How To Deal When Your Favorite Store Leaves Town

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Consumers are cutting back on spending, and several national retailers are closing their doors. “Consumers generally are the last to react to economic downturns; they don’t want to halt or cut back on spending, but it is clear they’re beginning to throttle back,” says Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst with The NPD Group, a New York based consumer and retail research firm. According to a recent NPD Group study, the industries to bear the biggest brunt are restaurants, apparel, and home entertainment.

But, for bargain shoppers, store closures mean going-out-of-business sales, and the perfect chance to scoop something up at a deep discount. And the key to generating sales in a contracting economy, says market intelligence firm BIGresearch, is through coupons, sales, and promotions.

One person who will feel the effects of the economic downturn this year is mom. “Consumers will be very cautious with their wallets this Mother’s Day, heeding mom’s advice that she really doesn’t need much,” says Phil Rist, vice president of strategy at BIGresearch. “Gas prices and other economic issues will still be at the forefront of people’s minds as they shop around for the perfect gift for mom.”

Check out our list of some of the biggest chains to close down, and where to look once they’re gone.

MOVIE GALLERY
It’s the second biggest video rental retailer, but Movie Gallery (and it’s subsidiary Hollywood Video) is collapsing under the pressure of the internet based video rental giants like Netflix LINK TO STORE
Stores closing: 400 announced in February, 160 more announced in April.
Alternatives: In addition to Netflix and Blockbuster’s online rental programs, iTunes (AAPL) is now offering downloadable full-length movie rentals for $2.99 ($3.99 for new releases) that expire 24-hours after you hit play.

PACIFIC SUNWEAR (PSUN)
Pacific Sunwear is closing its remaining Demo stores, its chain of men’s and women’s urban wear. The closures are expected to cost between $35 million and $50 million.
Stores closing: 154
Alternatives: Try Club Urban, Hip Hop Closet, and Dr. Jays to stock up on brands like Ecko and Baby Phat.

CHARMING SHOPPES (CHRS)
This specialty plus-sized women’s apparel company is closing stores in several of its subsidiaries, including Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug, and Catherines.
Stores closing: 100 Fashion Bugs, 40 Lane Bryant stores and 10 Catherines stores.
Alternatives: Junonia, Jessica London and Old Navy all have extensive plus-sized lines that will outfit you at the beach, the gym and the office.

LINENS N’ THINGS
The home goods giant filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and as part of their restructuring will close several underperforming stores.
Stores closing: 120 stores are closing across the U.S., including 27 stores in California and 10 in Texas.
Alternatives: Check out Bed Bath & Beyond ,Pier 1 Imports and Cost Plus for a wide range of home goods, including kitchen items and décor.

ANN TAYLOR (ANN)
Over the next three years Ann Taylor will close over a hundred of its upscale women’s wear stores.
Stores closing: 117
Alternatives: Banana Republic, Nordstrom and J. Crew offer tailored women’s wear at a comparable price point.

DISNEY STORE (DIS)
The most magical store on earth announced last week that it’s shutting locations nationwide as it regains control of its stores from Children’s Place.
Stores closing: 98
Alternatives: Several of Disney’s most popular costumes, including Snow White and The Little Mermaid, are available at Wal-Mart (WMT) and Target (TGT).

Other stores closing:
Sprint Stores – Closing 125 stores
CompUSA – Closing 103 stores
Starbucks – Closing 100
Sharper Image – Closing 90 of 184 stores
Talbots – Closing 78 stores
Pep Boys Closing 31 locations.
Home Depot Closing 15 stores and nixing plans to open 50 more.
Ethan Allen – Closing 12 stores.
Macy's– Closing 9 stores.

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