While we may not be witnessing the death of retail, we are seeing some significant shifts. Consider these facts recently reported by Hayley Peterson in her Business Insider article, “An American jobs threat worse than coal is coming to your hometown”
- According to government data, general-merchandise stores like Macy’s and Sears have bled about 89,000 jobs since October — more than the total number of people employed by the US coal industry, which Trump repeatedly pledged to revive both on the campaign trail and in office.
- Since 2001, department stores alone have lost half a million jobs. The coal industry, by comparison, has lost about 22,000 jobs in the same period.
- Retailers have announced more than 3200 store closures so far this year, and Credit Suisse analysts expect that number to grow to more than 8,600 before the end of the year. For comparison, 6,163 stores shut down in 2008 — the worst year for closures on record.
- Sears employees have also been stripped of their employee discount, which gave them 10% to 20% off products at Sears and Kmart. The company replaced the discount program this year with a system that awards 20% back in “points” that can be applied to future purchases. The points expire after 60 days.
Store closures, bankruptcy, contractions, lay-offs, reduced hours/benefits; these make you wonder about our industry.