Retail may be recovering, but not every national brand has been able to keep pace. That's the position Bebe Stores Inc. was in this April, when it was nearly forced to file bankruptcy before striking a deal in June with its landlords to terminate 168 existing leases for the eye-catching price of a reported $65,000,000.00 USD.¹
If you’re keeping score at home, that’s nearly $400,000USD per location, for nothing but the privilege of not doing business.
The last thing a retail brand on the brink of despair needs is a seven-figure bill, but what can you do to protect your business? StoreMatch, an industry disrupting data-matching service that opened to U.S. users in September, offers the solution: apart from offering vacancies from a list of the nation’s biggest and best landlords, they also help retailers get out of underperforming store locations.
“I say this often, and I’m always a bit embarrassed because it sounds like something your kid’s teacher says on Parent’s Night, but it’s the truth: we all make mistakes,” Jon Sully, creator of StoreMatch, explains in an ebullient Aussie lilt, “but this particular mistake is an awkward conversation because of the length of these leasing deals. If you’ve got four profitable stores and the fifth is burning money, you might be lucky to break even over the next five years. Retailers get stuck piling thousands on top of the fire trying to put it out, but coming from the landlord side of the equation I can tell you that the dirty secret in retail real estate is that your store, staff, and stock are almost never the problem. You picked the wrong location, and if your business is going to survive, you need a way to fix it that doesn’t take half a decade.”
That’s the reason that StoreMatch allows retailers to re-list their struggling locations to be matched in real-time with potential replacement tenants who’d be a better fit. Jon adds, “We’re the only ones that do it, and we do it anonymously”
That's a big plus. In the same way that some landlords don’t want their occupancy rates to become public information, struggling retailers may not want to advertise the fact that one or more of their locations isn’t doing well. The unique StoreMatch system solves this by removing public listings from the equation entirely. No information is exchanged until both sides have been verified and a match has been made, protecting users from the data-miners, unwanted calls, incorrect contacts, and false listings that plague other platforms.
So can StoreMatch really save you that cool sixty-million? If you wait until you’re staring at the bankruptcy paperwork, the answer is likely no. But bankruptcy doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and cutting bad investments quickly to focus resources on the good ones is the simplest and best way to avoid it. Which is why Jon wanted to leave retailers with this last bit of advice:
“Don’t wait. Every month you sit stuck paying for the wrong location is one more month when you can’t move into the right one.”
Retailers who are ready to ditch their bad investments can head to http://www.storematch.com/ now to get started.