20 Facts About The Great U.S. Retail Apocalypse That Will Blow Your Mind

Abandoned Mall - Photo by Justin CozartThe Economic Collapse – by Michael Snyder

If the U.S. economy is getting better, then why are major retail chains closing thousands of stores?  If we truly are in an “economic recovery”, then why do sales figures continue to go down for large retailers all over the country?  Without a doubt, the rise of Internet retailing giants such as Amazon.com have had a huge impact.  Today, there are millions of Americans that actually prefer to shop online.  Personally, when I published my novel I made it solely available on Amazon.  But Internet shopping alone does not account for the great retail apocalypse that we are witnessing.  In fact, some retail experts estimate that the Internet has accounted for only about 20 percent of the decline that we are seeing.  Most of the rest of it can be accounted for by the slow, steady death of the middle class U.S. consumer.  Median household income has declined for five years in a row, but all of our bills just keep going up.  That means that the amount of disposable income that average Americans have continues to shrink, and that is really bad news for retailers.  

And sadly, this is just the beginning.  Retail experts are projecting that the pace of store closings will actually accelerate over the course of the next decade.

So as you read this list below, please take note that things will soon get even worse.

The following are 20 facts about the great U.S. retail apocalypse that will blow your mind…

#1 As you read this article, approximately a billion square feet of retail space is sitting vacant in the United States.

#2 Last week, Radio Shack announced that it was going to close more than a thousand stores.

#3 Last week, Staples announced that it was going to close 225 stores.

#4 Same-store sales at Office Depot have declined for 13 quarters in a row.

#5 J.C. Penney has been dying for years, and it recently announced plans to close 33 more stores.

#6 J.C. Penney lost 586 million dollars during the second quarter of 2013 alone.

#7 Sears has closed about 300 stores since 2010, and CNN is reporting that Sears is “expected to shutter another 500 Sears and Kmart locations soon”.

#8 Overall, sales numbers have declined at Sears for 27 quarters in a row.

#9 Target has announced that it is going to eliminate 475 jobs and not fill 700 positions that are currently empty.

#10 It is being projected that Aéropostale will close about 175 storesover the next couple of years.

#11 Macy’s has announced that it is going to be closing five stores and eliminating 2,500 jobs.

#12 The Children’s Place has announced that it will be closing down125 of its “weakest” stores by 2016.

#13 Best Buy recently shut down about 50 stores up in Canada.

#14 Video rental giant Blockbuster has completely shut down all of their stores.

#15 It is being projected that sales at U.S. supermarkets will declineby 1.7 percent this year even as the overall population continues to grow.

#16 McDonald’s has reported that sales at established U.S. locationswere down 3.3 percent in January.

#17 A home appliance chain known as “American TV” in the Midwest is going to be shutting down all 11 stores.

#18 Even Wal-Mart is struggling right now.  Just check out what one very prominent Wal-Mart executive recently admitted

David Cheesewright, CEO of Walmart International was speaking at the same presentation, and he pointed out that Walmart would try to protect its market share in the US – where the company had just issued an earnings warning. But most of the growth would have to come from its units outside the US. I mean, via these share buybacks?

Alas, outside the US too, economies were limping along at best, and consumers were struggling and the operating environment was tough. “We’re seeing economies under stress pretty much everywhere we operate,” Cheesewright admitted.

#19 In a recent CNBC article entitled “Time to close Wal-Mart stores? Analysts think so“, it was recommended that Wal-Mart should close approximately 100 “underperforming” supercenters in rural locations across America.

#20 Retail consultant Howard Davidowitz is projecting that up to half of all shopping malls in America may shut down within the next 15 to 20 years

Within 15 to 20 years, retail consultant Howard Davidowitz expects as many as half of America’s shopping malls to fail. He predicts that only upscale shopping centers with anchors like Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus will survive.

So is there any hope that things will turn around?

Well, if the U.S. economy started producing large numbers of good paying middle class jobs there would definitely be cause for optimism.

Unfortunately, that is just not happening.

On Friday, we were told that the U.S. economy added 175,000 jobs during the month of February.

That sounds pretty good until you realize that it takes almost that many jobs each month just to keep up with population growth.

And according to CNS News, the number of unemployed Americans actually grew faster than the number of employed Americans in February…

The number of unemployed individuals 16 years and over increased by 223,000 in February, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

In February, there were 10,459,000 unemployed individuals age 16 and over, which was up 223,000 from January, when there were 10,236,000 unemployed individuals.

Meanwhile, the labor force participation rate continues to sit at a 35 year low, and a staggering 70 percent of all Americans not in the labor force are below the age of 55.

That is outrageous.

And things look particularly depressing when you look at the labor force participation rate for men by themselves.

In 1950, the labor force participation rate for men was sitting at about 87 percent.  Today, it has dropped beneath 70 percent to a brand new all-time record low.

The truth is that there simply are not enough jobs for everyone anymore.

The chart posted below shows how the percentage of working age Americans that actually have a job has changed since the turn of the millennium.  As you can see, the employment-population ratio declined precipitously during the last recession, and it has stayed below 59 percent since late 2009…

Employment Population Ratio 2014

If we were going to have a “recovery”, we should have had one by now.

Since there are not enough jobs, what is happening is that more highly educated workers are taking the jobs that were once occupied by less educated workers and bumping them out of the labor force entirely.  The following is an excerpt from a recent Bloomberg article

Recent college graduates are ending up in more low-wage and part-time positions as it’s become harder to find education-level appropriate jobs, according to a January study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The share of Americans ages 22 to 27 with at least a bachelor’s degree in jobs that don’t require that level of education was 44 percent in 2012, up from 34 percent in 2001, the study found.

Due to the fact that there are not enough middle class jobs to go around, the middle class has been steadily shrinking.

In 2008, 53 percent of all Americans considered themselves to be “middle class”.  Today, only 44 percent of all Americans consider themselves to be “middle class”.

That is a pretty significant shift in just six years, don’t you think?

For much more on this, please see my previous article entitled “28 Signs That The Middle Class Is Heading Toward Extinction“.

Despite what the politicians and the mainstream media are telling you, the truth is that something is fundamentally wrong with our economy.

On a gut level, most people realize this.

According to one recent survey, only 35 percent of all Americans say that they are better off financially than they were a year ago.  And according to a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, only 28 percent of all Americans believe that this country is moving in the right direction.

The frightening thing is that this is about as good as things are going to get.  The next great wave of the economic collapse is approaching, and when it strikes the plight of the middle class is going to get a whole lot worse.


12 thoughts on “20 Facts About The Great U.S. Retail Apocalypse That Will Blow Your Mind

  1. Hey Missy. not surprising. This nation was once the greatest nation in the world. It pains me to see it going down the drain. The puppeteers are having their way so far, but it will soon com to a head. Have recently learned that a few friends and family are beginning to wake up. In the past they thought i was crazy….. not now anymore.

    1. That is good to hear Paul, that some of your friends and family are waking up as they usually do when things are hitting close to home.

      1. yes Daniel. i learned this after sending them that manning report that was posted yesterday. that was a definite eye opener for them.

    2. Paul, that is good and must be interesting to have some friends and family beginning to wake up. That has not (yet) been my experience with mine but I will not give up hope. Are they now returning to you, looking for advice and wisdom?

      It strikes me that if Wal-Mart is issuing an “earnings warning” things must really be getting bad. Of course, I would also hope that people are wising up and boycotting such places and turning instead to bartering and buying local, Mom and Pop…

      This economic problem would not be difficult to solve, if our country (policy makers) wanted to. Because they are not solving it and things are getting worse, and new policy decisions are taking us even farther into the abyss…. well, there is only one logical conclusion to draw from that.

  2. EE they are not asking for knowledge at this time. However the fact that they are acknowledging what is REALLY going on is great progress. tried to get them to listen to the trenches with little success, but this manning report hit them where they are i guess. It takes time to unshackle ones self from the brain washing that has gone on for years and years. there other family members who have no clue yet despite my ranting. However i will not stop. this economic slide is intentional i feel, and will not abate until people arm up and man up, and do what has to be done.

    1. you took the words right out of my mouth, Paul. 🙂 Well, that Manning report was sure a good one. I think, many angles to come at this from, and I think the toughest thing to get a person’s mind around is that all this is *deliberate.* It just sounds so…. nutty… .at first. Yes, we have to keep trying to wake our brothers (and sisters) up. Not be divided in any way.

      I just spoke with another friend today who is starting to wake up. I can see it. He is asking all of the right questions, but he as yet has not crossed the really Big Barrier where your eyes are jolted open and you KNOW. That is such a huge barrier to get around! For him, he was talking about Obamacare (from an economic standpoint) and how none of it “makes sense” to him. Yep…. he is on the right track.

  3. If we could just rid this country of these control freaks we might be able to get back some sort of normalcy. I mean you got people who worked hard their whole life and then start to get ahead the politicans have the laws changed so the evil banksters can take every penny of your money while the politicans will do what they are told like good little girls and boys and get their money. I mean this system they have created is so freakin corrupt it is a joke. I have said this before. We were once a great nation because we all worked together. Even the old leaders saw that and didn’t want to mess with it. Now they are just letting these psychos run free and our country is going downhill because of it.

  4. We have a friend that works at the local convenience store, he was working 40/hrs per week, full benefits, I went in yesterday, I like to talk to him, he and his wife are awake, and they just cut his hours down to 22/hrs per week and no more benefits. He was pretty distraught, they have 3 small children. I told him to come to the house, I am going to give them a whole bunch of seeds, they do grow their own food, and I am going to hand over some of our Honeyville stock pile to them. It just breaks my heart, I have never met his wife, but from what he says she is a sweety! I pray that they will endure this hardship. He said it is due to obamacare and them wanting to raise the minimum wage, corporate is acting ahead of time.

    1. You and Bulldog are great people Missy and Bulldog.
      I would like to think that there are other Trenchers that would do the same thing as you. I know that I would and have many times in the past myself.

  5. I could be mistaken here, but I think all of the stores listed are franchise operations, and the owner has to pay a huge bill to the parent company every month that’s similar to a mortgage, but a lot bigger.

    Yes, the economy is crashing, but that fact may be closing a lot of the stores listed here, while independent store owners have the ability to trim their overhead to a greater degree.

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