In the coming months, Christmas Tree Shops expects to close all of their 70-plus locations nationwide. As a result of these closures, a combined 69 Mainers, working at the store’s the Scarborough and Bangor locations, are expected to be laid off, according to WGME.
As of May 2023, Maine’s unemployment rate is the 9th lowest in the nation at 2.4%. At the same time, however, Maine also has one of the country’s lowest labor force participation rates at 58.4%, meaning that a comparatively low percentage of Maine’s working-age population is actively working or trying to find work.
Put differently, a historically large share of working-age people are declining to work.
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that when Christmas Tree Shops first filed for bankruptcy in May, the company planned to close only a small number of under-performing locations and to restructure their finances while still keeping their ownership intact.
After taking of approximately $60 million in new loans, however, the company defaulted, meaning that if a buyer doesn’t emerge soon, the franchise will be shut down in the near future.
Reporting from the Wall Street Journal stated that retail earnings for the chain have “broadly fallen” since the beginning of the year as inflation has pushed shoppers to “cut back spending on discretionary items to cover the rising costs for essential items such as food, gas and housing.”
“Consumers aren’t just buying less stuff, they are shopping less, which means a loss of the impulse-shopping moments that are critical to retail growth,” Marshal Cohen, chief retail industry advisor at NPD Group, told CNBC.