retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times reports that sporting goods store Modell's, which traces its beginnings back to a first store that opened in New York City in 1889, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and plans to close all of its 141 stores.

Mitchell Modell, the company's president/CEO, told the Times that "the combination of an unseasonably warm winter, six fewer days in the shopping season this year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, competition from Amazon and the coronavirus pandemic have hurt the company’s bottom line."

KC's View:

When it was reported a few days ago that Modell's was preparing for a bankruptcy filing, the CEO was said to be blaming his company’s difficulties in part "on 'lousy' local sports teams that have depressed jersey sales.  “The problem is if the teams are lousy, you can’t give the goods away,” he said.

Which struck me then and now as so much crap.  It is easy to blame the Knicks and Jets for a lot of things, but it is the responsibility of a retailer to see things coming and manage the business around and through these issues.

Here's the question that Modell's didn't seem to ask, and that every retailer needs to ask:  

What do we offer that nobody else offers, and that people cannot get online?

If you don't have an answer to that question, turn out the lights, the party's over.