Applebee’s announces MASSIVE closings…135 restaurants to disappear

Applebee's

Like we didn’t see this one coming. According to this WBS report, Applebee’s is closing up to 135 restaurants. The struggling chain has seen a massive decline in sales as the company has not adapted to the trend of cleaner, healthier eating. Applebee’s has also failed to ‘right size’ their operation as discretionary cash has dried up for many Americans.

Your local Applebee’s may be closing soon, as the struggling casual restaurant chain tries to turn its business around.

In an August 10 news release, Applebee’s reported that comparable same-restaurant sales declined 6.2% for the second quarter of 2017, and they’re expected to range between negative 6% and negative 8% for fiscal 2017.

DineEquity Inc., the parent company of Applebee’s, described this as a “transitional year” for the chain.

As part of its turnaround strategy, more restaurants will be closed than initially planned. The company now expects to shut down between 105 and 135 of its nearly 2,000 Applebee’s locations.

In May, the expectation was that between 40 to 60 restaurants would be shuttered in fiscal 2017.

No list of the affected locations has been released. Applebee’s says the expected closures will be based on several criteria, including franchisee profitability, operational results and meeting brand quality standards.

Applebee’s president John Cywinski said back in May that the turnaround plan was just beginning to take shape.

Applebee’s latest attempt to bring customers back is its new Topped & Loaded menu. Starting at $10.99, the customizable lineup features four protein choices, three toppers and four side options.

Cancer and diabetes rates to EXPLODE as McDonald’s unveils plan to open 2,000 more stores in China

China, once known for having some of the lowest cancer and disease rates throughout the world has quietly been sieged by ‘unhealthy’ Capitalism. Pizza Hut, Burger King, Taco Bell, Coca-Cola and finally McDonald’s are aggressively expanding into this untapped market leaving a deadly trail of cancer, diabetes, and disease for future generations to deal with.

According to this South China Morning Post report, McDonald’s will more than double their presence in China bringing the total number of stores to 4,500 by the year 2022.

McDonald’s said on Tuesday it would almost double the number of stores in mainland China by 2022, slightly more than was expected, as part of its strategic partnership with state-backed conglomerate CITIC Ltd and the Carlyle Group.

Earlier in the year, the US fast food chain agreed to sell most of its China and Hong Kong business to CITIC and Carlyle for up to US$2.1 billion. The new partnership had planned to add 1,500 restaurants in the two areas over the next five years.

But McDonald’s, which is betting the partnership will help it expand in the world’s No 2 economy without using much of its own capital, said it expects to increase the number of stores in mainland China to 4,500 by the end of 2022, from 2,500 now.

The company said it was targeting a double-digit annual sales growth in mainland China over the period, and was aiming to add 500 stores annually by 2022 versus 250 stores this year.

“China will soon become our largest market outside of the United States. We are excited to join forces with CITIC and Carlyle for better localised decision-making to meet changing customer demands in this dynamic market,” Steve Easterbrook, McDonald’s chief executive, said.

P/C MIKE MOZART

Australian’s hand over 6,000 guns in one month as country is quietly being disarmed

Australia has a problem. And it’s not terrorism. The country is quietly being disarmed at an alarming rate. According to this Japan Times report, more than 6,000 guns were voluntarily surrendered to the Australian Government in a one-month time period.

More than 6,000 guns have been surrendered in Australia’s most populous state in just one month, police said Tuesday, after fears of terrorism and an influx of illegal firearms sparked a national amnesty.

The government said in June it believed there were as many as 260,000 illicit weapons on the streets, and with the threat of extremist attacks and a spate of gangland shootings, it wanted to minimize the danger.

Among the weapons handed over in New South Wales were four SKS assault rifles, a 9 mm homemade submachine-gun, a Colt AR-15 rifle, M1 carbine and a .44 calibre magnum revolver, state police said.

In total, some 1,700 rifles, 460 shotguns and nearly 200 handguns were surrendered to police and dealers, while thousands of others were handed in for registration.

“We’ve also received more than 110 prohibited weapons including samurai swords, knives, and other edged weapons,” Detective Chief Inspector Wayne Hoffman said.

No official figures have been announced yet for other states and territories.

The amnesty runs from July 1 until Sept. 30, allowing people to hand in unregistered or unwanted firearms with no questions asked. Outside that period people face fines of up to 280,000 Australian dollars ($222,000) or up to 14 years in prison.

The death of OVERPRICED supermarkets like Safeway, Kroger and Giant is quickly approaching

Supermarkets

Supermarkets beware. Safeway, Kroger, Albertsons, Giant, and many more who have ignored customers for decades will soon fall….and it will be epic. Operating on already razor thin margins (only a few pennies per item) traditional grocers like the ones mentioned above will have no choice but to close their doors and board up windows leaving a slew of food deserts across the U.S.

According to this Business Insider report, the situation is beyond bad as retail space dedicated to food sales is at a record high even though new store growth is outweighing demand making grocers cut prices to compete.

Department stores and many mall-based retailers are closing thousands of stores after years of over-expansion. Now the grocery industry appears to be heading toward a similar fate.

Like mall-based retailers did in the 1990s, supermarkets have been expanding rapidly across the US in recent years.

“Over the past 10 years, we saw high growth from some of the more traditional players, which has resulted in saturation in the US, and forced mainstream supermarkets to slow openings,” Danielle Dolinsky, an analyst at retail consulting firm Planet Retail RNG, told Business Insider.

For some companies, however, the pace of growth is only accelerating.

Discount grocers including Aldi, Lidl, and Dollar General are collectively planning to open thousands of new stores over the next couple years.

At the same time, tech companies like Amazon — with its recent acquisition of Whole Foods — are also entering the food wars.

Competition is ramping up at a time when the amount of retail space devoted to food sales in the US has already hit a record high.

The US has 4.15 square feet of retail food space per person, which is nearly 30 times higher than in 1950, according to CoStar Group data cited by the Wall Street Journal.

But demand hasn’t kept up with unit growth.

Total US grocery sales fell nearly 2% in the 12-week period ending July 15, compared to last year, according to Nielsen data.

Grocery stores have been slashing prices to drive sales and better compete, which is driving profits lower in a business that’s already pressured by razor-thin margins.

Whole Foods’ same-store sales have been falling for the last two years. Even long-dominant companies like Kroger, the largest supermarket chain in the US, are taking a hit.

Kroger’s impressive 13-year streak of quarterly same-store sales increases ended earlier this year. That metric has now dropped for the last two consecutive quarters.

Kroger blamed the declines on food price deflation.

It’s also facing growing price competition from Aldi, Dollar General, Lidl, Walmart, and others.

A 2014 price study found that Aldi’s prices were about 22% cheaper than Kroger’s. Aldi has more than 1,600 stores in the US with plans to open another 600 within the next couple of years.

Lowe’s to OUTSOURCE delivery service, layoff HUNDREDS across the country?

Lowe's

Lowe’s is at it again. According to this ABC news report, the home improvement giant is ready to outsource their delivery service to a third party operator. Lowe’s has declined to release how many jobs will be affected by the move but my guess is hundreds.

The North Carolina-based Lowe’s has announced a further reduction in jobs.

The Charlotte Observer reports the home-improvement retailer confirmed Thursday that it will lay off an undisclosed number of delivery workers across the country, as the company shifts to third-party delivery.

Lowe’s Cos. said in an email that it had been using a combination of delivery services at the affected stores, which are in markets where increased delivery demand exceeds current capacity. Those markets have not been identified.

P/C MIKE MOZART