For many Americans who don’t have a college degree, employment opportunities in retail allowed them to join a company on the ground level and enhance their income and quality of life as they climb the corporate ladder. But, as familiar retail chains like Circuit City have been forced to declare bankruptcy and make drastic layoffs in an effort to downsize, jobs in retail have become increasingly difficult to find.
In the African American community, retail is an important option for high school graduates, working mothers, college students and professionals looking for secondary income. Experts predict that there may be as many as 25 bankruptcies per month. But, according to Yahoo! Finance, there are only a few of the major brands that may be closing their doors in 2009, cutting off a large chunk of the job market.
The following is provided by Yahoo! Finance:
Rite Aid – The drug store chain reportedly has a lot of debt. It made some large investments in 2007, but started to get undercut when mega discounter Wal-Mart began selling prescription drugs. Its stock declined 92 percent over the past year and management has twice lowered its outlook for 2009.
Sbarro – The pizza chain is a staple in many malls, and that is one of its main problems. With traffic down at the malls, Sbarro is seeing fewer customers. Also, larger chains such as Domino’s Pizza and Pizza Hut are in better financial situations and may likely force the smaller competitor out.
Six Flags – The owner of several popular amusement and theme parks may be hit badly this summer if consumers don’t spend like they have in the past. Its stock has already dropped 84 percent in the past year, and it may continue to sell off properties to pay down debts if its busy season turns out to be sub par as expected.
Blockbuster – The video-rental chain is in a little better shape than others on this list, but it is starting to feel the pinch as consumers cut back and it deals with competition from cable, satellite and Internet companies offering the same movies. If it makes it past the summer in decent shape it could be out of the woods.
Krispy Kreme – The donut maker has fallen on hard times since the height of its popularity in the late 90s. The company over expanded and took on a lot of debt when things were going good, and has had to close many underperforming stores since. The chain has not turned a profit in the last three years.
With such a gloomy forecast for the retail job market, those seeking new and part-time employment may want to consider returning to school to bolster their skill set and working knowledge. If these chains are only the beginning, Americans can expect the job market to get a lot tougher for those with unspecified skills. –todd williams