retail news in context, analysis with attitude

•  The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that Lidl "plans to boost its minimum pay in metro Atlanta to $15 an hour next month … Lidl’s new starting pay locally will be double the federal minimum wage of $7.25. In metro Atlanta, starting pay was $12.50 an hour.

"The discount, Germany-based chain, which began operating the U.S. in 2015, has 12 Atlanta area stores. Another is slated to open this month in Sandy Springs and five more are expected later this year. The company currently has about 350 employees locally, with plans to add a regional distribution center in Covington with another 250 jobs."

•  CNBC reports that Macy's " has notified the employees at about 45 of its department stores that they will close by the middle of this year," including its store in Water Tower Place on Chicago's Michigan Avenue.  "The closures are part of a previously announced plan by Macy’s to shut 125 locations by 2023, which the retailer outlined last February."

NBC News reports that "Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Macy's Water Tower decision came even before the coronavirus pandemic fully hit the area."

According to the CNBC story, Macy’s Chief Executive Jeff Gennette has said "the company was still betting on the best malls in the country, but that it would look to grow off-mall in the future."

CNBC points out that "there are about 1,000 malls operating in the U.S. today, according to commercial real estate services firm Green Street Advisors. A large majority of those malls are classified as so-called B-, C- and D-rated malls, meaning they bring in fewer sales per square foot than an A mall. An A++ mall could bring in as much as $1,000 in sales per square foot, for example, while a C+ mall does about $320."

I have trouble understanding exactly what Macy's differential advantage and core value proposition are.  Perhaps someone can help?

Also … Macy's tend to be pretty big stores.  Hard to imagine what retail business might take over these about-to-be vacant locations … which will make problematic malls even more so.

•  From USA Today:

"Highland Ventures LTD, the owner of Family Video and Marco's Pizza, announced the closure of the remaining Family Video stores in a press release. 

More than 250 stores are set to close following the sale of all remaining inventory. All stores, including 40-plus Wisconsin locations, have begun their liquidation sales with an everything-must-go mentality. 

"Customers can purchase everything from movies and CBD products down to store fixtures. 

"This announcement follows a similar closing for the movie rental chain in November, when Highland Ventures closed half of its stores due to the financial strain brought on by the pandemic."