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Walgreens Announces Store Reductions

Other Retailers Expanding Brick/Mortar Presence

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Walgreens plans to close a "significant portion" of its 8,700 US stores, with CEO Tim Wentworth revealing that about 25% of its locations are under review. 

The move comes as Walgreens attempts to address financial struggles and improve profitability. The closures are part of a broader strategy shift, which also includes reducing its stake in value-based medical chain VillageMD.

Walgreens now plans to refocus on its core pharmacy business, launching a retail pharmacy action plan aimed at enhancing customer experience and aligning its pharmacy and healthcare operations.

Other retail outlets, however, are on an expansion kick.

BJ’s Wholesale Club is set to open new locations in Hanover, NJ, and Southern Pines, NC, in early 2025. These openings will mark the 25th and 10th clubs in New Jersey and North Carolina, respectively. Additionally, BJ’s will enter Kentucky for the first time with a new store in Louisville, bringing its total operational states to 21.

The retailer has been actively expanding beyond its Northeast base, with new locations in Tennessee, Alabama, and Florida. BJ’s continues to grow its presence along the East Coast and beyond, aiming to provide families with significant savings on groceries.

Iconic outdoor retailer L.L. Bean is opening four new U.S. stores this year, with further expansion planned for the Southeast and Midwest in 2025. New stores will be located in Mechanicsburg, PA; Enfield, CT; and Indianapolis. This expansion follows a successful opening in Ulster, NY, which has exceeded sales projections.

L.L. Bean’s growth strategy includes increasing its retail presence and national footprint while also enhancing its flagship campus in Maine. 

Nordstrom, Inc. is expanding its off-price format, with plans to open a new Nordstrom Rack in Houston in spring 2025. This store will join upcoming openings in California, Illinois, North Carolina, and New Jersey. The expansion underscores Nordstrom Rack’s role as a growth engine for the company, contributing significantly to new customer acquisition.

Nordstrom aims to open 22 Rack stores this year, up from 19 last year, with over 350 Nordstrom, Nordstrom Local, and Nordstrom Rack locations already in operation.

Denim icon Levi & Strauss Co. is leaning into a direct-to-consumer model to prop up sales numbers.

Despite missing analyst expectations, the company highlighted the strength of the DTC strategy, which saw an 11% increase in revenues. eCommerce sales grew by 19%, driven by robust performance in the Levi’s and Beyond Yoga brands. Overall, the company recorded $1.4 billion in net revenue for Q2, with an 8% year-over-year increase.

A new Amazon Fresh store in Eatontown, NJ, features Amazon’s latest brick-and-mortar design, including high-tech features like Amazon Dash Cart, Amazon One palm-based payment, and Alexa kiosks. The store offers a mix of national brands and Amazon’s private labels.

Grocery Outlet Holding Corp. is expanding into the Southeast by acquiring closeout grocery retailer United Grocery Outlet (UGO) for $62 million. The acquisition includes 40 stores and a distribution center, expanding Grocery Outlet’s presence into Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, and Virginia. The deal is expected to close early in the second quarter.

A new collaboration between Target and Shopify will allow select Shopify merchants to list their products on Target’s website, expanding the retailer’s online product offerings. While Target won’t provide fulfillment services, some Shopify merchants’ products may eventually be available in Target stores.

The partnership aims to boost Target’s online presence and compete with Amazon and Walmart. For Shopify, the deal offers a potential turnaround, helping to counteract recent financial challenges.

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