The Post-Christmas Retail Blood Bath Coming Early This Year

Monday, November 03, 2008 at 08:30 PM

I've been telling anyone who will listen that once Christmas is over, look out for the avalanche of retail stores closing. Now it seems I was being too optimistic: things are so bad, expectations for the Christmas season are so low, and inventory is actually losing value so quickly that retailers are already starting the closing season.

In fact, even this close to the Christmas season, shopping center vacancies are at a 14-year high.

Here's a very partial list of retailers who have announced major store closings just since the beginning of October:

Office Depot

Shoe Pavilion [will close its last 64 stores]

Circuit City [closing 155 stores]


Linens 'n Things [closing last 317 stores]

Mervyns [closing its149 remaining stores; stores average between 80 and 125 employees]

Value City [filed bankruptcy; has not yet announced when stores will close]

Whitehall Jewelers

Given the tendency of employers accomplish their layoffs/downsizings before the end of the year, we should also soon start getting a stream of those announcements. In terms of economics. this is really starting to look like the bleakest holiday season that many Americans will have ever lived through. I can't imagine how depressing this is for the ever-smaller number of Americans who actually lived through all or some of the Great Depression.