Monday, March 22, 2021

The Return of Shopping

 I admit it: I like shopping. I even like grocery shopping. Like everyone, my opportunity for “live” shopping has been curtailed lately (my Amazon habit rages on unabated). I shop for groceries weekly, and have shopped at drugstores and hardware stores regularly. I stopped visiting other stores when I had to, but started again when I could. My shopping post-pandemic will likely not change drastically - but what about everyone else? Will shoppers surge back to stores? Prognosticators are examining pandemic shopping behavior to predict what shoppers will do post-pandemic. 

There are signs that people welcome a return to live shopping, but researchers are seeing shifts not only in how people shop, but how they feel about shopping. A study on grocery shoppers by Deloitte noted three consumer behavior shifts: Shopping less frequently; changing what they buy; changing what they value. 90% of respondents indicated that while price is still the primary key to purchasing decisions, safety essentially tied with price. In other words, if stores show that they’re taking safety seriously, shoppers will come.1

Retailers, especially apparel merchants, hope “consumers will return as they tire of online shopping and seek new outfits for when they return to their offices”.2 In an interview, the CEO of Gap, Inc. predicted a desire to dress up after months of decreased socializing: “We’re quite optimistic…there’s going to be this peacocking effect” which (she hopes) will translate into store visits.3

We conducted our own informal shopping survey of our KPP co-workers, asking a series of questions about pre- and post-pandemic shopping.

Among our 45 respondents, 24% said they really enjoyed shopping before the pandemic and 53% believe it was somewhat enjoyable. The remaining 23% ranged from somewhat indifferent to “I’d rather put a stick in my eye”.  Post pandemic, our most enthusiastic shoppers dropped from 24% to 16%, but our group which expects to sometimes enjoy shopping grew from 53% to 69%  - reflecting everyone’s desire to get out of the house.

As for grocery shopping, our respondents were split.  Most have cut back on the number of times they visit a grocery store each week, some preferring home delivery and the convenience of curbside pickup.  As for expectations for the future, about half plan to go back to their old habits while the other half will continue newly-established habits such as ordering bulk goods online, taking advantage of curbside pickup, and shopping off hours to avoid crowds.

By far, the biggest thing our respondents are looking forward to in the world of shopping is being able to try on clothing again; everyone is looking forward to going back to their favorite restaurants; and of course, no masks.

We’ll look cautiously forward to a renaissance of retail this spring and summer. Here in my state, almost exactly a year after the shutdown, vaccines are happening, the weather’s getting better, and re-opening is in progress. Maybe I’ll go shopping.

Chris Cardoni, Marketing Manager

1. The future of fresh - Patterns from the pandemic, Barb Renner, Brian Baker, Justin Cook, Josh Mellinger,

2. Retailers hold onto stores in hopes of surge of shoppers, Digital Commerce

3. Gap’s CEO says people will emerge from pandemic and start ‘peacocking,’ could be a boon for retailers, Yahoo News

KeyPoint Partners Company News

We're Moving:
As of May 1st, 2021, our corporate headquarters will be located at the following address:
One Van De Graaff Drive, Suite 402, Burlington, MA 01803
As of that date all correspondence to KeyPoint Partners should be sent to that address. All phone numbers will remain the same.

National Retail News

 Retail sales increased 5.3% in January, the first increase since September. See sales reports below.

Accelerating Retail News

 Slim Chickens signed franchise agreements for 150 units this year and opened its 116th corporate location…Great American Outdoors Group, parent company of Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, and White River Marine Group, will acquire Sportsman’s Warehouse. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2021. Sportsman’s Warehouse operates 111 stores. Bass Pro and Cabela’s operate 169 stores...Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop has acquired 67-unit Wing Zone. Capriotti’s opened 18 stores in 2020, boosting it to 115 locations, with an additional 210 in development. More than 30 will open in 2021. The company also signed 24 multi-unit franchise agreements for 106 restaurants, and plans to expand to more than 500 locations by 2025...Tuesday Morning has emerged from bankruptcy protection. The retailer closed approximately 200 stores during the process, leaving it with 490 stores in 40 states...PrimoHoagies has signed agreements to open 21 new franchise locations. PrimoHoagies currently has 81 locations in 6 states…Phenix Salon Suites opened 30 new stores and signed 57 franchise agreements this past year. The company has 290 locations…BoxUnion has acquired TITLE Boxing Club. BoxUnion is a fitness brand with 3 studio locations and a digital subscription service...Ikea opened its first US store in a new smaller format. Located in Queens, NY, the store offers a full range of products in 115,000 s/f, half the size of an average Ikea...Simply, Inc. opened a Simply Mac store at Destin Commons in Destin, Fl. Simply Mac operates 44 stores in 19 states…Citi Trends will open at least 100 new stores and remodel at least 150 stores by the end of fiscal 2023…Kitchen United plans to grow from 4 current locations to 20 by the end of this year…Edible plans to sign 160 franchise agreements and open 40 stores this year...Macy’s opened its 2nd small format Market by Macy’s location at the WestBend shopping center in Southlake, TX…Shake Shack will open its 1st location with drive-thru in 2021, in Orlando, FL. The company plans 5 to 8 US drive-thrus by mid-year...Jay Pandya, who purchased Boston Market last spring from Sun Capital Partners, is currently on pace to open 2 restaurants a week. Pandya and his team have opened 41 new locations. The chain currently has 326 restaurants…American Eagle Outfitters plans to expand its Aerie banner from 342 stores to about 550 by 2023... Amazon opened its 8th Amazon Fresh store, a 45,000 s/f location in Schaumburg, IL...Pet Supplies Plus has entered into an agreement to be acquired by Franchise Group for around $700 million. Pet Supplies Plus is currently owned by Sentinel Capital Partners, and has over 500 locations…Macy’s-owned Bloomingdale’s is experimenting with a 22,000 s/f store format dubbed Bloomie’s to open in Fairfax, VA, this coming fall...Tropical Smoothie Café opened 99 cafes, including its 900th location, in 2020 and is on track to reach 1,000 restaurants in 2021...Volofit has announced 15 new fitness studios in Minnesota, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina...McDonald’s plans to open 500 US restaurants, part of a plan to open more than 1,300 locations worldwide...PGA Tour Superstore plans to open at least 6 new stores in 2021, reaching 50 stores by the end of the year...At Home opened 4 stores. The new additions give the retailer a total of 222 locations in 40 states. The company plans to open 12 - 15 US stores this year...Price Chopper/Market 32 and Tops Markets plan to merge, creating a chain with 292 Price Chopper, Market 32, Market Bistro and Tops Markets stores in 6 states...Sola Salon Studios will open 60 locations and sign 43 franchise agreements to develop 113 new salons throughout the US and Canada…Aldi plans to add 100 stores in 2021...Captain D’s will open 15 restaurants in 2021, and signed 5 franchise agreements to bring 17 new restaurants to key markets. Captain D’s operates more than 530 restaurants…Five Below plans to open 170 stores across the country during the next 9 months. The company currently operates 1,051 locations nationwide...Läderach Chocolatier Suisse is expanding its US footprint. The Swiss company signed an agreement to take over the leases of 34 US Godiva locations. Läderach opened its 100th store In December... Joann has filed with the SEC to raise up to $100 million in an IPO. Joann, which operates 855 stores nationwide, intends to list on Nasdaq under the symbol “JOAN.” The company was taken private in 2011 by Leonard Green & Partners LP in a $1.6 billion deal…Tractor Supply Company has acquired Orscheln Farm and Home in an all-cash transaction of approximately $297 million.  Orscheln Farm and Home has 167 stores in 11 states. As of December 2020, Tractor Supply operates 1,923 stores in 49 states and 182 Petsense stores in 25 states...Target opened mini-Apple shops in 17 Target stores this month, with more to open in the fall... Amazon opened its 10th Amazon Fresh store, in Fullerton, CA. Amazon has at least 28 more Amazon Fresh stores in the works…Sephora will open more than 60 freestanding stores and 200 locations in Kohl’s stores this year. ..Dick’s Sporting Goods will open 3 namesake stores and 1 Warehouse Sale location in March. Following the openings, Dick’s will have 730 stores nationwide in 47 states...The Michaels Companies is being acquired by Apollo Global Management Inc.  in a deal that values the arts-and-crafts retailer at $5 billion. Michaels has more than 1,275 stores in North America…Smashburger is adding to its network of 250 corporate and franchise restaurants by opening 40 new restaurants in 2021…Dollar Tree plans to open 600 stores and renovate 1,250 Family Dollar locations this year, with the openings consisting of 400 Dollar Tree stores and 200 Family Dollar stores., including H2 stores, a format that combines Dollar Tree and Family Dollar under one roof...Burlington Stores Inc. expects to open 100 new locations in its current fiscal year... Sprouts Farmers Market will open 20 new stores this year, including 4 with a smaller format and 1 relocation…Big Lots will open 50 to 60 stores this year…Bojangles and franchisee Jeff Rigsby have a deal to open 45 new locations over the next 7 years. Bojangles currently has over 760 restaurants in the Southeast... James Avery Artisan Jewelry opened its 100th location, in Del Rio, TX.. uBreakiFix plans to open more than 150 locations in 2021. The company ended 2020 with 611 locations and opened nearly 20 new stores since Jan. 1.

Decelerating Retail News

 Walgreens Boots Alliance is selling the majority of its pharmacy wholesale unit, Alliance Healthcare, to AmerisourceBergen in a $6.5 billion cash and stock deal…Macy’s will close about 45 stores by mid-year, part of a plan to shutter 125 of its least productive stores during the next 3 years. Macy’s currently operates 544 namesake stores...Family Video, the last video store chain in the country, is closing all 250 of its locations. The chain closed more than 200 stores last fall…NPC International and Flynn Restaurant Group entered into an agreement in which about half of NPC’s 393 Wendy’s units will be sold to Flynn. Flynn will also acquire all of NPC’s 925 Pizza Hut units. This sale totals about $553 million…Bed Bath & Beyond plans to close 200 locations by 2022. The retailer is liquidating 43 stores by the end of February...Love’s Furniture and Mattresses has filed for bankruptcy protection months after it opened its first stores. Loves, owned by U.S. Assets, was founded by entrepreneur Jeff Love in 2020 when it purchased the inventory and assets of 27 Art Van Furniture, Levin Furniture, and Wolf Furniture...Christopher & Banks filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with plans to shutter a significant portion, if not all, of its 449 stores. Christopher & Banks is in talks with potential buyers of its e-commerce platform and related assets and will continue to do business in the near-term...Francesca’s Holdings Corp. will permanently shutter half of its stores as it exits bankruptcy. A US Bankruptcy Court approved the sale of the retailer’s assets to an affiliate of TerraMar Capital LLC and Tiger Capital Group LLC. TerraMar and Tiger will preserve the business with at least 275 Francesca’s stores. The chain currently operates 551 stores, the majority in malls...American Eagle Outfitters will close200-250 American Eagle locations. There are currently 880 stores…Godiva will sell or close all 128 of its North American shops within the next few months...Belk has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with a plan to recapitalize its business and reduce its debt burden. The retailer operates nearly 300 stores in 16 Southeastern states…CiCi’s Pizza has declared bankruptcy. The 318-unit pizza chain agreed to sell itself to D&G Investors as part of an expedited bankruptcy process...H&M plans to close 350 stores, but will open over 100 new stores...Ralph Lauren will close up to 10 retail locations globally...After closing nearly 250 US stores in 2020, Victoria’s Secret plans to close 30 to 50 more this year. L Brands also plans to open 49 new Bath & Body Works stores in off-mall locations; it plans to close up to 40 stores in malls...Paper Source filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and plans to close at least 11 of its 158 stores...The Walt Disney Co. plans to close at least 60 stores this year.

New England News

 Dollar Tree and Burn Boot Camp are coming to Sharon (MA) Marketplace. The new locations are slated to open in 2021…HOTWORX, a retail fitness tenant, is coming to Post Road Marketplace, Northborough, MA, the company’s first MA location... Not Your Average Joe’s has closed 4 MA restaurants in Arlington, Burlington, Methuen and Randolph for the winter. NYA Joe’s has locations in MA, NH, RI, PA, VA, and MD...Amici Partners Group has completed its acquisition of Friendly’s, which operates 130 restaurants on the East Coast. Friendly’s declared bankruptcy in November...TD Bank will close 81 of its 1,223 retail branches in 15 states…Kelly’s Roast Beef has plans to develop new restaurants across MA, RI, and NH, and grow to 50 locations in the next 5 years...The last Kmart in MA will close this month, along with 32 other Sears and Kmart stores...Ulta Beauty opened at Arsenal Yards in Watertown...4 restaurants will open at MarketStreet Lynnfield  this year: Serenitee, Alchemy, The OkiPoké, and GFG... Kenmore Square restaurants Eastern Standard , Island Creek Oyster Bar and The Hawthorne have closed for good...Limani restaurant will open at The Street Chestnut Hill.

Mall News

 Mall of America has modified the terms of its $1.4 billion mortgage and is now current on the loan, after missing months of payments during the Covid crisis...Unibail Rodamco Westfield has sold Sunrise Mall, in Long Island to Urban Edge Properties for $29.7 million. Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield recently announced it will sell all its 28 US mall properties by 2022.



Notes: figures gathered from individual company websites, press releases, and Federal filings.  Not all companies report all figures; results not reported will be marked “n/r”. Quarterly results will be updated when available; quarterly figures are shown in italics. Figures from companies not calculated to one decimal point automatically received an ending digit of 0. 


December: Retail sales dropped 0.7%, the Commerce Department said.  

January: Retail sales increased 5.3%, the Commerce Department said, the first increase since September.

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce - 



Treasury Yield Sources:;


 December: The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® declined in December, after decreasing in November. The Index now stands at 88.6 (1985=100), down from 92.9 in November. 

January: The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® improved moderately in January. The Index now stands at 89.3 (1985=100), up from 87.1 in December.

Source: The Conference Board -


 December: The December Manufacturing PMI® registered 60.7 percent, up 3.2 percentage points from the November reading of 57.5 percent. 

January: The January Manufacturing PMI® registered 58.7 percent, down 1.8 percentage points from the seasonally adjusted December reading of 60.5 percent.

Source: Institute for Supply Management - Manufacturing Report on Business -