Stores are shutting, malls are closing and the retail sector, at least in brick and mortar form, is taking a downward spiral that’s leaving untold numbers facing unemployment lines across the country.
That’s according to some politically incorrect economic analysts whose message to America is very different from the rosier one being sent from the White House and that characterizes the current trend in the bluntest of terms, as “retail apocalypse.”
Michael Snyder, a University of Florida law school graduate, former Washington, D.C., attorney, and publisher of the Economic Collapse Blog, wrote on “The End of the American Dream” blog: “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.”
He warned the 2015 retail lag was only worsening in 2016.
“In impoverished urban centers all over the nation, it is not uncommon to find entire malls that have now been completely abandoned,” he said. “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.”
Some examples of what’s coming this year: Walmart is set to shutter 269 stores, 154 of which are located in the United States; K-Mart is shutting a couple dozen or so spots in the upcoming months; J.C. Penney is closing 47 stores, and that’s after closing 40 in 2015; Macy’s is due to shut down 36 stores and lay off 2,500 employees; and the Gap is in midst of shutting doors on 175 of its locations in North America. Giant Sears, meanwhile, has been steadily shutting stores to the tune of 600 over the last year, but more could follow. Sales at the remaining Sears spots are less than satisfactory, Zero Hedge reported.
“But these store closings are only part of the story,” Snyder wrote. “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.”
In part, because of the rising popularity of online shopping – but also in part because of the dwindling amount of exports.
“Exports are plummeting all over the globe,” Snyder said. “The amount of stuff being shipped around by air, truck and rail inside this country has been dropping significantly and this tells us that real economic activity is really slowing down.”
WND reported last May that major U.S. retailers announced the closing of more than 6,000 stores from coast to coast. The list included only those retailers that projected plans to close more than 10 outlets in 2015 and 2016.
For example, 1,784 Radio Shack stores were 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 coincided with the decline in discretionary consumer spending in the first half of 2015.
“Expect to see more storefronts closed at malls across the country,” one retail watcher told WND. “It’s getting ugly out there.”