Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Retailing Chains Caught in a Wave of Bankruptcies

An article in yesterday's New York Times, "Retailing Chains Caught in a Wave of Bankruptcies" reveals a grim picture of the economy.

Across the nation, Americans are spending more on food and gas and less on non-essentials. With all the foreclosures, banks are less likely to lend not only consumers, but retail stores. With business down and banks not willing to provide loans, many retail stores are filing for bankruptcy.

Stores like Levitz, Lines 'n Things, Sharper Image, Lillian Vernon, Footlocker, Zales and Ann Taylor are all facing bankruptcy and some total liquidation.

“You have the makings of a wave of significant bankruptcies,” said Al Koch, who helped bring Kmart out of bankruptcy in 2003 as the company’s interim chief financial officer and works at a corporate turnaround firm called AlixPartners.

“For years, no deal was too ugly to finance,” he said. “But now, nobody will throw money at these companies.”

I have always wondered how so many stores could survive in the first place. Now, we can expect to see major changing in the malls of America.

Maybe its time. From the point of view of an environmentalist, I see this as progress. Maybe Americans are finally getting it and will stop spending money on stuff that takes its toll on the environment from the manufacturing or extraction of a product to its demise in landfills.

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