Tuesday, November 25, 2008

boo hoo retail

a colleague e-mailed our entire company the following list of retails stores that are either closing all stores, a specific number of stores, or just some unknown number of stores between oct. '08 & jan. '09.

closing *all* stores: linens & things, cache, wickes furniture, bombay, levitz, talbots, wilson leather, sharper image, j. jill, piercing pagoda, whitehall, movie galley

closing "x" many stores: the gap (85), ann taylor (117), footlocker (140), eddie bauer (27), zales (82), ethan allen (12), home depot (15), pep boys (33), disney (98), sprint/nextel (133), KB toys (356)

closing "some" stores: loews, dillard's, circuit city, lane bryan, fashion bug, catherine's, JC penny, pacific sunware

the e-mail was to serve as a list of retail stores that we should avoid buying gift cards from during the holiday season as gifts.

it is evident from some of the names in this list (see linens & things, the gap, ann taylor, footlocker, lowes, home depot) that things aren't right side up in the economy. luckily everyone i know still has a job & for the most part it sounds like everyone's company is doing well. so kudos to those of us in austin for now at least.

of course you didn't need this list of retail stores to realize something wasn't right in the economy. unless you've been living under a rock you know what i'm talking about. think freddie & fannie, the $700 billion bank bailout, & now the BIG 3 detroit auto manufactures are on their knees looking for $25 billion from the government. lucky for me & kris right now mortgage rates are looking good & we are hoping to lock any day now.

i've digressed to far from where i wanted to go with this one. back on topic.

so my initial thought when i saw the list was wow, the ripple of effect of a down economy is just beginning. my other thought was what little value these stores added to begin with & how i wasn't going to miss any of them.

when i drive between austin & dallas (almost once a month now) it's evident to me that there are way more BIG box stores than we need. hell, it's evident when i drive to & from work each day that there are too many BIG box stores. it drives me nuts to see so many of these stores. the stores take away from the personality of a city/town in my opinion. many will argue that they offer convenience & low costs. convenience is one of the last things i'd suggest that the offer. shopping in my opinion is one of the most inconvenient things we could do with our time. internet shopping, that's convenient. too many folks are running around shopping after work & on their weekends versus spending "real" time with their family & friends, traveling, going to the park, exercising, cooking, enjoying a nice meal, reading, drawing, you get the picture by now. as i walk through most department stores & grocery stores the isles are packed with 5 or more of the same item. take for example laundry detergent. there is an entire isle in the store full of detergents with 15 or more scents, some with bleach added, some powder, some liquid, different sizes, etc. --- give me a break --- i just need laundry detergent. do we really need that many choices? does what type of laundry detergent we buy say something about "who" we are?

maybe i'm a bit of a socialist but i'd be just as happy as i was when i was a kiddo in school. remember when you got a list of what you needed for school? i'd be more than happy if i got my home supplies determined for me based off the square footage of my home, number of rooms, bedrooms, pets, number of people living in the space, etc. just ship me my supplies once a month & let's call it good. does anyone really enjoy shopping for groceries, cleaning supplies, or anything at stores like walmart, target, etc.?

i think what's happening in the retail market right now is more than just some economic disaster. it's a sign of excess being cleaned up. we never needed so many retail stores to begin with. it's urban sprawl to the extreme.

what scares me most right now is what will come of these big & empty stores (warehouses). will our strip malls begin to look like ghost towns? how long will these building that don't have any architectural character sit emtpy? if i had my choice i'd like to see them all torn down & have them replaced with parks & the wild/natural areas they once were.

i could go on & on about this. so many parts of retail frustrate me. maybe i should just say, oh goodie thanks for the e-mail b/c now i won't buy a gift card (what kind of gift is that anyway - tis this season to be shopping versus finding something that will have some meaning to someone) from one of these stores.

while i'm hating on shopping for the holidays for a moment. has anyone else noticed how quick the retailers have moved to hang christmas lights, reefs, etc.? can't we wait for thanksgiving to pass before putting this stuff up? if you are a UT fan you have to wonder if the UT/ATM game was moved this year from the day after thanksgiving (black friday) to thanksgiving day so no one (to include men) have an excuse for not being out shopping.

bah humbug :)


Roland Jimenez said...

Good observation. While this is not a result of the recent economic downturn, the Albertson's on 183/Anderson Mill Rd. has been gone for at least a couple of years now. That place is a ghostown. On the flipside...some business are having grand openings (ahem...Lakeline Watersports)!

Brian Kirk said...

kris & i are both so happy for you. i welcome mom & pop stores such as lakeline watersports to my city! looking forward to your GRAND OPENING this sunday.