What a convenient time to be alive, no? Without having to get up from the couch, look for your keys, or even put on pants you can buy shoes, clothes, soaps, snacks, essentially anything else you can think of and have it shipped directly to your door. But as online shopping becomes more popular, brick and mortar stores are becoming more obsolete. In fact, retail stores are closing down almost faster than we can count.
Retail Stores are Closing Rapidly
In the past few years, retail stores across the U.S. have seen a rapid decline in sales and demand. As a result, stores are dropping left and right in this retail bloodbath. A few weeks ago Gap, JCPenney, Victoria’s Secret, and Foot Locker all announced within the course of 48 hours that together they would be closing a total of 465 retail stores. (1)
Even over the holidays, which should be the most popular time for shoppers, these businesses noticed their same-store sales actually decreasing. This seems to be the reason they decided to shutter so many retail stores at once.
5,000 Other Retail Stores are Closing This Year
These four businesses aren’t the only ones hurt by the uprising of online shopping. Approximately 5,000 additional retail stores are contributing to the market massacre. Take a look at the complete list of retailers closing in the coming months.
- Payless ShoeSource (2,500 stores)
- Gymboree (805 stores)
- Charlotte Russe (520 stores)
- Family Dollar (390 stores)
- Shopko (251 stores)
- Chico’s (250 stores)
- Gap (230 stores)
- Performance Bicycle (102 stores)
- Sears (70 stores)
- Destination Maternity (42-67 stores)
- Victoria’s Secret (53 stores)
- Kmart (50 stores)
- Abercrombie & Fitch (40 stores)
- Christopher & Banks (30-40 stores)
- JCPenney (27 stores)
- Beauty Brands (25 stores)
- Henri Bendel (23 stores)
- Lowe’s (20 stores)
- Z Gallerie (17 stores)
- Macy’s (9 stores)
- J.Crew (7 stores)
- Kohl’s (4 stores)
- Nordstrom (3 stores)(2)
Why are Retail Stores Such a Big Deal?
So why would the fact that so many retail stores are closing be an issue? Doesn’t this mean progress for the world of technology? Let’s get with the times, right? Actually, there are several issues with this massive retail store shutdown.
Online Shopping Isn’t For Everyone
For some people, the luxury of shopping from your phone is the dream. But for others, it’s an absolute nightmare. Even the most skilled of online shoppers will at times end up with a product that is the wrong size, wrong color, or even sent to the wrong address. Retail stores allow consumers to try on, try out, and immediately check out exactly what they need. As nice as online shopping can be, it’s just not the same.
Support the Local Economy
Let’s be honest. Some days, having to strap the kids in their car seats just to head to the nearest retail store for a pair of socks can be a bigger hassle than it’s worth. But the more dollars you choose to spend locally rather than online can support your community immensely by helping it grow and thrive.
Retail Stores Provide Jobs
Five thousand is a pretty big number. But if you think of how many people worked in those 5,000 retail stores, the number gets even bigger. Working in retail may not be everyone’s number one career path, but for a lot of people, it is just what they need to pay the bills. Purchasing your mascara at a nearby store rather than ordering online may not seem like a big deal to you. But to the employee who rang it up for you, it just might mean a whole lot.
Do Your Part to Keep Retail Stores from Closing
I enjoy checking the front porch for my purchases just as much as the next online shopper. But if driving the extra mile for a package of diapers can really have such a big impact on the future of retail stores, that sounds like a good enough reason to me.