I’m in Awe of How Fast Brick-and-Mortar Retail is Melting Down, by Wolf Richter. Malls in the US are dying, due to technological change and because the huge debt load of consumers and retailers is more burdensome since the quick expansion phase of the monetary bubble (which started in 1982) ended in 2008.
Mall traffic is sagging. Department store sales have been in decline since 2001. Most retailers are loaded up with debt. Many have been losing money. Now they’re running out of options. Store closings numbered in the thousands last year. This year they promise to get much worse. “Zombie malls” have become reality, their vast parking lots rented to car dealers to store their excess vehicle inventory.
The article lists many US retail chains that are cutting back or near bankruptcy.
On March 20, Sears, the big whale that everyone is waiting for to wash up on the beach, came closer to washing up on the beach by acknowledging that it will likely wash up on the beach, when it said in its annual report that it had “substantial doubt” about its ability to keep operating as a “going concern.” It lost over $10 billion in recent years.