Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The Halloween Issue

“Brick-and-mortar remains the top destination when it comes to Halloween shopping”.
Marianne Wilson, Chain Store Age

Well, there you go, a bit of a bright spot in the midst of continuing upheaval in the retail world (and, you know, the regular world): even though they’re searching for ideas online, Halloween shoppers still plan to visit actual stores for their costumes, candy, and party purchases, at least according to the National Retail Federation’s Halloween Data Center.

Which actual stores? According to the NRF, to buy Halloween merchandise, 42 percent of shoppers will go to a discount store, 36 percent to a specialty Halloween or costume store, 25 percent to a grocery store, and 23 percent will visit a department store. 25 percent will purchase online.
Although average individual Halloween shopper spending won’t quite reach last year’s record level, it will still add up to a healthy $8.8 billion in total Halloween spending. According to the NRF (based on a survey of 7,419 consumers was conducted in early September):

Total Halloween spending will reach $8.8 billion, down slightly from $9 billion last year and  the third-highest in the survey’s history, after the record $9.1 billion set in 2017.
Shoppers will spend an average $86.27 each, down just slightly from last year’s record $86.79.
172 million people plan to celebrate Halloween, 68 percent of those surveyed, down from 175 million last year.
Online search remains the top source of Halloween ideas, cited by 35 percent of consumers surveyed, followed by browsing in stores at 28 percent, and ideas from friends/family at 20 percent. Shoppers will spend $3.2 billion on costumes (purchased by 67 percent of Halloween shoppers), $2.6 billion on candy (95 percent), $2.7 billion on decorations (72 percent) and $390 million on greeting cards (34 percent).

Among those celebrating, 69 percent plan to hand out candy, 49 percent plan to decorate their home or yard, 47 percent will dress in costume, 44 percent will carve a pumpkin, 32 percent will throw or attend a party, 29 percent will take their children trick-or-treating, 22 percent will visit a haunted house and 17 percent will dress their pets in costume.

Speaking of costumes, a warning for those of you who suffer from Coulrophobia (look it up): the most-searched costume this year, and therefore likely to be the most-worn, according to Google: Pennywise, the frightening clown from It.

And on the subject of fear, the NRF notes that “the ongoing trade war with China is causing uncertainty among American consumers, and 14 percent of those surveyed said their concerns about the economy would impact their Halloween plans. However, most Halloween merchandise was in the country before 15 percent tariffs on consumer goods took effect September 1.

There you have it – a reasonably positive Halloween forecast for retailers. Not only that, but looking ahead, the NRF forecasts that 2019 holiday sales will grow between 3.8 and 4.2 percent. Here’s hoping.

By the way, 2019, according to the National Garden Bureau, is the Year of the Pumpkin, of which American farmers produce between 1 and 2 billion pounds annually. Happy Halloween!

Chris Cardoni, Marketing Manager
Source: Data Center


Team News: Eva Marlier has joined the Boston office as an Assistant Property Manager. Karen Kelley joined the Burlington, MA office as an Accounts Payable Data Entry Clerk…Investment Sales: VP of Investment Sales Jonathan Aron represented the seller in the sale of Longhorn Steakhouse and Bertucci’s, Walkers Brook Drive, Reading, MA, and represented the seller and procured the buyer for the sale of the Newton Highlands Portfolio, a four-building mixed-use property in Newton, MA.


US retail sales fell for the first time in 7 months in September, the Commerce Department said. Sales dropped 0.3% last month as households slashed spending on building materials, online purchases, and automobiles. The decline was the first since February. Compared to September last year, retail sales increased by 4.1%. See sales reports on Page 4...Simon Property Group has announced an agreement with online shopping site Rue Gilt Groupe to create a multi-platform venture dedicated to online shopping from its outlets. Simon operates 89 outlet centers.


purchase of Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group and has an agreement to sell Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse and Del Frisco’s Grille to Landry’s for an undisclosed sum. The company operates high-end steak chains such as Morton’s, Mastro’s, Vic & Anthony’s, Strip House and Brenner’s…Multi-concept owner Inspire Brands has entered into an agreement to acquire Jimmy John’s Sandwiches. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Inspire owns the Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Sonic Drive-In and Rusty Taco brands which total about 8,300 locations worldwide. Jimmy John’s has more than 2,800 locations across 43 states...Wegmans opened its 100th store this month, a 104,000 s/f store in Raleigh, NC…Wawa plans to open 40 convenience stores in Northern VA during the next 15 years, the first in April 2020. Wawa is on track to open 63 stores this year. The company currently operates more than 870 US stores…Designer handbag reseller Rebag opened its 8th brick-and-mortar location, at Roosevelt Field mall, Garden City, NY. Rebag plans 30 locations in the medium term…Dollar General opened its 16,000th store this month with a location in Panama City, Florida.  The Company plans to expand its presence to 46 states by adding locations in Wyoming and Washington in 2020... Amazon reportedly has signed leases for and will open more than 12 brick-and-mortar grocery stores in greater Los Angeles. The stores will operate separately from Whole Foods, and measure about 35,000 s/f. Amazon plans additional grocery stores in other US markets...Dick’s Sporting Goods opened 5 Dick’s stores and 2 Golf Galaxy stores this month. The company has a total of 732 Dick’s Sporting Goods stores and 95 Golf Galaxy stores in 47 states. Dick’s has also entered into an agreement with Sportsman’s Warehouse Holdings Inc., which will acquire 8 of Dick’s Field & Stream locations, to be rebranded under the Sportsman’s Warehouse banner. Three are located in Pennsylvania, two in New York, two in North Carolina, and one in Michigan.   Dick’s has been evaluating its hunting business, including its 35-store Field & Stream division…RH opened a three-level, 60,000 s/f store at The Gallery in Edina, a suburb of Minneapolis. RH is set to open 2 additional locations this year, in Columbus, OH, and Corte Madera, CA…VSP Global has completed the acquisition of Visionworks, which operates more than 700 stores in nearly 40 states. Visionworks will continue to operate independently...The Cheesecake Factory has completed its  acquisition of Fox Restaurant Concepts (FRC). They will essentially operate as two companies, each with its own headquarters. FRC grew its North Italia concept to 21 locations in 10 states. Now the brand becomes part of Cheesecake, which has disclosed plans to open 4-5 North Italias in 2020, roughly the same as the number of Cheesecake-brand restaurants expects to open. Other FRC brands to be transferred to Cheesecake’s portfolio include Flower Child; Doughbird; Culinary Dropout; The Arrogant Butcher; and Wildflower...Von Maur department store will open an 85,000 s/f store at West Towne Mall in Madison, WI, Von Maur’s second location in that state, part of a targeted national growth strategy. Von Maur operates 35 stores in 15 states…Whole Foods Market will open a new Mid-Atlantic flagship store in Tysons Corner, VA this month, its 10th store in Virginia. Whole Foods is also opening stores in Seattle, Beverly, MA, and Long Beach, CA this month. In November, the grocer plans to open new stores in Tempe, AZ., and Parsippany, NJ…Costco Wholesale Corp. will open about 15 new US stores in the new fiscal year, and about 25 new stores worldwide. The company opened 10 new US units and relocated 2 stores in the recently completed fourth quarter. Costco now operates 544 US locations...Giant Food Stores plans to open 3 rebranded stores next month in Pennsylvania’s Lancaster and Lebanon counties from its acquisition of Musser’s Market. Giant also plans to open a 65,000 s/f flagship store in the River Walk mixed-use development in Philadelphia. This is Giant’s first two-story store and its second full supermarket in the city. Part of Ahold Delhaize USA, Giant currently operates 181 stores under the Giant, Martin’s Food Markets and Giant Heirloom Market banners in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia…McAlister’s Deli signed its largest development deal in company history. As part of the deal, McAlister’s Deli will develop 47 restaurants over the next 7 years. McAlister’s Franchisor SPV LLC currently has more than 450 restaurants in 27 states and is part of the Focus Brands family, including Auntie Anne’s, Carvel, Cinnabon, Jamba, Moe’s Southwest Grill, and Schlotzsky’s Austin Eatery…INDOCHINO opened its 50th US showroom, in Washington, DC…JackRabbit, a retailer of athletic footwear, apparel, and accessories owned by affiliates of CriticalPoint Capital announced the acquisition of the Olympia Sports brand from retail sporting goods company Olympia Sports. Olympia currently operates stores in the Northeast US...Ross Stores Inc. opened 30 new Ross Dress for Less and 12 dd’s Discounts stores across 19 different states in September and October, completing the company’s plans for 98 new stores in fiscal 2019. Together, Ross Dress for Less and dd’s Discounts operate 1,811 stores.


Forever 21 has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The privately held company will close up to 178 US stores. As of the bankruptcy filing, the company operated about 800 stores globally, including more than 500 stores in the US...Bed Bath & Beyond Inc., which also operates buybuy Baby, Harmon Face Values and World Market, says it will close 60 stores in the fiscal year across the company, up from the April estimate of 40 stores. Most closings are expected after the holidays in early 2020. 40 of the stores closing will be Bed Bath & Beyond stores and 20 will be in the company’s other concepts... Walmart is reportedly laying off staffers from its Bonobos menswear brand. It is not clear whether affected roles are in Bonobos’ corporate offices, 60-plus stores, or both... Another 100 stores Sears and Kmart locations are set to close by the end of 2019. Parent entity TransformCo, hasn’t said which stores will be closing.


Whole Foods Market opened a 34,500 s/f store in Beverly, MA this month. Whole Foods has 32 additional stores in MA... Target plans to open an 11,000 s/f store near Boston’s City Hall. The opening date was not been announced.


Consulting firm McKinsey & Co. opened its first retail store, the Modern Retail Collective, at the Mall of America in Minneapolis. The 3,000 s/f living retail lab will feature a regular rotation of different brands using an array of new retail tech. It will accept cryptocurrency as payment. McKinsey, plans to operate the store for at least a year and rotate brands and tech providers every few months...Amazon 4-Star will open a location in the Natick (MA) Mall this month, the 1st store of its kind in the Boston area and the 5th nationwide. The stores carry a variety of products from popular categories that are top sellers, new and trending, or rated four stars and above on Gymboree is being revived by former rival The Children’s Place, which plans to relaunch the brand in 2020 with an enhanced website and shop-in-shop locations in more than 200 Children’s Place stores in the US and Canada. Gymboree filed for bankruptcy in January 2019, saying it would close all stores. In March, The Children’s Place acquired the rights to the Gymboree and Crazy 8 brands.


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. 


According to the Commerce Department, September saw a 0.3% drop in sales to $525.6 billion, following an upwardly revised 0.6% boost from the initial reading of 0.4% in August.

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce -


Treasury Yield Sources:;


The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® decreased in September, following a slight decline in August. The Index now stands at 125.1 (1985=100), down from 134.2 in August.

Source: The Conference Board -


Manufacturing contracted in September, as the PMI® registered 47.8 percent, a decrease of 1.3 percentage points from the August reading of 49.1 percent. This is the lowest reading since June 2009, the last month of the Great Recession, when the index registered 46.3 percent.

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