Wait! Wh-a-a-at? The Sky Really Is Falling!
And now for a look at Modern American retail news, just for 2017.
Macy’s. Shuttering 68 more stores.
JC Penney. 138 more closing.
Kmart & Sears shutting down 150 more, whilst sharing the news they may not be able to continue operations.
HH Gregg: Say good bye to 88 stores and three distribution centers.
Abercrombie & Fitch: Whoosh! There go 60 stores.
Guess: 60 stores gone.
Crocs: 160 stores closed.
American Apparel. Gone.
The Limited. All 250 US stores gone.
Wet Seal: 171 shops (all of ‘em) gone.
BCBG: 120 gone. Game Shop: 150 done. Radio Shack: 552 gone. Staples: 70 gone. CVS: 70 gone.
Ralph Lauren, shutting Fifth Avenue showcase.
Tiffany, firing CEO after poor sales results.
Neiman-Marcus, on the block.
Can there be any lingering doubt that the retail footprint in this country is in radical contraction mode? Any hope that collateral damage won’t impact the bottom lines of all those QSR foot court chains? Any debate that the classic American mall walking shopper is slouching towards extinction? The survival of the fittest calls for adaptation worthy of a Galapagos finch. Different island, different sustenance, different finch. No ‘one size fits all’ any longer.
The reasons are as varied as the brands. Greedy management. Private equity slash and burn. Obtuse executives with three-year contracts and bonus thresholds to meet – at any cost. Consolidated buying offices unable to respond to local preferences. Business models predicated on a heroin-like addiction to promotional pricing spirals. Sales staff training shifted to vendors. Sales staff reductions. Deprofessionalization of the sales staff. Homogenous design statements. An aging demographic uninspired by more conspicuous acquisition. The economic downturn. The online magic of Amazonesque convenience. The reduction in print vehicles dedicated to brand lust development. The consumers’ lack of patience with the legacy fashion cycle. The aftermarket ‘previously owned’ markets for cars, jewelry, and nearly everything eBayable.
An entirely new model is demanded, my friends. One that re-imagines the relevance of stuff. One that entirely “blue oceans’ the notion of what people will be willing to leave home for, once shopping is entirely off the table. Come on, people! Heads out of the sand. It’s happening. Indeed, it’s happened. We see the problem. It is us. Time for solutions. Email me now, please. Tick-tock. Tick-Tock.