Thursday, January 10, 2013


I got my hair cut today. On the way home, I stopped at the St. Paul Macy's to buy lemon pear marmalade. It's closing in two months. Everything is on sale, and the normally quiet store was full of shoppers looking for deals. I'm not surprised that this Macy's is closing. It's always been marginal and has stayed open only because the original owners, the Dayton Corp., had a commitment to the Twin Cities and some kind of agreement with the city of St. Paul. The agreement has expired, and the store is now owned by an out of state corporation. So -- poof!

I am surprised that the Macy's at the Mall of America is also closing. This makes four department stores in the area that have closed or are closing -- Bloomingdale's and Macy's at the Super Mall, Macy's in St. Paul and Neiman Marcus in downtown Minneapolis. I suspect this is due to continuing recession and the squeezing of the middle class. These are all nice to very nice stores, places where the middle class and upper middle class shop. There were a couple of very plush ladies in the St. Paul Macy's getting deals on Dooney and Burke purses. They knew the product, and a $200 purse did not unnerve them.

As most of the middle class loses money, they move to Target or even Walmart. A thin slice of the middle class -- the upper middle class -- continues to do well. Either there are not enough of them to support traditional department stores, or they are shopping someplace else -- the Galleria at Southdale, for example.

Anyway, I was looking at people losing their jobs. The clerks looked stressed and not very happy. And downtown St. Paul is losing the only real store it had. I got my marmalade and some underwear and left, feeling depressed.

P.S. I may, of course, be entirely wrong, and Macy's is closing stores for reasons that have nothing to do with the economy and the shrinking middle class.


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