Current Weather
The Spy FM

The Undertakers Of The Retail Industry

Filed by KOSU News in Business.
December 27, 2011

When the internet kills a big box retailer, Gordon Brothers is the undertaker.

“They’re stuck with selling the things that are inside the box,” says bankruptcy lawyer Steve Jakubowski.

Gordon Brothers specializes in retail liquidations. When a store dies, they put on a suit, greet the guests and sell them whatever remains. And that means everything — not just books and clothing and DVDs, but shelves, lighting fixtures, even the chairs.

The liquidators can make a lot of money off the stuff inside the box. Jakubowski says when Borders was liquidated, liquidators bought the merchandise at 72 percent off inventory cost to Borders.

“But remember when they sell it at retail, let’s just assume that everybody marks it up double, ” says Jakubowski.

Any deals that the store was already offering, the liquidators erase that and start from the top. As the days tick by to closing, the price is methodically slashed.

One thing the liquidators don’t have is their own staff to run the store or their own accounting department to pay out the last checks. They use the staff of the store that’s closing.

Sym’s is a sister brand of Filene’s Basement, and they’re going out of business together. Teresa Soto worked at Sym’s in Secaucus, NJ for 23 years. Here last day was a week ago, and she told me there was one thing she wanted to get at her store’s liquidation sale.

“I think I’m going to buy my chair, ” said Soto. Soto worked in the store’s accounting department, and she sat in the same chair for decades.

Right now is a perfect moment for a liquidator. The economy is bad enough that big companies are going out of business, but good enough that customers will come and buy the stuff that’s for sale. Of course, it’s not a perfect moment for anyone to be out of a job. [Copyright 2011 National Public Radio]

Leave a Reply

9PM to 5AM The Spy

The Spy

An eclectic mix of the Spy's library of more than 10,000 songs curated by Ferris O'Brien.

Listen Live Now!

5AM to 9AM Morning Edition

Morning Edition

For more than two decades, NPR's Morning Edition has prepared listeners for the day ahead with two hours of up-to-the-minute news, background analysis, commentary, and coverage of arts and sports.

View the program guide!

9AM to 10AM The Takeaway

The Takeaway

A fresh alternative in morning news, "The Takeaway" provides a breadth and depth of world, national and regional news coverage that is unprecedented in public media.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center