It's been a little hectic for me of late but I have plenty of news in the hopper. In the meantime, enjoy this...
Will Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman-Marcus merge?
Recent industry chatter indicates that a Neiman-Marcus & Saks Fifth Avenue merger may be closer than we all think. Given the brand recognition of each retail chain, and the significant real estate overlap, what would the combined company be called and how would they decide what stores to close? Between Saks at Phipps Plaza and Neiman-Marcus at Lenox Square, which would stay open? Given both were recently renovated, is it plausible for both to remain open if a merger comes to fruition?
Why does Charlotte and its SouthPark Mall have a Porsche Design store while Atlanta is without?
Porsche will open their new North American headquarters in Atlanta in late 2014 so maybe a Porsche Design store will follow. Given that the headquarters will be very close to Hartsfield-Jackson, it's at least possible that the company will opt to open at the airport rather than in a mall. If a mall location is chosen, Lenox Square or Buckhead Atlanta make the most sense.
How is it possible there are still Blockbuster Video stores in business?
I recently found myself in Gastonia, North Carolina, traveling back from Charlotte and dropped in to a Blockbuster Video. While this location was actively closing, there are multiple others in North Carolina still operating, as well as over a hundred in the nation. Atlanta though, once home to over 50 locations by itself, is now home to a single location on Tech Drive at Indian Trail in Norcross. Are suburban cities home to other forgotten and thought to be failed chains like Richway, Woolworth and Drug Emporium? (Although gone from Georgia for over a decade, Drug Emporium does apparently operate in West Virginia as an independent business.)
What can be learned from the recent closures of all three Lime Fresh Mexican Grills and Atlanta's only Erbert & Gerbert's?
1) Don't come to market with an average product at a higher cost than your competition.
2) If you're opening the first restaurant of a certain brand in a the market, make sure you have a great location.
3) Test the waters. If you are entering a crowded market and dumping serious cash into renovation and build outs, take your time and make sure the market will "bite." Don't overbuild, over-anticipate or over promise. First rule in hospitality: under promise and over deliver.
3) Don't let your product differentiation be "that you dig the inner bread from a sub out and place it on top the sandwich"
RAW Denim on the move from Buckhead to midtown.
RAW Denim is moving from East Andrews to the Midtown Mile at 77th & 12th. Given the
pending recent opening of (ROC) and the failures of Thread House, Universal Gear and DrewLewis, are RAW Denim and owner Emily Lipman making the right move? Can midtown support existing and upcoming retail or are the upcoming openings ill-advised?
The "Flagship" New Era store closed a few days ago in downtown Atlanta.
Was their Luckie Street location what doomed them, or is it just impossible for a brand like New Era, which really only sells hats and related apparel, to make it?
Michael Stars has a new location within Phipps Plaza
Michael Stars, a retailer I recently added to my DeathWatch, has relocated to a new space within Phipps Plaza. The store opened in the Belk wing of the Buckhead mall in the summer of 2010, but never really built out the store. Insiders say the store has never performed to company expectations and that the new move, to a portion of the former Carter Barnes in the Nordstrom wing, may be temporary. It's likely this move is only for a short period of time after which the store will close permanently.
Firkin and Gryphon in Dunwoody has closed for a "remodel."
Firkin Pubs, a Canada-based restaurant group seems to have found little success in Georgia. The group once had locations at both The Avenue Forsyth and Lindbergh City Center in addition to Ashford Place in Dunwoody. The Dunwoody location opened in late 2010 in space formerly home to a Smokey Bones. The Lindbergh location closed "for renovations" in early 2011 and never reopened. The Forsyth location closed for good in the summer of 2012 and now the Dunwoody location closes with the promise of a remodel and reopening. Somehow I think we can go ahead and call this a wrap. What should replace it?