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Retail Bellwether & Look to the Future
Old 03-06-2014, 09:26 AM   #1
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Retail Bellwether & Look to the Future

A few months back, we had a thread on the future of retail stores in the US.
While change is a normal part of industry, the speed of the transition is unprecedented.
Some of the more recent announcements of store closings:
Sears 300
Target 475
Penney 330
Staples 225
Radioshack 1100

...but more impressive, 2013 closings here:
2013 Roundup Retail Underperforming Stores, Out of Business Closings

Some implications that I see... to which please add your own "take" or observation:
.................................................. .....................
- Almost all major retailers now have an online presence. Smaller operations go through Amazon or similar online operations:
Amazon Similar Sites | 50 Websites Like Amazon.com - SimilarSiteSearch.com

-Indoor Malls are hollowing out, especially where one or more anchor stores have left.
-Shoppers are increasingly moving from Indoor Malls to large Freestanding stores or outdoor MegaMalls.
-Comparison shopping with mobile devices is now commonplace.
-Entry level retail jobs becoming scarce and seasonal
-Retail management jobs becoming lower paid as responsibilities become standardized and selective. Decisionmaking centralized.
-Downtowns becoming ghost towns, changing to service based businesses, or (the few successful ones) boutique/tea shoppe/antique centers.
-With closings and vacancies, large losses to municipal taxes.
... and on, and on, and on.

All of this means corresponding changes to our social structure, and... for early retirees, a moving landscape with changes that may still be unclear. Try to imagine 10 or 20 years from now, and what these changes will mean to your own life. Detroit? --- Gated Communities? --- Affluenza centers like Shanghai, Dubai, NYC? ---Rural? --- or maybe no change

Of course, changes in the retail business will only be a small part of the coming changes. We've already been through the industrialization and manufacturing changes... the changes in food production, packaging and preparation, and of course the technology changes... All of these in our own lifetimes. The face of cities and even suburbs has changed. Land use has changed. Government has changed.

Anything here to influence your future plans? Break open the Crystal Ball.
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Old 03-06-2014, 03:07 PM   #2
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Darn it, had a whole reply typed up and it's gone!

I think I was doing 'quick reply', then hit 'reply to thread' button rather than 'submit' - and I got a blank post, forot to do a 'select all-copy' along the way ....


OK, short version. No change for me, just an evolution, Internet beats retail in many cases. I get often get better, more personalized service from an internet store than I do a B&M store, as the internet place often specializes, and can afford to have a few tech experts on hand, something a B&M often cannot do for every store.

Time marches on, buggy whips, etc.

-ERD50
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Old 03-06-2014, 04:36 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
Darn it, had a whole reply typed up and it's gone!



I think I was doing 'quick reply', then hit 'reply to thread' button rather than 'submit' - and I got a blank post, forot to do a 'select all-copy' along the way ....





OK, short version. No change for me, just an evolution, Internet beats retail in many cases. I get often get better, more personalized service from an internet store than I do a B&M store, as the internet place often specializes, and can afford to have a few tech experts on hand, something a B&M often cannot do for every store.



Time marches on, buggy whips, etc.



-ERD50

The past 2 years I have went internet buying in a big way, also. I am no trend setter so if I am doing it, it cannot be a good sign for B&M future. In last 6 months alone I have bought a dishwasher, TV, Tv stand, diamond ring, all my house furnishings, computer, golf clubs, amongst other smaller items. It is so much cheaper both in cost and in taxes. When I was younger going to the stores and buying was half the fun. Now I have slipped into curmudgeon status and view all that as a hassle!


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Old 03-06-2014, 05:51 PM   #4
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I live in a city and there is very little retail in the area. Maybe a few niche shops and the normal stores (grocery, drug, hardware, etc.). Most of the storefronts seem to be salons/spas, craft brewhouses, coffee shops, restaurants, etc. There have only been a couple of retail shops that have opened in the past ten years or so.

I go to the drugstore, grocery store, liquor store, etc. in person. I go to Target once a month for household items. I buy shoes in the store, but buy most clothes online, since I shop from the same place and don't have to try anything on.
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Old 03-06-2014, 05:59 PM   #5
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I recently bought a cable at Radio Shack for somewhere between $25 and $30. As I was walking home I thought it was just too much money for how little I will use it. I searched the internet and found a cable for $4 and free shipping! The quality wasn't as good, but at $4 I could replace it many times before reaching the Radio Shack price. I returned the cable in an unopened package the next day.

When I saw that Radio Shack was closing a large number of stores I wasn't surprised. Most of their inventory is available online for a lot less money.
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Old 03-06-2014, 06:10 PM   #6
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What little buying we do is about split between online and B&M, and of course we look up stuff before buying anyway. DW is more resistant to online shopping, especially for clothes, but does some.

The local mall lost a Sears anchor store and the nearest open one is 35 minutes away so we just don't go there anymore. Online they messed up the last two orders so I won't order from them anymore either. Frankly I wonder how the small local mall stays open since it seems almost deserted when I go there. Of course we don't go in the evenings and weekends. Downtown stores just don't carry anything we're in the market for so no reason to go there either.

Quite a change from the time when the headlight dimmer switch was on the floorboard.
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Old 03-06-2014, 06:25 PM   #7
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Radio Shack had a great commercial in the super bowl making fun of themselves. It was "the 80's called and want their store back"

Actually the Radio Shack of the 1980s was a good deal better than the present day Radio Shack where the entire electronics section (resistors, capacitors, switches, coils) has been reduced to almost one baggie. They should have renamed themselves Cell Phone Shack or just gone out of business years ago.
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Old 03-06-2014, 06:53 PM   #8
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What little buying we do is about split between online and B&M, and of course we look up stuff before buying anyway. DW is more resistant to online shopping, especially for clothes, but does some.

The local mall lost a Sears anchor store and the nearest open one is 35 minutes away so we just don't go there anymore. Online they messed up the last two orders so I won't order from them anymore either. Frankly I wonder how the small local mall stays open since it seems almost deserted when I go there. Of course we don't go in the evenings and weekends. Downtown stores just don't carry anything we're in the market for so no reason to go there either.

Quite a change from the time when the headlight dimmer switch was on the floorboard.

Sears is a disaster. I tried to buy a 55 in LED from them online. And then I get to the cart and they say unavailable to deliver to nearest store or your house. Uh Sears, ever heard of FedEx? I would have paid for the shipping..


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Old 03-06-2014, 08:02 PM   #9
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A familiar discussion here. Brick-n-mortar stores are helpful for some products & services, but not at all for many others. I won't miss malls, and not all downtowns are turning into 'ghost town,' some are more vital than they've been in decades!

The internet and how it's changing retail is probably no more significant than the wheel, the printing press, mechanized farming, the steam engine, internal combustion engines/automobiles, airplanes/jets/space flight, the telephone, electricity/the light bulb, etc. And I am sure many people expressed great concern about how those "new technologies" would change everything for the worse - fear of the unknown...

As for employment, in 1870 70-80% of the US population was employed in agriculture. As of 2008, less than 2%was directly employed in agriculture. Those people were assimilated.

We might not appreciate the work of Tesla or Edison today as we are accustomed to electricity in all its forms, but we are very impressed by the societal changes caused by the Internet and the World Wide Web (both of which run on alternating-current electricity, by the way). A century from now they might be curious as to what all the fuss was all about.

We'll see, but it could be yet another positive change when all is said and done! I think most people will look back in 10 to 20 years and marvel at how primitive we were "then." Exciting times...
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Old 03-06-2014, 08:44 PM   #10
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I thought Edison wanted direct current.
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Old 03-07-2014, 07:52 AM   #11
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I thought Edison wanted direct current.
He did. See War of Currents - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Edison was certainly a smart guy but he wasn't right all of the time.

But I don't think that was what Midpack was getting at. Just that the basic research and discoveries that he and others did changed the world.
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Old 03-07-2014, 07:53 AM   #12
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I thought Edison wanted direct current.
He kinda went back and forth on that, about 60 times a second.
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Old 03-07-2014, 07:57 AM   #13
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He kinda went back and forth on that, about 60 times a second.
Shocking!

But that type of switching can transform you.
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Old 03-07-2014, 08:36 AM   #14
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We're doing much more on line. We do browse Barnes & N and buy a book or two just because we enjoy the experience and hate that eventually the B&M will succumb to progress. Now in our little berg of 270,000 there are no photo stores, the one woodworking store closed, and I've notice the demise of others. I miss those B&M stores and while we did purchase like things on line, we tired to do some business with them just to keep them there. Apparently it wasn't enough!

Change is inevitable. A little off topic but someone mentioned how Starbucks had become like McD's. I notice the other day when in the ~4 year old one near us that it was remarkably sterile; only two comfy chairs. Which are inevitably squatted on by someone with laptop and piles of w#rk. Just not what I remembered of coffee shops of old.
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