July 8th, 2009
10:00 PM GMT
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Today, the coffee shop where I bought my afternoon latte and muffin went out of business. Coffee Republic wasn't the best in the world but it was conveniently across the street. And the staff often double stamped my loyalty card!

The end was swift. Some colleagues had even bought their breakfast and lunch there. Then the sign went up saying it was in administration and that branch was closed. I could see through the window the staff taking it all in. The food counters still had muffins, cakes and sandwiches for sale.

So why am I bringing this to your attention? Because The IMF, the European Union, the US Treasury – just about anyone who studies these things – is now saying things will get better next year. Some are more optimistc than others.

But the reality is the improvement will be slow and painstaking. And there are many more Coffee Republics, clothing, candy, grocery – you name it – stores that will fail.

The stock market's sharp post-March rally was a cruel deception. It led so many to believe this is over. It was an enthusiastic bout of nonsense, as I suspect this 2nd quarter earning season just starting, will show.

As for my afternoon shot of coffee and a muffin? Well there are two Starbucks just about within spitting distance of each other ... and a variety of other coffee shops.

In a recession as long and deep as this one only the strongest companies, and those that have the best products and really give the customer what they want, stand any chance of suriving. And even that is not a certainty as Coffee Republic proved.

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