retail news in context, analysis with attitude

…with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

• Dairy company Borden, which was founded in 1857, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, attributing its woes to both changing consumer tastes and toughening competition.

The New York Times writes that Borden is "the latest victim of an industry battered by declining prices, rising costs and changing tastes," unable to adjust because of being "hampered by debt." The move comes two month after Dean Foods, the nation's largest dairy company, said it would file for bankruptcy.

The Times writes that "consumption of fluid milk, which accounts for the vast majority of Borden’s revenue, has been declining for decades, with per capita consumption down about 40 percent since 1975, according to Agriculture Department data. Meanwhile, dairy alternatives like milks from soy, oats, almonds and other sources have been on the rise."


• The New York Times writes that "Pier 1 Imports, the specialty furniture chain once hailed as a trendy destination for young professionals, said on Monday that it might close up to 450 of its 936 stores, as well as some distribution centers, and lay off an unspecified number of corporate employees.

"The company is the latest big-name retailer to announce sweeping closings and job cuts as it struggles with declining store visits and changing consumer tastes. Pier 1 made the announcement while reporting a quarterly sales decline of 13 percent and a loss of $59 million."


ABC News reports that "Hallmark Cards Inc. will cut about 400 jobs worldwide, including 325 at its headquarters of Kansas City, Missouri … Hallmark will offer buyouts before turning to layoffs. The company said affected workers will receive severance pay and assistance as they seek new jobs."

According to CEO Mike Perry, "The way people shop and the competitive dynamics in the marketplace are changing at a pace and at a degree that is having a significant impact on our businesses."

Which, with all due respect, sounds like the understatement of the year.
KC's View: