Petland Discounts Becomes the Latest Victim of Retail Apocalypse

Pet supply retailer Petland Discounts has become the latest victim of the collapse of brick-and-mortar retail. Management said it would need to close a large number of its stores. The retailer was founded in 1965. Its founder and controlling shareholder recently died.

Media are reporting that Petland Discounts has filed papers with the Departments of Labor of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut that said that it would start to close stores immediately. The filings indicated that as many 300 people could lose their jobs. These people work at about 70 of the retailer’s stores. Other reports suggest that the retailer will close entirely. Apparently, management has not made a final decision. The troubles were caused in large part because of the death late last year, from bladder cancer, of founder and CEO Neil Padron.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle broke the story. Petland Discounts spokesperson Amy Eisenberg told the paper:

The company filed a notice with the Labor Department so it would be in compliance with the state Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act if the business does close, however, the family is unsure what will happen after his sudden death. Neil is the sole proprietor and the family is still trying to figure everything out.

The decision comes on the heels of a number of other retail company problems, some of which are extremely severe. The parent company of Sears and Kmart stores has filed for Chapter 11. Controlling shareholder Eddie Lampert has offered $5 billion for some Sears assets and would keep several hundred stores open. Some creditors and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation have challenged his plan in bankruptcy court. This means that Sears could still be liquidated. Toys “R” Us went bankrupt and was liquidated last year. Debt rating agency Standard & Poors even has a watch list of more retailers that could go under.

Sears is not the only retailer with deep problems. In the past two years, Macy’s, Gap, J.C. Penney, Target and Lowe’s have closed hundreds of stores among them. is usually cast as the villain when retailers cut store counts. It dominates the e-commerce business in the United States, which has robbed may retailers of store traffic. However, other culprits include heavy debt burdens and poor management.

Whatever the cause, another retailer is falling apart and might not survive. Petland Discounts may not be around in a few weeks. At the very least, it will be much smaller.