The Chicago Sun-Times reported this week that a new study commissioned by audit and managing consulting firm Grant Thorton predicts as many as 10,000 retail stores will close in the U.S. in 2009.
Highlights of the report show that:
- clothing-store closings are expected to soar 270 percent, to 3,000 store closings this year from a year ago.
- department store closings are expected to increase 61 percent to 422 this year.
- Bookstore closing are forecast to jump 500% from last year to 400 stores.
The study begs the question whether or not shopper habits are forever changed as the recession recedes. But certainly, the debate should begin about whether this massive reduction in penetration of retail stores and lack of convenience it represents creates some degree of self-fulfilling destiny about a permanent decline in retail spending.