Thanks to a chilly housing market, a double shot of high fuel prices and a credit crunch with a twist, retailers across the country are suffering from what you might call a post-holiday hangover.

Already this year, two major clothing chains have announced they are closing stores across the country, which could mean that two prime locations on King Street will be up for grabs by mid-2008.

Most recently, Liz Claiborne Inc. said it would close 54 Sigrid Olsen stores nationwide, including the downtown Charleston shop at 278 King St. Discontinuing the brand is expected to cost about $17 million to $22 million, according to the company, which plans to backfill at least some of the shuttered spaces with its other fashion concepts.

The 20-year-old Sigrid Olsen unit, mostly offering women's casual clothing, was one of 16 brands under strategic review by Liz Claiborne. Information regarding three other brands under review also was released last week: Laundry By Design and C&C California were sold to Perry Ellis International Inc. ; Liz Claiborne decided to retain Enyce. Liz Claiborne also owns Kate Spade, Juicy Couture and Lucky Brand Jeans.

Separately, Talbots Inc. also plans to close 78 children's and men's apparel stores by September, including the shop at 259 King St. The exit affects 800 jobs, or 5 percent of the company's work force, and shifts all focus back to the chain's core demographic: women.

Traffic stoppers

The Hardee's at 4954 Centre Point Drive in the Tanger Outlet Center area, isn't employing your run-of-the-mill high school kid to stand on the side of the road with a two-sided sign draped over his body, advertising special deals.

No, the fast-food chain featuring the Red Burrito co-brand, a south-of-the-border menu created to go along with the chain's classic offerings, is enlisting acrobatic sign spinners to perform "traffic-stopping stunts" on International Boulevard to help direct customers to the new restaurant, which is the first of its kind in the area. Catch the show 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday through Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.