Saturday, August 18, 2012

Closing Down

I had an appointment in Minneapolis on Tuesday. Patrick took me over, and I came back via bus. This meant I was in downtown Minneapolis, which is crowded and busy, full of people and shops and restaurants -- at least in comparison with downtown St. Paul, which is famously empty.

Changing buses, I went past the Godiva shop in the IDS building. Or rather, I went into the shop and bought some chocolate mint truffle bars. The shop guy told me they were closing down in a week or so, and there would be no Godiva shops in downtown Minneapolis. So I bought more chocolate mint truffle bars.

This reminded me that the Nieman Marcus in downtown Minneapolis was closing, so I went there to see if there were any deals. There weren't. The store is not closing till year-end.

The Bloomingdale's at the Mall of America, which has been there since the Mall opened, has closed. There is one Crabtree & Evelyn shop left in the state of Minnesota, and they used to be scattered throughout the many local malls.

I don't follow the business news, so I can't be sure, but I think we are seeing the effect of the long recession of depression since the 2008 crash. Chains that made it through 2008 are one by one cutting back or closing completely, as Border's did.

When a business fails, we are told there were management failures. When it succeeds, we are told the managers are genuises. However, in the war of all against all which is capitalism, some have to win and others have to lose. Often, it's a matter of luck.

That given, general economic conditions will influence success and failure. A lot of companies succeed in a boom economy. A lot fail in a recession or depression.

What interests me is the kind of stores that are closing. Bloomingdale's, Neiman Marcus, Godiva and Crabtree & Evelyn are all, to one extent or another, upscale -- the kind of places middle class people might go to for a luxury purchase and where upper middle class might shop regularly. (I think the seriously rich fly to New York or Paris to shop.) The poor and ordinary working people are not likely to be customers in these places, certainly not at Neiman Marcus. I walk in there in my jeans and tee shirt, and the shop people look at me, and I feel about an inch tall.

But the Nieman Marcus store in downtown Minneapolis, which has been there for years, is closing.

What does this tell us about the economy?


Blogger Foxessa said...

Yeah, because here in NYC it's only the places that service the wealthy that are open. Everything else closes, i.e, the shops that sell the things you need to live a life, rather than consume conspicuously to impress your brother and sister billionaires.

Nieman Marcus has never had a store in Manhattan, but this year opened 'boutique Nieman Marcus' within other department stores located in Manhattan.

Love, C.

10:54 AM  
Blogger Foxessa said...

P.S. The unemployment rate for NYC remains firmly stuck at 10%, which then, you know, is in reality much higher than that.

The number of families below the poverty line increase by large digit increases every year.

The number of homeless, begging, hungry, mentally disturbed on the Manhattan streets has leaped hugely this summer. Mayor Bloomberg closed a whole bunch of shelters and meal providers this year as a budget reduction meansure. Then he wondered why there were so many beggars on the streets that weren't there before.

Love, C.

10:57 AM  

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