2017 was not a kind year for retail chains in America. Shopping malls and shopping centers started looking like the 2008 Great Recession all over again as well-known retailers with long histories in their communities shuttered their storefronts for good. Now 2018 is predicted to be even worse.
According to Business Insider, our new year could eclipse 2017’s record number of store closings. On top of retailers like Sears, Macy’s, and J.C. Penney continuing their retreat from brick-and-mortar monoliths, new businesses are projected to join the list.
Bon-Ton, Bebe Stores, Stein Mart, and Destination Maternity Corp. are among those most likely to file for bankruptcy, S&P Global Market Intelligence reports. Walgreens, which has already been abandoning many street corners, is looking at 600 more store closings in 2018.
The dire predictions for this year are also nerve-racking to those who own the buildings and malls retailers inhabit. One nationwide mall chain is even suing Starbucks for announcing the closure of its 379 Teavana tea shops.
SierraConstellation Partners CEO Larry Perkins proclaims, "Landlords are panicking. The last year was pretty apocalyptic from a retail standpoint, and the macro issues haven't changed. There will continue to be a high degree of bankruptcies and store closures."
But not everything is bleak in retail land. We’re not yet destined to live in a country where the only store you can physical shop at is Walmart and the skies are dark with swarms of Amazon.com delivery drones. And it’s not likely that every restaurant will be Taco Bell (Editor’s note: That’s a “Demolition Man” reference if you didn’t catch it). Some store chains are actually doing really well and have hundreds of new openings in the works.
Discount chains like Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Ross, TJ Maxx, Lidl, and Aldi are planning great growth in 2018. And not all of the larger storefronts that are seeing their tenants flee are staying vacant for long.
Plus, not all shoppers are satisfied with buying most of their goods online or at discount stores. In a free market, if there’s a need for more brick-and-mortar stores, then store chains will expand to fill that need and entrepreneurial individuals will see ripe opportunity to create something completely new.
Or as Perkins states in less doom-and-gloom words, “Retail isn't going away by any means. We just got a little bit out of control with the volume of retailers and the number of stores.”
What do you think of this? In other news, police need your help finding two children who went missing after their mom was found dead.