The holiday season keeps rolling right over retailers, as Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based Sears announced this week that it was shutting down 89 stores (53 auto parts stores, 30 hardware stores, 4 full line stores), and terminating 2,400 workers.Some analysts blamed “difficult weather conditions,” but you don’t need a Farmer’s Almanac to know that big box retailers like Wal-Mart and Home Depot are the difficult weather pattern that pounding Sears. At the same time, Office Depot, based in Florida, added another 1,600 workers to the body count, as the office store said it would nail shut 70 stores. A couple of days later, Ann & Hope, a New England based discount store heaped 1,400 jobs on the dump, consolidating its operations. The Boston Herald stated the obvious: “In recent years the New England institution has taken a beating from such national chains as Target and Wal-Mart.” Between last week and this week, the retail aisles are piled high with 52,400 unemployed workers, victims of retail saturation. Now you know why Santa’s coat is red.
Wondering what’s going on here? Are all these retailers, like the 47 year old Ann & Hope, shedding jobs because of bad weather? Keep in mind one of my favorite quotes from Tom Coughlin at Wal-Mart: “At Wal-Mart we make dust, our competitors eat dust.” These layoffs are the work of the Great American Dust Machine, as this nation moves closer and closer to the “one country, one store” retail nightmare.