Sunday, December 28, 2008

No Ho! Ho! But Uh Oh!

If you are in the retail business this was not a very happy holiday. Usually the holiday season is where a lot of retailers pad their bottom line for the rest of the year. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the commercial landscape is likely to deteriorate further in the new year, with a "wave of retailer bankruptcies."

"We will have a lot fewer stores by the middle of 2009," says Nancy Koehn, professor of business administration at Harvard Business School. "It's happening very, very quickly because of the financial crisis and the recession." [...]

Corporate-turnaround experts and bankruptcy lawyers are predicting a wave of retailer bankruptcies early next year, after being contacted by big and small retailers either preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection or scrambling to avoid that fate.

Analysts estimate that from about 10% to 26% of all retailers are in financial distress and in danger of filing for Chapter 11. AlixPartners LLP, a Michigan-based turnaround consulting firm, estimates that 25.8% of 182 large retailers it tracks are at significant risk of filing for bankruptcy or facing financial distress in 2009 or 2010. In the previous two years, the firm had estimated 4% to 7% of retailers then tracked were at a high risk for filing.

25% of all the the retailers going away is a huge chunk of businesses. If your area is anything like the northern burbs of Atlanta they have been building strip malls and shopping centers like gangbusters for the last couple of years. Vast swaths of land have been gobbled up by cookie cutter strip shopping. Imagine what it will look like with 25% of them empty. Madam is still heart broken of the closing of Linens and Things. Looks like it will be much worse during the coming year.

No comments: