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WASHINGTON – The long feared “retail apocalypse” may be hitting with little or no fanfare if a growing list of store-closing plans by major chains is any indication.

Major U.S. retailers have announced the closing of more than 6,000 stores from coast to coast. The list includes only those retailers that have announced plans to close more than 10 outlets this year and next.

For example, 1,784 Radio Shack stores are vanishing, 400 stores in the Office Depot/Office Max chain by 2016, and 340 Dollar Tree/Family Dollar stores.

The growing list of stores getting shuttered coincides with the decline in discretionary consumer spending over the past six months.

“Expect to see more storefronts closed at malls across the country,” one retail watcher told WND. “It’s getting ugly out there.”

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Another factor, the source said, is that Americans’ credit is maxed out – a problem that will impact holiday season sales later this year. Add the demand of rising taxes, housing and health-insurance costs and you’ve got a formula for belt-tightening across the board.

Expected to be hit hardest by the trend are poorer- and lower-middle class neighborhoods. The recent riots in Baltimore are expected to make retailers even more skittish.

Some more of the worst-hit retailers include Wet Seal (338 stores), Deb Shops (300), Barnes & Noble (223 stores), Children’s Place (200 stores), Walgreens (200 stores) and Abercrombie & Fitch (180 stores).

See the complete list compiled by retail industry expert Barbara Farfan here.


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