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Friday, April 07, 2017

The G.O.P. Economic Meltdown Continues . . .

You thought that the G.O.P. Economic Meltdown of 2008 was over?

* January 2016: Barnes and Noble booksellers announced plans to close 197 bookstores over the next five years.
* January 2016: Finish Line, Inc. announced that it is closing the lowest-performing 150 of its 600 name-brand 'athleisure' clothing stores.
* January 2016: Wal-Mart, Inc. announced that it plans to close all of its 102 Wal-Mart Express stores as well as 52 full-size U.S. locations, while stepping up its digital sales efforts.
* March 2016: Sports Authority filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy and announced plans to close 140 stores.
* March 2016: After reporting a 20% drop in fourth quarter profit, the Kohl's department store chain announced that it is closing 18 stores and laying off more than 1,500 employees.
* May 2016: The Aeropostale teen apparel chain filed for bankruptcy and said that it will close 154 stores; the plan was later expanded to closing 570 of its 800 stores.
* May 2016: After failing to find a buyer, Sports Authority announced closing & liquidation of all its 460+ locations in the U.S.
* June 2016: Luxury fashion brand Ralph Lauren announced plans to cut about 1,000 jobs (8% of its workforce) while closing more than 50 stores. (The retailer's sales fell in every quarter in fiscal 2016, leading to a full-year sales decline of nearly 3%.)
* July 2016: After Hastings Entertainment filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy and failed to find a buyer, the seller of books & DVDs decided to liquidate all 126 stores.
* August 2016: After already closing 400 stores during the Office Max - Office Depot merger, Office Depot announced plans to close 300 more stores in the next three years. (The proposed merger with larger Staples was scrapped over antitrust concerns.)
* November 2016: After suffering seven consecutive quarters of declining sales, The Gap's North American operations announced plans to close 65 stores across its Gap, Gap Kids, Old Navy, and Banana Republic retail clothing brands; they already pulled the Old Navy brand out of Japan entirely, closing over 50 stores.

These chains announced closings in December 2016:
* Sears announced that it will close 17 Sears locations and 34 Kmart stores in early 2017 (liquidation sales to begin in January, closings between late March and mid-April). This latest round brings the total number of Sears stores closed this fiscal year to more than 200, and means that the retailer will have fewer than 1,500 stores left by early 2017, down nearly 60% from 2011 when Sears had more than 3,500 stores.
* Clothing retailer Children's Place closed 125 stores in 2016 and plans to close 200 more in 2017; it operates about 1,000 stores throughout the U.S.
* Tailored Brands, which operates the Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Banks stores, is closing as many as 250 stores.
* Chico’s FAS, which operates the Chico’s, White House Black Market, and Soma stores, announced that it will cut 240 jobs and close 120 stores by the end of 2017.
* American Eagle Outfitters is continuing its 2014 three-year initiative to close as many as 150 stores.

* January 2017: Macy’s Department Stores announced a plan to cut costs by closing stores and slashing 10,000 jobs.
* January 2017: The Limited women's apparel chain announced plans to close all of its 250 stores, with loss of about 4,000 jobs.
* January 2017: The Wet Seal teen fashions chain of California announced plans to close the last 170 of its stores; two years ago the chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, closed two-thirds of its locations, and laid off almost 3,700 workers.
* January 2017: Walgreens and Rite Aid revised their proposed merger deal, slashing more than $2 billion from the purchase price and pushing the closing date back six months while they await regulatory approval; the tentative deal is now scheduled to close July 31. Walgreens originally agreed to pay $9 per share for Rite Aid's common stock, but has now agreed to pay $7 per share if 1,000 or fewer stores have to be sold, and $6.50 per share if 1,200 stores must be sold.

* February 2017: J.C. Penney will close up to 140 stores, offering buyouts to many employees.
* March 2017: Staples announced plans to close 70 more stores; the latest store closings come on the heels of 48 closings last year, and a combined 242 stores closed in the two prior years; at the start of the current fiscal year, Staples had 1,255 U.S. stores and 304 Canadian locations.
* March 2017: RadioShack [est. 1921] filed for bankruptcy for the second time and is closing 552 (36 percent) of its stores.
* April 2017: Payless ShoeSource [est. 1956] filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and announced a restructuring plan that includes the immediate closure of 400 stores in the United States and Puerto Rico.
* *          * *          * *          * *
Meanwhile, the stock market continues to expand the inevitable bubble. 2016's year-end numbers were: Dow Jones Industrial Average Index closed at $19,762.60 (its best year since 2013); the Standard & Poor's 500 closed at $2,238.83; and the NASDAQ Composite Index closed at $5,383.12.

Then on January 25, the Dow Jones Industrial Average Index rose above $20,000 for the first time, closing for the day at $19,912.71 and the S&P 500 broke above $2,300 for the first time.

But in March, the stock markets suffered a week of selloffs based on the cancellation of the A.H.C.A. 'TrumpCare' vote, then recovered slightly on March 24: the Dow Jones Industrial Average Index closed at $20,596.72, the S&P 500 Index closed at $2,343.98, and the NASDAQ Composite Index closed at $5,828.74 – all still down for the week.
Those levels continued thru April.

Copyright 2017 by G.E. Nordell, all rights reserved

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