We’ve been focused on the “Retailpocalypse” for about a year now because we feel so many sectors are affected, including real estate (when stores close and locations may or may not find new tenants), hiring (when tens or hundreds of employees lose their jobs), and local media (who had been relying on ads from those local retailers).
We came to this topic by way of the impact on local media, which is directly relevant to our business.
Unfortunately, while there are new stores launching each year, and other retailers may be expanding, there seem to be more retailers shutting down locations or declaring bankruptcy. The latest is Sears, the 125-year-old retail pioneer, which on Monday filed for bankruptcy and said it will close 142 more stores. That’s on top of the 46 locations it announced it was closing back in August.
The company, which also owns Kmart, will have 687 Sears and Kmart locations remaining. The company owed $134 million of debt that it could not pay.
At its height, Sears was the known as the “the everything store” and was the largest retailer in the U.S. In 2006, it had 355,000 employees; today, it has fewer than 140,000 employees.
One reason Sears is failing is because of Amazon. It’s ironic that Sears, which started as a catalog business, has lost out to Amazon. Amazon is now “the everything store.”
For more on Sears’ legacy, check out this NPR story.
The retailpocalypse is not ending anytime soon, and will continue to have a significant trickle-down impact on a range of sectors in the U.S. economy. We don’t know if there’s a solution exactly, and certainly don’t see how government could step in (other than to break up Amazon, which isn’t necessarily a good idea). But the health of the retail sector is one that needs to attention paid to it. As we prepare our predictions for trends in 2019, the retailpocalypse will continue to be on our list.