Monday, April 13, 2009

mixing it up

my family and i went to our cabin for the Easter weekend. on the way there, my sister, her fiance and i decided to stop at one of the only local shopping centers and see what was new. turns out: not much, but i decided i wanted to go into Gottschalks since i'd never been to one, and to scope out their supposed 60% off merchandise liquidation.

what i found there somewhat surprised me.

i imagined Gottschalks to be along the lines of Mervyns and Kohls, which it was, but i wasn't expecting them to carry Lenox and Noritake or have an upscale cosmetics department with lines by Estee Lauder and Lancome. that's where my interest ended, however, as the rest of their merchandise was geared toward an older customer. much, much older, it seemed.

i wanted some new workout sneakers and thought they'd have at least a couple of pairs to choose from, and that perhaps i could score a good deal on something i needed. maybe it was because they were already in liquidation mode, but every single pair of shoes looked like something a grandmother would wear. they had zero even remotely fashionable shoes, much less any sneakers at all. it was puzzling, because apparently liquidation of this store had just begun, which means that they really weren't gearing much merchandise toward a younger consumer at all. sure, they had some apparel by Volcom and O'Neill but that was pretty much it.

this sparked me to comment to my sister (who was even less impressed with the store than i), "this is why they're going under -- they haven't managed to keep up with the times."

unknown to me at the time, others opined the same about Gottschalks skewing toward the older consumer. (sidebar: Labelscar is an awesome site for anyone interested in retail present or history.)

i am sad for those that will lose their jobs due Gottschalks ceasing to exist. most stores are located in already economically depressed areas, and more folks looking for work in a matter of weeks will not help anyone's situation. but it begs the question: could Gottschalks have survived, even just a bit longer, had they modified their merchandise offerings? it's a tough balance to strike, keeping long-term customers while attracting a new base. but for a 105-year-old company, they must have done something right along the way.

No comments:

Post a Comment