The best of FierceRetail

1. Bebe to shut down 2b stores
Bebe said it would discontinue selling its 2b brand as part of the company's on-going turnaround plans for fiscal 2014. Instead, the apparel company chose to focus on its core Bebe brand's retail and outlet stores, including the e-commerce business. The shuttering of 2b was part of Bebe's larger initiative to generate approximately $9 million to $10 million in annualized pre-tax savings for fiscal 2015. Continued

2. Ann Inc to open 4 Lou & Grey concept stores this fall
Ann Inc., parent company of Ann Taylor and Loft, announced the opening of four freestanding Lou & Grey concept stores to further expand its successful Lou & Grey loungewear line. The company already showcased Lou & Grey boutiques inside existing Loft locations. The Lou & Grey clothing line is an extension of the retailer's Loft Lounge casual wear collection. Since its 2009 launch, the line comprised of knits, leggings, tunics and other casual items has performed very well for Ann. Continued

3. Forever 21 plans new F21 Red concept
This year marked the debut of Forever 21's new concept brand, F21 Red, with even greater quantities of low-priced items than the parent brand. The first store opened in May at the Azalea Shopping Center in South Gate, California, just south of downtown Los Angeles. Forever 21 was already well-known for its 600 U.S. locations that focus on getting new fashion trends into stores quickly stores and then selling them at a low prices. Continued

4. Target: Timeline of a data breach
Few things were more talked about in the retail industry than the data breach at Target. The hack was devastating to the retailer and the larger retail industry. A story with a long tail that continues to affect the industry today, FierceRetail put together a helpful timeline tracking Target's data breach, additional retailers affected, industry initiatives and subsequent news items related to security. Continued

5. Sears to close 100 stores, lay off 5,500 employees
In the fall, a struggling Sears announced it would close 100 stores and lay off at least 5,457 employees, many before the holidays. Before the announcement, the company had already closed 75 Kmart and 21 Sears department stores in the first half of the year, and in 2013, Sears shuttered 93 locations. In addition, the company was forced to sell most of its stake in Sears Canada, valued at $380 million, and Edward Lampert loaned Sears $400 million from his own hedge fund, ESL Investments. Continued

6. Walgreens to close 76 stores
Walgreens, the nation's largest drugstore chain, closed 76 drugstores during the second half of fiscal 2014 in an effort to save $50 million annually. The closures affected less than 1 percent of Walgreens locations nationwide, and was part of an effort to optimize the company's footprint and ensure stores remained at the best corners of America. In fact, at the time of the announcement, Walgreens operated 8,210 drugstores nationwide, 138 more than the previous year. Continued

7. Walmart introduces new grocery drive-through concept
The first of two Walmart stories to grace our top 10, the super store revealed plans for its latest grocery format, a standalone center which would include a drive-through window where shoppers could pick up their online orders. The location for the site was in Bentonville, Arkansas, and was set to carry 10,000 fresh and dry grocery products for customers to order from online. Once an order was placed, shoppers could schedule a pickup time, drive up to the center and place a call to Walmart associates who then bring their grocery order to the car. Continued

8. Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel to step down immediately
It was a year of executive shake ups at Target, and none rocked the industry more than the announcement in May that CEO Gregg Steinhafel had resigned, effective immediately. The company appointed its CFO John Mulligan as interim president and chief executive. Steinhafel spent 35 years with Target and his departure came just five months after cybercriminals stole payment card and personal information of up to 70 million customers in one of the largest retail data breaches in history. Continued

9. Walmart debuts first Walmart To Go convenience store
Walmart made top news with yet another innovative concept, the launch of its To Go convenience stores. The concept store, located in Betonville, Arkansas, was another move to expand the retailer's number of small-format stores. Walmart to Go was to offer the ease of a 7-Eleven but with fresh grocery and hot food offerings. Walmart partnered with Bentonville Butcher & Deli, which serves fresh-sliced meats, and Krispy Kreme, which has a donut stand inside the store. Continued

10. Report: Conway sold to National Stores, Inc., entire buying office staff laid off
Early in 2014, Conway Stores, the discount retailer owning stores throughout the East, South and Midwest, was sold to National Stores. As part of the transaction, Conway's New York buying office was shut down and its staff laid off. National Stores operates the Factory2-U chain and Fallas Discount Stores, including a handful of other name plates having the Fallas brand name. Continued

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