Oh, Merv!

Stick a fork in Mervyn’s. They’re done.

In addition to Mervyn’s, Linens N Things is also going out of business. Who else do you think we’ll see in the next few months? My money is on Circuit City…
Via Retail Traffic

90 Responses to “Oh, Merv!”

  1. Too bad for Mervyn’s.

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  2. what about boscov’s…u think they’ll make it to january?

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  3. i think your right about circuit city unless they get someone to merge with them i think it’s all over for them, also what about dillards in the last 2-3 years they’ve allready closed 2 stores in the richmond va market so what about there chances are.

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  4. They couldn’t even push through the holiday period, which is looking to be one of the worst for retail in a long time.

    I’m betting on Circuit City as well.

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  5. We’re doomed. Poor Mervyn’s.

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  6. At least it wasn’t Kmart or Sears. Also, I hope that Mervyn’s actually stays dead, not reincarnated for some crappy online only thing.

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  7. A fallout of Sears would spell bad news for a bunch of malls here in WI. Nothing would be able to fill in the empty boxes they’d leave behind, especially those of Janesville, Forest, and Memorial Malls in their respective markets. Southridge Mall’s Sears is the largest in this state, and would be a chore to fill in. Not to forget that mall’s going to have a hard time filling the vacating Linen’s N Things spot, part of a former Gimbles ~ Field’s ~ Prange’s ~ Younker’s

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  8. I’m giving Kmart until 2011. They’ve been slowly dying for ages, but if my local store is any indication, there’s still SOME life left in the big red K. Sears might make it a little longer.

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  9. I’m 100% certain that Boscov’s will go out of business shortly after Christmas. In fact, I’m shocked it outlasted Mervyn’s.

    Sadly, the one retailer I would love to see go out of business–Macy’s–will no doubt survive this economic crisis. This is just more proof that life is so unfair.

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  10. My prediction: Best Buy will buy out all the Circuit Cities and make Best Buys out of them.

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  11. I don’t see Best Buy taking part in a full scale buyout of Circuit City, but I could see Best Buy buying some of Circuit City’s high traffic stores if given the opportunity. During the late 90’s, while Best Buy was rapidly expanding and working on expanding its brand image, Circuit City seemed to be content with its stores built in the early to mid 1990’s. However, in recent years, Circuit City has opened many stores in high traffic power centers that are still up to date and very modern looking. Therefore, I could see Best Buy buying out some of these stores and making slight renovations in order to replace older stores of their own that are either too small are too outdated to renovate.

    Also, I could see Fry’s potentially buying out some of Circuit City’s stores as a method of expansion. This could be especially true in many medium sized markets, where Fry’s could create significant competition for Best Buy since, without Circuit City, many of these markets would be left with Best Buy as a sole big box electronics retailer.

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  12. On another note, I went into my local Linens N Things earlier today and the store was packed like I had never seen it before. Unfortunately, I didn’t buy anything because everything was only 10% off, but I plan to go back when the prices drop further. The sad thing about my local store is that it is only about a year old, creating a vacant space that is in like new condition. Also, there is a brand new Circuit City two doors down that will probably be closing in the next few months, creating a second vacant space unless if it is snagged up by another store. The old store that this Circuit City originally moved from about a year ago is also still vacant, though currently being tenanted by a Halloween superstore.

    On a more positive note, a very nice new Target just opened nearby! Although it is not a Supertarget, it does have a slightly larger selection than a typical Target store, especially in groceries.

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  13. Boscovs was already sold. So I think they just might close additional stores if they do anything.

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  14. Here in Houston Meryvn’s left over two years ago. Only Steve and Barry’s and Circuit City have taken over some of their spaces. Dillard’s took over one in Sugar land to make it a men’s only store. All malls here only have the anchor selection of Sears, JCPenney, Dillard’s, and Macy’s. The only exception being the Galleria that has 3 anchors not found in any other malls here in H-town. Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom anchor the Galleria and do not have any plans of picking up any of the remaining Mervyn’s space here in H-town. It is a shame to lose yet another major chain that provided so many families with their paychecks.

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  15. I’ve never had a Mervyn’s where I live…

    I sure hope Circuit City doesn’t close, I like it! :P

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  16. @Kris-Alyx Devereaux:

    I don’t think Dillard’s is going anywhere, it seems to do really well… it’s usually got not 1, but 2 stores in a lot of the most high-end malls

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  17. Predictable, they haven’t been doing too well, same with Boscov’s.
    I place my bets on Boscov’s, Circuit City, and Dillard’s going out of business.
    There are old Dillard’s and a newer (2003) Dillard’s, and I would have to say that the new one is more busy than the older locations. I think it has to do with store layout, and merchandise specifically. Also, Dillard’s closed their travel stores within their stores as well. As for the Dillard’s website, it hasn’t been updated in years, and is a bit cluttered, plus they have expensive shipping rates, and ship everything within 5-7 days. Where as some stores have free shipping with (insert price here), and ship within two business days.

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  18. Who bought Boscov’s? I missed hearing that somehow. It was so sad seeing an empty anchor at Oxford Valley Mall and “Boscov’s” haphazardly scratched off the directional signs. How’s the Bon Ton doing? The only hope is that Bon Ton buys some or all of the Boscov’s stores and either opens a BT in them or makes Boscov’s one of their regional brands like Elder-Beerman and Herberger’s. I could see their red flower symbol with Boscov’s scribbled next to it. Better than empty stores I guess…

    And yeah here in PA no one’s ever heard of Merv’s but this site shows how they shrunk from Michigan and Texas to basically just California. It really is sad.

    Dillard’s is here to stay. They may restructure themselves and close some of their duplicate stores, but they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

    What about Gottschalks? Never seen them either, are they doing well in the “financial crisis”?

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  19. I’d hate to see Circuit City go – nice stores, and as a former Best Buy employee, I saw how they operated from the inside, and choose to no longer shop there. In the St. Louis area, many Circuit City stores are just a stones throw from Best Buy, and in some cases, like at Mid Rivers Mall in St. Peters, MO, Best Buy, Circuit City, and smaller big box chain Ultimate Electronics are literally all within a stones throw of one another, If CC were to go out, I could see Best Buy aquiring some of their locations where they can either upgrade a nearby Best Buy, or get into one of the markets that they don’t compete in.

    KMart definitely still seems to be on a downward slope – their store in O’Fallon, MO is messy and poorly stocked, and it seemed as though half the store was on clearance – it almost looked like they were already going out of business – I will predict another round of store closings, though, and think it will likely languish on for at least a few more years. I’d hate to see K-Mart go – I really do prefer the smaller stores to the behemoth Wal-Mart Super Centers – they are more convenient, and are generally quite a bit cheaper than Target, even though their stores are nowhere near in same class. KMart does still have a foothold on inner cities, though, where Wal-Mart has put very few stores, but I could definitely see them pulling out of any market that they are competing with Wally World, which is most of them.

    As for Dillards, I have wondered how they stayed afloat for years – their stores are never busy, and most of them are in severe need of remodeling, having received little attention since the 80s. In the St. Louis area, they have shut down three stores over the last few years; Downtown, Jamestown Mall, and Northwest Plaza, but they were all old Styx, Baer, and Fuller stores that had received little attention since Dillards bought them out in 1984, and they were all in dead or dying malls.

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  20. Oh, the Dillard’s in Northwest Plaza is closed now?

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  21. After reading this last night I went to the Linens N Things near my house to check out what was on sale and if they had big store closing signs up or what.

    When I got there though, there was an orange memo posted on the door (and posted throughout the store actually), says that Linens N Things Canada is not in receivership, therefore there are no liquidation sales scheduled at this time.

    Whats up with that? Did they sell off the Canadian stores? I did some browsing around the net today and found that NRDC (the company that runs Lord & Taylor) that just bought HBC tried to buy them but talks failed because “they just couldn’t work it out”.

    Anyways, I’m assuming that in the future, if Linens N Things Canada does go and vacates its Calgary stores, Home Outfitters or maybe Homestyle will probably take its place.

    Sears stores seem to be doing quite well here, they’re always busy busy busy. We don’t have any Circuit Citys here, and certainly no Mervyn’s. I can probably expect major changes to retail areas I frequent when I go down to the USA. Spokane, Seattle, Missoula, Great Falls.

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  22. I will also miss Circuit City, as Best Buy has implemented some questionable company policies in recent years. For example, Best Buy no longer allows customers to insert their own media into products such as stereos or computers for testing purposes. Instead, they insist that you use displays as-is. In many ways, this would be the equivalent to Macy’s removing dressing rooms from their stores because Best Buy is not allowing customers to test products before buying. In addition, stores can no longer issue store credits for products returned under a protection plan. Instead, these products must be sent off to a corporate warehouse in order to receive a refund, which is slow and cumbersome. I really hope that either Fry’s decides to expand or Ultimate Electronics moves back into areas which they have recently left due to intense competition.

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  23. Kmart is getting creamed by Target and Walmart combined. The fact that Sears and Kmart are now the same company has helped stave off a Kmart closing (some in NJ operate as Sears Essentials). I don’t think either are going anywhere anytime soon.

    Circuit City is getting creamed by Best Buy and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them close. They expanded too fast and were not able to distinguish themselves from Best Buy. And the distinguishing factor is one of the main reasons why Linens N Things is closing…Bed, Bath and Beyond killed them.

    Personally, I’d love to see Dillard’s make it into the Northeast, especially NJ, but I’m not predicting that anytime soon.

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  24. http://www.nypost.com/seven/10162008/business/linens__blame_canada__133868.htm

    Looks like the Canadian Linens and Things stores are about to bite the dust too. I’d imagine in NRDC took it over they’d just be converted to HBC’s Home Outfitters brand.

    Anyway…I can’t imagine Best Buy taking over many Circuit City locations….all the CCs I’m familiar with have BBs nearby.

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  25. Mervyn’s was doomed when the investment group that purchased them a few years ago worked out a deal with Target to separate out the real estate from the stores into two different companies. The real estate arm then charged increasing rent to the stores and is actually one of the largest creditors in the bankruptcy. So as the store employees lose their jobs, the vendors are out millions, and the investment group now sits on valuable California real estate. Shameful.

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  26. In my opinion, Best Buy will not buy most of the Circuit City locations, but might buy a select few and relocate nearby stores, especially if the Circuit City locations are newer or are located in higher traffic locations.

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  27. Yeah JP, thats the article I read yesterday. We’ll probably see liquidation sale and store closing signs up here soon.

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  28. but the problem with that is that fry’s are all but unknown here on the east coast which is circuit city’s base, are there any other chains like best buy or fyr’s that could try to buy out circuit city.oh but about your coment about dillards here in richmond at chesterfield mall dillard’s had two stores & they’ve closed both of them.but the last time i heard about gottschalks was that they shuttered most of there stores in kentucky & west virginia, if anyone else can update this anyway, oh and before dillard’s came to va belk had those stores & they were always busy.

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  29. I can see certain Linens and Things stores converted to Bed, Bath and Beyond stores in certain areas, especially if they don’t already have a store there.

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  30. We just got back from San Antonio and made a stop at the Mervyn’s at North Star Mall that will close within a month. The sign up front still says only select locations going out of business. The store there was obviously something else before, maybe a Joske’s? Any more info on this location would be appreciated.

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  31. I’m going to disagree with that. Toys “R” Us might hang on for another decade if all goes well. Toys “R” Us has a fighting chance with not just regular toys like LEGO, Barbie, or Hot Wheels cars, but high tech devices like MP3 players, Nintendo video games, etc. Toys “R” Us has potential in markets where no other toy store is available, such as Green Bay, Wisconsin. With the opening of many Babies “R” Us stores, Toys “R” Us has filled a niche when it comes to baby furniture, toys and clothing.

    Other than that, I’ll place my bet on Linens ‘N Things or Circuit City.

    I’m sure that most Linens ‘N Things locations will become future Big Lots locations.

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  32. Toys R Us, I believe, will be around for a while. Babies R Us and Toys R Us are now opening locations that not only are next to each other, but are attached on the inside (with their own sepearate entrances and storefronts). Babies R Us has done phenominal business…especially due to the fact that they offer the baby registry. With Babies R Us, Toys R Us has definitely recovered from the mistake of the 80s/90s: Kids R Us.

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  33. Mervyn’s never really seemed to have a following and the stores competed competed, to varying degrees with everyone from Target to Macy’s; a crowded niche where they had nothing in particular going for them. If they could have established themselves as a more “fashion forward” version Kohl’s (sortof what they seemed to be trying at), they might have stood a chance, although Kohl’s, itself, has been a victim of overexpansion.

    The Linens & Things behind my workplace has no “going out of business” signs. I’m waiting for the sale. It probably would be the first time the store was busy.

    Other chains that aren’t looking so good: Circuit City, World Market, and radio Shack. Dillard has been getting by with no customers for years. They did finally re-do some of their Cleveland stores, after closing quite a few. As long as the Dillard family is still involved, I think they’ll limp along for awhile. I do think their days of expanding probably are over.

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  34. Actually, I was mistaken Northwest Plaza hasn’t been closed yet, but I had read an article a few months ago in the Post Dispatch that said it was slated for closing. It has, however been demoted to a clearance center, that is only opened from 11AM-7PM Mon-Sat, and 12PM-6PM Sunday- guess that is why I thought they were out of business already – the place was locked up tight as a drum and dark when I walked through Northwest a month or so ago at about 7:30 in the evening. Northwest is really a sad place – used to be such a great Super-Regional mall when I was growing up in the 80s.

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  35. How about Ross Dress for Less? I heard they werent doing so well.

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  36. Dillard’s will be around for decades. Down here in the south, Dillard’s is one of the few stores that offers mid to upscale merchandise, depending on the location and size of the market it is located in. This is especially true in smaller cities with populations of around 25,000 to 30,000. It has a HUGE presence in the south, probably due to it being found in Little Rock, AR. Many stores have been built from the ground up as a Dillard’s or former Mercantile or D.H. Holmes stores. And most have been remodeled or built in the last 10 – 15 years. I think many of the stores mentioned by previous posters are really old stores they have been bought in their many acquisitions in other regions of the country. And most of these stores have not been remodeled and merchandised well to fit in these markets. Most Dillard’s around my area have plenty customers and good selection. I have read a lot of negative comments about Dillard’s throughout this board, and I just don’t agree with most of them. But stores dislikes and likes are more a personal preference I think anyway.

    I hope Circuit City is able to pull through. I disagree with a previous poster about there not being enough difference between them and Best Buy. And the new Circuit City stores are really cool on the inside. I much prefer there layout and design. And also, they had been here for 10 years and had at least one store in every major city before Best Buy decided to open there first store in my state. So it was really the only electronics store we had for years.

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  37. I’ve heard that the new Circuit City stores are nice inside yet I haven’t had a need to visit one, since the Circuit City near me is very old and not too nice. I usually go to Best Buy if I need something.

    Also, my prediction for Toys R Us is that the Toys stores will close and the Babies R’ Us stores will be renamed Kids R Us, incorporating a full Babies R Us plus a smaller Toys section. I honestly think that would be a good store.

    As for Sears, I don’t know what to say. I don’t go there, because I buy my Tools/Appliances at Lowe’s. When I shopped for clothes a while ago, I did go to Sears because I was familiar with the store, having gone there during childhood, for Sears Optical, etc.

    Honestly, if Sears failed, that would crush a LOT of malls, because it’ll be hard to fill a space like that.

    Kmart? Forget it. They’re through.

    The newer Target stores are soooooooooo much nicer than the newest Kmart ever was, there’s no comparison.

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  38. ^kris devereux, Gottschalks never operated outside of the West Coast. I have no idea what chain you’re thinking of.

    I don’t think that Kmart has opened a new store since the late 1990s. I know that there were some opened as late as 1997ish in Michigan, including relocations of the Fenton and Alpena stores, as well as a new store in Clio. (Fenton also has a weird “racetrack” layout like a Kohl’s, AND a custard shop, two things I’ve never seen in any other Kmart.) Does anyone know of any newer Kmart stores?

    As for Mervyns, they had some strange choices for where they put their stores. All along the Southwest I can understand, but then skipping way the hell up into Michigan and Minnesota, then down into Florida and Georgia as well…

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  39. Speaking of which, Circuit City may close 150 stores…
    “avoiding filing bankruptcy before holiday season….”
    http://www.plainvanillashell.com/article.asp?ID=11057

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  40. The most recent K-Mart stores were concept stores opened in 2003, according to Wikipedia, located in a Detroit suburb, and in Central Illinois (Peoria, Pekin, Morton, & Washington). These stores sported a green and grey color scheme, you can see the prototype logo at KMart’s Wikipedia page.

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  41. K-mart built and opened a store near Katy Texas less than a year before they closed all K-marts in the Houston area in 2003.

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  42. JJ

    Borders separated from K-Mart in 1995.

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  43. 8 Kmart & 4 Sears stores will close January 31st.
    Plus a dozen or more next year as well.
    http://www.plainvanillashell.com/article.asp?ID=11078

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  44. Circuit City better not go out of business, they only recently open a new store in a shopping center here, where Sears Hardware used to be.

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  45. Circuit City better not go out of business, they only recently open a new store in a shopping center here, in Torrington,CT where Sears Hardware used to be.

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  46. Here in South Alabama (Spanish Fort), Circuit City is in the midst of constructing one of their smaller format stores. If the chain goes under, THAT particular store will be one embarassing eyesore from I-10.

    Baldwin County regional shopping centers don’t seem to be having much success with financially tenuous upscale retailers. At Eastern Shore Centre, a lifestyle center, Sharper Image, Liz Claiborne Shoes, Shoe Dept. and Norwalk Furniture have been somewhat high-profile misfires.

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  47. If Kmart goes under, maybe Shopko will expand into Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and New England by acquiring some of their vacant properties.

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  48. I’m actually surprised that ShopKo isn’t hurting too., come to think of it. Granted, a few have closed (mostly mall-based ones that were former Venture stores), but considering Shopko seems to be in the same range as Kmart, I’m surprised they’re still holding their own. What is Shopko doing right that Kmart isn’t?

    I can understand how Pamida survives, because they go for towns that are too big for Family Dollar/Dollar General, but too small for Kmart/Wal-Mart.

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  49. What is Shopko doing right that Kmart isn’t? Appealing to its core shoppers with merchandise they want to buy in an ambiance they’re not ashamed to shop in. Giving people what they want in a format they like makes the sales and profitability difference, and Kmart has not done that in decades.

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  50. Shopko has attempted to become more upscale since last year, and with a new logo to boot. Shopko is is also opening some free-standing pharmacies under the name Shopko Express as well as some newer prototype discount stores that are a lot like a cross between retailers like Target and Kohl’s. Shopko also has a fighting chance because they have an extra savings program, and also has a strong feminine focus. Most of their newer stores are nice and clean, while some older ones tend to be messy and are begging for a remodel. They are often found in or around cities that are the size of Green Bay, WI (where Shopko is based) or bigger. They have more potential than Kmart because they have a pharmacy, an optical center, a FastCare clinic, wider aisles, brighter lighting, better toy selection, better electronics selection, better selection of clothes, PayLess ShoeSource, and in some larger locations, a bigger food pantry than Big Kmart, as well as some larger mall locations. Shopko is basically Green Bay’s very own homegrown version of Target/Walmart, with a touch of Sears, JCPenney, or Kohl’s thrown in for good measure.

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  51. Here’s the article on Mervyn’s.

    Mervyns Announces Plan to Hold Going Out of Business Sales at All Locations-Company to Liquidate Merchandise and Auction Store Leases Stores to Remain Open Throughout Process

    October 17, 2008

    HAYWARD, Calif., Oct 17, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Mervyns, a regional retailer in California and the Southwest, today announced its plan to hold going out of business sales at all of its remaining 149 locations and to wind down its business. The Company intends to effect this process through Section 363 under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

    Together with its financial and legal advisers, Mervyns completed a thorough analysis of all available options, including a sale of the Company, prior to undertaking this course of action. The Company and its Board of Directors determined that holding going out of business sales during the holiday season is the best way to maximize value for the Company’s creditors. Mervyns intends to retain an outside professional services firm to assist in the liquidation sales of inventory.

    “We are disappointed with this outcome but the Company’s declining liquidity position and the extremely challenging retail environment, together with the fact that we have exhausted all other possibilities, requires that we take this action,” said John Goodman, Chief Executive Officer of Mervyns. “Consumers know Mervyns for our style, quality, and great value and we are confident that the deep discounts available through going out of business sales will drive significant traffic in our stores.”

    Mr. Goodman added, “I want to thank the many talented Mervyns associates for their outstanding efforts. Although we took a number of steps to improve our financial performance, we were unable to return the company to profitability. We appreciate the hard work and loyalty of our store associates, whose continued assistance we will rely upon during our going out of business sales.”

    About Mervyns

    Mervyn’s LLC, headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area, is a family-friendly promotional neighborhood department store offering trend-right fashions and home decor for the entire family at affordable prices. Mervyns has a well-earned reputation for its extensive selection of national and private-label fashions and housewares. Community giving has been a cornerstone of the company’s business since 1949, with a focus on improving the lives of children and families by giving back to its communities by way of volunteerism and through its award-winning ChildSpree(R) program. Mervyns currently operates 175 locations in seven states. For more information, go to http://www.mervyns.com.

    SOURCE: Mervyn’s LLC

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  52. From the Chicago Tribune,

    Final sale: More retailers liquidating
    Credit crunch, revenue drop yield bankruptcy filings
    By Sandra M. Jones

    Tribune reporter

    October 22, 2008

    With pundits forecasting the toughest holiday selling season in recent memory, odds are a swath of familiar store names are going to disappear.

    In past economic downturns, troubled retailers could file for bankruptcy protection from creditors, shed leases on stores that weren’t making money and re-emerge a smaller, more profitable firm.

    Things are much different now.

    The credit crunch, combined with the fact that consumers have significantly pulled back on buying, means retailers limping into the crucial holiday season probably won’t survive.

    Experts are counting on 2008 and 2009 to rival the 2001-02 recession, when 32 retailers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to New Generations Research Inc., a Boston firm that compiles information for BankruptcyData.com. That period included filings from the likes of Crown Books, Frank’s Nursery & Crafts and HomeLife.

    “We have dropped a pebble in a well and haven’t heard the bottom yet,” said Howard Brod Brownstein, principal at HachmanHaysBrownstein Inc., a turnaround firm in Philadelphia, and the administrator who oversaw Montgomery Ward’s bankruptcy in 2000.

    “The best retailers are monitoring the health of their vendors and good vendors are looking hard at the creditworthiness of retailers. Everybody’s at Defcon 3.”

    So far this year, 17 major retailers have filed for bankruptcy reorganization, up from seven in 2007 and six in 2006, according BankruptcyData.com.

    Wickes Furniture and Sharper Image have already gone away. Whitehall Jewelers, Linens ‘n Things and Shoe Pavillion are liquidating. And California discount department store Mervyns decided last week that it would go out of business after failing to find a buyer.

    Private-equity firms, once flush with cash and eager to buy retailers for their real estate, aren’t in the hunt.

    And big chains that had been obvious buyers in the past, such as Nordstrom, Target, J.C. Penney and Kohl’s, are cutting back expansion plans.

    “There is less of a population of people to sell these things to and it is creating more difficulty for those retailers to get out of those leases,” said Jeffrey Hecktman, chairman and chief executive of Hilco Trading LLC in Northbrook, one of the nation’s largest liquidation firms. “And that’s a big problem right now.”

    Linens ‘n Things, for example, held a bankruptcy auction for 85 leases and sparked interest in only five, according to Laura Davis Jones, managing partner of Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP, a Wilmington, Del.-based law firm that represented secured noteholders in the bankruptcy.

    Two years ago there would have been interest in all 85 leases and “some serious bidding,” Jones said during an American Bankruptcy Institute teleconference last month. She predicts 30 percent to 40 percent of retailers in Chapter 11 won’t be able to reorganize.

    Under Chapter 11, creditors are held at bay while the company works on a reorganization plan. A change in the 2005 bankruptcy code has, in essence, given retailers less time to reorganize. More are liquidating.

    There are exceptions.

    Steve & Barry’s, the discount clothing chain that took a short hop through Chapter 11 this summer, found a buyer and emerged with fewer stores and an infusion of capital.

    For most retailers, however, getting that type of funding is a long shot given the credit crunch.

    “The sheer number of lenders lending to the retail environment has dramatically decreased in the last two years,” said Scott Avila, managing partner with CRG LLC, a Los Angeles-based turnaround firm. “There’s just not that many parties in the game.”

    Access to credit is critical as retailers fill their stores with goods in preparation for the heavy selling months of November and December. But these days, creditors are in no mood to be generous.

    Even a hint of problems paying bills can quickly spread through the supply chain, prompting vendors to stop deliveries for fear they won’t get paid. That is what happened to Mervyns and why the 149-store chain quickly went from reorganization to liquidation.

    “Our business is as busy and active as it’s ever been, more so,” said Cory Lipoff, partner at Hilco Merchant Resources, a unit of Hilco, which handles liquidations. “We are touching literally billions of dollars’ worth of assets, and we expect this to continue for some time.”

    This reenforces what prier posters have been saying over the last few days.

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  53. The Linens n’ Things went out of business near the Macon Mall in GA. But The Onion has an interesting article on it.

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  54. I’ll really miss Mervyn’s… it where we did most of our shopping as a kid. Plus, it’s where I got my first credit card. But, I haven’t shopped at Mervyn’s in ages… it just fell out of favor. Nevertheless, it’ll leave a big dent in many malls in the region. Worse yet, the loss of many jobs.
    I predict Circuit City to go, too. They haven’t got a clue how to run a business anymore.
    Gottschalk’s is probably going to shrink significantly, if not disappear, too.
    Retailing is brutal… the malls are loosing inline stores. It’ll all work out in the end and we’ll end up with a different retail landscape.
    Scott

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  55. Has anyone seen a lifestyle center development with a lot of unleased, closed or otherwise vacant storefronts?

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  56. Uh, that’s the only kind of lifestyle center I know.

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  57. Value City is closing too.

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  58. “Has anyone seen a lifestyle center development with a lot of unleased, closed or otherwise vacant storefronts?”‘

    Those seem to be a mix. Some work, some don’t. Village of Rochester Hills is almost entirely full, as is the Partridge Creek mall (technically more of a traditional outdoor mall than a lifestyle center).

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  59. I haven’t seen any lifestyle centers that aren’t at least 90% occupied.

    Also, hahaha, I can’t believe Value City lasted this long.

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  60. The Linens N Things here near my house now has Going Out Of Business Sales Signs up now and they will probably be closing by the end of the November. I don’t know exactly when they last day will be but I don’t see them lasting to the December holiday season.

    I haven’t seen any lifestyle centers that aren’t busy busy busy. I live right by one and its always happening and stores spaces are full. The one small indoor mall we did have in area was doing really bad though, now its been converted to mostly office space.

    Most lifestyle centers do seem to be badly designed for traffic though. Traffic is horrible, if they’d plan better roads for that it would be much better.

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  61. Here’s the story on Value City.

    BRIEF: Value City files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

    October 28, 2008

    Oct. 28–Value City Department Stores, which has its lone metro-east site in Swansea, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in New York and leaves the future of its stores in limbo.

    According to company spokeswoman Kristin Mack, of Columbus, Ohio-based VCHI Acquisition Co., the future of the company’s 37 stores and its employees hasn’t been determined.

    A year ago, Retail Ventures agreed to sell 24 Value City stores to Burlington, N.J.-based Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse Corp. and then sold the majority stake of the remaining 89 stores to VCHI Acquisition. The transaction did not impact Value City Furniture Stores, such as the one in Fairview Heights, because they are separately owned and operated.

    In March, VCHI closed five St. Louis-area Value City Department Stores, including one in Collinsville. Mack said only 37 stores located throughout the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states exist today.

    For more on the story, read the News-Democrat Wednesday or go to http://www.bnd.com.

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  62. Tyguy said: “Most lifestyle centers do seem to be badly designed for traffic though. Traffic is horrible, if they’d plan better roads for that it would be much better.”

    Yes, definately! They all seem to have parking lots that are about 50% undersized; I can’t imagine the traffic nightmares they must have come the holiday shopping season.

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  63. I grew up in Ottawa, IL, 80 miles SW of Chicago. The North Side up by the interstate is where the retail is. There was a Wal-Mart, K-Mart, and a Value City, all within eyesite of one another. In 2003, K-Mart closed as part of a round of closings. In 2006 Wal-Mart moved their store further north in town for a Supercenter. And now in 2008, Value City is closing. That leaves 3 empty big box stores within eyesite of each other. Smaller stores, Pay-Less closed. Maurices moved from next to the old k-mart to up by the new super walmart. The two store spaces next to the abandoned K-Mart are a liquor store and a tatoo parlor. Jimmy Johns is closing the north side location to combine with the downtown location for a new store. Ponderosa closed a few years ago and still sits empty. Country Kitchen in front of K-Mart closed a couple of weeks ago. A hotel was torn down this past spring and the lot still sits empty. Starbucks is closing the Ottawa Location. See where i’m going with this. The area south of 80 is getting to be an eyesore. This is the welcome to Ottawa. Not very good. Next time I go down there, maybe i will take some pictures and do a dead shopping area post. Anybody from there, please respond.

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  64. Something tells me the guys at Deadmalls.com are going to be a lot more busy soon.

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  65. Why haven’t they posted Port Plaza/Washington Commons from Green Bay, WI on deadmalls.com?

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  66. It takes submissions from users to the site to get it up there.

    Also the webmasters have day jobs and such, I’d imagine. The site is just their hobby, just like it is for the rest of us.

    Speaking of Green Bay’s retail scene, I found this rather odd on Simon’s website for Baypark Sq. If you go to their “Leasing info” pages, there should be a set of images somewhere. These images are not current…they’re of the mall from the early 1980s, back when it had stained-glass lighting fixtures and such. There were few, if any, skylights in the mall at the time, and the tiling was a mix of beige and terra-cotta style. Very typical of late 1970s/early ’80s style. That mall started with ShopKo and Wards, with Kohl’s coming inline around 1981.

    I was quite suprised to find those pics and not more current ones, where they have since ripped open the ceiling and installed skylights, built the food court out of the old movie theatre, and put in that ‘blah’ looking tiling.

    East Town also used to be a rather prominent mall back in the early 1980s, but that’s been chopped up into several big boxes facing E. Mason, with only 2/3 of its original enclosed space remaining…and this space is about half-vacant now, with Payless, Hallmark, a bookstore, a music/movies store, a large Kay Bee / Toy Works, and several others shuttering over the past 10 years. Kohls fronts the west in a former, heavily reconfigured Prange Way, and Hobby Lobby taking up the circa’ 1981 Kohl’s anchor. That mall’s a case where it thrived, died, resurrected, and is now dying again…or if not that, hanging on for life.

    The city wants to do away with Washington Commons ASAP, but the usual ‘red tape’ and bickering is preventing that from progressing quickly. Younkers’ (Prange’s) old building is history, along with the skywalk that connected it to the mall, but the rest of the mall complex still sits and rots.

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  67. That’s probably why East Town Mall is planning a makeover. They just painted over the yellow walls with white and battleship gray. The big makeover is planed for next year.

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  68. Wow, Matt, those photos of Baypark are great, especially the planters and stained glass lights…nice find!

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  69. Yeah, and I downloaded the PDFs for East Town’s pending makeover, and I’ll tell you something, it looks pretty darn nice.

    If only more malls would follow this trend…..shrink down in size, put ‘big box’ stores in front, smaller retailers in back, front each end with a ‘major’ anchor, and there you go.

    East Town has worked towards this model, Turtle Creek Shops in Arkansas did so (this mall opened in 2006….it’s noteable as it was the only enclosed mall to open that year). I see it as a future model for shopping center development, especially in colder climates.

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  70. East Towne Mall on Labelscar? Or is it something else?

    Also, I tend to disagree with the comment from Matt from WI. While that is viable, it didn’t seem to work with Mall 205, which is now more vacant than ever…

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  71. He’s probably talking about East Town Mall on 2350 E. Mason St. in Green Bay, WI

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  72. yea its a shame I was at eatontown tonight and the boscovs is done the signs were off the former a&s/sterns location even the parking deck next to it is locked up kinda look a ghosttown.does anyone know what will go into the boscovs spot ??!!! I’d say move the who macy’s store over there and demolish the old store and put something new there like d&b(dave and busters so i dont have to drive all the way to nyack lol

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  73. Just learned yesterday that Value City Department Store filed for bankruptcy, and is closing the rest of their stores. Someone already posted it on this site, and I decided to post about the one in my area. They opened up in 1994 in Hobart Indiana (store has a Merrillville mailing address), and that time, the parent company owned the shopping center (including the land that Walmart sits on. They were a nice store in the beginning, but overtime, the store started looking more ghetto. The merchandise (at least in the men’s dept.) looked more like it catered to the black shopper. Fubu was obvious, and some other brands that are known to black shoppers. I have nothing wrong with a store carrying merchandise that caters to the black shopper, but the mens dept. was nothing but clothes for the black shopper. I shopped there a lot in the begining, but after that, no. Another problem was eliminating layaway. Once that happened, I stopped buying from them. Oh, the bathrooms were never clean. I won’t be sorry that they’re leaving.

    Kmart closed 3 stores in my area over the last 14 years. The first one was the Gary Indiana store, which opened in 1973, and closed in 1994. That Kmart store wasn’t all that busy in the end, as the area was already changing for the worst when the store opened in 1973, along with Zayre (who was bought out by Ames, and closed in 1990). That store kept the original look the entire time. The next one was the Merrillville Indiana store at 61st & Broadway. That one was part of the buyout of Venture. They were busy under Venture, but as soon as Kmart took over, then it was a ghost town. They closed in 2002. Most of the store still sits vacant, but recently, a new store opened in the eastern part of the old store, called Citi Trends. They cater to the black shopper, and open nearly all of their store in neighborhoods are mostly black. The last one that closed was the Hammond Indiana store. While that store was profitable, the lease expired on the store they were in, and the landlord refused to negociate a fair lease for Kmart. It was sad, as they were in a good location, and much better than Walmart is in at 165th Street, west of Indianapolis Blvd. From what I was told, the Hammond store opened in 1968, as it had the look of stores that opened in the 1960’s. I’m surprised that the Merrillville Indiana store on US 30 is still open. They’re not all that busy, as Meijer is a few blocks from the store. They lost business when Meijer opened up. But business has picked up a bit when Walmart decided to discontinue layaway, which Kmart decided to keep. Even so, there’s other problems at that store that makes me surprised they’re still open. One: the stores need some major cleaning (especially the bathrooms). Two: it’s difficult to get help in the store for areas people need help. Layaway is the biggest problem at that store, as that store has people working more than 1 dept. For layaway, that person also works electronics, and that person only goes to layaway when there’s a customer. But sometimes, the person scheduled to work in electronics isn’t there to help out the person in electronics, or layaway. Rumor had it for a while that that Kmart store was gonna be converted to a Sears Essential store, but the concept stores failed, and Kmart decided to keep that store a Kmart store. The St. John Indiana store is still in question. It opened in 1982, and is the smallest store in the local bunch. Until 2005, it had no competition, as it was far away from Walmart in neighboring Schererville. Then, Target opened up a few blocks from Kmart, and they have a bigger, modern looking store, while Kmart is small, dated looking (only work on the store was a paintjob, and the Big Kmart sign change, or they would have retained the old Kmart sign). The shoppers in that area have very high incomes that favor Target more than Kmart.

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  74. value city bankrupt well I guess so the store is the pits my mom and grandmother love shopping there but the money lost isnt goint to help them

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  75. I hope next year that Bon-Ton converts all Younkers and Elder-Beerman stores in Wisconsin to the Boston Store name. It would be more practical and less confusing since they are all the same and have the same logo and font.

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  76. Exactly my thoughts too, Justin.

    Atop that, the ‘Younker’s” name really hasn’t resonated with people, from what I seen. I mean, people have gotten ‘used to it’, so to speak, but both Boston Store (for Milwaukee) and Prange’s (precursor to Younker’s in N.E. Wisconsin) have (had, in the case of Prange’s) more of a connection with folks. This, and advertising dollars….Bon-Ton would save some bucks not having to put seperate logotypes on their circulars and what not.

    They’re working on it though. Beaver Dam’s Herberger’s is becoming Boston Store by the first half of next year. Sheboygan’s two stores (A Younkers and Elder-Beerman, respectively) now both bear the Boston Store name, as does West Bend’s E-B, and all Younker’s stores have shut in Madison and Milwaukee over the past decade.

    It just makes more sense to put the entire state under one banner.

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  77. …And that would mean Boston Store would return to the Green Bay metropolitan area if it would happen.

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  78. Back to the lifestyle topic, here in Houston we have 3 that I know of. Woodlands town center, Uptown park, and Pearland town center. Woodlands town center is directly across from the Woodlands mall away from the interstate. It has good traffic for the restaurants, theatre, and Border’s but the center has over 20 empty spaces. The area has been over built in my opinion and the residential development needs to catch up. Uptown park is right off of interstate 610 about a mile away from the Galleria in a highly populated area and is 100% full and busy. Pearland town center is located off of highway 288 in the booming area of Pearland that does not have any nearby malls. I prefer the enclosed malls especially in the south. 6 months out of the year Houston averages 90 degrees and has high humidity with little wind. Not exactly good weather for outdoor shopping with the wife and kids. You can’t beat the comfort of the indoor mall during the summer and I think once the newness of these town centers wears off they will suffer. First Colony mall in Sugarland added a town center to that mall but it only has about 50% occupancy. Surprisingly the Woodlands mall added an outdoor section as well that is full and busy.

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  79. stick a fork in ‘em their done today cricuit city anounced that they will close 150 stores nationwide, but here’s the odd thing the flagship stores in richmond va and surounding areas will stay open for now so who else is on the death list.

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  80. Circuit City Stores, Inc. Provides Update on Liquidity and Announces Store Closing Plan
    — Company Plans to Close 155 Stores, Further Reduce New Store Openings and Renegotiate Certain Leases —
    — Company Announces Ongoing Evaluation of Additional Cost Reduction Initiatives and Is Considering All Options and Alternatives to Restructure its Business —

    RICHMOND, Va., Nov 03, 2008 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX News Network/ — Circuit City Stores, Inc. (NYSE: CC) today provided an update on its liquidity position and its previously announced ongoing comprehensive business review. Due in part to its deteriorating liquidity position and the continued weak macroeconomic environment, the company has decided to take certain restructuring actions immediately, including closing 155 domestic segment stores, reducing future store openings and aggressively renegotiating certain leases. The company also is considering all available options and alternatives to restructure its business.

    Business and Liquidity Update

    Over the past several weeks, a number of factors have impacted severely the company’s liquidity position. These factors include the following:

    — Waning consumer confidence and a significantly weakened retail environment have impacted negatively the company’s sales and gross profit margin rate to a greater degree than management had anticipated previously.

    — Following the company’s second quarter results announcement, the company’s liquidity position and the sharply worsened overall economic environment led some of Circuit City’s vendors to take restrictive actions with respect to payment terms and the credit they make available to the company. Additionally, the recent disruption in the financial markets has contributed to certain of the company’s vendors experiencing insurmountable challenges with obtaining credit insurance for the company’s purchases. As a result of this and other considerations, certain of the company’s vendors have set more restrictive payment terms than in previous quarters, including in some cases requiring payment before shipment. Vendors also have limited the credit available to the company for purchases, including in some cases not providing customary increases in credit lines for holiday purchases. While management is working diligently to secure the support of its vendors and believes it has maintained good relationships with these important partners, the current mix of terms and credit availability is becoming unmanageable for the company.

    — To date, the company has been unable to collect an income tax refund of approximately $80 million that the company believes it is owed from the federal government.

    — Due primarily to the weakened economic environment and its potential impact on the timing of sales of the company’s inventory and costs and expenses associated with such sales, a recent third-party appraisal conducted for the company’s asset-based credit facility resulted in a reduction of the estimated net orderly liquidation value of the company’s inventory. This valuation adjustment was made despite the mix of merchandise remaining consistent with the previous appraisal in November 2007. This reduction has led to a lower borrowing base and reduced availability for the current period compared with what the company had expected previously.

    James A. Marcum, vice chairman and acting president and chief executive officer of Circuit City Stores, Inc. said, “Since late September, unprecedented events have occurred in the financial and consumer markets causing macroeconomic trends to worsen sharply. The weakened environment has resulted in a slowdown of consumer spending, further impacting our business as well as the business of our vendors. The combination of these trends has strained severely our working capital and liquidity, and so we are making a number of difficult, but necessary, decisions to address the company’s financial situation as quickly as possible.”

    Domestic Segment Real Estate Actions

    As a result of the company’s ongoing asset productivity assessment and working capital situation, the company has determined to take the following initial actions with respect to its domestic segment real estate portfolio and strategy:

    — Close 155 stores and exit certain markets: Circuit City plans to close 155 stores that are underperforming or are no longer a strategic fit for the company. The stores identified for closure are located in 55 U.S. media markets, of which Circuit City will exit 12 U.S. media markets.

    The list of closing stores can be found by visiting the company’s investor information home page at http://investor.circuitcity.com and clicking the link regarding today’s announcements. The company expects that impacted stores will not open on Tuesday, November 4, and the store closing sales will begin on Wednesday, November 5. The company expects the sales to be completed no later than calendar year end.

    For fiscal 2008, the stores that are being closed generated in total approximately $1.4 billion in net sales. When results were viewed at the individual comparable store level, the closing stores, as compared to the stores remaining open, on average had lower net sales, a lower close rate and a lower gross profit margin rate. The stores, on average, were also unprofitable when marketing expenses were allocated to the individual store-level results.

    Circuit City will continue to honor its customer commitments and serve its guests through 566 stores in 153 U.S. media markets, via its Web site at http://www.circuitcity.com and via phone at 1-800-THE-CITY (1-800-843-2489). During this transitional period, Circuit City is executing a plan to minimize disruption to the operations of stores that are remaining open. No international segment stores are closing as a result of the real estate plans announced today.

    — Further reduce new store openings: The company has revised its store opening plans for the current fiscal year and will not open at least 10 locations that were previously expected to be opened. The company still expects to open up to two incremental stores during the remainder of fiscal 2009. As previously announced, other than existing commitments, management intends to suspend store openings beginning in fiscal 2010.

    — Renegotiate certain existing leases: Circuit City intends to begin immediately renegotiating certain of its existing leases with the goal of significantly lowering rents. In some cases, the company may choose to negotiate with landlords to exit leases if rents are not reduced. The company also plans to work with landlords to terminate the leases for the stores included in today’s closing announcement, as well as leases for a number of inactive locations that were closed previously and for the locations that are no longer being opened.

    As a result of the store closures, Circuit City expects to reduce store operating, payroll and marketing expenses. The store closures will result in a reduction of approximately 17 percent of the domestic segment workforce. The company also expects to incur charges in fiscal 2009 associated with the above real estate actions. The company is currently evaluating the benefits and expenses associated with these changes, which are subject to the outcome of negotiations and store closure agreements. Presentation on the financial statements is currently being evaluated for accounting treatment.

    “We deeply regret the impact today’s announcement will have on our associates, our guests and the communities where these stores are located. We truly are grateful to each of our associates for their many contributions to the company. We are also grateful for the loyalty and support we have received from our guests in the impacted communities. Circuit City will continue to serve guests through 566 stores in 153 U.S. media markets, via its Web site at http://www.circuitcity.com and via phone at 1-800-THE-CITY (1-800-843-2489),” concluded Marcum.

    Evaluating All Options

    As a result of unfavorable macroeconomic conditions and the company’s deteriorating liquidity position, the company is considering all available options and alternatives for the business. Consistent with this evaluation, the company will continue to take appropriate actions to conserve cash, reduce expenses and improve liquidity. In addition, the company is continuing to evaluate additional near-term cost reduction initiatives that may be necessary to address its financial condition. The company is also in negotiations with its lenders and other third parties regarding various financing alternatives.

    The company plans to operate its business without interruption while it engages in discussions with its lenders and works with advisors to determine the most appropriate restructuring alternatives. The company can make no assurance that the discussions will result in any agreements or transactions.

    Cutting through the corporate speak, yes they are cooked. *sizzling grill sound*

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  81. Oh wow sooner than expected.

    Yet for some reason the one near me is not closing, yet they have terrible business.

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  82. While the CC where I used to live in FL is closing, the ones where I live now survived. Then again, one of their stores here just moved to a new location, another one is attached to a mall, and the third is across the street from the main regional mall, so they were in good locations.

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  83. I think Mervyns had it coming, so did Circuit City and Linens and Things, if i had to bet (which i dont have to) i would say Macy’s might follow, i heard that after Christmas they will decide to close a lot of stores, I just hope Dillard’s doesnt, I have fond memories of them, I mean i love Macy’s and Dillard’s but if they go under…that’s going to leave a LOT of unemployed folks all over the states, i wish this darn goverment did something to save the economy…hopefully Obama will save us all from Bush’s bad judgement!

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  84. Expecting Obama to save us is like expecting North Korea to do it. He will be even worse (not that Bush was bad) and will make 2008 seem like the good days going to make things even worse. McCain would have helped fix it but they went for the buffoon. At least Obama will unwillingly help us get back Congress easily in 2010 while he’s imitating Herbert Hoover. That’s the only thing to look forward to.

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  85. Retail won’t be fixed by any sort of politics or bailouts. Retail needs to fix itself. It has done so in the past and will continue to do so, as long as the process isn’t tampered with by government types. The consumers in the end will decide.

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  86. JohnE, The mervins at north star mall used to be a frost bros. department store.

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  87. Is there a list of Mervyns stores without having to bother with the official locator on Mervyns.com?

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  88. http://www.bizjournals.com/sacramento/stories/2009/02/09/daily47.html

    Maybe they’ll reopen…

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  89. From the L A Times

    Kohl’s bets big on California
    The chain’s gamble is about to be tested as it moves into 30 former Mervyns sites in California.
    By Andrea Chang

    September 23, 2009

    When Mervyns called it quits last year, many in the recession-battered retailing world were surprised when Kohl’s Corp. rushed to take over dozens of the failed chain’s locations.

    Both department stores sold a similar mix of mid-priced apparel, accessories and home furnishings. There was a significant overlap in the customers who shopped at Mervyns and Kohl’s. The retailers’ stores were even alike in size and layout.

    On Sept. 30, Kohl’s bold move will be put to the test when it opens 35 stores in former Mervyns locations, 30 of them in California.

    If the chain succeeds, its gamble could pay off not only for the roughly 5,000 workers it has hired but for communities around the state.

    “Any time you create jobs, there is a multiplier impact,” said Chapman University economist Esmael Adibi. “The person who gets that income spends it in restaurants, clothing, cars, appliances and other places. The income has to be spent somehow, so that generates by itself further economic activity.”

    Still, Kohl’s faces many of the challenges that led to the collapse of Mervyns and other retailers. With California’s unemployment rate at 12.2%, people are cutting back on spending for clothing and accessories.

    “The moderate-income consumer is feeling the pinch,” said retail analyst Richard Jaffe of Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. “If you’re a two-income household earning $50,000 a year and now it’s a one-income household earning $25,000 a year, you’re not shopping. The money isn’t there.”

    One thing is certain: Kohl’s is making a big bet on California. The retailer spent about $250 million to convert the Mervyns stores, and the acquisition will bring its statewide total to 121 stores — almost as many as Mervyns had here before its demise.

    That will increase the company’s California footprint by one-third in a single day, adding locations in places including Redondo Beach, Sun Valley and Whittier.

    Kohl’s has been eyeing California for years, waiting for the right real estate to become available. The fact that it made its move while others were retrenching was no accident.

    “We see this as a great opportunity to actually go the other way,” Chief Executive Kevin Mansell said in an interview. “Let’s take advantage of other people’s weakness; in fact, let’s get aggressive.”

    The Menomonee Falls, Wis.-based retailer, with more than 1,000 stores nationwide, will face heavy competition in California from department stores JCPenney and Macy’s, discounters Target and Wal-Mart and off-price retailers Ross and T.J. Maxx.

    “It’s a state where they’re largely under-penetrated,” said Michelle Clark, a retail analyst with Morgan Stanley. “It’s an attractive market, but there are a lot of players.”

    But analysts said the chain has already proved that it can weather the recession, noting that Kohl’s has managed its inventory well, slowed its rate of new store openings and offers an attractive lineup of private, national and exclusive brands at low prices.

    Kohl’s has also regularly beat Wall Street’s monthly sales estimates this year, posting a 0.2% sales increase in August at stores open at least a year, known as same-store sales and considered an important measure of a retailer’s health. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected a 1.7% decline.

    The company’s results have been even better in California, Mansell said. Over the last year, he said, the chain’s California locations have seen double-digit same-store sales increases — the best results out of all 49 states where the chain has stores.

    For its most recent quarter, Kohl’s profit fell 3%, to $229 million. Still, that’s better than many of its peers in a down economy.

    Since Kohl’s first entered the California market six years ago, it has attracted fans who say they like the chain’s low prices, extensive coupon offerings and selection.

    “It’s like every time I come there’s something on sale, and I always leave with something,” said Art Hernandez, 46, a logistics manager from Cudahy who bought clothes and towels from the Alhambra Kohl’s this week. “It’s within my budget, so it’s perfect, especially in times like these.”

    The retailer also boasts exclusive merchandise lines from several big names, including fashion designer Vera Wang, pro skateboarder Tony Hawk and reality television star Lauren Conrad.

    Kohl’s is “able to take a line and make it accessible,” Conrad, whose LC Lauren Conrad apparel brand officially launches Oct. 1, said in an interview. “It’s great to have a line that doesn’t limit the amount of people who can buy it.”

    For some shoppers, however, Kohl’s can’t take the place of Mervyns.

    “I had five things in hand but I only got one — they didn’t have my sizes,” said Blanca Hatem, 43, a speech pathologist who was shopping at the Alhambra store. “I miss Mervyns. It’s harder now that they’re out of business.”

    But Mervyns’ collapse was Kohl’s gain, opening up dozens of premium locations around the state at bargain prices.

    The chain usually spends about $11 million to build a store from the ground up, but it cost only an average of about $7 million to convert a former Mervyns to a Kohl’s, Mansell said.

    Besides the considerable cost savings, the locations are also bringing Kohl’s to more desirable markets. Many of the chain’s current stores had to be built in outlying suburbs.

    “Instead of having to open up stores on the edge of town in an empty field, they’re now able to open on the 50-yard line in the center of town — both demographically and traffic-wise very favorable,” Jaffe of Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. said.

    Many are predicting that the retail picture won’t improve for several more months, but Mansell said the chain would like to expand to 1,400 stores in the next few years and would again target California for growth.

    “Does Kohl’s think the consumer is more open to spend? No,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean we can’t be very successful. It just means more and more of our business will come at the expense of others.”

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  90. In the Fallbrook Mall, West Hills California, the Mervyn’s closed, but couldn’t be replaced by a Kohl’s, since Kohl’s already filled in the former JC Penney slot almost 10 years ago.

    So the former Mervyn’s space was filled by a “Crown Books Outlet.” I’m not sure how that’s possible, since Crown Books was a chain that went under about 15 years ago, but I guess somebody still owns the name.

    Only thing is, they never took down the Mervyn’s signage or refurbished the store. So now you get to walk around what seems like an empty, post-Apocalyptic Mervyn’s cluttered with beat up old books for low low prices. Except, you don’t get to go up to the second floor.

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