Home Front

A blog about the economy and the Sacramento-area real estate market.

January 14, 2009
The Gottschalks bankruptcy

    A few thoughts about Gottschalks Inc. filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier today:

     1. It's fascinating how quickly things can go downhill. Although its sales have been sluggish for some time, Gottschalks was still profitable in 2006. But in the fiscal year that will end Jan. 31, Gottschalks estimates that sales fell 11 percent.

     2. The Fresno chain will be trying to sell itself during a brutal climate for retailers. Revenues are collapsing all over. And arranging a deal becomes even tougher in a credit crunch; a consultant told me there's precious little credit available for these kinds of purchases, assuming someone does want to step up and buy Gottschalks.

     3. Another complication: This is the slowest time of the year for retailers. That might make it tougher to find a buyer (although anyone interested in buying a retailer presumably understands that the real business doesn't happen until fall).

     Meanwhile, my colleague with a penchant for the offbeat, Darrell Smith, just came back from talking to shoppers at the Gottschalks at Country Club Plaza in Sacramento.

     The first thing that caught his eye was a group of signs for sale - those little morale-boosting signs you hang in your kitchen. One of them read, "Things are bad. Send chocolate."

      On a more serious note, the other thing that caught his eye was the proliferation of "sale" signs - up to 80 percent off in some cases.

     Things were quiet, but those shoppers who were strolling about proclaimed their loyalty. . "I think Gottschalks is a landmark," said Susan Sevioun of Georgetown.

     It's true that loyalty is increasingly spotty in this era of relentless discounting and online selling. And obviously Gottschalks has struggled to keep hold onto its customers. But it makes you wonder: Where will the Susan Seviouns shop if Gottschalks disappears? I guess they'll adjust, like everyone else.

   Meanwhile, just to drive home the point about the lousy retail environment: my colleague Mark Glover reports that Ann Taylor and Banana Republic  are closing their stores in Downtown Plaza.

      We'll have much more on all this in Thursday's paper.

About Comments

Reader comments on Sacbee.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com

Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at feedback@sacbee.com. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to feedback@sacbee.com. Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from sacbee.com. While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on sacbee.com and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.



Jim Wasserman on Twitter

Follow "jimwasserman" on Twitter

October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31