Well, not really.
As William Engdahl notes at Global Research in Canada, "behind the reassuring statements from Paulson and others that the "worst is over" the reality of the credit collapse since August 2007 is a deepening economic contraction."
Now, I am not in the camp that believes this will surpass the Great Depression of the 1929-1938 period. But I will note that the increasing number US department retail store closures is a bit disconcerting. Considering that consumer spending is over 70% of the US GDP, this is particularly worrisome.
Note the scale of the following store closings across America in recent weeks:
Ann Taylor closing 117 stores nationwide
Bombay Company: to close all 384 U.S.-based Bombay Company stores.
Cache, a women’s retailer is closing 20 to 23 stores this year
Disney Store owner has the right to close 98 stores.
Dillard’s Inc. will close another six stores this year.
Eddie Bauer to close more stores after closing 27 stores in the first quarter
Ethan Allen Interiors: plans to close 12 of 300 stores to cut costs.
Foot Locker to close 140 stores
Gap Inc. closing 85 stores
Home Depot store closings 15 of them amid
a slumping US economy and housing market. The move will affect 1,300
employees. It is the first time the world’s largest home improvement
store chain has ever closed a flagship store.
J. C. Penney, Lowe’s and Office Depot are all scaling back
Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug, Catherines closing 150 stores nationwide
Levitz – the furniture retailer,
announced it was going out of business and closing all 76 of its stores
in December. The retailer dates back to 1910.
Macy’s – 9 stores closed
Movie Gallery – video rental company plans to close 400 of 3,500 Movie Gallery and Hollywood Video stores in addition to the 520 locations the video rental chain closed last fall as part of bankruptcy.
Pacific Sunwear – 153 Demo stores closing
Pep Boys – 33 stores of auto parts supplier closing
Sprint Nextel – 125 retail locations to close with 4,000 employees following 5,000 layoffs last year
Talbots, J. Jill closing stores. Talbots
will close all 78 of its kids and men’s stores plus another 22
underperforming stores. The 22 stores will be a mix of Talbots women’s
and J. Jill
Wickes Furniture is going out of business
and closing all of its stores. The 37-year-old retailer that targets
middle-income customers, filed for bankruptcy protection last month.
Wilsons the Leather Experts – closing 158 stores
Zales, Piercing Pagoda plans to close 82 stores by July 31 followed by closing another 23 underperforming stores.
I know Linens & Things just went belly up, and Steve & Barrys recently filed for bankruptcy protection and sale.
Did we miss any others?
Use the comments, and I will add them to the master list . . . .
The Real State of the US Economy: Henry Paulson has lost the control over US finance
William F. Engdahl
GlobalResearch, August 2, 2008