said Mike Hazinski, chief investment officer at FNRP. “This off-market activity is a testament to FNRP's platform as our team continues to be one of the most active acquirers of grocery-anchored retail in the country.”

    Founded in 2015, New Jersey-based FNRP operates 64 properties across the United States.

  • 5/22/2024

    Best Buy, Amazon capture over 50% of consumer electronics spend

    Close up of child hands playing the video game at night; Shutterstock ID 278969585

    Two retailers dominate the consumer electronics market when it comes to consumer spend. 

    Best Buy and Amazon account for 31% and 27% of overall sales in select consumer electronics categories in the past year, respectively, according to the Numerator Consumer Electronics Tracker, which provides quarterly insight into omnichannel consumer buying behavior in select electronics categories. Walmart is third, accounting for 14.3%.

    In other insights, Gen X and millennial shoppers are the most likely to purchase electronics throughout the year. And across all consumers, November and December are the most popular months for electronics purchases, followed by July. 

    Most consumer electronics categories saw a slight decline in both household penetration and buy rate in the past year, according to the Numerator report. The categories that saw growth in household penetration were computer monitors & peripherals (34.2% HHP) and video game consoles & accessories (30.2%).

    Here are other findings from the Numerator quarterly update.

    •Amazon saw spikes around their summer and fall Prime Day events, growing to 39.2% of sales in July and 31.4% in October, overtaking Best Buy in those two months and resulting in share dips for all major competing retailers. 

    *Over half (53.9%) of consumer electronics buyers said the price of their item was about what they anticipated ahead of purchasing, while 25% said it cost less than they anticipated. 

    •The most common ways shoppers discovered their electronic items were in-store (32.8%), on retailer websites (26.1%), followed by recommendations from family or friends (22.2%) or online customer reviews (11.9%).

  • 5/22/2024

    Higher-income shoppers head to Walmart for affordable, healthier options

    Walmart exterior

    More affluent shoppers are shopping at Walmart as food prices remain high, according to new data from YouGov.

    Consideration for Walmart among households earning over $100,000 per year has risen from 50.6% in 2023 to 54% in 2024 so far. Whole Foods also saw an increase, with consideration moving from 23.3% to 26.8%. Conversely, Trader Joe’s has seen a dip in consideration among affluent households, falling three points from 33.3% to 30.3% over the same period.

    YouGov noted that affluent consumers who enjoy health-conscious foods are having their needs met at Walmart. Walmart leads the pack regarding consideration among healthy snackers, with nearly two-thirds (64%) of healthy snackers indicating they would consider purchasing from Walmart, followed by Target (41%), Costco and Aldi, tied at 33% each. 

    Despite being associated with healthy options, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Market sit lower on the list for healthy snackers. Roughly a fifth of respondents said they would consider buying from the brands (19% and 18%, respectively.)

    When it comes to premium items, Whole Foods customers (54%) are most likely to report they tend to choose premium products, followed by customers of Trader Joe’s (39%) and Walmart (31%).

    While Trader Joe's and Whole Foods shoppers tend to prioritize a wider range of food labels such as organic, non-GMO and fair trade/ethical, Walmart customers do show a preference for certain labels. YouGov found that most notably, a quarter of Walmart customers seek out labels such as “no growth hormones” (26%), “sugar-free” (25%) and “low sodium” (25%).

  • 5/22/2024

    Lululemon making ‘organizational’ changes as chief product officer exits


    Lululemon said it is implementing an “updated and more integrated organizational structure” to support its near- and long-term growth plans and accelerate product innovation.

    The activewear apparel retailer is making the changes in conjunction with the departure of its chief product officer, Sun Choe, who has resigned and will leave the company this month to pursue another opportunity. Lululemon does not intend to replace her role. (Choe has served in the position since September 2018.)

    Effective immediately, Jonathan Cheung, global creative director, will report to CEO Calvin McDonald and will drive the product design, continuing to oversee design, innovation and product development. Cheung has a successful track record with more than 30 years of experience in senior creative leadership roles at global brands, according to the company release.

    In other updates, Lululemon will create a new team comprised of leaders from its merchandising and band functions to scale its global and regional go-to-market strategies. Nikki Neuburger will become chief brand & product activation officer, overseeing merchandising, footwear and product operations, in addition to her current responsibilities leading brand. Elizabeth Binder, chief merchandising officer, will report to Neuburger.

    “We are grateful for Sun’s many contributions to the company over the past seven years, and she leaves us as a stronger, product-led organization with dynamic leaders ready to take us forward,” McDonald said. “Looking ahead, I am confident in the strength of our design, merchandising and brand teams, and excited by how the new structure will enable us to solve for the unmet needs of our guests in a more efficient, unique, and powerful way.”

    Lululemon will report its financial results and earnings for the first quarter of 2024 on Wednesday, June 5, following market close.

  • 5/21/2024

    Erewhon utilizes AI for workforce management


     Erewhon is leveraging a new platform for its workforce management tasks.

    The upscale California grocer will utilize Legion Technologies’ AI-driven workforce management (WFM) platform for automated scheduling, demand forecasting, and frontline communications to improve labor efficiency.

    The platform aims to maximize labor efficiency and employee engagement with intelligent automation. The AI-powered tool optimizes schedules, produces accurate demand forecasts and provides actionable insights so employers can control labor costs, increase productivity and minimize compliance risk. Legion InstantPay is designed to increase productivity and employee engagement by linking work and pay in the same mobile app and allowing employees to immediately access their wages.

    “We’re excited to utilize Legion, which is well-equipped to serve our amazing employees with the most innovative, AI-powered workforce management platform in the industry,” said Tony Antoci, CEO of Erewhon. “We view Legion WFM as a vital tool to scale effectively and bring the Erewhon Standard to more communities.”

    Founded in 1968, Erewhon operates 10 locations across Southern California, and employs more than 2,000 people.

    “Erewhon is dedicated to the well-being of its employees and strives to build connection and community within its frontline, hourly workforce,” said Sanish Mondkar, CEO and founder of Legion Technologies. “As organizations aim to streamline operations and create a better experience for their hourly employees, Legion is helping to modernize their workforce management with our intelligently automated, employee-centric workforce management platform.”


  • 5/21/2024

    Lowe’s beats on earnings, revenue amid gains in Pro, online


    Lowe’s Cos. reported better-than-expected first-quarter top- and bottom-line results even as consumers continued to hold off big ticket purchases.

    Unlike rival Home Depot, which cited a slow start to spring in reporting its first-quarter results, Lowe’s CEO Marvin R. Ellison said the company was pleased “with our start to spring, driven by strong execution and enhanced customer service.”

    Lowe's net earnings totaled $1.8 billion, or $3.06 a share, for the quarter ended May 3, down from $2.3 billion, or $3.77 a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted were $3.67 per share.Analysts had expected earnings of $2.95 per share.

    Sales fell to $21.364 billion from $22.347 billion, topping estimates of $21.137 billion.

    Same-store sales fell 4.1%, less than analysts had expected. Lowe’s said the decline in do-it-yourself big ticket discretionary spending was partially offset by positive comparable sales in Pro and online.

    In January, said it would its loyalty program from home improvement professionals to everyday customers, with a national rollout in March. The expansion follows the March 2022 introduction of the Lowe's MVPs Pro Rewards and Partnership Program for industry professionals.

    "This quarter we rolled out our new DIY loyalty program nationally, expanded same-day delivery options and took market share in key categories,” stated Ellison. “We continue to gain momentum with our Total Home strategy, reflected in our growth in Pro and online.

    The retailer affirmed its full-year outlook which calls for sales to range from $84 billion to $85 billion and for earnings per share to range from $12.00 to $12.30. It expects same-store sales to fall 2% to 3%.

    During the quarter, the company repurchased approximately 3.0 million shares for $743 million, and it paid $633 million in dividends.

    As of May 3, 2024, Lowe's operated 1,746 stores.

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