‘Retail Apocalypse’ Now: Analysts Say 75,000 More U.S. Stores Could Be Doomed.

from WaPo

Widespread closures have roiled the retail industry, but many more stores are likely to shut down in coming years to keep up with a shift to online shopping, according to a report by investment firm UBS.

An estimated 75,000 stores that sell clothing, electronics and furniture will close by 2026, when online shopping is expected to make up 25 percent of retail sales, according to UBS. Roughly 16 percent of overall sales are made online.

Analysts said the closures would affect a broad variety of retailers, affecting an estimated 21,000 apparel stores, 10,000 consumer electronics stores and 8,000 home furnishing stores.

Already this year, retailers have announced plans to close thousands of stores as they keep up with changing consumer habits. Payless ShoeSource, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February, is closing all 2,100 of its U.S. stores, while Gymboree is shuttering its 800 locations. Sears, which has closed 1,300 Kmart and Sears stores since 2013, is scrapping an additional 80 locations. A number of other retailers, including Gap, have hinted that store closures are on the horizon.

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17 Responses to ‘Retail Apocalypse’ Now: Analysts Say 75,000 More U.S. Stores Could Be Doomed.

  1. Nicholas Meyerback April 26, 2019 at 11:25 pm #

    Retail has taken a substantial blow in the last decade. The trend is apparent in the closings of thousands of store locations as online shopping has taken the wheel. By the end of the first quarter of 2017, there were nine retail bankruptcies. 2016 was not kind to retail either, representing the acceleration of a decade-long trend that took off. The phenomenon isn’t limited to “mom and pop” stores, with the backbone of American retail feeling the heat. Sears and Macy’s have closed more than 1,000 stores, joining the likes of J.C Penny, RadioShack and more who experienced quadruple digit closures. Some were not as lucky to escape bankruptcy. Payless announced bankruptcy in early 2017 and plans to close its 2,500 North American locations.

    The cause seems to be the simple fact that traditional retail can’t keep up with ecommerce. Amazon has sprung to the fore of ecommerce in the last decade. The company demands nearly 50% of all online retail sales in America. Bezos’s giant has taken advantage of the trend. Around 15% of all retail sales now occur online. Brick and Mortar has been the victim of the shift to ecommerce. With any industry in an evolving economy, corporations must evolve or be left in the dust.

    Target appears to be adapting. In 2017 Target was at a crossroads after a disastrous 2016 sales report. Target decided to embrace ecommerce while steadfastly standing by the Brick and Mortar stores that drove their initial success. Nearly a thousand stores were completely remodeled to include more private level brands. What made the revamp so lucrative was the ingenious idea to coordinate the physical in-store upgrades to be compatible with ecommerce. Target stores now serve as a delivery option for online orders. Target grants consumers the liberty to choose from a number of delivery tiers ranging from house delivery to in-store pick up. A neighborhood Target can be a distribution center where consumers can decide to continue shopping. It’s like a giant check-out aisle where the entire store is for sale instead of just candy and drinks. Surprisingly enough, the strategy reduces fulfillment costs. A decrease in fulfillment costs and an increase in store traffic yielded positive results for the retail company. The plan worked. Target reported its best year in a decade and saw 5% growth.

    Target’s approach serves as an example for retailers facing a grim future: get creative.

  2. Kevin Metz May 3, 2019 at 8:11 pm #

    These past few years, the rise of reliance in technology has made the online marketplace extremely popular. Whether it be a company such a Amazon having pretty much every type of item you can think of, or a retail store allowing the option to order things that are out of stock in their physical stores, consumers have grown to love the convenience of online shopping. This article shows the number of stores that are shutting down, or companies declaring bankruptcy due to this rise of popularity. This apocalypse is causing companies to be forced to expand their distribution channels to an internet-based system. An effect of this revolution that I thought of while reading through the article is the decline in importance of physical currency. If majority of todays shopping and transaction will be through websites, credit and debit cards will be needed more than ever. Sure you’ll need cash for food, supermarkets and what not but we thought the same thing about buying clothes and electronics 10 years ago. I believe due to this rise of internet shopping, physical currency will be made a thing of the past and you will be paid from your employer directly to your bank account, you will be forced to pay with credit or debit when in physical stores and pocket change will be a thing of the past. This will also cause for our government to have to spend less money on actually producing the currency and will help our banks get more attention because everyone will be needing to go through them for transactions.

  3. Jessica May 30, 2019 at 7:45 pm #

    Two years ago, I worked my first retail job, which turned into a retail nightmare, so I can understand where the term “retail apocalypse” comes from. We live in a society where convenience is key, and that doesn’t prove well for retail stores. So many stores have begun to integrate technology into their sales tactics, that it will eventually make brick and mortar stores obsolete. When I started my job, the most important part of my job was to capture customer information as they checked out, so they could receive future promotions from us and we had a way of contacting them. The store I worked in focused on creating long lasting relationships with customers by styling them in store and getting to know them so they would come back every season and shop with us. Eventually, this expanded and we were told to send additional styles to the customers via email, so they could purchase items online. This eliminates the need to come into the store at all and also minimizes the need to create a relationship with them in store. We also had the ability to order items we didn’t have in stock for customers right from our registers, which to me is the beginning of an era where there are only a number of physical stores, with one of each size of each style merely for the purpose of trying on. Once the customer found their size, we could order it and have it shipped right to them. There were styles we would receive only one size run in, and that’s what would end up happening. If that becomes a reality one day, that lessens the need to have so many stores widespread around the state. As mentioned in the article, stores are leaning towards more stream-lined displays with less inventory, pushing the customer to shop online. The online retail experience is killing stores because of its ability to offer convenience through shipping and the shopping experience itself. People won’t have to rifle through clothing racks or wander up and down aisles wondering where the item they’re looking for is. While this is beneficial to customers, the retail apocalypse is detrimental to retail workers. If so many locations are closing because the online experience is taking precedence, the need for workers isn’t there and they are left to fend for themselves, all in the name of convenience. I don’t agree with the article saying that “this is a healthy cleansing for the retail industry”, as these store closings affect many workers, even though for the company the benefit to closing doors is there. It can be assumed that the article is considering this apocalypse from a business standpoint, however there are many societal implications that should be considered as well.

  4. Eric Greene May 31, 2019 at 10:01 pm #

    With the widespread revelations of technology in the past 10 years, online retail commerce has skyrocketed dramatically. The market for online retail commerce per household has risen 50% over 2017 to 2018 with an average of $5,200 spent per household. It goes to show that increasing traffic of online sale is beginning to take a toll on brick and mortar stores. In a world that is fixating on the ease of use in combination with quick delivery times and increasing online marketing, it is a time of change amongst the consumer body. With the rise of Amazon, making 10.1 billion in 2018 alone, the U.S. Department of Commerce stated that online consumers spent a total aggregate of 513.61 billion in online sales in 2018. Proving that the traditional brick and mortar structure is losing efficiency in the newer age of markets with increasing online retail sales. This trend can be seen with the recent closing of toys-r-us, and their company filing for bankruptcy. Once a titanic of the brick and mortar industry, toys-r-us is another casualty of the growing online commerce industry. Being that brick and mortar retail stores have closed more than 15,000 stores since 2017, the apparent trends in the current consumer basis are obvious for retailers that making a stronger presence in online retail commerce will be more rewarding than focusing efforts in brick and mortar stores.

  5. Matthew Wolf May 31, 2019 at 10:59 pm #

    It is sad to see that retail companies that have been around for decades are closing their doors. I agree with the article where it says that Americans are doing more shopping online but I don’t agree where it says that it’s the main reason why the shift of retail stores closing is because of online shopping. I believe that is a reason but not the main reason. I believe why retail stores like Kmart, Sears, Toys R Us, Payless, amongst others are closing because they don’t sell products online well or it is difficult to order products online. I believe that if these companies focused on their online presence to consumers, these companies may not all be gone.
    I’ve worked in retail since 2015 for two different companies. The first company I worked for was Lowe’s Home Improvement where I worked in Internet Fulfillment. My job was pretty simple, go on a computer, see what products our customers bought online, get that product from the sales floor and ship it out. Many days those online sales made up most of our profits.
    The second company I currently work for is Hot Topic and they do their online sales where customers can order products online in the store and they can pick up the product in the store when it comes in and it includes free shipping to the store. That brings in customers into the store that can be interested in more products in the store when they pick up their item(s). Also the individual stores gets credit for the online sales.

  6. Samantha Begley June 3, 2019 at 6:49 pm #

    During the busy holiday seasons, I can tell first hand that retail stores are beginning to see this so called “apocalypse”. Considering that generationally people prefer convenience over experience many people prefer finding their holiday gifts on sites such as Amazon or stores that offer online shopping. Ever since Cyber Monday began and many second day delivery online business’s opened, such as Amazon, it seems as though that people will choose these options rather than paying for gas to go to their local retail stores. Due to this apocalypse many retail stores offer less of a variety in their inventory and it seems that shelves are beginning to look empty, loosing that desired interest many customers go out and seek while shopping.
    Overall 75,000 retail stores that sell clothing, electronics and furniture are closing which seems to be directly affected by the numerous amounts of products Amazon offers households. People will prefer to look up anything they would like to order by Amazons easy to navigate website and widespread search anywhere from clothing, to even electronics and more. Better yet not only is the selection great, but also the products are usually well made which gives consumers the ideal shopping experience. Due to past buyers rating their purchases from anywhere between a one star to five-star rating along with a detailed description of their satisfaction, consumers are influenced in what they are purchasing before they even check out. This provides even more of a better shopping experience than people would get in a retail store. Furthermore, Amazon market gives consumers another convenient way to shop providing direct shopping for food and dry goods, if households have busy parents Amazon market provides them to order their groceries and have them sent the next day if they did not have the time to go out to their local grocery store.
    Overall the apocalypse of retail stores I believe is happening not only due to online shopping becoming more desirable but also because of the availability providers such as Amazon gives to consumers. Amazon provides convenience, easy to use shopping experience, and consumer rated opinions which gives the desire to shop online more than shopping in retail stores.

  7. Madison Becker June 5, 2019 at 12:57 pm #

    Some might say that Amazon is taking over the world, because it has become more than online shopping but they have begun to purchase other chains and currently own 41 subsidiaries including IMDB, Zappos, and Alexa. Generations have slowly begun to rely and only shop online due to a multitude of reasons. It is more than just Amazon affected by this change, as other companies are affected but in a less positive way. Companies like Sears, Gap, and Payless have all hinted at bankruptcy or have already filed and analysts have noted online shopping as one reason why retailers cannot keep up with changing consumer habits. These companies are notable chains, so this change is not limited to “mom and pop” stores that are suffering. I can even admit that I am guilty of ordering everything online. As a student, it is much easier to have things shipped to me than to leave my room and plan a day at the store. I am sure that is how many people think, but catered to their needs. I am sure busy working adults would rather have things sent to them then take the time out of their day to go out. This is why the consumer habits are changing and modeling the changes happening in technology, as the easier it becomes to use the internet, even for the older generations, the more we will use it.
    Companies are adapting to this change as well. They are making their products available for online orders as well, though they will never be competition to the evergrowing Amazon, they are adapting nonetheless.

  8. Brandon Medici June 6, 2019 at 3:26 pm #

    Over the past few years, brick and mortar stores have been declining in sales because online retailers like Amazon have becoming more popular every day. Over the past few years, brick and mortar stores like Payless, Toys R Us, and Sears have closed their stores because they couldn’t make enough money and they couldn’t compete with online retailers with their low prices and two-day shipping. I agree with the author that the average U.S household spent approximately over $5,000 last year shopping online, which was a 50% increase from 5 years ago because consumers find it convenient to be able to shop from the comfort of their home, shop from anywhere 24/7, and don’t have to worry about paying expenses like gas. Lastly, since online stores are becoming more popular and brick and mortar stores are closing as a result, because of this people came up with the term “retail apocalypse”.
    I agree with Madison Becker that brick and mortar are trying to adapt to this change by putting their products online to try to compete with online stores like Amazon, but with Amazon growing more every day, brick and mortar stores can’t compete with them. Also, Amazon offer things that brick and mortar stores can’t offer like low prices, two day shipping, and even free shipping on products that is over a certain amount of money because they want to attract more customers so they can make more money. Lastly, various brick and mortar stores do compete with Amazons and other online retailers, but some of them were forced to close because they couldn’t compete with online retailers and as a result, they couldn’t increase their sales.

  9. Edward S September 22, 2019 at 3:47 pm #

    In order for stores to compete with online retailers they will need to find ways to reinvent themselves. In malls for example, owners will need to acknowledge that the classic image of a mall is long gone. Malls for example will need to redefine themselves as true centers for the exchange of social ideas and community interaction that can offer what online retailers cannot (Fantoni, 2014). The Mall of America for example has an aquarium and a theme park. Other malls now have fitness centers, concerts, and art centers. Again to reiterate, the challenge is convincing older generations and newer generations to have a different mental understanding of the definition of a mall and similar principles correspond to other types of retail establishments like outlet stores. Malls will also benefit from utilizing pop up stores and kiosks which are more temporary. The trend will move to smaller stores that will try to target niche consumers. Retailers are being challenged to prove the efficiency of their profit per square foot of space that they use.
    It is also worth adding that sales in warehouse clubs and supercenters grew 10.5 times between 1992 and 2013 from $40 billion to $420 billion (Hortacsu and Syverson 2015). In comparison electronic shopping increased by 10 fold from $35 billion to $348 billion over the same period. Growth therefore was comparatively similar. Warehouse clubs and supercenters are not the same thing as department stores. These stores contain groceries along with merchandise, apparel, and furniture such as Walmart, Target, Costco, and Kroger Marketplace.
    Collectively the retail sector has seen an increase in scale to optimize economies of scale and forging of networks. In addition market share has also moved towards consolidation to large firms and declining presence of new entrants. The future of retail may become one that also features a “brick and clicks” organization which are hybrids of e-commerce and brick and mortar where customers can shop for products online and go to a store to actually test out the merchandise (Hortacsu and Syverson, 2015). This is synonymous with the types of changes that Target has been making which Nicolas mentions in his discussion.

    Fantoni, R., Hoefel, F. (2014). The future of the shopping mall. McKinsey. Retrieved from
    https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/marketing-and-sales/our-insights/the-future-of-the-shopping-mall

    Hortacsu, A., Syverson, C. 2015.The Ongoing Evolution of US Retail: A Format Tug-of-War. The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 29(4). 89-112.

  10. nicole shubaderov October 1, 2019 at 1:12 pm #

    Convenience in our society has affected the retail industry to the extent that many retail stores are shutting their doors due to bankruptcy as well as to keep up with the high online shopping demand. A perfect example within the past year is Toys R Us. As a child I loved this store and so did my parents. If I was ever in need of something, they would drive to the nearest Toys R Us and buy me gifts. With Toys R US’s great success, why did they go out of business and have to close all 800 of their stores? Well just like the article from the Washington Post stated, the high demand for online shopping is causing people to not go to brick-and-mortar stores as much as in the past. Why need to waste gas, time and resources to drive to the nearest store when I could just order a product from my phone or laptop with ease? This causes these large companies to realize that their physical stores are just racking up expenses and not turning enough of a profit to pay for all the physical stores that they own. Therefore, they try to close as many stores as possible to be able to have much more control over their spending and to cleanse their company and to have a somewhat fresh slate. In this society, for companies, less is better than more. Which is why closing as many brick-and-mortar stores as possible is a good plan because it reduces the unnecessary expenses from owning a large number of stores, while also allowing them to re-evaluate their business plan to match more closely to the 21st century consumer purchasing patterns—since online shopping has greatly increased by 50% from the last five years.

    What is also a huge contributor to the closing of many retail stores throughout the world is the creation of Amazon. Amazon has reasonable prices compared to its counterparts, as well as free two-day shipping which is incredibly convenient for all. From personal experience, my family will need something and just order the product which would come within a day or two. We did not need to leave our house and we saved money from not needing to use gas as well as purchasing cheaper products–which allows the convenience of ordering from Amazon to be better than ordering from Toys R Us or any other retail store.

    Another example of a store that has done very well and is affecting many other pet stores is Chewy.com. Chewy is an online company that sells pet food, clothing, toys and furniture for pets at a much cheaper cost than at Petco, PetSmart or your local pet store. Bad enough Petco and PetSmart were putting pressure on local pet stores, the creation of Chewy is draining these local stores from customers due to its convenience, one-day shipping, and much cheaper prices. With two animals and having one parent earning an income, it is important to save as much money as possible. With the convenience of not needing to drive 5 miles to the nearest pet store, and getting the product within a day, Chewy is a life changer. Which is also the reason why Chewy is killing Petco’s and PetSmart’s business. This led these companies to re-evaluate their business plan and to allow their customers to price match to the Chewy website, which did help temporarily until they decided not to do so anymore. But what was interesting was that PetSmart actually bought Chewy for $3.35 billion in 2017 and now owns 63.5% of the company, which allows PetSmart to partner with Chewy instead of having it as a competitor (Wikipedia “Chewy”). This business model is very smart because now PetSmart has a huge amount of control over the market for pet food and supplies—which caused PetSmart’s online business to increase by 86% within the year (“Chewy, PetSmart’s Online Business”). This ownership will greatly affect local pet stores and Petco and I am still currently trying to see what happens next with this industry.

    The “retail apocalypse” is insanely disturbing and disappointing since many of my childhood stores are closing permanently while others are just downsizing. But my overall opinion about this issue is that I am glad that these companies are doing something to try and better themselves. Keeping all of their brick-and-mortar stores is not a very smart decision in today’s age and I am glad they finally realized that is it hurting them. Online shopping has grown greatly in the last five years and it will continue to grow as time passes by. But what these companies should not do is completely go online because there is still a market for those who like to go to malls and shop in physical stores. Although the online market is dominating our society, keeping some brick-and-mortar stores is important and I feel that will the right amount of brick-and-mortar stores as well as a very advanced website, these retail stores will be able to survive.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chewy_(company)

    https://www.cnbc.com/2019/06/14/chewycom-petsmarts-online-business-opens-at-36-after-pricing-at-22-per-share.html

  11. Rav Gill October 2, 2019 at 12:14 pm #

    Imagine those weekends where you went out with your family to the mall or outlets to shop and eat. You spent all day there, shopping and stopping to grab a bite to eat. It was what you looked forward to at the end of the week after a long week of work or school. I know I looked forward to it a lot as a little kid and I still do now, when my family says let’s go shopping. I have to admit that retail therapy is so calming and de stressing for me today. If it’s been a long stressful week, I will head out and go spend some money on some nice things which allows me to relax and shop. I think shopping at an actual location is still very important for some people today. It’s not the same as ordering something online because the hassle of returning is not something that I want to deal with or a lot of people. In this article, that talks about a “Retail Apocalypse” it says that “Widespread closures have roiled the retail industry” and “… many more stores are likely to shut down in coming years..” (Retail … stores could be doomed). I don’t know how happy or sad this makes me because I thought we would still want a chance to gout and shop. Christmas shopping is best done in person because imagine the volume of returns companies would face because sizes are wrong or the expectation is completely different from reality. I currently work at Retail store part time and people have told me that they like coming into the store to buy something because they can see it and ensure it is what they wanted. I don’t understand how the “… online shopping is expected to make up 25% of retail store” (Retail … stores could be doomed) and we are supposed to lose so many physical locations. Imagine the volume of empty locations and the effect that would take on landlords who rent out commercial space. I think this is going to create a burden on local economies because they are losing their revenue that they get from the landlords. People are going to suffer losses left and right but the online business will boom meaning large corporations will get richer while local economies suffer.

    The cost of product is increasing but demand for luxury and expensive things is going up. A shoe store that had most brands in it, Payless Shoe Store, had to file for “… Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February, is closing all 2,100 of its U.S. stores” (Retail stores … could be doomed) which led to all their employees being laid off. Things like that lead to higher unemployment and a loss of profit for the government in taxes. Now, think about multiple stores shuttering physical locations leading to a lot of layoffs because most of these companies factories are overseas. I mean, I understand that the business should still exist online because if people like the company they will continue to buy online, but there will be some effect. In class we talk about contracts and how they can be enforced and when they cannot be. When it comes to moving businesses online, aren’t there new contracts that have to be created to govern users. And, not only that, but contracts for returns, purchases and exchanges have to be simplified for the reader. Contracts that jump around and do not clearly state the point to which it is referring can be found unenforceable by courts. An article online spoke to the level of contracts that are currently found online for Facebook, Uber, and other companies are written at a level that people cannot understand. They were found to be “… incomprehensible to the average consumer” (Australia: unreadable … and the law) and this proves my above point. If consumers cannot understand the contract, how can they be held liable for them? When we go to websites to shop and we create an account, most websites, if not all have us check the box for understanding the terms and conditions. And, we do so with our eyes closed. I know most people don’t read the conditions and “… persist in ticking the box to say that they understand the terms” (Australia: unreadable … and the law) which creates issues when something happens and now they sue the company. The question is, can consumers be held responsible for contracts they tick the box for, but can’t reasonable understand? This leads back to the article that retail stores are going to close, but the online business may have to redevelop some things. Now people are going to spend more time reading contracts which defeats the purpose of online shopping being easy and quick. Since many consumers are already tight for time, “Big-box retailers such as Target and Ikea are shrinking their store sizes to appeal to time-strapped shoppers..” (Retail stores … could be doomed). As companies are becoming more liberal when it comes to appealing to the consumers, it’s also going to be a lead cause in redeveloping the online shopping business.

    Overall, like another commenter said that it is sad to see retail companies shuttering down their physical locations. I don’t think online shopping is the main reason for this and it’s due to other factors. However, I’m sure there is a small chance that it could be, but like I mentioned above, online shopping is hard if you don’t know sizes and cannot try it on. I really hope that we won’t see retail stores close stores sooner or later because I still want to go out and stand in lines, deal with the weather, try on the clothes, and walk out with something I love. At the end of the day, companies have to consider what’s best for them. Online shopping or paying rent to landlords for physical locations.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/04/10/retail-apocalypse-now-analysts-say-more-us-stores-could-be-doomed/?wpisrc=nl_most&wpmm=1

    http://www.mondaq.com/australia/x/849990/Consumer+Law/The+Unreadable+and+the+Unread+Online+Consumer+Contracts+and+the+Law

  12. Samantha Russo October 3, 2019 at 10:54 am #

    A majority of the things I buy, I buy online. My Amazon Prime account could be the best, or worse, thing to ever happen to me. I know that if I need anything from a book to computer ink, I can get it without ever having to run to the store. Just looking back at my recent purchases, there’s my little sister’s Halloween costume, t-shirts, textbooks for school and a specific hair product I can’t find anywhere else. While in the past, I would have to go to a bookstore, a costume shop or a pharmacy for these items, with the click of a button, I can have them to me in two days. I can still see the appeal of being able to go to the store and see the products in person before making a purchase but it’s so much easier to do it online.
    Just last year alone, I did some online shopping for all of my winter and summer clothes. For Christmas, all of our Secret Santa items were purchased online and shipped to our house. I think if retail stores want to keep up, they need to have a bigger online presence. My little cousins all used to make Wishlists on Toys-R-Us so we can go there and buy the gifts in person. Despite the fact that they are older now, their new wishlists are texted to us or we are sent a link to buy them online.
    One thing that retail stores are doing right though, is price match. The ability for them to match their prices with Amazon’s much lower costs allows them to stay competitive. While I usually order computer ink off of Amazon because of how cheap it is, I needed it immediately and Staples was able to match Amazon’s price and give a few more off to make me want to buy there again. I think the best thing for them to do is to remain competitive and keep price matching to Amazon’s low prices. They’ll be able to attract more customers in store by keeping their prices equivalent to Amazons.

  13. Emily Rodger October 4, 2019 at 11:13 am #

    Retail stores are definitely going through their own sort of “apocalypse” in today’s day and age. Recently, there were talks about the big retail store Forever 21 shutting its doors. With the fast paced rise and growing of technology, many stores do not stand a chance to these online markets. Nowadays, it is almost unheard of for a store to not also have its own website to shop from. Another new creation that was not always around is Cyber Monday which is during the Black Friday sales events. Black Friday is a huge day for retail companies to sell their products and gain a huge crowd. Although Black Friday is still a popular event, Cyber Monday is starting to catch up. Cyber Monday is very resourceful because it allows people to still buy the products they want for the same deals without having to deal with the lines and chaos of Black Friday. Who knows, many in another ten years the idea of actually going in store for Black Friday will become completely nonexistent and Cyber Monday will take its place. For many, shopping online is a lot more convenient than actually having to go to the store. Another reason could be that Americans are just too lazy to actually get up and physically go out to do something. Whether the rise of online shopping is due to convenience or laziness, retail stores are suffering nonetheless. There is practically nothing that one cannot buy online nowadays thanks to sites like Amazon. Food shopping can even be done online thanks to websites such as Shoprite from home. In the end, retail stores are definitely lacking the in-store competitiveness that they once received, and this is all thanks to the rise of the internet and social media.

  14. Noelle Wanda Arrighi October 4, 2019 at 7:52 pm #

    It is half way through 2019 and the number of major retailers filing for bankruptcy is continuing to grow. Some of these corporations applying for Chapter 11 protection are only looking to restructure, however, some like Charlotte Russe and Payless shoes will be shutting down indefinitely. According to the Washington Post, the average U.S. household spent $5,200 online last year, up nearly 50 percent from five years earlier (Bhattarai). That is $5,200 that they are not spending in retail stores, and this number will increase which each passing year. When stores are not receiving enough business they do not have the funds to pay a large number of employees or restock their inventory to the caliber they would like to. This would result in the closing of stores so that companies can prioritize their spending on less stores and ones that will ideally receive more business, and are therefore more profitable.
    Personally, I would much rather shop in an actual store than online. The only times I prefer to shop online is if the shipping is free, something I would not have to pay for if I had physically gone to the store. When it comes to retail especially I always like to see things in person and in the case of clothes try them on before I make the decision to purchase them. I would much rather find out something did not fit me properly in the dressing room at a store than after I have paid for it to be shipped to my house. In most cases if something does not fit after it has been shipped to you, you go through the trouble of going to the store to return it anyway.
    As society promotes technology and reduces personal interactions much more will change than store foreclosures. For instance, people will be out of jobs, retailers will no longer need cashiers, store helpers, and managers, which will save the corporations money but put many out of jobs. The American economy needs to discover which they would like to prioritize, more American jobs or increasing the wealth of large corporations.

  15. Corinne Roonan October 19, 2019 at 6:46 pm #

    Of course big stores are going into bankruptcy and closing. Amazon and online shopping is the way of the world now. If a store’s only customers are older people, their clientele is going to continue to decline until there is no one to purchase from that store anymore, leading to their closing. Our world is a fast-paced world, whether we like it or not. If stores cannot keep up with the latest fads, changed, upgrades, and technological advancements, then there is no reason for them to continue to exist. Is this a positive advancement or a detrimental degradation for society and our economy? Who’s to say?
    If there is no need for big stores to stay, then they are not going to stay. It is as simple as that. The only concerning part of this is the loss of jobs. When a store or store chain closes, jobs are lost. That on a large scale negatively effects our economy. With the loss of big stores, though, comes an invasion or larger, online stores. Without taking into consideration the future of same day drone delivery, it is clear to us that the rise and continued growth of these stores is going to cause an inflation in the job market for workers in those companies. With the rate that technology is growing though, the skill sets needed to work for one of those companies tends to be more demanding than the skill set needed to work for an in person store like the ones that are rapidly closing.
    This tends to follow along at the same rate of higher education increases. As America becomes a country filled with individuals chasing after higher educational degrees, our jobs are transforming to a job market of higher skilled jobs. Jobs in the United States are rapidly becoming more service based and less production based, meaning that there tends to be more skilled labor needed. If there is more skilled labor needed, but the trend in higher education continues to rise, then is there really an issue? Economically, there is no issue because of country is just continuing to evolve its’ job market to a more specialized way.

  16. Sarah C October 21, 2019 at 4:24 pm #

    Many stores that have been mentioned in this article are the stores that I used to go to when I was a young child with my family such as Payless ShoeSource, Sears, Kmart, and Gymboree. While growing up, I noticed over time that we visited these stores less frequently and purchased more products online. Today, everyone that I know prefers to purchase products online as opposed to going to a retailer in person and shopping around the physical stores. In the article, Abha Bhattarai writes that the amount of physical retail stores closing has created the term “retail apocalypse.” I have worked in a shopping mall at home for the past 3 summers, and I have noticed that many stores each summer close or are moved to another location that has a smaller amount of space in the mall. What I have witnessed is consistent with what has been reported by analysts, and now it makes more sense that physical stores are closing.

    I have noticed that some of my favorite online-only brands have begun to open smaller stores that are smaller and carry less items than common retailers do. The article mentioned that these stores “function more as showrooms,” and I agree with that because often when I visit these stores it is to explore their options and test the quality of the product in person before I decide that I would like to buy it online.

    One area of business that this “retail apocalypse” will affect is employment. If these stores go out of business, where will all of their employees go? I worry for those who work in retail as a full-time or part-time job and face the potential of their business filing for bankruptcy. If those employees are unable to work for their current retailer, and if the retailers around them close, what would be their next step? I hope that these retailers place that into perspective and shift costs or cut costs where applicable to help preserve these jobs.

  17. Tyler Abline October 22, 2019 at 1:37 pm #

    With the rise of online shopping, retail stores are bound to start being phased out. Due to shopping being more convenient than ever thanks to online shopping, the demand for physical store locations is only going to continue to decline. We saw recently with the closing of Toys R Us and less recently with the closing of Blockbuster that other companies and trends can result in the closure of businesses. Toys R Us was hurt by the convenience of companies and services such as Amazon while Blockbuster was hurt by Netflix and other digital outlets.
    Retail stores need to remain convenient if they want to be able to compete with online shopping. If someone can spend 10 minutes shopping online for what they need versus an hour shopping in person they are more likely to shop online. Due to the convenience of online shopping it seems inevitable that online shopping will eventually overtake retail shopping. If there is not enough demand for retail stores they will start to disappear. Convenience is key and whichever option is the most convenient for shoppers is the one most likely to be used.
    One cause for concern with this new trend it what the effect will be on the retail workforce as we start to shift more and more to online purchases. As more stores close more jobs will disappear. If online shopping renders retail stores obsolete, where will all the employees at the stores go? Hopefully stores will be able to find some way to remain relevant and stick around both for shoppers who may prefer retail shopping and the employees that work there.

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