Darwinian Effect of Recessions: Weak Companies Fail, Leaving The Survivors Bigger and Stronger
NEW YORK - Economic cycles are Darwinian, picking off weak companies and leaving survivors stronger. A year into the recession, solid retailers have their pick of mall space. Respected banks are getting an influx of deposits. Tech companies with money to spend are having an easier time hiring.
It has been a year of brutal losses. More than 1.2 million jobs have vanished. The broadest measure of the stock market, the Wilshire 5000, is down more than $7 trillion, a 40% slide. Corporate survivors, however, should benefit as competitors disappear.
Retailer Bed Bath & Beyond will not have to contend with Linens 'n Things, which is in liquidation. Best Buy may not be fighting price wars with Circuit City, which is reorganizing in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. FedEx will not scrap for market share against DHL Express, a German-owned company that is leaving the United States.
Staying in business will not be easy - sales declines are a given and job cuts are likely to continue. But the United States will not remain in the dumps forever, and the companies that will be best positioned when the economy eventually improves may include these examples: Kohl's, Wal-Mart, McDonald's, Wells Fargo, Delta, Google, AT&T, Verizon.