Tuesday, January 10, 2017

We need to Make America Great Again.......in Retail

Why New York’s most beloved stores are dying 

New York Post By Nicole Gelinas November 27, 2016

‘Tis the season to be shopping — but in Manhattan, where?
New Yorkers set in their retail routines are suffering annoyance and anxiety as their favorite places to browse close. And the industry responsible for a big chunk of New York’s recent job growth is facing serious woes.
Last week, The Post’s Steve Cuozzo reported that Gracious Home looks to be in trouble. It’s a huge hardware, housewares and home-goods store that has been a mainstay of the Upper East Side for 53 years. The store’s Upper West Side location is newer, but old enough to be an institution: It opened 18 years ago.
Now, the stores, which employ 300 people, are having a fire sale. Signs are up advertising that everything is 10 to 50 percent off.
This doesn’t seem to be normal Black Friday stuff. The signs proclaim, ominously, that “everything must go.” Last week, a worker stoically told a nervous customer that the stores were “restructuring,” and she wasn’t sure if they’d stay open.

Gracious Home is unique and fun. Where else can you get a fake furry squirrel Christmas ornament made in Germany, hair cream made in Britain or high-thread-count pillowcases made in Italy, plus laundry detergent and mousetraps?
Shopping has become a grim exercise in harvesting commodities. But Gracious Home has always been sweetly old-fashioned in its eclectic array of goods.
And the chains aren’t doing so well, either. Until last year, a Crate & Barrel took up a huge two-story space on Madison Avenue, roughly midway between the two Gracious Homes. But it shut down, and most of the storefront has been empty since.
New Yorkers who walk the streets have noticed huge storefronts empty for years. The Hearst Tower, at 57th and Eighth, had its “prime” retail space on the northern side empty for a decade, before the building gave up and remade the windows into a giant billboard to advertise Hearst’s digital offerings.
Three global banks, too, have closed up shop on Eighth Avenue in the past half-decade, leaving medium-size spaces that still aren’t filled.
What’s hurting retail? Obviously, one culprit is the internet. People supposedly want “experience” shopping these days, and you can’t recreate the Gracious Home experience online, like you can when buying a big-screen TV. But stores like Gracious Home need the money they make from selling cookie-cutter appliances to carry their more varied products.
Stores like Gracious Home and Crate & Barrel have suffered, too, because financially strapped millennials have put off buying homes, and buying the furniture and curtains to put in those homes.
These stores serve a shrinking clientele: people financially healthy enough to splurge on a better-quality bathmat, but not so rich that they hire professionals to outfit their homes, and who use wholesale providers to do it.
Finally, these stores struggle because they don’t serve the tourist trade. Since the financial crisis, Manhattan’s retail market has been defined by overseas tourists who spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars per trip. But tourists want to buy clothes and jewelry and M&Ms, not pie pans.
The tourist trade, too, may be peaking. Fifth Avenue’s tenants, from Topshop to H&M, seem increasingly desperate for customers, advertising rock-bottom “sale” prices year-round.
Retail upheaval is showing up in the numbers. In its fall report, the Real Estate Board of New York noted that “a slower retail sales environment,” coupled with newly built space, “have started to affect ground-floor asking rents in Manhattan’s most prominent retail corridors.” Prices fell in 11 of 17 areas.
More importantly, it’s showing up in the jobs numbers. Earlier this month, city Comptroller Scott Stringer noted that the retail industry lost 2,500 jobs between July and September. The city has steadily lost retail jobs for nearly two years, since the beginning of 2015, even as the city has gained other types of jobs.
That’s important, because retailers provide entry-level jobs and work to people without college educations or advanced skills. Retail helped save New York City after the financial crisis. As wealthier people and tourists kept shopping, the industry added 51,400 jobs, or nearly 12 percent of its new jobs.
Empty stores are empty of their workers, too — who can’t easily become nurses or construction workers or computer programmers.


Trooper York said...

The Limited has just announced that it is closing 250 stores throughout the United States.

Added to Macy's closing 100 stores that is a shit pot full of jobs going south. Or going to the Internet.

Most of these stores are in malls. Macy's is often the flagship or anchor store in these developments in the suburbs that drives traffic to the Mall. Once they leave the other smaller stores are shit out of luck.

We need a strategy to increase retail sales in Brick and mortar stores. What that is I don't know. But it is a very important segment of the economy that should be addressed.

Chip Ahoy said...

Ew, Ew, *waves hand*

I read about this yesterday via link of a link of a link about The Limited (a lady place that I never heard of) closing 250 stores. And I thought, you know what your problem is? Your targeted market is 100% women and that right there is pinched thinking.

The article I read was about retailer strategies addressing millennials. And the answer was to make brick and mortar space places to go. An example used was Apple strategy to turn their stores into playgrounds rather like McDonald's except for playing around with electronic equipment and stop being so snobby. They're making themselves a hands on kind of place. There were other similar strategies.

As for women's clothing from your photos it appears you are well situated. You offer a service that is not available other places. Your store is a destination, a place of interest and of comfort where women get the personal attention their shapes and they psyches are well served.

So that's that.

And now I want to talk about MATHS!

I'm watching "unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" on Netflix, an amusing show that's fine to have on. She's a dopy girl full of wrong ideas but doing fine in New York despite her shortcoming in common sense. She's in a bar and disobeys the sign "bathrooms for customers only." That's fine with the bartender but Kimmy is unsettled because she disobeyed the sign, and if she disobeys that sign then what would happen if she disobeyed another sign behind the bar.

It doesn't make sense. This is Tina Fey humor. The sign is a joke, it cannot be obeyed, it is not an imperative sign. It shows a cartoon dog holding a beer mug and it reads "In dog years I've had only one."

It's based on dog's lifespans being shorter than humans. Something like 6 dog years to 1 human year.

So right there the joke fails at its joke math because one human beer would be 6 dog beers.

The cartoon dog should say "In human years I've had only 1" When in cartoon fact he's actually had 6 dog years.

I insist you agree with me that my maths are correct and the sign is *high pitch* STUUUUU *low pitch* pud.

Sixty Grit said...

As Chris Rock said before he converted to SJWism, there are two kinds of malls - the ones white people go to, and the ones white people used to go to.

Malls are a dying breed. They killed downtowns all over the country, now they are being killed. I don't have any solution - I shop locally when I can, but I am not willing to put up with the dangers associated with going to most malls.

AllenS said...

The problem can't be when hundreds of thug youth show up at the malls and start punching people, can it?

ampersand said...

Brick and Mortar stores would be best served by greasy greedy politicians cutting the sales tax rate. It's disgusting. 10% for everything purchased in Cook County. I remember when it was 4%. I stopped buying from Amazon when the goofball opened a facility in Illinois causing all purchases subject to the sales tax. Screw that.

I don't have any sympathy for Macys, really Federated. They treated the Marshall Fields customers like crap when they renamed the local store. I'm surprised the downtown store
wasn't included in the closings,yet. What concerns me is Sears, the company is being driven into the dirt by it's owner. I worry about people screwed out of their pensions.

The creeps here approved a penny an ounce tax on soda starting in February. Their rationale of course was "It's for the health of the children". Of course the obese lard asses on food stamps won't be affected because soda products are covered under SNAP,but they can't be taxed. It would be a good thing for the Donald to remove soda from being covered, it would be payback to that four armed Clinton supporting bitch from Pepsico.
The assholes in the city also passed a 7 cent tax on bags on anything purchased in Chicago. Luckily I am close enough to the next county to do my shopping there.

AprilApple said...

Boulder used to be known and celebrated for its mom and bob shops. Now, since the democrat-bureaucrat party has gone full Hillary Clinton Corporatist, the mom and pop shop are leaving or closing. They cannot afford the ever increasing property taxes (and other punishments).

AprilApple said...

(bob = pop)

ricpic said...

I don't understand the economics of any of the incredibly high Cost Of Living major cities in the US of A. How does that millennial have any discretionary dollars left to spend after paying the $2,500 rent on his studio apartment? Or is it $3,000? Plus food, plus clothes, plus toilet paper. I mean what's left?

AprilApple said...

Google is moving in where Ras Kassa's used to be. Now Ras Kassa's is moving out of Boulder. Eads is gone and a new huge hotel chain in moving in. Word is on "the Hill" an old building filled with low-cost student-oriented restaurants will be torn down and a new mega-hotel going in there. No red-tape if you have big money.
Smaller stores like Natural Grocers are made to wait years and years for approval on a new location and building. (the old store is too small and falling apart) Natural Grocers doesn't have deep bribe pockets for the democrat-corportist a-holes who run this town.

AprilApple said...

I'm no expert on retail, but it seems to me that the market is over-saturated. Then - Amazon killed it all.

ampersand said...

I understand mums and daddums are paying the bills for juniors adventures in hipstertown. I have a couple of millenial sisters next door that Dad bought the two flat for in lieu of subsidizing their own seperate apartments. Pleasant enough girls, but oh boy are they lazy. Dad pays for their lawn mowing and snow shoveling. They don't even clean the dog crap from their tiny yard.

AprilApple said...

High density housing is going up everywhere. The dream of a house and a yard - that's for rich people.

William said...

I occasionally bought some stuff at Gracious Home. If their merchandise is now half off, they might be almost competitive with Bed Bath & Beyond, a ten minute walk away to the east. I think Bed Bath & Beyond attracts those remaining customers who like browsing more than clicking on Amazon.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

There was a Charles Addams cartoon of a graveyard and once you started reading the tombstones you notice that they are all names of automobile manufacturers.

I guess maybe, if you wanted to do a parody of that, you could use the names of dead cartoonists.

EMD said...

"We need a strategy to increase retail sales in Brick and mortar stores."

Sounds like a big government stimulus plan!

Leland said...

"How does that millennial have any discretionary dollars left to spend after paying the $2,500 rent on his studio apartment? Or is it $3,000? "

Got you answer right here:

"For First Time in Modern Era, Living With Parents Edges Out Other Living Arrangements for 18- to 34-Year-Olds"

When mom and dad (or I'm sure for many mom or dad or grandparent) is paying the $2,500; you got some money for a car, some clothes, and more importantly; video games for the smart phone, which has more capability than a home entertainment system from the 1990's.

Rabel said...

Let's look at a timeline:

November, 2015. New Lady CEO takes over Gracious Home with big plans for recently bankrupt retailer.

November, 2016. NY Post says Gracious Home may be in trouble.

December, 2016. Gracious Home declares bankruptcy again.

January, 2017. Trooper York calls for national strategy to save big city retail.

Ny suspicion is that the second bankruptcy was the plan all along.

Rabel said...

Also my suspicion. The rent is too damn high.

Trooper York said...

I am just going on my own experience. There are a lot of jobs in retail that are going to go up in smoke. Same thing with fast food with automation. Or livery service with driver
less cars. Sometimes it seems that every uber driver is a Muslim. You want them to become terrorists?

I don't know what the answer is other than trying to encourage people to buy in stores that pay taxes instead of on-line. I confess I don't know the answer. Just that as Trump wants to keep jobs in America he needs to look at retail/food service/livery drivers/truckers as a vital part of this agenda. It is not just factory workers.