Former Franklin Mills Mall Begins Indoor Renovations

A rendering of the Philadelphia Mills.

A rendering of the new interior of Philadelphia Mills.

Franklin Mills Mall, wait sorry, Philadelphia Mills has started to undergo phase two of a multi-million dollar renovation project, adding skylights, flooring and most importantly new retailers. (I grew up five minutes from the mall and I’ll always call it Franklin Mills.)

Indoor construction kicked off this week with plans to offer shoppers a lighter, brighter mall, complete with skylights and new lighting, according to owner Simon Property GroupIt’s also upgrading restrooms, and adding wifi and lounge areas with device charging stations. 

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Urban Outfitters Ends Controversial Employee Policy Amid Government Pressure


Urban Outfitters is the latest retailer to end the controversial policy of on-call scheduling — at least in New York state. Announcing the change on his website, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said Urban has promised to provide employees with their schedules at least one week prior to the start of the workweek, rather than making some stay “on call.” Other big-name retailers like Abercrombie & Fitch, Starbucks, Gap, Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works have also done away with the practice in certain parts of the country.

On-call scheduling has grown in popularity among retailers who have used new technology to help determine when stores will be flooded with customers and need more staff. But that means workers have to be on-call — making it difficult to schedule activities in their off time and forcing some to find child care or elder care with very little notice. Read more »

Wawa Launches Credit Card

Wawa's new credit card.

Wawa’s new credit card.

Wawa has launched its own credit card, and the popular retailer hopes it’ll attract more customers to get gas at its locations.

For the first two months that their accounts are open, Wawa Credit Card customers will save 25-cents-per-gallon on gas when re-fueling at Wawa locations. After that, they’ll save 5-cents-per-gallon on up to 100 gallons per month. (I’ll be applied to customers as a statement credit at the end of the month.) Read more »

Five Below CEO on Growing a $680 Million Business Into a Behemoth

Five Below CEO Joel Anderson.

Five Below CEO Joel Anderson.

Joel Anderson is running a retail empire. But unlike the Amazons and eBays of the world, Five Below sells nothing online and is an entirely brick-and-mortar operation. With sales of $680 million in 2014, it’s one of the fastest-growing retailers in the United States.

The Philadelphia-based company has an ever-expanding footprint of stores that’s set to reach 436 locations by the end of 2015, and Anderson says he expects to double the store count over the next four years. That means the company can buy in serious bulk — leading to more and more fancy products it can still somehow sell for $5 or less. Think bluetooth speakers, earbuds and even boots. Read more »

Christmas in September? 14 Percent Have Already Started Shopping



Christmas seems to come earlier and earlier every year. Last year I saw a Christmas commercial before Halloween. (Before Halloween!) Corporations, I know Christmas is your biggest opportunity to sell things we probably don’t need, but at least wait until it’s cold outside to start your Christmas promotions. It’s going to be 88 degrees in Philly today!

But some Americans would disagree with me. A new poll by found that 14 percent of consumers have already started their Christmas shopping. If extrapolated to the American populace, that would mean 32 million Americans have begun shopping. What’s more, 2 percent — or 4.6 million consumers — are already finished their Christmas shopping. Wow. Read more »

QVC Laying Off 147 Workers

QVC, the West Chester-based retail sales behemoth, is laying off 147 workers — mainly holding warehouse jobs.

It’s the result of the company permanently closing its jewelry returns department and handling all distribution and returns at its Florence, S.C. facility.

The layoffs will come in two rounds, one in November and another in December. Read more »

Gap Ending Controversial On-Call Shifts

Say goodbye to on-call shifts at the Gap. (testing /

Say goodbye to on-call shifts at the Gap. (testing /

Doctors should be on call. Psychologists with suicidal patients should be on call. But retail workers? Not so much.

Still, Gap Inc. and other retailers have forced employees to be on call for years — even though many times the shifts are cancelled with little notice. But now, the company says it’s eliminating its on-call policy. Read more »

First Look: Five Below’s Massive New Flagship on Chestnut Street

five below outside - 400

The outside of the Five Below flagship location on Chestnut Street between 15th and 16th Streets.

By the end of 2015, Five Below will have 436 locations all over the country — but perhaps none will showcase the brand like the one opening soon on Chestnut Street between 15th and 16th Streets in Center City. Not only is it the largest Five Below of all, but it’s also the Philadelphia-based company’s flagship location.

Built at the site of the old Arcadia Theater (constructed in 1915) the store has exposed brick, original crown moldings and high ceilings. Now it’s got an escalator, a lighted Five Below logo in the ceiling and plenty of colorful signage. By its grand opening date of Sept. 10, it’ll be filled with makeup, yoga mats, candy, cell phone cases and all the other wacky stuff it sells for $5-or-under. Read more »

The Suburbanization of Philly: 5 More Stores We Want Now That Target Is Taking Over


The slow suburbanization of Philly. | Images via Shutterstock, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond and Wiki Commons.

The reaction to Target’s downtown expansion — a TargetExpress concept is coming to Center City next year; another location is opening in Midtown Village — was swift and overwhelmingly positive. And why wouldn’t it be? As I’ve said before, Target is the one of the last gleaming bastions of shopping efficiency that suburbanites cling to: Sure, you have better restaurants, but we have Target. There was, of course, the expected grumbling about the city’s descent into chain-dom, but I’d argue that even the most staunch naysayers would have to admit: Getting a Target is really pretty awesome.

But it also got me thinking: If one of the reasons we move to the suburbs is convenience — garages, big yards, grocery stores with decent-sized parking lots — what happens when Philly gets suburbanized? And, more importantly, is that what we secretly want?

Apparently, maybe just a little bit. I asked around for people’s dream retail wish list, and the answers point to something devoted city-dwellers might not want to admit: We want to bring the ‘burbs – or at least the shopping perks of the ‘burbs — to Philly. It makes sense: While Philly’s independent boutiques are part of the weird, wild fabric of our city, places like Target are, well, easy. And practicality — resounding, reliable practicality — counts for something.  So, here, in no particular order, are the five stores we’d like to see come to Philly next. The not-sexy, no-frills shops that might not win us any retail awards but would make our lives a hell of a lot easier:  Read more »

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