News Briefs

  • 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.

  • 2/27/2024

    Digital Brands Group to open its first store in April — with more to come

    Digital Brands Group

    Digital Brands Group is making its move into brick-and-mortar.

    The company, whose portfolio of digital-first lifestyle apparel brands includes Sundry and Bailey 44, plans to open its first retail store in the first half of April, at Simon Premium Outlet Mall in Allen, Texas. It plans to open 50 stores during the next several years. 

    Digital Brands Group (DBG) forecasts the store will generate more than $1.5 million in annual revenue and over $500,000 in annual cash flow based on the historical performance of the location and excess Sundry inventory. (The company noted it received a significant amount of excess inventory with its Sundry acquisition, which was completed in late 2022).

    DGB said it will use store to clear excess inventory at “meaningfully” higher margins than selling into the off-price channel.

    "We are excited to begin the retail store phase of our growth strategy,” said Hil Davis, CEO of Digital Brands Group. “We believe the best performing retail brands will have three legs to their growth story: (1) wholesale, (2) e-commerce and (3) retail stores.” 

    Digital Brands’ portfolio includes the following brands:

    Bailey 44, a contemporary women’s brand whose on-trend designs specialize in the “date night” category;

    DSTLD, a premium denim brand;

    Harper & Jones, a “made-to-measure” suiting and sportswear brand for men;

    Stateside, a womenswear label crafted with all-natural fabrics; and 

    Sundry, which offers casual wear for the beach or a summer night out. 

  • 2/27/2024

    Buyer wanted: IP assets of e-commerce site Zulily up for sale

    Zulily

    The intangible assets, including 200-plus trademarks, of Zulily are on the block.

    Hilco Steambank is selling the assets which, in addition to the trademarks, include domain names (including Zulily.com), customer data, social media assets and code for the Zulily proprietary app. The deadline for indications of interest in acquiring the assets is March 13, 2024.

    Launched in early 2010, Zulily featured a flash sale events model, with thousands of products on its website and app for a limited time and quantity at a significant discount. The company, which had a peak market cap of $7 billion in 2014, generated $666 million in sales in 2023, the same year after parent company Qurate Retail Group, whose brands include QVC, HSN, Ballard Designs and others, sold Zulily to investment firm Regent for an undisclosed sum.

    In December, Zuilly said it was going out of business. In late May 2023, Qurate Retail Group, whose brands include QVC, HSN, Ballard Designs and others, sold Zulily to investment firm Regent for an undisclosed sum.

    "Zulily targeted an attractive audience – discount shoppers looking for the best deals on women's and kids' apparel, footwear, and home goods – of which there are over 2.5 million that made a purchase in 2023,” said Richelle Kalnit, senior VP, Hilco Streambank, a division of Hilco Global. "A buyer of Zulily's IP will have a prime opportunity to reengage these customers and to build on the Zulily brand recognition, including over 6.4 million social media followers across platforms, to acquire new ones."

    Interested parties can contact Hilco Streambank at [email protected].

  • 2/26/2024

    Benihana to expand with locations in South Florida, California

    Benihana

    Benihana Inc. is expanding its footprint with new locations slated to open in Florida and California.

    The Japanese hibachi and sushi restaurant chain has opened its newest sushi location in Miami’s affluent Brickell neighborhood. The 1,280-sq.-ft. Benihana RA Sushi Brickell will offer dine-in, take-out and delivery options.

    "It's an honor for us to be a part of one of the most well-respected brands in the United States and debut the new Benihana RA Sushi fast-casual restaurant," said Erick Passo, newest Benihana franchisee and owner of Black Market Miami and Ben's Pizza. "The restaurant invites our guests to treat themselves to something special while on the go.  Serving both teppanyaki and sushi, Benihana RA Sushi Brickell will delight guests with a broad array of menu items."

    In addition to the Brickell location, Benihana is aiming to open three other locations, including one more in Miami, where the chain is headquartered, later this year. Details on the scheduled openings are as follows:

    • Benihana RA Sushi Bayside in Bayside Marketplace, Miami, a fast-casual restaurant, is planned to open mid-year 2024.
    • RA Sushi Plantation, Fla. in Plantation Walk is planned to open this summer at 333 North University Drive. The RA Sushi restaurant will be over 3,800 square feet with 34 tables, a full-service sushi bar and dedicated area for take-out and delivery business.
    • Benihana San Mateo, Calif. is scheduled to open late 2024 at 2204 Bridgepointe Parkway with 18 teppanyaki tables and a full-service sushi bar.

    Founded in New York City in 1964, Benihana operates more than 100 restaurants operating under the brands Benihana, RA Sushi and Samurai brands.

  • 2/26/2024

    Bullish outlook for restaurant growth

    Consumers' penchant for eatint out is fueling overall industry growth.

    The total restaurant category — including full-service and limited-service restaurants — is projected to grow 0.6%  on top of 0.8% in 2023, according to the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA) 2023 estimates and its latest 2024 Food Away-From-Home (FAFH) Industry and Segment Projections report.

    Quick-service restaurants, which have performed significantly better in recent years than other segments overall, are projected to grow 0.7%. The fast-casual segment shows bullish growth of 0.9 percent. The casual dining segment continues to grow, at a projected real rate of 0.5%.

    Midscale restaurants are the only major restaurant segment where IFMA projections a decline of 0.7%. 

    In other findings, the food away-from-home industry  will grow 0.9%, on a real basis, in 2024, following better-than-expected growth of 1.2%, on a real basis, in 2023.  Looking ahead to 2025, IFMA projects that the food away-from-home industry will have 1.3% real growth. The total restaurant category is expected to grow 0.9%, while the total on-site category is projected to grow 2.2%, on a real basis.  

    Collectively, on-site segments in 2024 are projected to grow 2%, largely because their recovery from 2020 was slower than that of restaurants. The college & university and lodging segments are expected to lead on-site growth at 3.0 and 2.8%, respectively. The business and industry segment continue to struggle.

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