Retail Newsbrief: Tim Horton’s, JCPenney, Smith & Hawken, Ritz Camera, Goody’s


Two large, popular chains are coming to New York City this month.  Tim Horton’s, the venerable Canadian donut-and-coffee outlet, is opening 12 outlets across Manhattan and Brooklyn this month, with 3 more coming in August.  The stores are replacing former Dunkin Donuts outlets, and hopefully will find a niche in one of the toughest and most saturated markets in the world.  These locations aren’t the first in the country for Tim’s – they’re already in 11 U.S. states, mostly in New England and the upper Great Lakes.  Good luck to them, and may they open more. 

JCPenney, with stores in other parts of New York City, is opening a giant store in Manhattan Mall across from Herald Square on July 31.  The store, on the former site of Gimbel’s, Abraham and Straus, and Stern’s, is the first and only location in Manhattan.  In accordance with opening one of the chain’s largest stores in the densest city in the country, JCP is embarking on a hip marketing campaign, attempting to debunk the chain’s reputation for being average and unfashionable.     

In sadder news, the economy has claimed two more chains: Smith & Hawken, an upscale garden retailer, and Ritz Camera.  Smith & Hawken is a 56-store chain owned by lawn-care giant Scotts Miracle Gro, of suburban Columbus, Ohio; however, the Smith & Hawken chain is based in tony Marin County, California.  Ritz Camera, a 400-store chain operating under that name and several others, including Boater’s World, is also closing all of its stores unless a last-minute save occurs.  The hope is that a going-concern buyer will purchase at least some of the stores to keep the chain going, but it’s not looking good.  In the end, it means more vacancies for your local mall.

In a bit more astonishing news, a family clothing/variety chain that went out of business earlier this year is back in the fray, somewhat randomly.  Goody’s family clothing, which closed all 287 stores earlier this year, has been reinvigorated by Texas-based Stage Stores, Inc., who purchased the Goody’s name and intends to reopen Goody’s-branded stores in markets where Goody’s existed and was proftable.  Kind of neat.

20 Responses to “Retail Newsbrief: Tim Horton’s, JCPenney, Smith & Hawken, Ritz Camera, Goody’s”

  1. Goody’s like the local one here did not remove its branding, but the local Stage (in Texas, bizarrely, the chain is Bealls, no relation to Florida) down the road (at the local mall, conveniently) may not want to reopen Goody’s if they are essentially to be the same store. Furthermore, a lot of shoppers have moved on (like the Kohl’s to the west)


  2. Tim Ho’s in NYC? I always figured them to be a strictly country coffee place. I hope they can find it snug between a dozen Starbucks or poetry reading boutiques :)

    Oh and JCPenney opening a store at the Manhattan Mall? I would have figured them to be one of the last retailers to go opening up new stores…

    I never really liked Ritz because of their often pricey but superior selection than the big boxers but I can’t say I’ll miss them at all — doubly because their online operation continues to haunt my email box.


  3. The saddest part about Ritz dying is that they helped kill off most of the good independent camera shops by either buying them out or surrounding them with competition. But what really sealed their fate was their seeming state of denial (until it was too late) about digital photography being a big deal and their refusal to be at least somewhat competitive with the discounters, which were selling better products for cheaper prices, even if their service wasn’t as thorough. (Good is another story. Ritz and Wolf were very uneven when it came to customer service.)

    The second coming of Goody’s sounds too horrible to fail. This is one I hoped would never come back, but Stage has the ability to make tiny stores with so-so brands in the midde of nowhere profit machines. We’ll see.

    On the other hand, I hoped Smith & Hawken would survive. It’s a cool store with some overpriced but highly desirable garden merchandise. The death knell for them was being sucked into the Scotts-MiracleGro vortex. Companies like that do mass market products well, but Smith & Hawken on being not at all middle market. The stores became a little less cool just at the time that coolness could have helped bridge the economic gap.

    No comment on JCPenney. Yeah, I’m shocked too. :-)


  4. Tim Horton’s in New York? I know that shocked me too when I read the article. This is the Big apple not the Big Donut. LOL Tim Horton’s also joined fources with Coldstone Creamery to sell each others products in there stores. Right now there in the test stage & if successful there will be a full rol out nationally.

    I enjoyed S & H stores, especially the teek wood furniture. Never baught any, but great fun to look at.

    J C Penny in Manhattan? Who saw that one comeing. Now a trip to Queens Center isn’t nessessary.


  5. Resurrecting Goody’s will do MUCH to reinvigorate a lot of troubled TN and NW GA malls. Goody’s was the most signficant anchor in many of those smaller centers. Three Star Mall ended up losing 1/4 of its mall space to vacancies when Goody’s left that mall. The departure of Goody’s at Foothills and Walnut Square also contributed to them having “potential dead mall” status. I hope it works, but I also hope it’s a far better store than the Goody’s were before.


  6. Glad to see Manhattan Mall is getting some help with JCPenney. I’m surprised they didn’t move into NYC earlier.

    Speaking of surprise (and a little off topic), just a little observation: I am surprised Nordstrom never opened a store in Manhattan.

    RIP Smith and Hawken…it was a great store, but too limited, so it’s not much of a surprise.


    Steven Swain Reply:

    @mallguy, Nordstrom has been circling Manhattan for about fifteen years. There was supposedly a deal where Nordstrom was to locate at the base of the Bloomberg building on Lexington Avenue at 58th Street, but it fell through. There was another deal where they were to take over a hotel’s lower floors as part of a mixed use development, but that fell through, too. Around 2006, there was ongoing discussion about them taking over the Lord & Taylor building on Fifth Avenue, but since then L&T has made a comeback sales wise.


  7. It blows me away. Who would’ve thought it up….JCPenney moving into Manhattan? Not in 2000-2001, no way…they were in dire straits at that time.

    That’ll be nice for folks who live around that very busy part of the city, not having to go to Long Island or other outlying areas for a Penneys fix.

    Goody’s resurrection will help that zone of the US (as a previous poster had pointed out) where many of the malls are under 350,000 Sq Ft GLA, and despite their size, do serve a good portion of the surrounding rural areas. Good to see them making a comeback, even if it is just in name only.

    As for Ritz, it was inevitable. Digital photography makes up the market share nowadays. I’ve not used a film camera in years, and I can’t think of anyone else who has either. They were overpriced as well in all areas….sales and service. They ate up all the smaller competition in this state as well and look what happens now. Yet another chain (along with all the indies they swallowed up during their 1990s buy-out spree) heading up to that big megamall in the clouds.


  8. This should’ve been a LOLcat


  9. Ritz has seen better days. On the upside, it’ll open more prime retail space for retailers that still have yet to be represented at malls across the country. No one’s opening any stores right now but wait a year or two down the road and they’ll be back at it again.


  10. Steve Swain is right about what Ritz/Wolf did to indies, at least in some places. They basically became extinct in Atlanta where Wolf (the bankrupt chain that helped kill Ritz) was dominant. In other cities, indies hold on, along with wonderful local chains like Penn Camera in DC and Dodd Camera in Cleveland. Ritz/Wolf had horrible selections (Caldor must live some place where they never had competition) and lousy customer servicet. This will be a boon to the surviving indies and might help revive the business in bigger cities. The Wolf stores, in particular, were the absolute worst and should have been liquidated–the prototypical Atlanta chain with narrow selection and terrible, dimwitted service, but no competition. Serious camera users in ATL that I knew used mail order from places in NYC, whic is what I did, too.

    I didn’t realize Smith & Hawken was part of Scott’s. I wonder if their branded merchandise at Target will go, too.

    Goody’s might actually be a good fit for some small markets, at least until Kohl’s gets interested.

    Mainstream chains like K-Mart have done fine in New York. JC Penney used to be based there. I suspect they will do fine and will use the store to try out new concepts.


  11. Tim Hortons has somewhat better donuts than Dunkin or the overhyped Krispy Kreme. I’ve had them in Canada. They seem to have built their own rather quiet, not exactly cult following.The sour creame blueberry fritter (which I haven’t had) has many fans, in particular.


  12. I thought JCPenney had a presence in Manhattan or further north in Harlem. I wonder what type of vendor shops this hulking flagship will feature.


  13. At 150,000 suare feet on 2 levels, Penney’s New York store can hardly be considered a ‘giant’ store. Considering that Gimbels had 10 floors and covered the entire block, I’m sure this isn’t giving Macy’s many sleepness nights (they have other problems to deal with). Personally, I’d be more excited if Gimbels made a comeback, but I’m old and in nobody’s target demographic anymore.


  14. Ah, I see now. 150K isn’t rather large for a department store, especially in Manhattan. My comment was based on Labelscar describing the future store as ‘giant’. Perhaps its arrival will help the apparently ailing Manhattan Mall that it anchors.


    SEAN Reply:


    This is the 5th incarnation of the Gimbles building including Manhattan Mall.


  15. A bit late, but I’m surprised I haven’t seen myGofer, a new Kmart concept, sort of like the failed Epicenter Collection.


  16. JCPenney did a lay off of close to 300 assistant store managers as well as gave over several thousand full time associates the option to either step down to part time or be out of a job. They preach about being middle America’s store yet those who are middle America need not work there. Everyday matters but their people don’t!


  17. The Goody’s in town recently had its doors reopened with activity going on. Turns out they were just removed the last of the fixtures, and the sign has finally been dismantled.


  18. I just found out that Ritz Camera is filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy. I found it out in a “top stories” crawl on the Fox Business Channel.


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