Daniel Jennings writes for Wealthy Debates, April 4, 2014, that despite all the talk from the Obama administration and the MSM about a “recovering” economy, a retail tsunami shows the U.S. economy to be in trouble.
Recent news stories show that American retail is in dire straits. Here are 16 big retail companies that have closed or will close stores soon:
- Office supply company Staples has announced plans to close 225 stores by 2015, which is about 15% of its chain. Staples already closed 40 stores last year.
- Office Depot, Staples’ main competitor which bought Office Max last year, isn’t in good shape either. Industry analysts expect Office Depot to announce its own round of store closings soon.
- Radio Shack has announced plans to close 20% of its stores or as many as 1,100 stores this year. The company, which operates around 4,000 stores, reported that its sales fell by 19% last year.
- Albertsons supermarket closed 26 stores in January and February this year. Analysts expect many more Albertsons to be closed down because Albertsons’ owner hedge fund Cerberus Capital Management just bought Safeway Inc. Some Safeway stores could soon shut down as well.
- Clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch is planning to close 220 stores by the end of 2015. The company is also planning to shut down the Gilly Hicks chain, which has 20 stores.
- Barnes & Nobles is planning to shut down one third of its stores or about 218 stores in the next year. The chain has already closed its iconic flagship store in New York City.
- J.C. Penney is closing about 33 stores and laying off about 2,000 employees.
- Toys R Us has plans to close 100 stores.
- The Sweetbay Supermarket chain will close all 17 of the stores it operates in the Tampa Bay area. Many of the stores might open as Winn-Dixie Stores. Sweetbay closed 33 stores in Florida last year.
- The entire Loehmann’s chain of discount clothing stores in the New York City area shut down. Loehmann’s once operated 39 stores and was considered an institution by generations of New Yorkers.
- Sears Holdings, which owns both Sears and Kmart, is expected to close another 500 stores this year. Sears has already shut down its flagship store in Chicago.
- Quiznos has filed for bankruptcy and could close many of its 2,100 stores.
- Sbarro, which operates pizza and Italian restaurants in malls, is planning to close 155 locations (or 20% of its restaurants) in North America (U.S. and Canada). The chain operates around 800 outlets.
- Ruby Tuesday announced plans to close 30 restaurants in January after its sales fell by 7.8%. The chain currently operates around 775 steakhouses across the US.
- An unknown number of Red Lobster stores will be sold. The chain is in such bad shape that the parent company, Darden Restaurants Inc., had to issue a press release stating that the chain would not close. Instead Darden is planning to spin Red Lobster off into another company and sell some of its stores.
- Ralph’s, a subsidiary of Kroger, has announced plans to close 15 supermarkets in Southern California within 60 days.
- Safeway closed 72 Dominick’s grocery stores in the Chicago area last year.
All those store closures mean more Americans will be unemployed, which translates into less tax revenue and more dependency on government welfare.
H/t FOTM’s swampygirl
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Ever since its merger with Kmart in 2005, the fortunes of Sears, Roebuck, & Co. have declined, its income plunging by 84%. Desperate for sales, the 119-year-old American family store has gone pornographic.
It began in August 2010, when Sears started selling soft porn on its website. The next year, in May, Sears online “upgraded” to selling hard-core pornographic DVDs and music with unimaginatively-titled fare as “Lesbian Sistas,” “Hot Mamas Like Young Chicks,” “Hot and Exotic,” and “Snatched – Curse of the Pink Panties”.
American Family Association sent out an alert, after which Sears was flooded with calls of complaint. The store issued an apology and withdrew the porno DVDs and music from its inventory.
But Sears is at it again.
Until this Tuesday (March 6, 2012) when the ads were pulled, Sears online was selling men’s and women’s “I ♥ Butt Plugs” t-shirts for $13.99 to $15.99 each. But you can still see the ads on Google (click here), but not for long. So I took a screen shot of the Google search page as evidence:
A butt plug is a sex toy, designed to be inserted in the anus and rectum. In some ways, they are similar to a dildo, but they tend to be shorter, and must have a flanged end to prevent the device from being lost inside the rectum.
While there are heterosexuals who engage in anal sex, they are fewer in numbers compared to homosexuals.
A 2007 national survey found that 34% men and 30% women in the U.S. reported ever participating in heterosexual anal sex. The percentage was significantly higher among 20- to 24-year-olds and peaked among 30- to 34-year-olds. The percentage of heterosexuals engaged in anal sex has been rising in recent years, from 20% in 1992 to 34% in 2007.
Although some lesbians practice anal sex, many more gay men do. The 1994 Laumann study found that 80% of gay men practice anal sex and 20% never engage in it at all.
The plain truth is this: The human body is not designed to accommodate anal intercourse.
The rectum is significantly different from the vagina with regard to suitability for penetration by a penis. The vagina has natural lubricants and is composed of a mucus membrane with a multi-layer stratified squamous epithelium that allows it to endure friction without damage and to resist the immunological actions caused by semen and sperm. In contrast, the anus is a delicate mechanism of small muscles that comprise an “exit-only” passage. With repeated trauma, friction and stretching, the sphincter loses its tone and its ability to maintain a tight seal. Consequently, anal intercourse leads to leakage of fecal material that can easily become chronic. Moreover, the intestine has only a single layer of cells separating it from blood. Therefore, any organisms that are introduced into the rectum have a much easier time establishing a foothold for infection than they would in a vagina. The single layer tissue cannot withstand the friction associated with penile penetration, resulting in traumas that expose both participants to blood, organisms in feces, and a mixing of bodily fluids. [For more on the hazards of anal sex and the diseases for which practitioners are vulnerable, go here.]
Already, after poor 2011 Christmas holiday sales, Sears Holding Corp announced it would be closing 120 Sears and Kmart stores. Going the route of slut porn is sure to further reduce its sales because I, for one, won’t be shopping at Sears.
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Sears to close 100 to 120 Kmart, Sears stores
Mail.com: Sears Holdings Corp. plans to close between 100 and 120 Sears and Kmart stores to raise cash after a weak holiday shopping season for the retailer.
The closings fueled speculation about whether the 125-year-old retailer can turn itself around. The closings are the latest and most visible in a long series of moves to try to fix a company that has struggled with falling sales and shabby stores as rivals like Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp. spruced up their looks and turned into one-stop shopping sources.
Absolutely Pathetic (AP) goes into spin mode: “There’s no reason to go to Sears,” said New York-based independent retail analyst Brian Sozzi, “It offers a depressing shopping experience and uncompetitive prices.” Billionaire investor Edward Lampert purchased Kmart out of bankruptcy in 2003 and bought Sears, Roebuck & Co. a year later. Since 2004 Sears Holdings — which operates both Kmart and Sears stores — has watched its cash and short-term investments go from about $2.09 billion for the year ended Jan. 31, 2004 to $1.34 billion for the year ended Jan. 31, 2011, according to FactSet. The figure now stands at about $700 million.
That company disputes talk that it is in trouble financially or will have problems surviving. Spokesman Chris Brathwaite says Sears Holdings has more than $3.5 billion of liquidity, consisting of $700 million in cash and $2.9 billion available under its credit lines.
Still, Sears Holdings said its declining sales, ongoing pressure on profit margins and rising expenses pulled its adjusted earnings lower. The company predicts fourth-quarter adjusted earnings will be less than half the $933 million it reported for the same quarter last year.
At least some experts recognize the true problem: Some industry experts say part of the problem Sears is facing is that economic difficulties continue to grip its core customers. These middle-income shoppers have seen their wages fail to keep up with higher costs for household basics like food.
AP spins again: But the bigger issue, analysts say, is that Sears hasn’t invested in remodeling, leaving its stores uninviting. Preschool teacher Sara Kriz concurred. Picking up conditioner at a Kmart in Manhattan on Tuesday, Kriz said she shops at Kmart “only when I have to,” which amounts to once every few months. Yet she goes to Wal-Mart or Target nearly every week because, she said, they are cleaner and better stocked.
I’ve been to all the stores mentioned in this article. Walmart and Target are cleaner stores? Please, they all have their issues. I’ve never been in a Sears and thought, wow, this store isn’t clean.
Can anyone blame the lackluster sales on the stores’ appearances? Sure. But let’s talk about the economy. This Christmas, my friends and family, we chose not to exchange gifts (kids excluded). We all are feeling the pinch. Yet Americans shopped like there’s no tomorrow on Black Friday. Though they probably charged the majority to credit cards.
Real unemployment is at 11%, and existing home sales climbed recently yet although rebenchmarking resulted in lower adjustments to several years of home sales data, the month-to-month characterization of market conditions did not change.
And Obamacare will impose new compliance regulations, employer mandate taxes, taxes on business “flow-through” and investment income, and numerous indirect costs on small- and medium-size companies.
We have over $15 trillion in debt and Skippy wants to ask for a debt limit hike.
How can any business be thriving under this administration’s policies? Until this administration is done, I’m going to bet you’ll see more stores and businesses closing.
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Posted in Economy
Tagged Kmart, Sears