Major Chain Stores Shutting Down as America Faces “Birth Pangs of Retail Apocalypse”

By Mac Slavo

Reduced consumer spending is heralding a looming economic downturn, if not collapse, with an unprecedented shutdown of major box stores, restaurants and grocers underway.

It doesn’t bode well for the millions of Americans who are already seriously struggling, and will only accelerate the death of the middle class.

Along with this massive shrinkage of the retail sector will go thousands of jobs. Natural News reports:

There is chatter across the web about dozens of major retail chains that are expected to permanently shutter a large number of their store locations this year. Popular names like Abercrombie & Fitch, Barnes & Noble, Chico’s, Children’s Place, Coach, Fresh & Easy, Gymboree, JCPenney, Macy’s, Office Depot, Pier One, Pep Boys, and many others are named as soon-to-be casualties in what some news sources are now referring to as the coming “retail apocalypse.”

The Economic Collapse Blog pins 2015 as a significant “turning point” for the U.S. economy, ominously warning that at least 6,000 retail store locations are expected to close this year based on company announcements. Many American consumers are already witnessing the birth pangs of this retail apocalypse as brick-and-mortar department, specialty, and even food shops close their doors for good.

The list of store closures (see here) is truly massive, and in no way accounts for everything that’s coming.

But Americans are still buying one major retail category — technological gadgets like iPhones, wearables, smart devices and computers. As technology purchases soar, shopping malls that have long specialized in clothing and fashion retail are falling in on themselves.

Business Insider calls it a slow and painful death, noting the collapse not only of thousands of stores from dozens of chains, but even the fall of giants like Gap:

Gap once ruled the retail world. But today America’s largest apparel retailer is closing a quarter of its stores and laying off hundreds of workers after disappointing sales.

Gap’s closures are indicative of a larger trend in American retail.

According to National Real Estate Investor, more retailers are planning to close, but are holding on for the end of the holiday shopping season:



After a tsunami of store closing announcements during the first half of the year, experts forecast that the remainder of 2015 will be relatively quiet as retailers focus on getting through the holiday season. However, retailers will continue to shutter stores throughout the year as leases expire.

[…]

The most recent store closing data available reports that retailers and restaurateurs announced closings of more than 3,500 establishments totaling an estimated 19.9 million square feet, according to the U.S. Retail Real Estate Supply Conditions report from ICSC Research and PNC Real Estate Research. The planned 1,784 store closures announced after Radio Shack’s February Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing represented half of the total first-quarter tally.

And the tenants aren’t being replaced by new stores; the retail sector is just shrinking. Business Insider notes:

More than two dozen malls have shut down in the last four years and another 60 malls are on the brink of death, The New York Times reported, citing Green Street Advisors, a real-estate and real-estate investments trust analytics firm.

The elephant in the room in clearly online sales, with major sites like Amazon undercutting and dwarfing brick-and-mortar box stores.

And with online sales impacting on-the-ground retail, local jobs are destroyed as well. The future of retail will be more compacted, less physical and more out of reach for those with shrinking pocketbooks and dwindling means.

You can read more from Mac Slavo at his site SHTFplan.com, where this article first appeared.


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3 Comments on "Major Chain Stores Shutting Down as America Faces “Birth Pangs of Retail Apocalypse”"

  1. David A. Laibow | July 15, 2015 at 8:31 am | Reply

    Expansion and contraction is the nature of retailing; no retail employee has a right to employment for as long as they’d like. If you have been working in retailing, and you find yourself unemployed, you can either find a new job, or you find something else to do. This will be a wonderful opportunity for millions of people to discover what they can really do with their lives. I was discharged for reasons beyond my control at the end of 1999, and it opened up a new and exhilarating chapter of my life!
    Being discharged may not be your FAULT, but providing for yourself and your family definitely is your RESPONSIBILITY. The “big-box” stores put small businesses in the trashcan of history, and now it’s their turn. The wheel turns!
    I’m Dave Laibow, and you can contact me directly any time at “caballafamily[at[yahoo.com”.

    • Hear ya Dave, but I remember when the opportunities were more numerous in 1999 than 2015.

      • David A. Laibow | July 15, 2015 at 9:43 pm | Reply

        Falcon Moose, thank you for your kind and thoughtful comment. Happily, this isn’t 1999. My late wife Susan (peace to her soul! was an executive of a major women’s sportswear chain for most of our marriage (a forerunner of Victoria’s Secret and Forever 21), and we were stockholders of most of the “big-box” chains such as Wal-Mart and Target, and the other apparel chains from 1969 to 2007, when she died. The nature of chain retailing is you open stores when the opportunity arises and the market exists, and you close them when the market opportunity is gone. Here in the Philippines, as a result of the rise of APEC (in which mainland China is an associate, as contrasted to Chinese non-membership in the American TPP) retail business is generally expanding, both individual enterprises, and chains. That’s because the trickle of foreign investment in 2009 (when we came home from America) has turned into a tsunami of foreign investment from North America and Western Europe. Foreigners can’t invest in private financial instruments or Philippine sovereign debt (and a Filipino/Filipina who colludes in enabling a foreign individual or entity acquire Philippine sovereign debt faces up to life imprisonment with no possibility of parole or clemency); the only permissible investment is in “bricks and mortar” business, directly or through companies listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange.
        My wife has confidential government sources who tell us that the YoY GDP increase for 2015 will be at least 8%, and might touch 10%, depending on the volume of year-end remittances from Filipinos working overseas.
        I notice your icon says “Molon Labe”, a watchword of Oath Keepers. Foreigners can’t have firearms in the Philippines, but this can be your own little corner of Paradise, as it is for so many other Americans. If you want to stay in a country that won’t see its best days again in your lifetime, that’s okay with me! But my advice is to leave your firearms behind, and relocate to a country that isn’t heading down the road to a war it can’t win.
        I’m Dave Laibow, and you can contact me directly any time at “caballafamily[at]yahoo.com”.

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