The ‘Retail Apocalypse’ Is Officially Descending Upon America
- The ‘Retail Apocalypse’ Is Officially Descending upon America
by Carey Wedler, http://theantimedia.org/
(ANTIMEDIA) Consumerism has long been a defining element of American society, but retail giants are now shutting down thousands of their locations amid a long-anticipated “retail apocalypse,” as Business Insider describes it. The outlet reports that over the next couple months, more than 3,500 stores are expected to close:
“Department stores like JCPenney, Macy’s, Sears, and Kmart are among the companies shutting down stores, along with middle-of-the-mall chains like Crocs, BCBG, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Guess.”
Some stores, like Bebe and The Limited, are closing all of their locations to focus more on online sales. Other larger chains, like JC Penney, are “aggressively paring down their store counts to unload unprofitable locations and try to staunch losses,” Business Insider notes. Sears and K-Mart are following a similar trajectory moving forward.
Sears is shutting down 150 Sears and Kmart locations, about 10% of their shops. JCPenney is shutting down 138 stores, about 14% of their total locations. These closures are the consequence of several different factors. First, the United States has more shopping mall square footage per person than other parts of the world. In America, retailers reserve 23.5 square feet per person; in Canada and Australia, the countries with the second- and third-most space have 16.4 and 11.1, respectively.
Another reason retail brick and mortars are failing is the growth of e-commerce. Between 2010 and 2013, visits to shopping malls declined 50%, according to data from real estate research firm Cushman and Wakefield. Meanwhile, online sales from huge online outposts, like Amazon, have exploded. Back in 2015, Forbes observed this trend:
“Earlier this year, the stock market value of Amazon.com surpassed that of Walmart, a turn of events that many saw as indicative of how badly brick-and-mortar big box retailers have lagged behind in building up their e-commerce.”
“Walmart is now hustling to bridge the gap, pouring billions into its tech to claw back some market share. Target, also a laggard, is similarly spending as much on tech as on its 1,800 stores. Both those companies, though, generate digital sales that are still only a small percentage of total sales, and a fraction of Amazon’s.”
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