Amazon + Whole Foods: What to know

Published: Monday, June 19, 2017 @ 10:45 AM

Deal worth almost $14B

Amazon.com Inc.’s announcement Friday that it intends to buy Whole Foods Inc. in a $13.7 billion deal has upset more than a few grocery carts.

Stock prices and expectations have jumped up (and down) at the news. And grocery and food-trend observers wonder whether Amazon can do for fresh tomatoes what it did for Harry Potter novels and Beyonce CDs.

Here are a few things to know about the deal that the companies involved expect will close in the latter half of the year.

1. Analysts wonder whether, and how, Amazon can make it work.

No one seems to be counting the online retail behemoth out, certainly. But analysts are pointing out that delivering fresh produce to customers’ doors is different than delivering CDs and electronics.

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One particular asset that may be of great help: Location. The carefully chosen locations of all those Whole Foods stores (including our own in Washington Twp.). The Wall Street Journal reports that Whole Foods has its 456 stores “concentrated in pricey ZIP codes.”

“Whole Foods already is close to a lot of customers with means,” the Journal noted.

2. Amazon has a big presence in Ohio.

Many in the Dayton area were disappointed when Amazon decided in January to build a global cargo hub at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, instead of at the Wilmington Air Park, where Amazon for a short time worked at what seemed to be the start of a hub operation.

But Amazon still has a solid connection to Ohio. The company has a distribution center in Licking County east of Columbus, with about 2,500 employees (with more closer to Christmas), and another center in Obetz, with a trio of data centers, to boot. There’s also a distribution facility in the Columbus area linked to “Amazon Prime Now” grocery deliveries.

3. A competitive — and pressured — grocery market will likely get more competitive.

It has been no secret that Dayton is blessed or crowded (depending on your point of view) with a slew of competitive groceries slugging it out in the market. 

“There is nowhere hotter than the Dayton area right now when it comes to grocery-store development,” Nate Filler, then the president and chief executive of the Ohio Grocers Association, told Reporter Mark Fisher in 2015. “It’s a weird perfect storm, and I don’t know how long it’s going to last.”

We’ll see how it shakes out, but Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods will only make that competition hotter.

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FAA will require inspections of engines made by Butler County company

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 2:49 PM

Pictured is LEAP-1B jet engine as it undergoes testing. The engine is produced by GE Aviation joint venture CFM International, which is based in Butler County. CONTRIBUTED
Pictured is LEAP-1B jet engine as it undergoes testing. The engine is produced by GE Aviation joint venture CFM International, which is based in Butler County. CONTRIBUTED

The Federal Aviation Administration said Wednesday evening it will require inspections of aircraft engines made by a Butler County company involved in the emergency that killed at least one passenger on Southwest Flight 1380.

“The FAA will issue an airworthiness directive within the next two weeks that will require inspections of certain CFM56-7B engines,” the FAA said Wednesday evening. “The directive will require an ultrasonic inspection of fan blades when they reach a certain number of takeoffs and landings.”

MOREUniversity of Dayton at forefront of jet engine component testing

The Southwest Airlines Co. accident Tuesday killed a passenger after blasting debris into the jet’s left wing, the Boeing 737’s outside fuselage and even into the passenger cabin, breaking a cabin window.

Safety experts are asking whether U.S. regulators and engine makers have “underestimated the role of the engine cover” in the unlikely event engine parts break loose in flight, the Wall Street Journal is reporting Thursday.

CFM International is a joint venture of General Electric and French company Safran based in West Chester Twp. in southeastern Butler County. The company issued a statement yesterday saying it intended to participate in and assist the investigation into flight 1380.

RELATEDSouthwest victim’s cause of death confirmed 

“CFM will support the (National Transportation Safety Board) and Southwest Airlines in determining the cause of the accident,” the Butler County company said in its statement. “CFM and its parent companies, GE and Safran Aircraft Engines, will make every resource necessary available to ensure support.”

CFM also said that, by law, it cannot provide information “about the accident or details related to it.”

“I’m very concerned about this particular event,” NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said at a press briefing Wednesday.

Sumwalt also said the widely used CFM engine has a solid safety record and it was too early to determine if the accident pointed to a broader hazard for travelers, the Journal reported.

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Pier 1 Imports to close up to 25 stores

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 11:25 AM



Getty Images
(Getty Images)

Pier 1 Imports Inc. will close up to 25 stores in the next two years, the company announced during its quarterly earnings call.

Net sales decreased 1.4 percent to $469.2 million, according to a company statement. Alasdair James, president and CEO, said the company’s financial performance was impacted by the hurricanes in Texas and Florida. E-commerce sales reached 26 percent.

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“We saw improved sales in November, including a solid Black Friday weekend, driven by our strong promotional message. However, overall trends dropped considerably during the first two weeks of December,” he said.

During the third quarter of fiscal 2018, the company closed one store. The company expects to close a total of approximately 17 stores in fiscal 2018, and up to 25 in the next “couple years.”

Pier 1 Imports has locations at the Mad River Station Shopping Center in Centerville and another at the Beavercreek Towne Center. It also has a location at the Voice of America Center in West Chester Twp. Closing locations have not been announced yet.

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Farewell Elder-Beerman. Share your memories about the closing retailer

Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2018 @ 12:43 PM

Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. announced Nov. 2, 2016, that it will close its Elder-Beerman store in Towne Mall Galleria in Middletown at the end of January.

It’s official: Elder-Beerman’s parent company is headed for liquidation.

Bon-Ton Stores Inc. officials announced a joint bidder, including a group of the bankrupt retail chain’s bondholders, won an auction for the company’s asset.

The retailer, established 135-years-ago in Dayton and the city’s last hometown department store, will liquidate all stores. What are your memories associated with the well-known retailer? The Dayton Daily News wants to hear your story.

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Elder-Beerman store closings: Everything we know now about local impact

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 9:15 AM

Elder-Beerman warns of layoffs at Dayton Mall store

After several last ditch attempts to save one of America’s oldest retailers, Bon-Ton Stores Inc. joined the ranks of companies that have succumbed to the retail apocalypse.

Bon-Ton Stores Inc. officials announced on Wednesday morning that a joint bidder, including a group of the bankrupt retail chain’s bondholders, won the auction for the company’s asset — signaling the start of the liquidation process for stores.

» CONTINUED COVERAGE: 15 memories at Elder-Beerman that influenced your lives

Company employees were told they will lose their jobs and that all 212 Bon-Ton stores, including local Elder-Beerman locations, will close — with going-out-business sales starting imminently. Great American Group and Tiger Capital Group —and the holders of Bon-Ton’s second-lien secured notes will acquire the retailer’s inventory and certain other assets, Bon-Ton said in a statement.

Here’s what we know today:

1. BANKRUPTCY HEARING A bankruptcy court hearing to approve the venture and wind down Bon-Ton operations occurred on Wednesday.

The bondholder group has wanted all Bon-Ton stores to close since the beginning of the bankruptcy process. Bon-Ton employs about 24,000 people, including hundreds in the Dayton region. The company operates roughly 250 stores in 23 states under the Bon-Ton, Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers brands.

“While we are disappointed by this outcome and tried very hard to identify bidders interested in operating the business as a going concern, we are committed to working constructively with the winning bidder to ensure an orderly wind-down of operations that minimizes the impact of this development on our associates, customers, vendors and the communities we serve,” said Bill Tracy, Bon-Ton’s CEO.

» The rise and fall of Elder-Beerman: A timeline of Dayton’s dying store

2. SAD CUSTOMERS Some shoppers were disappointed by the closings. Now, consumers are looking for other options for their shopping. Alyssa Mitterholzer, a Centerville resident, said online shopping is killing off what’s left of traditional brick-and-mortar stores. More than 12,000 stores are expected to close in 2018 — up from roughly 9,000 in 2017, according to Cushman & Wakefield, a marketing and data analysis firm.

“I mean it’s kind of depressing, actually. I’ve been a long-time shopper at Elder Beerman,” she said.

Bon-Ton had been working with U.S. mall owners Washington Prime Group Inc. and Namdar Realty Group to secure a bid that would have kept open a large portion of Bon-Ton locations. It would’ve benefited the mall groups as Bon-Ton Stores are major tenants for both companies. Washington Prime owns both the Dayton Mall and the Mall at Fairfield Commons.

» Elder-Beerman history: A journey from simple downtown dry goods store

Chris Kershner, executive vice president of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, said Bon-Ton’s liquidation is reflective of retail changes happening across the country. Despite economic planning and a diverse retail landscape, a national retailer’s demise is beyond anything local malls can salvage, he said.

3. LOCAL IMPACT Most Elder-Beerman stores are located within local malls, so closures could have a detrimental effect on multiple shopping centers. Elder-Beerman has stores in Piqua, Huber Heights, the Mall at Fairfield Commons in Beavercreek, the Kettering Towne Center, among others in Ohio. The stores employ hundreds of workers in the region.

Miami Valley Centre Mall officials said the closure and liquidation of all Bon-Ton stores is disappointing for the local shopping center. “As owners of the mall since 1993 we have seen many changes in retail both locally and nationally. The Mid-America Management Corporation’s commitment to the mall and the city of Piqua remains as strong as ever,” the mall group said in a statement.

The Dayton Mall was busy on Tuesday afternoon. Shoppers have flooded area stores and malls returning unwanted gifts they received this holiday season. Most stores have made it an easy task, but others have made it difficult for a reason. According to the National Retail Federation’s latest Return Fraud Survey, retailers estimate that 3.5 percent of their holiday returns this year will be fraudulent, up slightly from the estimated 3 percent reported last year. Holiday return fraud is expected to cost retailers $2.2 billion, up from approximately $1.9 billion last year.. TY GREENLEES / STAFF(Staff Writer)

» CONTINUED COVERAGE: 5 retailers closing stores in Ohio this year

4. FAIRBORN PREPARES FOR CENTER CLOSING The liquidation will also impact the distribution center in Fairborn. About 96 employees work at the facility, and Bon-Ton leases the facility. Matt Owen, executive director of the Fairborn Area Chamber of Commerce, told this news organization that the liquidation wasn’t a surprise to the community.

“We’ll have some workers out of work, and it will definitely affect some families in our region,” he said. “We’re really resilient. We’ve been through this before with Delphi and GM and NCR, and we do a good job of getting our workers back to work.”

5. HISTORY OF ELDER-BEERMAN IN DAYTON Elder-Beerman has a deep-rooted presence in the Miami Valley — and it can be traced back to another store, Boston Dry Goods, in 1883. The Boston Dry Goods store was opened by Thomas Elder, William Hunter, Jr. and Russell Johnston on East Third Street in the early 1880s. It sold textiles, clothing and groceries, and it later became the Elder & Johnston Co.

In 1962, Dayton businessman Arthur Beerman, who had opened two Beermans for Bargains junior department stores in 1950, merged his store with the Elder & Johnston Co. During the 1960s the Elder-Beerman Co. opened numerous department stores in the region, including Hamilton and Richmond, Ind.

The company continued to expand, acquiring department stores in Michigan, Illinois and Kentucky. In 1993, the 50th store opened at the Mall at Fairfield Commons in Beavercreek. In 2003, Elder-Beerman was acquired by Bon-Ton Stores, Inc.

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