Thursday, March 19, 2009

One foot on the banana peel

Oh dear, here we go again. More announced store closings, and the prospect of others.

Ritz Cameras, currently in bankruptcy proceedings, got permission today to liquidate their 129 Boater's World stores. They will also be closing roughly half of their 800 camera stores. The small (5 stores) shopping center right across the street from my office has a Boater's World. The owner of the center just had to replace Computer City with a PetSmart. Now the space next to PetSmart will soon be open. The pain for commercial real estate is starting to get real.

Also, Eddie Bauer just announced that things aren't looking so good in their neck of the woods (all puns intended). They've apparently agreed to new terms on their debt, and those terms rarely come with an interest rate reduction. The CEO says it gives them more flexibility regarding loan covenants through first quarter of 2010. I hope that's long enough. The market apparently isn't sure either - the stock was down a mere 48% today.

Are we having fun yet?

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