Retail Apocalypse: 2016 Brings Empty Shelves And Store Closings All Across America

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By Michael Snyder

Major retailers in the United States are shutting down hundreds of stores, and shoppers are reporting alarmingly bare shelves in many retail locations that are still open all over the country.  It appears that the retail apocalypse that made so many headlines in 2015 has gone to an entirely new level as we enter 2016.  As economic activity slows down and Internet retailers capture more of the market, brick and mortar retailers are cutting their losses.  This is especially true in areas that are on the lower portion of the income scale.  In impoverished urban centers all over the nation, it is not uncommon to find entire malls that have now been completely abandoned.  It has been estimated that there is about a billion square feet of retail space sitting empty in this country, and this crisis is only going to get worse as the retail apocalypse accelerates.

We always get a wave of store closings after the holiday shopping season, but this year has been particularly active.  The following are just a few of the big retailers that have already made major announcements…

-Wal-Mart is closing 269 stores, including 154 inside the United States.

-K-Mart is closing down more than two dozen stores over the next several months.

-J.C. Penney will be permanently shutting down 47 more stores after closing a total of 40 stores in 2015.

-Macy’s has decided that it needs to shutter 36 stores and lay off approximately 2,500 employees.

-The Gap is in the process of closing 175 stores in North America.

-Aeropostale is in the process of closing 84 stores all across America.

-Finish Line has announced that 150 stores will be shutting down over the next few years.

-Sears has shut down about 600 stores over the past year or so, but sales at the stores that remain open continue to fall precipitously.

But these store closings are only part of the story.

All over the country, shoppers are noticing bare shelves and alarmingly low inventory levels.  This is happening even at the largest and most prominent retailers.

I want to share with you an excerpt from a recent article by Jeremiah Johnson.  The anecdotes that he shares definitely set off alarm bells with me.  Read them for yourself and see what you think…


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2 Responses to Retail Apocalypse: 2016 Brings Empty Shelves And Store Closings All Across America

  1. Average Joe says:

    I have noticed sine the initial collapse of 2007-08 that the Super Wal Mart in our area has eliminated numerous shelves and even entire isles as well as eliminating about all of the storage containers in the rear of the store. Likewise back before that time I ALWAYS found the brands, sizes, and items on my list and all to often now seem empty areas or areas with off brands, sizes, merely used to ‘fill in’ what would otherwise be vacant.

  2. Ben C says:

    I can’t speak to the rest, but Sears has been dying since the 90s. When they failed to bring their extremely good catalog ordering business to the internet, it left openings for many other sellers, who are now dominating the market. Current top management/ownership appears to be working hard to transfer the assets of the company to personal pockets to allow a strong cash out when the dinosaur finally dies. Their top brands are being set up to be their own lines of goods sold at other stores. Craftsman, Kenmore, and Lands End can all be bought at places other than Sears now. Combine the lack of locations with a widely noted drop in the brands’ quality and you will see sales tank badly.

    Physical retail has been realistically in decline since the early 2000s and the rise of Amazon and other online options giving people more options at lower prices and less hassle. Combine this with lower seller overhead and the ability to sell nation wide with very few physical locations, and brick and mortar stores are in a tough place.

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