Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Linens ’n Things’ Fate Revisited

… And so another small city says goodbye to a national retailer.

On May 14, I blogged about Lincoln, Nebraska’s narrow escape from losing its sole Linens ’n Things – only to follow up five months later with the news that not only is Lincoln losing the retailer, but so are 370-odd other trade areas around the country.

Today’s Lincoln Journal-Star bemoaned that Nebraska’s capital city was losing “its second national retailer due to bankruptcy in just over a month.” Steve & Barry’s was the first national casualty, having announced in September that it would close its store at Westfield Gateway Mall, one of more than 100 the bankrupt chain’s new owner will shutter. (At this writing, S&B is still open, but the liquidation sale signs around town are abundant.)

Local bloggers aren’t happy about the loss of Linens ’n Things. Bob is wondering where he will “get my ‘And Things’ from now on!” An unnamed shopper was more wordy in her protestations. “I love going to linens and things [sic] because it is much closer to where I live, they would accept the Bed Bath and Beyond coupons, and they were always available to help (as opposed to Bed Bath and Beyond who weren't).”

People here are concerned about the store’s employees, as several bloggers discussed back and forth the fates of favorite associates who would be losing their jobs so close to the holidays.

That’s the part that mustn’t be overlooked by any of us. There are people in those stores and in those headquarters offices—people with families and bills and responsibilities who now have to find a way to survive without a Linens ’n Things paycheck. As a journalist, I write about the company’s bankruptcy. But as a human being, I regret the loss of a neighborhood store, and I feel for the people most directly impacted—the employees.

In May, I wrote that “the topic of store closures will likely be keeping bloggers busy for the rest of the year.” Who knew just how busy?

By Katherine Field

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