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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Prosperity Is Just Around the Corner

During the Great Depression this ironic song became popular, mocking the Hoover administration's slogan, "Prosperity is just around the corner."

    Album : Songs Of The Depression
    (Irving Berlin)

    Fred Waring & His Pennsylvanians - 1932

    Just around the corner,
    There's a rainbow in the sky,
    So let's have another cup of coffee,
    And let's have another piece of pie.

    Trouble's like a bubble,
    And the clouds will soon roll by,
    So let's have another cup of coffee,
    And let's have another piece of pie.

    Let a smile be your umbrella,
    For it's just an April shower,
    Even John D. Rockefeller
    Is looking for the silver lining!

    Mr. Herbert Hoover
    Says that now's the time to buy,
    So let's have another cup of coffee,
    And let's have another piece of pie!

  • Hoover also promised "a chicken in every pot." Now, I'm fully aware that our economy is not as dire as it was back then. There were long bread lines, starving people, many of whom lived under bridges and in tents and corrugated cardboard shacks, with no social safety net at all. Life was far more harsh then and economic conditions far more desperate. Comparing then to now is almost like comparing apples to oranges.

    However, what remains the same is that people don't trust the reassurances coming out of corporate America and the administration that the fundamentals are still strong and the "rough patch" is improving. Most people haven't had a real pay raise in years. They've lost pension and health care benefits and long before the corporate world began to suffer, they were tightening their belts. Indeed, while the profits were still rolling in, they were falling behind. But now, unfortunately, the belt tightening recesssion has caught up with everybody.

    Unfortunately, there's more bad news today. I received this in an email from a friend, who was trying to warn others to use their gift cards and discounts before the following stores closed.

    Note, many of these stores are not closing completely. Most are actually closing low performing branches and making cutbacks, so it's important to check locations before rushing in a panic to unload gift cards.

    If you have gift cards, hurry up and use them!!

    Just passing this along - FYI

    Ann Taylor closing 117 stores nationwide: A company spokeswoman said the Company hasn't revealed which stores will be shuttered. It will let the stores that will close this fiscal year know over the next month

    Eddie Bauer to close more stores
    Eddie Bauer has already closed 27 shops in the first quarter and plans to close up to two more outlet stores by the end of the year.

    Cache closing stores
    Women's retailer Cache announced that it is closing 20 to 23 stores this year.

    Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug, Catherines closing 150 stores nationwide The owner of retailers Lane Bryant , Fashion Bug , Catherines Plus Sizes will close about 150 underperforming stores this year.
    The company hasn't provided a list of specific store closures and can't say when it will offer that info, spokeswoman Brooke Perry said today.

    Talbots, J. Jill closing stores
    About a month ago, Talbots announced that it will be shuttering all 78 of its kids and men's stores. Now the company says it will close another 22 underperforming stores.. The 22 stores will be a mix of Talbots women's and J. Jill , another chain it owns. The closures will occur this fiscal year, according to a company press release.

    Gap Inc. closing 85 stores
    In addition to its namesake chain, Gap also owns Old Navy and Banana Republic . The company said the closures - all planned for fiscal 2008 - will be weighted toward the Gap brand.

    Foot Locker to close 140 stores
    In the company press release and during its conference call with analysts today, it did not specify where the future store closures - all plan ned in fiscal 2008 - will be. The company could not be immediately reached for comment

    Wickes is going out of business
    Wickes Furniture is going out of business and closing all of its stores, Wickes, a 37-year-old retailer that targets middle-income customers, filed for bankruptcy protection last month.

    Goodbye Levitz / BOMBAY - closed already
    The furniture retailer, which is going out of business. Levitz first announced it was going out of business and closing all 76 of its stores in December. The retailer dates back to 1910 when Richard Levitz opened his first furniture store in Lebanon , PA. In the 1960s, the warehouse/showroom concept brought Levitz to the forefront of the furniture industry. The local Levitz closures will follow the shutdown of Bombay .

    Zales, Piercing Pagoda closing stores
    The owner of Zales and Piercing Pagoda previously said it plans to close 82 stores by July 31. Today, it announced that it is closing another 23 underperforming stores. The company said it's n ot pro viding a list of specific store closures. Of the 105 locations planned for closure, 50 are kiosks and 55 are stores.

    Disney Store owner has the right to close 98 stores The Walt Disney Company announced it acquired about 220 Disney Stores from subsidiaries of The Children's Place Retail Stores. The exact number of stores acquired will depend on negotiations with landlords. Those subsidiaries of Children's Place filed for bankruptcy protection in late March. Walt Disney in the news release said it has also obtained the
    right to close about 98 Disney Stores in the U.S. The press release didn't list those stores.

    Home Depot store closings (E. Brunswick, Rt 18 just put up their closing sign)
    ATLANTA - Nearly 7+ months after its chief executive said there were no plans to cut the number of its c ore retail stores, The Home Depot Inc. announced Thursday that it is shuttering 15 of them amid a slumping U.S. economy and housing market. The move will affect 1,300 employees. It is the first time the world's largest home improvement store chain has ever closed a flagship store for performance reasons. Its shares rose almost 5 percent. The Atlanta-based company said the underperforming U.S.stores being closed represent les! s than 1 percent of its existing sto res. They will be shuttered within the next two months.

    CompUSA (CLOSED) clarifies details on store closings Any extended warranties purchased for products through CompUSA will be honored by a third-party provider, Assurant Solutions. Gift cards, rain checks, and rebates purchased prior to December 12 can be redeemed at any time during the final sale. For those who have a gadget currently in for service with CompUSA, the repair < face="Arial" size="3">will be completed and the gadget will be returned to owners.

    Macy's - 9 stores

    Movie Gallery - 160 stores as part of reorganization plan to exit
    bankruptcyThe video rental company plans to close 400 of 3,500 Movie Gallery
    and Hollywood Video stores in addition to the 520 locations the video rental
    chain closed last fall.

    Pacific Sunwear - 153 Demo stores

    Pep Boys - 33 stores

    Sprint Nextel - 125 retail locations New Sprint Nextel CEO Dan Hesse appears to have inherited a company bleeding subsc ribers by the thousands, and will now officially be dropping the ax on
    4,000 employees and 125 retail locations. Amid the loss of 639,000 postpaid customers in the fourth quarter, Sprint will be cutting a total of 6.7% of its work force (following the 5,000 layoffs last year) and 8% of company-owned brick-and-mortar stores, while remaining mute on other rumors that it will consolidate its headquarters in Kansas . Sprint Nextel shares are down $2.89, or nearly 25%, at the time of this writing.

    J. C. Penney, Lowe's and Office Depot are scaling back

    Ethan Allen Interiors: The company announced plans to close 12 of 300+
    stores in an effort to cut costs.

    Wilsons the Leather Experts - 158 stores

    Pacific Sunwear will close its 154 Demo stores after a review of strategic alternatives for the urban-apparel brand. Seventy-four underperforming Demo stores closed last May.

    Sharper Image: The company recently filed for bankruptcy protection and an nounced that 90 of its 184 stores are closing. The retailer will still operate 94 stores to pay off debts, but 90 of these stores have performed poorly and also may close.

    Bombay Company: (Freehold Mall store closed) The company unveiled plans to close all 384 U.S.-based Bombay Company stores. The company's online storefront has discontinued operations.

    KB Toys posted a list of 356 stores that it is closing around the United States as part of its bankruptcy reorganization. To see the list of store closings, go to the KB Toys Information web site, and click on Press Information

    Dillard's to Close More Stores
    Dillard's Inc. said it will continue to focus on closing underperforming stores, reducing expenses and improving its merchandise in 2008. At the company's annual shareholder meeting, CEO William Dillard II said the company will close another six underperforming stores this year.

  • What is frightening is that none of these are fly by nights or recent start ups. These were all solid, brand name stores that most of us routinely shopped in. Another point is that although the manufacturing sector has been very weak for a long time, and anything connected with the mortgage and housing industry has contracted, retail was the one bright spot that did the heavy lifting. Strong retail sales got us through the recession of 2001 and kept it mild.

    But with job losses from other sectors finally affecting purchasing habits, people cutting back because of high gas and food prices, this once bright spot in the economy is also dimming. And look for even higher unemployment because of it. We actually are fighting on two fronts now.

    There is a recession, with business contracting and unemployment rising, and also inflation fueled by a weaker dollar overseas and higher gas and food costs. Stagflation is just around the corner, not prosperity.

    1 comment:

    Anonymous said...

    I work for Ann Taylor Stores Corporation and wanted to assure you that Ann Taylor is a financially strong Company with a healthy balance sheet. We already communicated early this year that we are closing a number of stores through 2010, but we continue to open new stores and have close to 1,000 stores in our fleet. Ann Taylor and LOFT Gift Cards are a great idea for gifting this holiday, and they can be redeemed at any of our stores or online. Although the source of this viral email is questionable, we felt we should clarify the misleading information because we want our clients to always feel confident in their Ann Taylor purchases.