The Shopping Party May Be Over

Retailing Chains Caught in a Wave of Bankruptcies

The consumer spending slump and tightening credit markets are unleashing a widening wave of bankruptcies in American retailing, prompting thousands of store closings that are expected to remake suburban malls and downtown shopping districts across the country.

Since last fall, eight mostly midsize chains — as diverse as the furniture store Levitz and the electronics seller Sharper Image — have filed for bankruptcy protection as they staggered under mounting debt and declining sales.

But the troubles are quickly spreading to bigger national companies, like Linens ‘n Things, the bedding and furniture retailer with 500 stores in 47 states. It may file for bankruptcy as early as this week, according to people briefed on the matter.

Even retailers that can avoid bankruptcy are shutting down stores to preserve cash through what could be a long economic downturn. Over the next year, Foot Locker said it would close 140 stores, Ann Taylor will start to shutter 117, and the jeweler Zales will close 100.

For the entire article go to NYTimes.com

Corra thinks the shopping party may be over. At least for awhile. With nearly 70% of this nation’s economy relying on consumerism, it is small wonder in rough times that national chains are closing stores or filing Chapter 11.

Perhaps this is a time for reassessment. Perhaps it is time to figure out what you, the consumer needs, and what you don’t need. Will this new pair of shoes improve you life that much? Will the new whatever it is bring considerable smiles, or make dating any easier? Is that fact that you shop to you drop really what a mate is looking for?

Corra can go on forever, about fancy cars and fancier meals. We must question what is programmed as desirable behavior and what is really satisfying and gratifying. Not to be priggish here, but we are in a terrible downtown and more bad news is still ahead. Perhaps it is time for a national reassessment, a time when we start complaining about the predator nature of other countries and discipline ourselves.

Who knows, maybe in the end, we will find more satisfaction with each other as people, and not merely as accessories used to promote what often amounts to a lot of nonsense. Like junk food, it may feel good going down, but later, when the bill arrives, you end up with heartburn.