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Retail Apocalypse: Why Are Major Retail Chains All Over America Collapsing?

Why Are Major Retail Chains All Over America Collapsing? -  Photo by Gars129If the economy is improving, then why are many of the largest retail chains in America closing hundreds of stores?  When I was growing up, Sears, J.C. Penney, Best Buy and RadioShack were all considered to be unstoppable retail powerhouses.  But now it is being projected that all of them will close hundreds of stores before the end of 2013.  Even Wal-Mart is running into problems.  A recent internal Wal-Mart memo that was leaked to Bloomberg described February sales as a "total disaster".  So why is this happening?  Why are major retail chains all over America collapsing?  Is the "retail apocalypse" upon us?  Well, the truth is that this is just another sign that the U.S. economy is falling apart right in front of our eyes.  Incomes are declining, taxes are going up, government dependence is at an all-time high, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the percentage of the U.S. labor force that is employed has been steadily falling since 2006.  The top 10% of all income earners in the U.S. are still doing very well, but most U.S. consumers are either flat broke or are drowning in debt.  The large disposable incomes that the big retail chains have depended upon in the past simply are not there anymore.  So retail chains all over the United States are now closing up unprofitable stores.  This is especially true in low income areas.

When you step back and take a look at the bigger picture, the rapid decline of some of our largest retail chains really is stunning.

It is happening already in some areas, but soon half empty malls and boarded up storefronts will litter the landscapes of cities all over America.

Just check out some of these store closing numbers for 2013.  These numbers are from a recent Yahoo Finance article...

Best Buy

Forecast store closings: 200 to 250

Sears Holding Corp.

Forecast store closings: Kmart 175 to 225, Sears 100 to 125

J.C. Penney

Forecast store closings: 300 to 350

Office Depot

Forecast store closings: 125 to 150

Barnes & Noble

Forecast store closings: 190 to 240, per company comments


Forecast store closings: 500 to 600


Forecast store closings: 150 to 175


Forecast store closings: 450 to 550

The RadioShack in a nearby town just closed up where I live.  This is all happening so fast that it is hard to believe.

But the truth is that those store closings are not the entire story.  When you dig deeper you find a lot more retailers that are in trouble.

For example, Blockbuster recently announced that this year they will be closing about 300 stores and eliminating about 3,000 jobs.

Toy manufacturer Hasbro recently announced that they will be reducing the size of their workforce by about 10 percent.

Even Wal-Mart is going through a tough stretch right now.  According to documents that were leaked to Bloomberg, Wal-Mart is having an absolutely disastrous February...

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. had the worst sales start to a month in seven years as payroll-tax increases hit shoppers already battling a slow economy, according to internal e-mails obtained by Bloomberg News.

“In case you haven’t seen a sales report these days, February MTD sales are a total disaster,” Jerry Murray, Wal- Mart’s vice president of finance and logistics, said in a Feb. 12 e-mail to other executives, referring to month-to-date sales. “The worst start to a month I have seen in my ~7 years with the company.”

So what in the world is going on here?

The mainstream media continues to proclaim that we are experiencing a robust "economic recovery", but at the same time there are a whole host of indications that things are continually getting worse.

Even global cell phone sales actually declined slightly in 2012.  That was the first time that has happened since the last recession.

Perhaps it is time that we faced the truth.  The middle class is shrinking, incomes are declining and there are not nearly as many jobs as there used to be.

Mort Zuckerman pointed this out in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal...

The U.S. labor market, which peaked in November 2007 when there were 139,143,000 jobs, now encompasses only 132,705,000 workers, a drop of 6.4 million jobs from the peak. The only work that has increased is part-time, and that is because it allows employers to reduce costs through a diminished benefit package or none at all.

So how can the mainstream media be talking about how "good" things are if we still have 6.4 million fewer jobs than we had back in November 2007?

And sadly, things may soon be getting a lot worse.  If Congress does not do anything about the "sequester", millions of federal workers may shortly be facing some very painful furloughs according to CNN...

Federal workers could start facing furloughs as early as April, according to federal agencies trying to prepare for the worst.

Unless Congress steps in, some $85 billion in massive spending reductions will hit the federal government, doling out furloughs to much of the nation's 2.1 million federal workforce, experts say.

If you still live in an area of the country where the stores and the restaurants are booming, you should be very thankful because that is not the reality for most of the country.

I often write about the stunning economic decline of major cities such as Detroit, but there are huge sections of rural America that are in even worse shape than Detroit in many ways.

For example, many Indian reservations all over America have been shamefully neglected by the federal government and have become hotbeds for crime, drugs and poverty.

Business Insider recently profiled the Wind River Indian reservation in western Wyoming.  The following is a brief excerpt from that outstanding article...

The Wind River Indian Reservation is not an easy place to get to, but I had to see it for myself.

Thirty-five-hundred square miles of prairie and mountains in western Wyoming, the reservation is home to bitter ancestral enemies: the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes.

Even among reservations, it's renowned for brutal crime, widespread drug use, and legal dumping of toxic waste.

You can see some amazing photos of the Wind River Indian reservation right here.

It is hard to believe that there are places like that in America, but the truth is that conditions like that are spreading to more U.S. communities with each passing day.

We are a nation that is in an advanced state of decline.  But as long as the financial markets are okay, our leaders don't seem too concerned about the suffering that everyone else is going through.

In fact, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan essentially admitted as much during a recent interview with CNBC.  The following is how a Zero Hedge article summarized that interview...

Starting at around 1:50, Greenspan states the odds of sequester occurring are very high - in fact, the playdough-faced ex-Chair-head notes, "I find it very difficult to find a scenario in which [the sequester] doesn't happen" But when asked how this will affect the economy, Awkward Alan is unusually clearly spoken - "the issue is how does it affect the stock market."

While not so many of our leaders have taken the path to direct truthiness, Greenspan somewhat shocks a Botox'd and babbling Bartiromo when he admits "the stock market is the key player in the game of economic growth."

Bartiromo shifts uncomfortably in her seat, strokes her imaginary beard and stares blankly as Greenspan explains that while the sequester will have a real effect on the real economy, "if the stock market can hold up through this, then the effect will be rather minor."

Do you see?

As long as the stock market is moving higher they think that everything is just fine and dandy.

And the Obama administration?

They continue to pursue the same policies that got us into this mess.

Their idea of "economic reform" is to threaten to sue businesses that do not hire ex-convicts.

And of course now that Obama has been re-elected he is putting a tremendous amount of effort into "stimulating the economy".

For example, he spent this weekend golfing in Florida, and the Obamas recently spent about 20 million taxpayer dollars vacationing in Hawaii.

Meanwhile, the U.S. economy is getting worse with each passing day.

If you doubt that economic conditions are getting worse, please read this article: "Show This To Anyone That Believes That 'Things Are Getting Better' In America".

When you look at the cold, hard numbers, it is undeniable what is happening to America.

And our leaders are not doing anything to fix our problems.  In fact, most of the time they are just making things worse.

So buckle up and get prepared.  We are in for very bumpy ride, and this is only just the beginning.

Store Closed Until Further Notice - Photo by Gryllida

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  • NorthernCanuck

    Does anythone think that this isn’t all intentional? It’s happening in both the US and the UK – jobs are fleeing, national culture is degenerating into tribalism, crime is increasing, the dependency lifestyle is becoming the norm for millions, national identity to disappearing under a massive flood of immigrants, and the old bulwarks of freedom have been well and truly splintered…it’s not going to get better!

    • NorthernCanuck

      Next January, the UK has to open its borders and job market to millions of Romanians and Bulgarians under its European Union obligations. Since the minimum wage, child benefits, housing benefits etc. would represent an 8 to 9-fold increase in the standard of living for individuals arriving from these countries, there is widespread fear in the UK (already overcrowded and short on jobs, with its own huge indigenous ‘entitlements’-claiming population) that literally millions will come. The UK government appears to be doing nothing to try to forestall this and the pressures on the job market, housing market, social security system, schools, etc. – not to mention expected escalations in criminal activity – will be massively increased. After Poles gained that privilege, over one million moved to Britain (where, in all fairness, they in particular have generally proven to be productive and hardworking). Does this parallel what’s currently happening with US ‘open borders’, or what? Is all of this, in both countries, just coincidental – or is it purposeful?

  • Miss Debra

    You are an excellent writer. I find your observations and data fascinating. I am checking out your other articles. Thank you very much!

  • AZDesertRat

    Some of the jobs are coming back. I know in the aerospace R&O world a lot of companies like GE, Honeywell, Pratt & Whitney, etc., opened facilities in Mexico and Asia in the past 10-15 years. The quality control and lack of productivity has been so bad that they are brining everything they can back into the States.
    This isn’t going to save the economy by any means but it does show that the US worker and US companies can be competitive in some manufacturing markets.

  • Robert (qslv)

    The people engineering the downfall of the U.S. don’t care. They have an exit strategy when The U.S. becomes a Mad Max movie set. Who are they? Go to the CFR website and have a look around. They’re not even trying to hide anymore. They don’t have to. It’s ENDGAME. See CFR-Corporate-Brochure-2013. It’s a slick little PDF brochure available on their website free to anyone. CFR org content publications. Be VERY afraid.

  • Mike

    This is a much
    deeper problem! The top 10% of income earners don’t have any issues (making
    more than 200,000 a year… It’s the people making between 60K- 200K a year are
    really feeling the brunt of all this. The State of the country is to not do
    anything and collect welfare or government funded programs. First there needs
    to be huge amounts of government reform. Let’s stop paying people to have
    babies. Let’s make mandatory on sit drug screening for welfare collection. Let’s
    place people who can’t find jobs into (governmental work force) Doing public
    service work (Maintaining parks and other government grounds). Reducing other
    government run industries will save millions a year. The US postal service is
    outdated and mainly used only for Commercial mail. (Let tier that) .55 Cents
    for every letter for a small business (10,000) per year and .95 cents for (50,000)
    per year and 2.00 (100,000) per year. How about limiting the mail to only be delivered
    Monday, Wed, and Friday. This saves wages maintenance and fuel for millions of
    postal locations around the US. We need
    to encourage our major cities to develop better mass transit. Back in the early
    60’s most major cities had options for mass transit. The Oil companies and Auto
    industry bought up these transit options and one by one closed them. The US
    needs to follow in the footsteps of Europe’s Mass Transit Models. This would
    start to put hundreds back to work. America also needs to get back to the Made in
    America Model. Trade agreements don’t need to exist. In Fact it should cost 3
    times more to bring something made outside the US in than it does to make it here.
    We need to put a law on the books that a corporate Ceo, boards; directors and
    managers cannot receive more than a 15% raise without 85% of the company also seeing a more than 10%
    raise. (Profit sharing model) Also the income of said CEO and board members
    should be public knowledge. Corporate Greed is a thing of the past. Once the American
    people are earning their worth in income people are more dedicated to their company
    and have money to spend driving spending with intern drives demand which drives
    corporate growth. Adding Jobs and
    putting America back to work. And surprise with corporate growth and more Americans
    seeing a steady pay check means more taxable income which means less national Debit.
    This still means responsible national spending. And Congress needs a review of
    their income (A Income Limit should be set in place of (Max of 250K per year)

    If they surpass
    that a sever TAX is incurred, keeping them working for the common good of the American
    people not their own Pocket Book. These are the things that would help to fix America!

  • What Do i Know?

    North America is no longer a manufacturing region. We basically only sell other countries manufactured items and support the sale through store operations, transportation and distribution logistics. A country cannot run on this type of economic sustainability. Why aren’t people spending money? Because they don’t the tangible money in their wallets or stashed in their piggy banks any more! The majority of people only have plastic credit cards that accumulate debt every month. For the post war babies that are in retirement age now, they only have small pensions to live on, and to pay monthly utility costs that have escalated beyond what they use to pay for when they were in the working force, now represents a huge part of their monthly expenses. Case in point, house prices, taxes (income and home), gas prices, car maintenance costs, phone TV and computer connection fees, vacation costs, food cost, general store items, the list goes on and on, have all substantially increased based on the increase salaries of the rich working class and not the middle and poor class wages. The children of the rich and poor have been raised in an environment that everything was provided for them by the parents and society as a whole. There was no sense of having to live without this or that on the part of the kids. Growing up in the 50′s 60′s and 70′s took more sacrifice in living without because we didn’t have the tangible money and “we just can’t afford it now” mentality prevailed. Now these children have grown up and continue to hold on to the support of their parents. It’s not their fault they have to live like this. It was basically brought on by society’s greed for money and incredible inflation of all items that are purchased in order to live in this day and age. I believe this is a huge problem of society, and no one in the political theatre has the right answers. They can only offer optimistic speeches, or words without meaning or constructive solutions. Affordability is no longer there. It’s time we got back to the 5 cent cup of coffee and the 10 cent donut and the 6 cent per litre gasoline that is charged in the oil rich countries of this world. But as the world’s population increases, all increased prices for all items is based on only one principle of pricing, and that is… Supply and Demand.

    • peaceangel

      There is a name for the purposeful economic collapse of America and it’s dollar which is coming any minute now. It is called Operation Thunderdome and there is a whistleblower with an all access position with Homeland Security (who now run everything) who is leaking this information in interviews to the Canada Free Press for several months.

      So before it is jerked down or he is murdered check it out. None of the ppl in charge are looking for answers trying to fix it or will fix it. They are all working and legislating to crash the world economy in order to create a new world order (Agenda 21) and to redistribute the moneys of the working and middle class Americans and all the rest of the world. You have it right but need to know that it will not end and there will not be a solution. The DHS snitch says the plan is to do it very soon like by Spring or Summer this year and to create mass chaos and send us all to the concentration camps.

  • tray2000

    the trans-pacific partnership will be the club the finally beats the remainder of life out or the economy, like a baby seal on the ice in the antarctic, being clubbed by a fur trader

  • Mike from Toronto

    Mike from Toronto Kanada:
    …these stores mentioned above are closing because of changing demographics…less and less white middle people are available to shop and buy and the population is ageing and not reproducing! In Canada, the situation is even worse!

  • ddo2013

    answer: because they refuse to honor God in any way

  • eric

    Thats all folks why would anyone who reads history books of ancient civilizations arrogantly assume history stops with the United States?

  • Herbie

    Lol I like how the trolls, or the mindless always blame unions for this mess instead of greed, The bottom line companies took 30 years ago of maximum profit is what put us where we are plain and simple, and lets not forget take the money and offshore it as well.

    But keep watching your hours cut and your pay as well and keep blaming those almost non existent unions for it.

    A ship of fools is destined to sink for sure.

  • Big M

    “So how can the mainstream media be talking about how ‘good’ things are if we still have 6.4 million fewer jobs than we had back in November 2007?”

    Simple. The “mainstream media” are completely controlled by Jews, and THEY LIE.

    And I don’t know what to say about anybody stupid enough to pay attention to, much less believe, anything that comes out of the piehole of that corporate sleazebag Osama BlackBush, or any of the slimy crapweasels in CONgress. Or who vote.

  • Bobby
  • Hellfire1968

    As all industries become more automated, there will be less demand for workers while our population continues to grow. Very Interesting times ahead for all of us.

  • SalMoanella

    I had a channel rep gig for a major appliance manufacturer last year. I covered Home Depot, Sears and Best Buy as well as a regional player.

    Sears is dead. It’s the gulag of retail. The people I supported in Sears were all commission based. No salary what so ever. They were a miserable lot and rightfully so. On the whole they were nice people. But miserable none the less.

    Best Buy still has time to turn things around. But they won’t. They have a layer of management that is truly clueless and that in my opinion is their Achilles heel. You have a bunch of late twenties to early thirties, full of themselves, individuals running stores into the ground. Very little business sense and scarce sales savvy.

    Home Depot, on the other hand, was doing quite well. From a human resource perspective, they benefited enormously from the economic implosion. I was working with ex Wall Street guys, chemical engineers as well as many other over qualified people. They actually had heads on their shoulders and knew the importance of customer service, sales savvy and how a business is run.

    Many, not all, took pride in the work they performed regardless of qualification. The sales I tracked among the four retailers reflected this. They usually led the pack. I’m not saying Home Depot is great by any means but of the retailers I covered, they had the upper hand and their stock price reflected it.

  • j h

    From October 2008 until November 2012 I was without a full time job. I worked a lot of part time jobs and sent out a lot of applications.

    I wonder everyday if I was doing enough to find full time employment. There were a lot of days when I just felt like giving up on my full time job search because you seldom heard back from any company. When you would follow up with a company the company never responded back to you.
    As far as I’m concerned this economy is never coming back which is sad because there are a lot of American’s who just want to provide for there families.

  • motorsportsnz

    its as Mathew chapter 24 verses 37 to 40 says it will be as in the days of Noah but no one wanted to knowa.
    Until the sky falls chicken licken unbelievers, that Jesus our blessed messiah the Son of Yahweh our heavenly Father says He will come in the clouds in all Majesty and Glory halleluljah then this world is going to the dogs.
    Repent and seek Him whilst you still have time.
    For Jesus has sadi so often but you do not hear ,…
    I AM the way the truth and the Life and none top the Father in heaven but by me.
    wacky do folks if you think your pressy is gunna save you forget it hes on a sinking titanic

  • Refrax

    Sounds like it’s time to abandon ship- I hate to say it, but employment outside of the USA looks easier to come by when all our jobs are being outsourced…..

  • olde reb

    M. Chossudovsky tells the answer in GLOBALISATION OF POVERTY. The IMF and World Bank is turning the world into nations of peasants and elites. Peasants do not have money to buy things. It is the middle class that does the buying of widgets. The middle class in the U.S. is being destroyed by exporting jobs. There is no prosperity without a middle class.

  • DreamAdmin

    Very Interesting

  • Mike Knox

    A one thing missed in this article that needs to be said, true wealth can come from only 3 places:
    1. Digminedrill for it
    2. Grow it (agriculture)

    3. Build it

    All three of these sources of wealth have been under attack or sent over seas. You can only move money around for so long until it eventually gets stuck at the top or leaves the country.

  • John Horvat II

    What we are seeing is a lack of restraint in economy. It’s frenzied and out of control. We need to go back
    to the fundamentals of family, community, and Faith that normally serve to keep economy in balance.
    There is what I call a “frenetic intemperance” in modern economy. It is that lack of control that has turned our economy into a credit-card economy where we must have everything, instantly. Regardless of the consequences.
    What we have lost is the human element in economy.
    We need to get away from a system where money rules and go to what I call a rule of honor. What we need is a RETURN TO ORDER.

  • Mark Richardson

    What is it about the President taking a golf outing when Congress is not in-session that ticks Republicans off so much?

    • cyclic



  • John Freedom

    You’re right but the cause is hidden – the lack of an asset based economy – those trade agreements are the only thing holding up our economy – when gold went away we went with trade agreements in oil – saudi oil for american guns protecting them from israel. Dollars for oil – the petrodollar – and trade agreements allowed us to keep growing – but imaginary money systems only benefit temporarily and the time is ending soon – we’ll probably see a revaluation of the dollar to gold at $5000/1 oz or a collapse of the us currency entirely as the endgame of all this mess.

  • Trey

    Society as we know it all throughout the world is on the verge of collapse. It’s simple economics. The global economy is built around the idea of consuming natural resources, many of which are nonrenewable. Our planet cannot sustain a population of 7 billion+ in a healthy fashion. Collapse is coming people. Wake up people.

  • susan

    You fail to mention that many people shop online now. Ecommerse has been replacing our brick and mortar stores. People can buy products cheaper online and have the goods shipped right to their door without wasting time and gas to run to a physical store. This does have an impact on physical stores, but I’ll bet Amazon and ebay are doing quite well.

  • Ray Butlers

    IN a consumer-driven economy, this is inevitable as the middle class shrinks and wages stay stagnant. The great masses simply don’t have enough money to spend on consumer products to keep these stores open. Also, the retail experience has noticeably deteriorated over the years. The staff is trained to be more aggressive and to push upselling harder than ever before. As a result, I now buy whatever I possibly can on the internet and simply avoid the unpleasant experience of retail.

  • Hereticus Maximus

    Who buys anything at overpriced retail stores anymore? I buy most stuff online these days at a steep discount.. Cut out the middle men.. Online retailing is where its at.. if you are pointing to the demise of brick & mortar stores as a sign toward anything other than it’s obsolescence you are sadly mistaken.


    MSM does whatever their messiah Obama tells them too. What is the real unemployment numbers? How many are now under Democrat leadership are underemployed? Globalists whether RINOs or Demonrats are doing this. Tea Party/libertarians have the only solutions.

  • John Jonsson

    Consumers stopped spending until the government stops spraying noxious aerosol chemtrails in the sky poisoning wildlife, plants and mammals.

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