The new face of US retail
- A tsunami of store closings expected....goes the title of this. This is a story, with someexaggeration, of the slowly evolving US consumer preference to shop online rather than travel to a mall.It is bad news for the old stalwarts like Sears, JC Penny, Macy's and otherlarge department stores that are considered the "anchors" of mall acrossthe US.Their rapidly succeeding adversary of course is Amazon.com as well asother uniquely online retailers. What unique advantage does online have?An essentially unlimited selection of items with far less inventory to keepto maintain that selection. And one does not have to drive a car to aremote site at considerable additional cost to buy whatever if that itemis even carried at the mall stores.Does the relentless decline in mall traffic signal economic collapseas a certain net publication openly argues? Or does this signal a structuralchange in which the US consumer prefers to shop? Amazon.com will bereporting sales and earnings for the winter quarter soon and we shall seeif sales are falling at Amazon.com as that certain net publication wouldwant us to believe. I will present the sales data as it is published.Will malls fold up and die in the near future? Probably not. Many may wellwind up partially empty or many will wind up with new tenants like Goodwillor other used clothing stores. But they will carry on, just to a different groupof people and fewer of them.