PIZZARINA SBARRO: Want to know why they're really failing? Because Amazon. You don't go to the mall like you used to, and you certainly aren't eating as much in food courts, and that's where they pitched their tents:
ShopperTrak, a company that measures foot traffic at retailers, reported a 14.6 percent decline in the 2013 holiday season compared with 2012, continuing a pattern of double-digit declines.
The story is told in Sbarro’s filing for bankruptcy protection early this week. Six of the seven biggest creditors listed are entities to which the company owes lease payments. It owes more to several individual landlords than it does to the supplier who provides the soda to enable Sbarro’s customers to wash back their greasy pizza.
The company’s challenge highlights the underlying problem with a strategy built around selling mediocre pizza at the right place and right time. It means that owners of the real estate in question can extract much of the value of the crowds they attract, not the restaurant chain.
Other fast-food chains may offer mediocre food, but their real estate strategies are less exposed to the epic decline in foot traffic in the nation’s malls. As people do more shopping online, fewer are visiting the mall — and more seem to be putting a bit more thought into their food....