Retail in the Coming Storm

Sarah Palin may have had a $150,000 shopping spree at Nieman Marcus and Saks in the last couple months, but most Americans most definitely have not.

American retailers are hurting, badly. And the economic storm has not even fully hit.

Analysts are predicting a “retail Katrina” that will shutter wide swaths of stores coast to coast as the consumer-driven economy goes south.

Linens-n-Things, already gone. Many more empty malls and dead big boxes, they say, on the way.

This hour, On Point: American retail, going down. And what will we do with all those empty stores?

You can join the conversation. Are you seeing the lights go out in your local mall? What’s going to turn them back on? Tell us what you’re seeing.

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Well, just like Hurricane Katrina is a natural part of the weather cycle, recession is a natural part of the business cycle.. the glut of materialism has caught up with us. All the goods that we WANT take up more shelf space in stores that the things we truly NEED. Now that the money is tighter, we have to be more selective about the wants. Maybe some stores will close.

On the other hand, I really don't see the doom and gloom predictions for sagging retail sales this holiday season. Sales will be UP, but only by a small percentage of what they were last year. In retail, growth is measured by the percentage of increase in sales over the previous year. If last year was up 6%, they will bemoan a 4% increase as disappointing, even if it is, in fact an increase.

You obviously haven't lost your job yet. Just wait. The difference between a natural business cycle and a depression: the first is when others lose their jobs and the second is when you lose your job.

Correct--and fortunately, my job is secure, but my husband very well could lose his.

He has worked for a small auto-parts supplier for 30 years. Over the 25 years we've been together, he has been laid off (for as many as 4 years--this during the supposedly wonderful Clinton years), and taken a 50% hourly wage cut to keep the business here. He is currently laid off this week. His company has been running on three-week months since April.

Our biggest fear right now is that the company will close up its Toledo operations as a cost-cutting measure. We've been in this spot before and rode it out. It is a lot easier to do so if you live within your means.

If there is a longer layoff, he'll find other work--even if it is delivering pizzas-- to make up some of the difference.

Nevertheless, this is a part of a CYCLE. Unfortunately, the cycle is affected by outside decisions that haven't always been so wise or done in the best interests of Americans, and by market manipulation.

I might have only a rudimentary knowledge of economics (gleaned from one high school class, one college class, life experience, and books written by Thomas Sowell and Ben Stein), but I know that recession is part of something called the "business cycle" and CAN be good for an economy.

Nobody's job is secure unless you work for government. You could be rudely awakened to that fact sooner than you think.

Pete says, "Nobody's job is secure unless you work for government. You could be rudely awakened to that fact sooner than you think."

I know what you intend to argue--we've all heard the adage that many are just a paycheck away from homelessness.

For what it is worth, my job is, as I stated, quite secure.

Government jobs are not so secure...they are often tied to party allegiance or administration programs...ask a lot of Ford's employees who aren't working for Finkbeiner, or Larry Kaczala's employees who weren't so welcome in Anita Lopez's office.

After the recession I hope we rebuild as what Ray Nagin referred to as a "chocolate city", because look how well that's working for New Orleans.

Any statement I make is the opinion of me exercising my first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and is generally permitted.

Deadmalls.com

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"Show me a man who lives alone and has a perpetually dirty kitchen, and
five times out of nine I'll show you an exceptional man." -Charles
Bukowski

There's a city full of walls you can post complaints at

Is the comment about the number of businesses offering the same items to the same public.

How many companies can sell the same item to the same public and remain competitive?

Walk through the Westfield Franklin Park Mall and take note of the clothing stores all competing with each other with basically the same goods.

Or how about the electronics super stores offering almost identical items.

Same goes for car companies.

The National Retailers Association predicts record sales this "gloomy" Recession Halloween, anticipating $5.77 billion in holiday-related sales.
(see story here: http://www.nrf.com/modules.php?name=News&op=viewlive&sp_id=578)

I started looking for some reading on this after watching a segment on the local news last night in which people in Toledo-area stores were interviewed about their spending plans this Halloween. While some said they'd probably cut back, several were not doing anything differently. One woman even said shes "going all out," this year.

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