Saturday, 7 February 2015

Retail Collapse

The announcement just came down that the Montreal-based clothing retailer Parasuco has declared bankruptcy and has shut down all its stores.  This is another in a long line of Canadian retail failures in the last six months: Boutique Jacob, Smart Set, Sony, Mexx, and of course Target.

The reasons are varied.  Bigger players moving in on territory.  Competition from multi-national retailers. Competition from online retailers.  Income was not matching corporate projections.  Expansion was too rapid and not within budgets.  All well and good.  But I believe that one of the reasons that nobody talks about is that the middle class is continually being squeezed by the government and the economy, and people aren't willing or able to pay premium prices for brand names.

If people can't get steady work with a liveable salary, local businesses fail.  If huge malls are built on the edge of an urban area to attract a larger (and richer) clientele, local businesses fail.  If corrupt and/or short sighted governments promise the moon and then can't deliver, local businesses fail.  For example: in Cornwall Ontario, the lower section of Pitt Street, once part of the downtown area's major retail hub, has lost many of its small boutiques since the WalMart was built uptown.

It doesn't help that over the last three decades, many corporations have sent production overseas, thus eliminating jobs that could otherwise have been filled by Canadians.  Students go through university with the expectations of being able to get a job in their field when they finish their education, only to discover the jobs aren't there when they graduate, rendering their diploma useless.

And in the meantime, politicians, bankers, brokers, and CEOs all crow about the money they're making in a "let them eat cake" fashion.

Something has to give, and soon.


  1. Sounds familiar to the US too!

  2. Sounds familiar to the US too!

  3. I was just the other day saying to my husband who hasn't been to downtown Zurich (Switzerland) for a while "did you notice how all the various independent stores have disappeared, and the only thing left are (chain) clothing stores and banks?"
    He was like "no *ç%&/ kidding!"