Filene’s Basement, and parent company Syms, declared bankruptcy recently. The situation is so grim that Syms will shutter all 46 locations, and 2,500 employees will lose their jobs. The company, founded in 1959, was once an important discount retailer. According to the company, it has been suffering from competition as sales of big apparel brands have become concentrated at large retailers with hundreds of outlets.

Analysts predict that the holiday shopping season will be difficult for many retailers this year. The National Retail Federation reported that industry sales would be up only 2.8 percent to $465.6 billion, not enough to make up for three brutal years. Thousands of stores have been closed because of a drop in retail activity because of the recession. Closures for many retail stores will continue.

Several of the largest retailers have consistently performed poorly between 2005 and 2010 for reasons that go beyond the recession. Researchers at 24/7 Wall St. have identified the eight retailers that lost the most in total sales during that period. The stores that fared the worst have a great deal in common.

8. JCPenney
Drop in sales: 5.9 percent
2005 sales: $18.8 billion
2010 sales: $17.7 billion
5 yr. change in stock price: -59 percent

7. The Gap
Drop in sales: 9.4 percent
2005 sales: $16 billion
2010 sales: $14.5 billion
5 yr. change in stock price: -3 percent

6. Foot Locker
Drop in sales: 12.3 percent
2005 sales: $5.7 billion
2010 sales: $5.0 billion
5 yr. change in stock price: -3 percent

5. The Home Depot
Drop in sales: 16.6 percent
2005 sales: $81.5 billion (restated to $77.1 billion due to HD Supply, August 2007)
2010 sales: $68.0 billion
5 yr. change in stock price: flat

Continue reading →