Wednesday, December 31, 2008

73,000 Store Closings Possible in First Half

This is disturbing, but at the same time, it is partly an overdue correction:

U.S. retailers face a wave of store closings, bankruptcies and takeovers starting next month as holiday sales are shaping up to be the worst in 40 years.

Retailers may close 73,000 stores in the first half of 2009, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers.

I was in the retail world from the late 1990's to 2001. I try to be a student of whatever business I am in, and it was no different in retail. The one thing that I always had trouble wrapping my brain around was how so many retailers felt it wise to rapidly expand all at the same time. I mean, I understood that expansion was critical to market share and new revenue while same store sales suffered, but they were moving into smaller and smaller markets that could be challenged to support their stores (while eroding business at existing stores in larger markets), and there was sooo much competitive overlap in so many areas. I've felt for a long time that we were due for a large wave of store closings as competition and poor decisions came home to roost for many retailers. I just didn't think it would be such a tsunami.

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