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News Briefs

  • 5/28/2024

    Academy Sports + Outdoors enters 19th state

    Academy Sports

    Academy Sports + Outdoors continues to expand into new markets. 

    The full-line sporting goods and outdoor recreation retailer has opened its first store in Ohio. Located in Zanesville, the approximately 54,000-sq.-ft. store offers a wide assortment of athletic and casual shoes, sports and outdoors equipment, and clothing from both leading national brands and a portfolio of private label brands. 

    The new location is the third store Academy has opened in 2024. The retailer plans to continue its expansion efforts with the goal of opening 15 to 17 stores in its fiscal 2024 year, with a total of 160 to 180 new stores over the next five years.

    Featuring a localized merchandising strategy, Academy also offers free in-store services such as grill and bike assembly, scope mounting and line winding/spooling. Customers can also purchase hunting and fishing licenses in the store.

    Academy operates 285 stores across 19 states.

  • 5/28/2024

    Mall of America celebrates 40 years of "Purple Rain" with tribute concert

    Prince Purple Rain

    Mall of America is gearing up to host a tribute concert for one of Minnesota’s most famous musicians.

    "Reign: Celebrating Minnesota Music Royalty," a concert featuring Chase & Ovation, known as “the world’s premier Prince tribute band,” is slated to take place at the Huntington Bank Rotunda on Tuesday, June 25 from 5 - 10 p.m. The concert lands on the 40-year anniversary of Prince’s classic 1984 pop/rock album “Purple Rain.”

    Known for their 17-year legacy of live Prince cover performances, Chase & Ovation is the main act for the concert, which will also include performances from Cassandra Cole, Jojo Green, and Nur-D, each bringing their unique take on Prince classics to the stage.

    “This event is a celebration of Minnesota music by local musicians,” said Chris Grap, VP of experiential at Mall of America. "We’re proud to partner with these great acts to celebrate our rich history of music on this historic date. Our team is dedicated to providing exceptional year-round events, and we're excited to showcase the talents of Minnesota's finest for our guests to enjoy.”

    Ticket options for the all-ages event range from VIP seating to general admission standing room on the ground floor. VIP ticket holders receive a drink ticket and a Mall of America fanny pack.

    At 5.6 million sq. ft., Mall of America, located in Bloomington, Minn., is the largest shopping and entertainment complex in North America with up to 520 world-class retail stores and restaurants, and several entertainment attractions.

  • 5/24/2024

    Walmart ends credit card partnership with Capital One


    After six years, Walmart is changing how it manages its store credit card program.

    Walmart is ending a long-term agreement it entered with Capital One Financial Corp. in 2018 that made Capital One the exclusive issuer of the discount giant’s consumer credit cards. In September 2019, the companies introduced the Capital One Walmart Rewards Credit Card Program.

    The program offers two cards – the Capital One Walmart Rewards Mastercard and a private-label card exclusively for Walmart purchases, the Walmart Rewards Card. The co-branded Mastercard offers a number of digital-first features.

    While Capital One and Walmart have ended their card partnership, the companies said that nothing is changing immediately for cardholders, who can continue to earn and redeem rewards. In addition, previously accrued rewards will retain their value. 

    Until informed otherwise, Walmart and Capital One said that cardholders can also continue to use their Capital One Walmart Rewards Card wherever Mastercard is accepted and the Walmart Rewards Card for purchases at Walmart.

    Capital One will retain ownership and servicing of the credit card accounts. Additional information will be provided in the coming months to Walmart credit card holders.

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

  • 5/24/2024

    Consumer sentiment falls amid concerns abut jobs, interest rates

    U.S. consumer sentiment fell to its lowest reading in about five months in May. 

    The University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment dropped to 69.1 in May from 77.2 in April. The reading, however, was slightly higher than the preliminary estimate of 67.4. 

    Sentiment also remains almost 20% above a year ago and about 40% above the all-time historic low in June 2022, “reflecting how much consumer views have improved as inflation eased,” noted Joanne Hsu, director, surveys of consumers, University of Michigan.

    Consumers’ views of current economic conditions also fell in May, down to 69.6 in May from 79 in April. The outlook for the next six months fell to 68.8 from 76 in April. 

    “Consumers expressed particular concern over labor markets,” stated Hsu. “They expect unemployment rates to rise and income growth to slow.” 

    The prospect of continued high interest rates also weighed down consumer views, she added.

    “These deteriorating expectations suggest that multiple factors pose downside risk for consumer spending,” she said. Still, sentiment remains almost 20% above a year ago and about 40% above the all-time historic low in June 2022, reflecting how much consumer views have improved as inflation eased. 

    Year-ahead inflation expectations edged up from 3.2% last month to 3.3% this month, remaining above the 2.3-3.0% range seen in the two years prior to the pandemic. Long-run inflation expectations held steady at 3.0% for the second straight month.

    Although they have been within the narrow 2.9-3.1% range for 30 of the last 34 months, long-run inflation expectations remain elevated relative to the 2.2-2.6% range seen in the two years pre-pandemic.

  • 5/24/2024

    Nintendo to open store in San Francisco

    Bangkok,Thailand - October 30, 2014: Pickachu toy character from Pokemon anime. There are toy sold as part of McDonald Happy Meal toy.; Shutterstock ID 227009044

    Twenty-years after it opened its first — and only —U.S. store, Nintendo is planning a follow-up.

    Nintendo of America said it plans to open an official store in San Francisco’s Union Square. The store, called Nintendo San Francisco, will open in 2025. It will be the video game giant’s second official location in the United States, joining the Nintendo store at Rockefeller Center in New York City. (Nintendo, however, also has venues at U.S. theme parks.)

    The two-level NYC store, which officially opened in 2005, features Nintendo games and related merchandise, hardware and accessories. The second floor is devoted to museum-like display cases of Nintendo consoles. 

    There are only three Nintendo stores outside of the U.S. They are all located in Japan, in the cities of Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto. 

    Nintendo did not release any details about the upcoming San Francisco store, other than to say it would provide a way “for a wide range of visitors from near and far to experience the world of Nintendo, its products, and characters.” The company said it would release more information as the opening draws closer.

  • 5/24/2024

    Taco chain to grow in Arizona, Texas

    Fuzzy's Taco Shop

    Fuzzy’s Taco Shop is plotting a big expansion in the Southwest.

    The fast-casual taco chain has signed two multi-unit development agreements to mark the brand’s expansion throughout Arizona and Texas. The deals will bring 40 new restaurants to market over the next eight years.

    Fuzzy’s Taco Shop franchisee Marc Rogers of Rogers Restaurant Group signed an agreement to bring 15 new restaurants to Arizona and the Phoenix area by 2032. Rogers Restaurant Group opened their first Fuzzy’s Taco Shop in Fort Collins, Colo. in 2011, and today owns and/or operates 16 Fuzzy’s restaurants throughout Colorado.

    Hnreck Nazarian of Nazarian Global Enterprises (NGE) will become the newest Fuzzy’s Taco Shop franchisee and open 25 new restaurants over the next seven years throughout the Houston market. A multi-unit restaurant operator with 23 IHOP restaurants, NGE has been an IHOP franchisee since 2001, owning their first IHOP restaurant in Houston.

    "Fuzzy’s has transformed from a single neighborhood taco shop with a chill vibe in Fort Worth, Texas into an emerging, nationally franchised concept with an exceptional bar program and a Baja-inspired menu that our guests have come to crave," said Paul Damico, president of Fuzzy’s Taco Shop. “As we prepare to grow Fuzzy’s Taco Shops throughout Arizona and Texas, we’re excited to work with existing and new franchisees to help lead the growth.”

    Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, which operates nearly 130 locations in 18 states, was acquired by Dine Brands Global in 2022, which also supports and operates Applebee's and IHOP franchises.

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