Saturday, June 6, 2020

The rise and fall of J. Crew and JCPenney closing 154 stores, tales of the Retail Apocalypse

When I wrote "I expect I'll write more about the Retail Apocalypse in June" a week ago in Bed Bath & Beyond, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse from Retail Archaeology and Company Man, I didn't think my prediction would come true so soon. Today, I have not one, but two stories on the subject to share, beginning with an update on Neiman Marcus and J. Crew declare bankruptcy, tales of the Retail Apocalypse. Watch Business Insider's The Rise And Fall Of J.Crew, which came out only a couple of hours ago.

At the height of its success, J.Crew and its sister company Madewell were operating in over 100 countries and had over 500 stores. Seen on celebrities, politicians, and working professionals around the world, J.Crew was considered at the top of the retail food chain. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, the company filed for bankruptcy. However, the brand faced a lot of challenges before the pandemic ever came to be. This is the rise and fall of J.Crew.
In addition to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, I see two other lessons from this. First, sometimes thriving during one crisis makes surviving the next one more difficult. That's an angle I might take on Ford's current situation vs. GM's, but haven't gotten around to yet. I'll put that on my to-do list along with "hero pay" for essential retail workers. Second, private equity firms can have pernicious effects on the companies they purchase, a subject I began covering eight years ago with KB Toys and resumed with Sears and KMart, Toys R Us, and Art Van. I can now add J. Crew to the list.

The other tale of the Retail Apocalypse is an update to JCPenney files for bankruptcy while Kroger ends 'hero pay,' tales of the Retail Apocalypse and COVID-19 pandemic. JCPenney was not among the chains Business Insider and WXYZ listed in Many stores closing for good even as economy reopens, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse and COVID-19 pandemic. That shoe dropped earlier this week. Watch JC Penney closing 154 stores in first post-bankruptcy phase from WWLP-22News.

J.C. Penney said Thursday that it will start closing 154 of its stores next week in what it is calling the first phase of its efforts to shrink its footprint.
This video has a better description, but WXYZ's JC Penney closing 154 stores has a livelier delivery and is more popular. Besides, I can't resist a local angle.

I mentioned the Alpena JCPenney location in Payless Shoes, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse two years ago. I wished the mall manager luck in finding a replacement for Payless then. Now I wish him even more luck in replacing one of the mall's anchors. He'll need it.

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