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Retail Roundup: Value City to Liquidate, Customer Reviews Gain Weight, and More

Value City Department Stores to liquidate -- Value City Department Stores, once a chain comprising more than 100 locations, has filed for bankruptcy and announced plans to liquidate all merchandise. The 91-year-old chain joins Mervyns in efforts to unload all inventory during the holiday season. Value City, which listed assets of between $100 million and $500 million, was whittled down to only 37 stores over the past year. News of the bankruptcy filing sent shares of Retail Ventures, who took over the chain in January, down roughly 30 percent. [Source: The Columbus Dispatch]

Customer reviews not to be overlooked by retailers -- With the heightened popularity of Web sites offering consumers a public venue to swap product reviews, shoppers are increasingly taking into account the views of their peers. A new study by Rubicon Consulting found that customer reviews are second only to word of mouth when it comes to influencing purchases. "Many companies downplay the importance of online communities because only a (small) percent of all Internet users contribute to them heavily," said Harry Max, a principal at Rubicon Consulting. "What they don't understand is that most other Internet users read those reviews and rely on them heavily when making purchase decisions." [Source: internetretailer]

Consumers lose huge amount of confidence in economy -- The consumer-confidence index, which measures how Americans feel about the economy, hit a record low this month. According to the Conference Board, the index fell to 38.0, down from September's reading of 61.4. Survey Director Lynn Franco said consumers are "extremely pessimistic ... This news does not bode well for retailers who are already bracing for what is shaping up to be a very challenging holiday season." [Source: Heard on the Runway]

Macy's rings in 150-year anniversary -- Amid economic struggles, Macy's celebrated its 150th birthday in style with a marching band, confetti, and cake. The Daily News compiled pictures of Macy's advertisements from past decades to paint a portrait of the department-store chain's rich history. View the complete gallery here. [Source: The Daily News]

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