Monday, August 15, 2016

Business Monday

It was a disturbing week.

Macy's says it's closing about 14 per cent of its stores.  Thousands of people will lose their jobs.  The list of affected stores isn't out yet.  Macy's says it will beef up its on-line efforts.

I have a close friend in the retail industry.  She told me the first thing that gets cut is usually employees.  As a result, there are fewer workers on the floor and shoppers have a negative experience.  Oh, one other thing.  Shoplifting has spiked.

The Philadelphia Inquirer had a nice story the other day on the massive King of Prussia Mall.  The two buildings are now connected by a new food court, so the mall is now officially one huge building.  Developers say the goal is to make shopping an experience.  Maybe some of America's troubled retailers should listen up.  There are many times when shopping simply isn't fun.

Ruby Tuesday is closing more than ninety of its restaurants.  Been there.  Never a problem, but Ruby Tuesday is nothing special, and that could be the problem.  I live near a commercial strip, and I wonder how all those chain restaurants can survive.  On the other hand, parking lots are usually crowded on nights and weekends.  Like Macy's, the list of closures is still secret.

Logan's Roadhouse filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week.  Several restaurants were closed, including one in Wilkes-Barre.  Never been there.

Retail and food are cyclical.  There are times of expansion, but nothing lasts forever.  It's clear what part of the cycle we're now visiting.

But then again, the Wall Street Journal's on-line edition recently featured an ad that said Hardees's fast food franchise territories are available here in Pennsylvania.  There used to be one near the Wyoming Valley Mall and in Frackville.  I was a frequent visitor when I was visiting friends in Harrisburg and Baltimore.  I always felt Hardee's featured stand out breakfast items, while the rest of the day was average.  It's been a while since I've been in one, and I wonder if we'll have the opportunity here in our area.

Still, I have to wonder if all the really good locations for fast food restaurants have been snapped up.  I'm sure there is a prime spot or two just waiting to be developed.

Why does the international Olympic Committee keep awarding games to countries and cities that are clearly polluted and inadequate?  The list grows longer every two years.  London is one of the few exceptions.  I suspect it's the power of the pitch and the size of the check that do the trick.