JCPenney has done the best job of all American department store chains at adapting to the new retail reality and recovering from a brief complete brand makeover under former CEO Ron Johnson, but that reality still means closing some of its stores. Today, the chain released the list of 138 store locations that it plans to close in the coming months. [More]
Staples Still Doing Well After Failed Office Depot Merger; 70 North American Staples Stores To Close
While we consumers think of Staples as the brick-and-mortar retailer that we go to when we need a printer cartridge, that’s not how the company thinks of itself. After a disappointing quarter of sales while the company is still trying to get over the breakup of its engagement to Office Depot, its leaders told investors that they plan to focus on services, including delivery to offices and to homes. [More]
Reader Jerry noticed a trend in his neighborhood in New York City: the Redbox kiosks were starting to disappear. Is Redbox cutting back, is this a local issue, or has he fallen into a Redbox-less alternate universe? He asked us, and we tried to find out. [More]
Sprint has been hacking into its workforce this week, confirming that it recently closed 150 service and repair centers across the country, laying off 330 technical consultants. It’s also completely shutting down 55 of its worst-performing stores and closing three call centers — for a loss of 1,550 customer service jobs — and limiting operations at three others in an effort to cut back on costs. [More]
Aftershocks from March’s earthquake and tsunami in Japan will reportedly hit home in the advertising world in the coming months, due to Japanese auto manufacturers’ supply shortages. And the new victims will be the bottom lines at newspapers, as well as TV and radio stations.
The manufacturing plant that has been the cause of Johnson & Johnson’s latest in a string of recalls has already been described as dirty and poorly maintained. It turns out that it was also staffed with temps and contract employees who weren’t properly trained, according to tax records and an FDA inspection report filed earlier this year.
Pennsylvania is considering privatizing its Bureau of Weights and Measures to save money, reports CBS affiliate KDKA. This would mean gas stations would be responsible for making sure their pumps gave out the right amount of gas, and supermarkets would take over the certification for their deli scales. A consumer advocate calls this a “fox in the henhouse situation” that would make cheating far too easy.
I’ve stopped shopping at the two large drugstores in my neighborhood because they’ve put all the antiperspirant behind plastic flaps, like bagels at a supermarket. When you lift the flap to grab a Right Guard or Speed Stick, an alarm goes off that makes it clear to everyone in the store that you’re a potential criminal with stinky pits. My guess has been that this embarrassing anti-theft deterrent is needed because there’s almost no staff at either store anymore, and a new retail survey and a couple of loss prevention experts seem to back that up.
The story of consumer columnist George Gombossy‘s departure from the Hartford Courant has become a “he said”/”company said” argument that seems like something out of a consumer affairs column. Was Gombossy let go for reporting on an advertiser, as he alleges, or was the elimination of his position simply part of the cutbacks taking place all over the Tribune Company?
We’re not always pessimists on Consumerist. Why, sometimes we actually like silver linings, if only because it gives us a chance to complain about argyria. (Don’t take colloidal silver, people!) Today’s silver lining is that sales of bottled water “have fallen for the first time in at least five years,” says the Los Angeles Times. We’re apparently showing common sense and opting for tap water over branded and labeled water, proving that in a tough economy it’s hard to compete with (nearly) free.
Is your post office on the list of locations (PDF) the USPS is considering closing to save money? We checked and our last one in Brooklyn isn’t, which proves that they didn’t base the list on degree or intensity of suck, or it would have been closed, burned down, and the earth salted.
As of May 1st, Jewel-Osco, the Chicagoland grocery chain, no longer accepts expired coupons. “This practice is being phased out given the wide range of in-store money-saving opportunities, including the use of Jewel-Osco’s Preferred Card, regularly advertised sales, availability of online coupons, and special in-store promotions,” a spokesperson said. [Daily Herald]
The recession continues to rot America’s cultural core, this time by attacking one of our most cherished traditions: prom. Gone are the ice sculptures and $1,000 dresses. America’s children are now buying dresses off racks and trading limos for the family car. Imagine!
We were fascinated to discover today that Walt Disney reused animation cycles across different movies—the characters are unique (sorta) but the motions are cel for cel copies. It looks like the movies that reuse animation are from that infamous era in the 70s and 80s when Disney’s animation unit cut too many corners and churned out less “classic” fare. Well, they were copying classics—shouldn’t that count for something? Video clip below.
Royal Caribbean is gutting the Crown & Anchor society that lavishes loyal cruisers with perks like discounts, priority boarding, and a concierge lounge stocked with complimentary cocktails. The free booze will now be available only to cruisers who have sailed more than 25 times with Royal Caribbean. Many loyal passengers who don’t spend their lives on Royal Caribbean ships are understandably pissed.
The latest issue of GOOD magazine, which arrived in our mailbox yesterday, seems to be equal parts tongue-in-cheek and an actual attempt to save money on printing. To be honest, it’s the first time we ever made it entirely through a magazine in one sitting, so in that sense we kind of like the new format, even if it’s just for one issue. Of note: if your resume sucks, you can enter it in their resume-makeover contest.
Just because the economy is imploding doesn’t mean you should entirely freeze your spending. The Wall Street Journal brings us a list of five things that are well worth their price, even in a recession.
Yesterday we noted that Qwest has done away with their “email us” option on their contact page, and in a comical example of corporate doublespeak they’d printed, “Your questions and concerns are very important to us, however we are no longer able to respond to email.” Today it looks like Qwest has changed that pop-up window to provide a little more information.