Sunday, February 22, 2009
I've been thinking about how a lot of my favorite midscale department-store chains seem to be going out of business. It started when Montgomery Ward closed its retail operations in 2001, an event that still bums me out, especially since it proved catastrophic for the Winrock Mall here in Albuquerque. (Winrock, a favorite place of mine since I was a small child, and the source of countless youthful memories, essentially now consists of a Bed, Bath & Beyond, a Dillard's store, and a Big 5 sporting-goods store, all of which are generally accessed from outside the mall, which isn't even heated these days. There are plans to renovate, but I'm not sure it will ever happen.) And now Mervyns, which by default became my favorite store when Wards closed, shut down operations after the most-recent Christmas shopping season. All of which leaves me fearing for J.C. Penney and Sears, my remaining favorite department stores -- and, indeed, for the future of the entire Coronado Mall, the other "indoor" mall in the Uptown area. It's apparent that low-end pressure from stores like Target and Wal-Mart, not to mention the universality of online shopping, is making it very difficult for the midscale chains to compete; however, if it comes about that the only places I can afford to buy clothes and sundries are Target and the internet, the world will be a significantly bleaker place for me!