Forbes.com recently ran an article where a retail analyst made some predictions about additional companies that in danger of going out of business in 2009.
The analyst is drawing conclusions based on what the companies did in 2008 and how they performed (or didn’t). The fact that a survey indicated that one-third of American women stated they weren’t going to purchase any clothing in 2009 (the number is usually 4%) fed into the analysts predictions.
The analyst predicted everyone from Pacific Sunwear, Eddie Bauer, along with Zales and Charming Shoppes (owner of Lane Bryant) and Sears-Kmart may be in trouble.
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
Shuttered stores impact every retailer’s livelihood.
The analyst predicts that most retailers will shutter more stores (which is a foregone conclusion). And it doesn’t stop at retail. Restaurants may also be significantly impacted by store closings.
All of those closings create less desirable shopping areas. Already here in Los Angeles, many streets have a number of empty storefronts, creating a recession version of blight. And who wants to walk down a street where you have to walk past a closed store to get to an open one? It’s not that appealing.
The fact that streetscapes will be altered as storefronts become papered over causes consumers to avoid those areas in favor of other livelier neighborhoods, which only torpedoes the remaining stores that are open.
You can do a few things to make sure people keep shopping at your store.
- Keep communicating. Reach out, email, send direct mail, call your best customers. Any way you can stay in touch and continue to cultivate relationships with your customers will help.
- Make your storefronts scream. Get creative with your windows, employing large graphics or visual displays that grab attention. Put a sandwich board out front (check your local regulations), inflate some balloons.
- Work the neighborhood. Meet other retailers and restaurants in your neighborhood, swap discount coupons and make sure they’re aware of who you are and what you do so they can become recommenders.
How are you coping with store closings in your neighborhood?