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Commentary: Gottschalks closing a sad sign of times

This editorial appeared in The Fresno Bee.

The liquidation sales for Gottschalks have already started and the loss of this venerable Fresno business has gone from legal maneuvering in a Delaware federal courtroom to actually closing down the 105-year-old department store chain.

You could see it coming, but we held out hope of a last-minute reprieve. It didn't happen.

In addition to losing a Fresno icon, the community will be hit with more layoffs in the troubled retail sector of our economy.

Big retailers – Mervyn's, Circuit City, Linens 'n Things – preceded Gottschalks in closing, and the economy could gobble up more vulnerable businesses before we see a rebound.

The shopping malls that Gottschalks anchored, especially the ones in the San Joaquin Valley, could be in for rough times in filling the huge retail spaces. Most businesses are pulling back, not expanding. Anchor stores drive shoppers to other mall businesses, and the ripple effect of Gottschalks closing will not be known for some time.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Fresno Bee.

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