Property Grunt

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Someone pointed me over to the Snopes site regarding an email that has been sent out. Snopes is usually pretty good at distinguishing what is for real and what is an urban legend. And some of these stores are pretty well established. But with the American auto industry on the verge of bankruptcy and the implosion of Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns, anything is possible. If any one can confirm or deny the details of the email below please email me at propertygrunt AT yahoo DOT com.

Claim: E-mail lists large retail chains that plan to close some or all of their stores by the end of 2008.

[Collected via e-mail, May 2008]

I received an email stating the following...

FYI..... (sniff!!)

Who says we're not in a recession !!

The following stores announced yesterday they would be CLOSING their doors by December!

ANN TAYLOR (WHY, Lawd, WHY???!!!)

[Collected via e-mail, November 2008]

Just a heads up for the holidays.....

the Consumer Reporter, suggests not giving gift cards at all this year. If the business goes under, the card will be no good, and that will just be money down the drain. You may be covered if you use a credit card, but the gift will be no good/xx

latest to this list: Circuit City

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 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.

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.

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 - ll 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 planned 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
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 not providing a list of specific store closures. Of the 105 locations planned for closure, 50 are kiosks and 55 are 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.

Nearly 7+ months after its chief executive said there were no plans to cut the number of its core 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. It's shares rose almost 5 percent. The Atlanta-based company said the underperforming U.S. stores being closed represent less than 1 percent of its existing stores. 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 will be completed and the gadget will be returned to owners.

Macy's - 9 stores

Movie Gallery - Closed 160 stores as part of reorganization plan to exit bankruptcy. The 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 subscribers by the thousands, and will now officially be dropping the axe 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 announced 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 under performing 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 under performing stores this year.

Origins: During prolonged economic downturns (or when signs indicate such a phenomenon is looming on the horizon), retail chains often retrench by scaling back expansion plans, delaying the openings of planned new stores, and closing underperforming or redundant outlets. The long list of chain stores referenced above includes businesses currently in a variety of different financial states: Some have gone bankrupt and closed for good, some have sought bankruptcy protection but remained open, some have already been through bankruptcy proceedngs and have emerged in a reorganized state, some have closed a significant portion of their outlets, some have closed a relatively small percentage of underperforming stores.

Business information of this nature tends to be volatile, especially in times of economic upheaval. As best we could determine according to various news accounts published so far in 2008, the chains named above are planning, or have made, the following cutbacks:

* The Ann Taylor chain of women's clothing stores is expecting to close 25 Ann Taylor and 39 Loft outlets in 2008 (out of approximately 960 stores), with another 53 store closure by the end of 2009.

* The Caché chain of women's specialty apparel stores closed 14 underperforming outlets, but is still has 295 stores across the country and is still opening new stores.

* The Charming Shoppes chain of plus-size women's apparel
stores has closed 150 of its approximately 2,360 outlets.

* The Circuit City chain of retail electronics stores filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November 2008.

* The CompUSA chain of consumer electronics stores was sold to the Gordon Brothers Group restructuring firm in December 2007 and began liquidating all 103 of its outlets in January 2008.

* The Dillard's department store chain closed 20 outlets in 2008 and said it expects more store closures in 2009.

* The Disney Store chain was reacquired by the Walt Disney Co in March 2008; Disney has since closed 98 of its 322 North American stores.

* The Eddie Bauer chain of casual apparels stores shut down 27 outlets in the first quarter of 2008 and planned to close a few more stores by the end of the year.

* The Ethan Allen chain of home furnishings stores closed 12 retail design centers and two service centers in 2008.

* The Foot Locker chain of shoe stores chain closed 274 outlets (out of more than 3,700) in 2007 and another 60 in the first quarter of 2008, with more such closures likely.

* Whitehall Jewelers acquired the remnants of the Friedman's and Crescent chains in early 2008 after that combined company entered bankruptcy, then Whitehall itself filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June 2008 and began liquidating and closing all 373 of its remaining stores.

* The Gap chain of clothiers, whose brands include Old Navy and Banana Republic, is closing 85 of its 2,677 stores (most of them branded Gap outlets) but is still opening new stores.

* The Movie Gallery/Hollywood Video video rental chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October 2007. Under the bankruptcy reorganization (which ended in May 2008), the chain closed 542 Hollywood Video stores and 378 Movie Gallery stores.

* The Home Depot chain of home improvements stores announced in May 2008 that it would be closing 15 underperforming outlets.

* The KB Toys chain of retail toy stores entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January 2004 and at that time announced plans to close 375 of its outlets. It emerged from Chapter 11 reorganization in August 2005.

* The Kirkland's chain of home decor stores is expecting to close 130 (of its approximately 335) outlets by the middle of 2009.

* The Levitz Furniture chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection (for the third time in ten years) in November 2007 and shortly afterwards began the process of closing its stores and liquidating its remaining inventory.

* The Macy's chain of department stores closed 11 (of its approximately 800) outlets in 2008.

* Pacific Sunwear closed 74 underperforming stores in its d.e.m.o. line in 2007 and closed all 154 of its remaining d.e.m.o. stores in 2008. (The company has not so far announced plans to close any of its core Pacific Sunware outlets.)

* The Pep Boys chain of auto supply and repair stores closed 31 low-return outlets (out of approximately 600 stores) at the end of 2007.

* The Sharper Image chain of electronics and specialty gifts stores filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February 2008, then began closing and liquidating all 184 of its outlets in June 2008.

* Sprint, a global provider of voice, data and Internet services, announced in January 2008 that it would be closing about 125 of its 1,400 retail outlets.

* Talbots Inc. announced in November 2008 that it was seeking to sell off its chain of J. Jill casual clothier stores. Talbots has already shed its Talbots Kids, Talbots Mens and U.K. businesses and has closed an additional 28 Talbots stores (out of about 1,400 total outlets).

* The Wickes Furniture chain began liquidating merchandise and fixtures at locations nationwide in February 2008 as part of bankruptcy proceedings.

* Wilsons Leather (the Leather Experts) announced that it would be closing all 260 of its mall-based locations — 160 will be shuttered permanently, and the remaining 100 will be remodeled and revamped as a "Studio" concept focused on fashion accessories for women.

* Zales Corp,, which operates Zales Jewelers, Zales Outlet, Gordon's Jewelers, Peoples Jewellers, Mappins Jewellers, and Piercing Pagoda, closed approximately 105 retail outlets (out of 2,130) in 2008, half of them kiosks and half of them stores. However, the company also opened approximately 100 new outlets in 2008, so the net change in the number of Zales-operated stores was relatively small.