Chicago, save the Magnificent Mile!
In a breaking business news report this morning, The Chicago Tribune was announced that Chicago has experienced one of the biggest shifts in consumer behavior in the past year alone, making the chances the market will recover anytime soon virtually nonexistent. In 2009, retail sales in the Chicago metropolitan market fell 8.7 percent, to
$92.9 billion from the year before, marking the biggest annual
decline since at least 1985, when Chicago-based Melaniphy began
tracking the figures. The dismal performance follows a 4.8 percent drop
in 2008, a record decrease at the time, the report said.
John Melaniphy, publisher of the report said local businesses have taken a significant beating from the last two consecutive years of poor sales and despite all the shutterings that have already occurred citywide, things will seemingly get worse before they get better. "We are truly in uncharted territory," Melaniphy said. "I haven't seen
anything like this before, and the depth of it is startling. I think
we're going to see a lot more failures this year because it's not going
to recover fast enough for the retailers and restaurants that got
whacked badly in 2008 and hit again in 2009." Melaniphy predicted the earliest he could see the start of an upswing again would be 2012.
All 10 categories that were analyzed in the report posted an annual sales decline, another first since the report has been published. The restaurant and bar scene, which posted gains as late as 2008, was particularly hard hit last year as
tourism declined and more people ate at home instead of eating out. Sales at drinking and eating
places in the city fell by $270 million, or 5.4 percent, to $4.7
billion. Retail sales fell 7.1 percent, to $20.6 billion, last year, but was still not in the top tier of categories experiencing the most loss. The biggest percentage declines occurred in furniture and
electronics (down 15 percent), car dealers and gas stations (down 13
percent) and home improvement (down 10 percent.) Apparel and accessories
sales, often an attraction for tourists, fell 8.9 percent. Overall, the city appears to be suffering from a major shopping drought across the board.
And though Chicago has been particularly hard hit, consumer-driven capitals across the nation are reminding us that we are not alone. Earlier this a month, a report from AlixPartners, a New York-based
retail consulting firm, likewise described 2009 as "the most challenging
year for merchants in recent memory," while PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP said in its March report that a new era of
"practical consumerism" has officially arrived. And while it's makes dollars and sense to continue this trend of frugal living, it also means disabling local merchants, small businesses and beloved retailers that we may have been loyal to for years. So, while it's still a good idea to be wise with your wallet, consider spicing up your spring wardrobe and giving back to the good of Chicago!
Article Source: Chicago Tribune
Photo Source: conradhotel.com