The economy is so rotten that even discount stores are going under!
But the real reason for Filene’s and Syms going bankrupt, according to this article, is that larger department stores have started carrying the same brands that they do, so they’ve become largely irrelevant and nearly obsolete.
This is the same thing that’s happened to gay bookstores, and then all bookstores, not to mention local drugstores, coffee shops, delis, and other mom-and-pop operations.
Their specialness became co-opted by more sprawling operations as their sense of purpose got absorbed into the mainstream (and in some cases, the Internet), unable to compete when the big guys started offering a lot of the same services.
Chain stores have been decimated by larger chain stores as medium-budget charm gets steamrolled in favor of big-scale efficiency operating on larger chunks of real estate.
I’m so upset I’m going to have to run to Duane Reade and get some medication.