Retail Apocalypse Closing Stores Down Like Death of Dinosaurs

Retail Apocalypse Closing Stores Down Like Death of Dinosaurs by David Haggith for The Great Recession

For brick and mortar stores, the Retail Apocalypse is closing stores down like a slow-motion video of the asteroid event that took out dinosaurs 66 million years ago. While it may seem to drag on as we watch various species of retail collapse, I originally said this event would take, at least, three years (through the end of 2019) for the bulk of the impact to play out.

It was two years ago that I started writing about the damage that was to come and all the collateral damage that would ensue. I said that ultimately, it would take out malls all over the nation, nearby restaurants and eventually gas stations.

In February of this year, I wrote about the closure of shopping malls sweeping the nation as the damage is beginning to pile up, but we still have most of 2019 to go just for the main event to play out and then a long tail of collateral damage and dwindling store closures after that as death of one species ends the food chain of another and the circles of damage widen outward from the giants of retail that were the first to go because the least adaptable.

retail apocalypse closing stores Thomas Nugent / The Oak Mall

Latest events of the Retail Apocalypse

This is just a mini update on how 2019 is going for the dinosaurs of commerce. The first quarter of the year is just coming to a close, and retail has already lost 41,000 jobs for the year, and that doesn’t even include March. That is 92% more than the number of retail jobs lost during the same period of 2018, which was worse than 2017. So, the rate of closures is still climaxing.

JC Penny announced this week another 18 store closures on top of the numerous closures it already announced over the last couple of years. So, their drawn-out closure process, too, keeps building beyond what Penny originally anticipated.

Mark Hamrick, the Bureau Chief and senior economic analyst for Bankrate, now offers the following assessment:

Lifeway Christian Bookstores just announced it is closing the remainder of its stores, having begun closures several years ago. They had hoped to keep some stores open but no longer see that as an option. They will continue with an online presence.

Payless Shoes announced in February it is closing all of its 2,100 US stores. Those store closures were scheduled to begin now (at the end of March) and will be mostly wrapped up by the end of May. Payless will not continue with any online presence.

Though the continued reverberations of this retail saga are due mostly to the growth of online business, overall retail (including online) did not do well in the final quarter of 2018. We’ll soon see where the first quarter of 2019 ends up.

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David Haggith

Knave Dave — vigilante against the false profits of The Great Recession Too many criminal CEOs still fill their porky bellies with the biggest taxpayer bailouts in the history of the world. These bailouts protect their reputations, saving them from the fall they should have taken. They continue to receive bonuses for having done an unparalleled job of destroying their companies! Many of their companies wouldn’t be making any profit at all if not for the interest they’re making off of nearly free government bailouts. Just this week Hewlett-Packard fired its CEO, but is still paying him a bonus of millions of dollars in exchange for a year of corporate wandering in the wilderness. Netflix’s CEO cost his company hundreds of thousands of subscribers and had to reverse his decision. Bank of America’s CEO launched a debit-card fee plan that was immediately stupid in the eyes of many, but greed an arrogance led him to think he could pass it by his customers, and he lost customers in droves and had to reverse his decision, as did the many major banks that followed him. Since these corporate leaders do things most of us can immediately see as being dumb, why are they rewarded with salaries a thousand times greater than many of us make?