department stores: October 2009 Archives

Old and local stores, October edition

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The economic downturn is hitting local stores especially hard. Saddest among those affected are the decades-old establishments suddenly facing bankruptcy or liquidation. Recent news affects numerous local stores with particularly long histories:

  • 1868: that's when long Strouse's department store in Evansville, Ind., first opened, and the family-run business has been run by the founder's great-grandson for the past 47 years. But Strouse's is beginning liquidation this month and closing around the end of the year.
  • Across the border in Ohio, Holcomb's KnowPlace is ending a 137-year-run and closing its last 10 locations. The chain has been slowly closing locations all year.
  • 89 years: that's how long Hunter Furniture in Birmingham has been open. But current owner Bob Hunter is closing up shop with a final sale starting next week. Hunter cites a combination of factors in the decision to close.
  • Compared to the stores above, 1977 sounds like yesterday. But 32 years is a long time for a hometown hardware store to thrive, so in Milwaukee, residents of Edgar are stung that Hardware Hank hasn't found a buyer and is planning on closing.


Liz Claiborne shifts merchandise availability

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After years of multi-retailer availability, fashion brand Liz Claiborne is changing its distribution strategy and positioning its namesake merchandise for sale exclusively at JC Penney. The decision affects hundreds of retail outlets nationwide, including Macy's and Dillard's.

Claiborne's shift is a direct result of the recession's impact on consumer shopping. Retailers, seeking reasons for shoppers to choose their stores, are asking brands for greater product exclusivity. To secure the Liz Claiborne deal JC Penney has agreed to give the brand a percentage of sales and a share of profits, unlike the typical relationship, where sellers buy merchandise from vendors for sell-through.

"The last year has proven that many axioms and proverbs written 20 years ago have been shattered," said Bill McComb, CEO of Liz Claiborne.


Timely Demise tracks the retail industry as it changes with our unprecedented economic environment. Published by David Wertheimer. Did I miss something? Drop me a line.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the department stores category from October 2009.

department stores: May 2009 is the previous archive.

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