Retail Experts Warn Thousands of Stores To Disappear in ’09

An article published Thursday, January 1 on gathered feedback from several of the top retail experts about what to expect in 2009. The forecast was unsurprisingly dreary, with an estimate from the International Council of Shopping Centers that chain store closings could exceed 3,100 in just the first half of the year. Here’s an excerpt from the story, which also addresses the effects on consumer spending patterns:

“Michael Burden, principal with industry adviser Excess Space Retail Services, expects as many as 14,000 stores will close in 2009. ‘We could see among the highest ever number of closures,’ he said.

He said states such as Nevada, California and Florida will be especially hard hit.

Burden’s firm, whose 450 U.S. retail clients include Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500), Home Depot (HD, Fortune 500), J.C. Penney (JCP, Fortune 500) and Sears (SHLD, Fortune 500), helps retailers in the disposition of their surplus real estate.

He said most merchants will be in a ‘bunker’ mentality.

‘It’s about survivability,’ he said. ‘Retailers have to really fight to live another day and do what they can to get through to 2010.’

Burden said that means closing underperforming stores, shedding stores under bankruptcy restructuring, and even ‘right-sizing’ stores – shrinking the store size or moving to a smaller location.”

To read the entire article, click HERE.