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Retail Apocalypse Engulfs US Economy

Will a 2016 US recession be the next big one?

You may not see it yet, but the scale of the retail apocalypse is so massive that it is about to engulf the US economy. As when a flood tide has crept around you on all sides while you were standing on a high spot out on the flats, not paying attention, you can look up now and see it all around you, and it is coming in rapidly. You can now feel the current under your toes.

Since the final quarter of 2015, I have been writing about what I call “the Epocalypse,” by which I mean an economic collapse that will prove to be apocalyptic in scale — something that is both epic (Herculean) in scale and epoch in the literal sense that it will dramatically bring the modern world into a new economic era. I might better, then, call this the “retail epocalypse” because it has insidiously turned into a significant part of that greater event and because it is partly due to e-trade.

While you may have barely begun to see the boarded stores, the numbers now coming in for stores slated for closure and/or bankruptcy in 2017 and 2018 are jaw-dropping, and I’m not using that term lightly.

 

First, some back story to the retail apocalypse

 

In case you are just arriving at this blog, let me start with a little recent summary of where I have been going with this staggering development so that you can get a sense of how incredibly fast the momentum of the retail apocalypse (retail collapse) is now building:

While I’ve talked about it for a year or more, in my March, 2017, economic forecast, I particularly described “seven headwinds that will batter the economy.” At the close of that summary, I mentioned how retail was likely to blow up into a major problem this year:

 

More retail closures are in the works. JC Penny announced last week that it will close another 130-140 stores, citing weak demand and online competition. Macy’s recently announced it will be closing 100 stores, too. Macy’s said profit fell another 13%, and it expects a 3% decline in sales in 2017. Kohl’s and Nordstrom are keeping things in line by reducing inventory and cutting back on promotions.

 

I doubled down on that in May, coming more to the point by calling it a “retail apocalypse,” as a few other writers were starting to do at the same time:

 

The retail apocalypse grows: Not even halfway through 2017, closures of retail stores have doubled last year’s closures as of this time and already exceed the last peak in closures during the crash of 2008. The bottom line is simple here. Commercial eal-estate investment trusts (REITs), malls, mortgage-backed securities (remember those), and their bankers are in a lot of trouble. The anchor stores are closing up the worst, which will pull others down in the wake by reducing traffic to malls. “Thousands of new doors opened and rents soared. This created a bubble, and like housing, that bubble has now burst.” According to Credit Suisse, 20-25% of US shopping malls will shut down within the next five years. While this is due to a paradigm shift in how people do their shopping, not just an overall reduction in retail sales, it will send shudders and close shutters throughout real-estate-based retail economy, having a huge impact on construction, land sales, banking, jobs, etc.

 

That was less than two months ago, and now many are calling it a retail apocalypse. If you think we’re exaggerating with colossal words, read on…

 

The numbers for the retail apocalypse are fully before us, and they are downright frightening

 

This thing is MASSIVE, ABSOLUTELY AWE-INSPIRING IN SCALE, and I can use those kinds of descriptions and not be exaggerating in the least because this retail meltdown already exceeds anything seen in my lifetime (58 years). There is also nothing Trump or anyone can do that will stop it because the tide has already closed around us — quietly and almost unseen, though in full sight the whole time. These major retail store closures are already scheduled and being implemented now. The boards on the windows start arriving on convoys of semi trucks all across the nation this summer.

Before presenting the numbers that prove the retail apocalypse, I’m going to let Harry Dent give some colorful perspective as to how this calamity is going to end up:

 

It’s like a scene out of “Resident Evil.”

Sheets of newspaper scratch along the dusty linoleum floor as the wind beats them into the remnants of a bench… or through the open glass door and into the darkened, empty space beyond.

Escalators haven’t run in decades.

The air itself looks dusty.

Could this really be the future of the American mall?

Not unless we have a nuclear apocalypse!

As for this retail apocalypse you’ve been hearing so much about…

Well, it’s bad – yes! – and it’s going to get worse, but I’m writing today to tell you it was totally predictable!

 

Indeed, it was predictable, and it’s been predicted here for well over a year, but particularly of late as we have closed in on its arrival. The retail apocalypse has moved from the realm of a growing threat and economic predictions to a full-on event that is happening all around us.

Here are the numbers: So far a total of twenty-three-thousand stores (I spelled it out to give you appropriate pause as to the enormity) are already scheduled for closure in 2017 and 2018. Those are numbers that will not be turned back, even if Trump’s plans do make it through congress. The legal work has already been drafted and the plywood for the windows is already being shipped.

 

After more than a dozen bankruptcies this year contributed to thousands of store closures, visibility for the industry is so poor that retailers are pushing for lease renewals as short as a year or two — down from five to 10 years…. Somewhere between 9,000 and 10,000 stores will close in the U.S. this year, said Garrick Brown, vice president of Americas retail research for commercial broker Cushman & Wakefield — more than twice as many as the 4,000 last year. He sees this figure rising to about 13,000 next year. “Everyone’s trying to figure out where the bottom of the market’s going to be,” Brown said. He estimates it could occur in 2018 or early 2019…. Even companies that are relatively healthy are moving to prune back hundreds of store locations, making it less obvious for property owners which tenants they may lose. Deterioration can come fast: Some retailers that were in good shape a year ago are now on the edge today…. Cushman & Wakefield’s Brown sees about 300 of 1,150 U.S. malls shutting down in the next five years. (Bloomberg)

 

In other words, the economic impact is already baked in, even though visibly it is just now becoming obvious everywhere.

Harry Dent points out that this was predictable because of his central thesis that baby boomers are moving out of the boom stage when they spend big into the fixed-income stage where they have to cut back. Others have pointed out that retail stores are closing because millennials, who are replacing the boomers, prefer to shop electronically. Some stores are closing because they are dinosaurs who didn’t keep up with fashion or who ran bad business models. And some of the retail collapse is due to people just not having expendable income in a world saturated with towering debt and long-stagnant income and declining benefits. Still others are collapsing because rents are back to being insane. All of those reasons are true, and all of them are why there is nothing Trump or the Federal Reserve can do to stop the retail apocalypse that is already all around us.

 

How the retail apocalypse will overwhelm the entire US economy

 

You might think, well if this is just about millennials and even house-bound or rest-home-bound boomers moving toward online shopping, then there is no net economic impact. Shopping has just moved online so the same revenue is being generated but in different places. Absolutely wrong for three major reason: 1) The growth in online retail sales falls short of the decline in brick-and-mortar sales; so there is a large net loss to GDP. 2) Online retailers like Amazon are greatly automated and more efficient by far than stores using bipedal employees. Amazon uses robots. So, there is a corresponding large net loss to employment that has just begun. 3) The closure of major retailers carries a formidable knock-on effect — a cascade of inevitable economic crises, and here is how that all plays out:

The predominant stores that are closing are the anchor stores in malls and shopping centers — Macey’s, Sears, J.C. Penny’s, etc. and smaller luxury stores. (Sears, already in dreadful condition, saw sales fall another 20% year-on-year.) While many small, lower-end stores are also closing due to economic difficulties (like Radio Shack),  anchor stores are the ones that create traffic in malls. Few malls have been able to survive without anchor stores because those large stores are the linchpin that keeps the wheels on their business plans, and while malls might be able to re-invent themselves, that will take a lot of time and trial and error for them to figure out how to do so; and most do not have that kind of time because of their debt.

When anchor stores shutter up, mall traffic (already falling badly) seriously declines. That means all the stores around the anchor stores begin to go out of business. That means the restaurants in and around the malls and shopping centers begin to go out of business. That means some of the gas stops even begin to go out of business. That means huge unemployment all across the country, and that means all kinds of other stores go out of business, repeating the entire cycle. And all of that means government revenue crashes just as the government needs strong revenue to do its own fiscal stimulus programs.

And all of that is inevitable with the imposing number of closures that are already fully in play. This is basic cause and effect. It’s math. You cannot board up 23,000 stores across the country without creating huge amounts of collateral damage all around those closures.

That brings us to the impact on construction of new commercial space. Not only will new malls and stores certainly not be built, but the low rents that will be offered to get anyone into malls will make sure that a lot of other commercial space does not get built. When 23,000 stores close, that obviously makes 23,000 new commercial vacancies to be filled. Many of these are very large spaces. Banks are not going to finance new commercial space when so much commercial space is vacant and when they are facing defaults by other commercial developers. So, there goes commercial construction of new spaces and many construction jobs.

That, finally brings us to the knock-on effect of this retail apocalypse to all the financiers of major malls and shopping centers. That probably won’t be felt for another year; but it certainly will be felt. Closing malls equal defaulting malls. All of that equals defaulting real estate investment trusts (REITs) as well.

This whole cascade of events is as predicable in light of what is happening right now as the fall of a row of dominoes; yet, watch how many people continue to deny it is happening because they don’t like what it says about the economy. The blindness will be stunning (and already is) for those of us who removed our rose-colored shades long ago (or never wore such things). Take for example this recent optimistic statement in an article about retail:

 

Growth is expected to pick up this quarter after being held back by a near stall in consumer spending and a slower pace of inventory investment at the start of the year. (Newsmax)

 

Really? How? How is retail growth going to pick up with 23,000 stores closing over the next two years, and that is counting only those that are already slated for closure! If it does pick up, it will be nothing but a temporary quarterly blip; but I don’t see even that happening. It’s stunning that anyone can even make such a blind statement.

This retail collapse is a paradigm shift, and while it may be good in the long-run, leading to a world less dominated by asphalt, automobiles and pollution, economically it is the end of the Jurassic Period. The new mammals have yet to arrive on the scene. For the next few years, the predominant scene will just be the stinking entrails of all the gutted retail dinosaurs. You don’t get to the new era without going through the extinction phase first. Not in this case, anyway.

Continues Newsmax,

 

May’s surprise sluggishness in consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of the U.S. economy, could worry Federal Reserve officials who have previously attributed the slowdown in domestic demand to transitory factors.

 

Of course it didn’t, as I promised it wouldn’t. The minds of the Federal Reserve would only be considered bright on a string of otherwise burnt-out light bulbs. These dimwits believe in their recovery, so I promised you they would raise interest rates even as we are entering the gaping maw of a massive economic collapse.

That is their MO. They always raise rates just as economic collapse is becoming obvious. It is practically their favorite thing to do. That means they are either the dumbest people on the planet, since this is supposed to be the area of their expertise, or they’re involved in a conspiracy. (Maybe this time to take out Trump? I still lean to all-out stupid, but it becomes increasingly hard to believe that people with such high IQ’s can really be this dumb! So, maybe this is just my own residual reticence toward conspiracy theories.)

 

The retail apocalypse’s chain-reaction to the chain restaurants

 

Bear in mind that the shopper count is already WAY DOWN. That is WHY the major retailers and others are already closing. What I am saying above is that their closure will bring an even larger wave of decline by leaving the remaining shoppers with 23,000 fewer places to shop! With shopper count already being way down, the impact on restaurants is also already being felt:

 

There’s simply no respite for chain restaurants. Industry-wide, same-store sales fell again in May. The last time, same-store sales actually rose year-over-year was in February 2016. On that basis, the chain-restaurant recession is now in its 15th month, the longest downturn since the Financial Crisis. In May, same store sales fell 1.1% year-over-year. Same-store foot traffic fell 3.0%. Food sales were down, and alcohol sales [in chain restaurants] were down (Wolf Street)

 

How much worse will restaurant traffic have become when another of their 23,000 neighboring stores have closed? And that is in contrast to last year’s chain restaurant sales, which were already terrible! Not only has this slide been developing for well over a year, but last month was its biggest monthly drop to date. It is the chain restaurants that are feeling it because they are the ones most likely to locate in malls and shopping centers. In fact, the number of distressed retailers and restaurants right now each top the total seen in the entire Financial Crisis.

Wolf summarizes the causes this way:

 

…It looks more like the beginnings of a broader structural change. Brick-and-mortar retailers have been getting hammered by a structural change that will never reverse. Chain restaurants too may feel the pressure from a change in where, what, and how consumers eat and drink that will leave chain restaurants that cannot adjust to it by the wayside.

This comes on top of an economy where many potential patrons of chain restaurants simply don’t have enough discretionary income after paying for all essentials….

 

This is a major extinction event, and that’s why I don’t think calling it a “retail apocalypse” is overblown. The retail giants that cannot adapt are already perishing. They are already gathered in massive numbers around their diminishing watering holes to die. On the bright side, drinking establishments are way up in sales. Is it any wonder?

 

List of retailers already drowning in the retail apocalypse

 

The following is a list of major retailers shutting down large numbers of stores and/or filing for bankruptcy:

 

  • Macy’s Inc., closing 100 underperforming stores, 68 this year.
  • Signet Jewelers Ltd., which owns the Kay, Zales and Jared brands, closing 165 to 170 stores.
  • Lululemon Athletica Inc., closing 40 stores operated under its Ivivva brand.
  • Neiman Marcus.
  • Michael Kors Holdings Ltd.
  • J.C. Penney Co., closing 138 stores in 2017.
  • Sears Holdings Corp., closing 41 more stores in 2017.
  • Children’s Place Inc.
  • Payless Inc., 400 stores to close in 2017
  • 99 Cents Only Stores LLC.
  • Charming Charlie LLC.
  • Gymboree Corp.
  • Nine West Holdings Inc.
  • NYDJ Apparel LLC.
  • rue21, Inc., 400 stores to close in 2017.
  • True Religion Apparel Inc.
  • Radio Shack, 550 stores to close in 2017.
  • The Limited, 250 stores.
  • Family Christian Bookstores, 240 stores.
  • Bebe, 180 stores.
  • Wet Seal, 170 stores.
  • Crocs, 160.
  • BCBG, 120.
  • America Apparel, 110.
  • K-Mart, 109.
  • hhgreg, 88.
  • Staples, 70.
  • CVS, 70.
  • Abercrombie & Fitch, 60
  • Guess, 60.
  • Gender Mountain, 30.

 

As you can see, many of these are the mammoths of retail, some of which have been hugely successful for a hundred years or more. Also deeply at risk of default for various reasons, according to Standard & Poors and other sources:

 

  • DGSE Companies, Inc.
  • Appliance Recycling Center of America, Inc.
  • The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc.
  • Destination XL Group, Inc.
  • Perfumania Holdings, Inc.
  • Fenix Parts, Inc.
  • Tailored Brands, Inc.
  • Boardriders SA, sporting subsidiary of Quiksilver.
  • Fairway Group Holdings, food retailer.
  • Tops Holding II, supermarket operator.
  • TOMS Shoes.
  • David’s Bridal.
  • Evergreen AcqCo 1 LP, parent of thrift chain Savers.
  • Vince LLC, clothing retailer.
  • Calques Acquisition, owner of Cole Haan footwear.
  • Charlotte Russe, women’s clothing.
  • Indra Holdings, owner of Totes Isotonic.
  • Chinos Intermediate Holdings, parent of J. Crew Group.
  • Everest Holdings, manages Eddie Bauer.
  • Nine West Holdings, clothing, shoes and accessories.
  • Claire’s Stores, accessories and jewelry.
  • Saks Fifth Avenue.
  • Lord & Taylor, parent of Hudson’s Bay Co.

 

Those lists are probably not exhaustive. They are just what I pulled together from a variety of sources. And all of that is just the beginning:

 

Perry Mandarino, senior managing director and head of corporate finance at B. Riley & Co., predicts that retail bankruptcies and restructurings will further accelerate in 2018. (Newsmax)

 

Accelerate? How do you get faster than the tidal waves that are already washing on shore? The number of stores that have already closed or have scheduled closing for 2017 is by far the largest in, at least, the last twenty years:

 

Chart of store closings shows retail apocalypse already under way.

 

Retail bankruptcies for 2017 also already exceed the entire year of 2016, and we’re only halfway through the year. One Moody’s market analyst writes that retailers on the credit-rating agency’s endangered species list looks like The Perfect Storm:

 

“You’re on the Andrea Gail right now, and the water’s starting to get very choppy.” (Ventura County Star)

 

Historically speaking, few of us have ever seen anything in retail like the apocalypse that is emerging all around us right now. And retail is just one of the areas of the economy that is collapsing, but it is already going down on a grand scale.

 

  • Brad Scofield

    Thank you J-Tards.

  • C. Young

    The value of dollars is somewhat dependent upon the ready availability to spend those dollars on a wide variety of products. If stores close where you live, then availability goes down. This means that you either go online to buy or you drive further to shop. If you can make up the local loss with Amazon or equivalent, then this is no great loss except you have to wait a little longer to get things. My local neighborhood WalMart just went from being opened 24/7 to now 16 hours every day. I rarely shopped after 11 pm anyway so this did not impact me much. Now, if that neighborhood WalMart shuts down, then I will have lost a little value of the money I conveniently spend there. Just another way that so many are losing value with the dollars they are able to have coming in.

  • MadMagyar

    I started a small new bookstore in 1991. The best price I could find for most strip malls in Vegas, back then was $0.75/sq. ft., until a used book dealer offered me a small part of one of his bays at $0.50 – plus part of the utilities. Our co-location helped each other’s business and I had mine paying for itself in less than 6 months. But I learned about the egregious common area fees and the outrageous percentage of sales charges being added to his basic rent and surmised that if this was what the usual rental space entailed, then it wouldn’t be very long before we saw this epocalypse, because internet businesses were just starting up back then. A pioneer internet retailer of the mid 90’s warned that if at least part of your business was not online within a few years, then it wouldn’t be long before you’d have none of your business at all. I blame the greed of the real estate developers and managers more than anything else, for making retail space so expensive to begin with – forcing almost 90% of every new small business to close shop within a year – for decades. I see many small businesses listed in people’s homes and small, non-mall associated buildings as I wander over small rural towns and cities on Google Earth. That’s where small businesses are headed. The next wave will be in housing, as people learn to sell their own homes without the expensive “middle man”. Real estate agents, large and small, are headed the way of the dinosaurs – and good riddance!

    • Just as happened with travel agents once everyone could do the same thing on their computer. Change happens fast these days, but there can be pileups when it all happens at once, and that is what we are facing now. Stay aware. Stay agile. Stay quick.

      That means, if you’re in a market that is going to fall, don’t follow it down, lead it. Price below the market for a quick sale, whether it is declining real estate, once you see that shift happening (and if you want to make a change) or a declining business.. I’ve said that to people in the past and seen them try to get the most for what they have while they can, and every time, they just wind up following the market down — always still trying to get the best price they can when adjusting down to where the market has fallen.

      You have to get ahead of the wave.

      (Not suggesting you need to do any such thing, but just seizing the opportunity to give people that warning again. If you wait to cut your losses (should you be in such a market) until everyone else is moving, you’ll get trampled over in the stampede.)

      Welcome to the blog, Mad.

      –David

  • Cullen Monaghan

    I would like to see this discussion broaden to include the Grocery Business.

    • It’s a strange irony right now that, just as Amazon is one major reason that brick-and-mortar stores are closing up, Amazon is now looking at buying and operating its first brick-and-mortar stores via acquiring Whole Foods.

      • Cullen Monaghan

        I worked for a liquor store chain for almost 8 years and they have been around since 1906. They declared Chapter 11, closed 5 stores, laid off employees (I was one) and their business is probably getting worse from what I hear. Lots of competition i.e., Total Wine coming in the market place. Took 2 1/2 months to get into a new job / culture (Grocery) as a wine steward. Hours have been cut due to lack of customer count and not making numbers, although my department has improved its sales numbers, the store is trending down. Frustrating.

        • It’s good to get some local color like you’re adding. People talk about the transition as if only the end counts and that it will be good in the end. As I say as much in the article, that misses the point — the point being what are we about to go through? (I may be sailing to beautiful tropical waters someday, but if the route there requires going through a very rocky straight, I want to know ALL about the straight. I can save salivating over the tropical climbs for later.)

          As your story shows, the local cost of even one small store that doesn’t even close but just slows down hits a few people hard. Multiply that by 23,000 with some of them being major stores and all of them shutting down completely, and there is a lot of pain to bear.

          Not saying we should want dinosaurs to continue, but the transition is going to be very rocky, genuinely dangerous, and many financial livelihoods will be lost during that time with it taking (as it did in your case) a long time beyond that for many to reorient from that event and get a livelihood back.

          Even then, as your story points out, people reorient toward something that is closely enough related that they can qualify for the position, and the ground shifts again because, in a landslide of the size I’m talking about, one major piece slides into another and starts it moving, too. So much land moving all at once will be very disorienting to a lot of people, leaving them feel they have nowhere safe to stand … because they probably don’t.

          Thanks for putting some flesh on it.

      • MadMagyar

        Whole Foods needed to be bought by somebody, hopefully with a brain for retail, as their prices made organic food UNaffordable for most people. If Amazon does for groceries what they did for other goods, then maybe we can all afford to eat well – and force the other big chains to modify their price structure just to stay in business. Brick-and-mortar groceries can’t fold altogether, because of the short shelf life of fresh foods, but the packaged dry goods and canned items can sure be taken care of by Amazon’s fulfillment centers. In the meantime, buy UPS.

  • eddivision15

    The retail landlords are going to have to tighten their belts or go extinct with their disappearing tenants.

  • Benny Hill

    You either evolve your business strategy or die. Thinking outside of the box is a must. Adapt and change or get left behind in the dust bin of history. I still see small businesses with poor planning opening in this economy. You’ve got to be sharp trying something new instead of the same old thing that somebody else did in the same location and failed.

    • True enough. That’s why some of these businesses are dinosaurs.

      I hope, however, that people are not missing the point of the article, which some appear to be doing. The article has nothing to do with why these businesses are dying (though I gave several reasons, one being the dinosaur business practices that you’ve picked up on). The article is simply about the fact that major (and minor) retail are dying in a truly spectacular extinction event (beyond anything seen at any other time), and that is going to broadside the economy just as I’ve been saying would start to become apparent this summer.

      Regardless of whether they deserve to fail for being lunkheads or simply cannot compete with Amazon online, or even if they are doing fantastic in their online business (as some of these stores are doing and will continue to do), retail is now entering a massive transition, which will have a huge negative impact on the economy in the next couple of years.

      As I’ve said, that doesn’t mean the change is not good for the economy down the road or that it shouldn’t happen. That’s irrelevant for the time being. The importance right now is that this economy is going down … right on schedule.

      • eddivision15

        The brick and mortar business model is base on the fat days of cheap goods made with slave labor with a high enough markup to cover your over head. The landlords business model was also based on that same business model.
        Now that business model is defunct.
        The collapse of the retail industry from top to bottom is inevitable. It started years ago in my state where the one time largest mall in the US was allowing tenants to remain in place without paying rent rather then to have the mall have a large percentage of their stores boarded up.
        Unless you have a great product that is unavailable anywhere else (the internet) your days are numbered.

        The empty malls and big box stores will be turned into temporary housing for the homeless that used to have employment in those very same spaces.

        Once the landlords default on these properties foreign investors will buy them up for pennies on the dollar and fill them with their people.

        • Welcome to the blog, Ed. That’s a good description of the kind of big change that is now in play and about to hit its crescendo.

          • eddivision15

            Thanks Dave.
            I’ve been the retail/commercial construction industry for a long time. I was working for one of the biggest companies on the planet in 08 and was warned about the crash three months before it happened. Changed my business model on their advise so I survived barely.

            Now I do do a combination of service and custom work for the same kind of people in know as they say.

            A lot of changes on the horizon…

            • Thanks for a close-up view that, like Cullen above, puts some skin on the ball. You adapted and barely survived, and that was less than a decade ago. Already you face another extinction level event and are going to have to figure out how to adapt again. Hopefully, you do well.

              The important thing is seeing it coming. I cannot begin to suggest what people need to do because everyone’s situation is so different; but my hope is to point out the big change that is going to be happening this summer so that people are ready to adapt, thinking about what kind of adaptation may work for them; if they cannot see that because we don’t know exactly where the fault lines will open up until we start to see them (like the present retail faults that are now quite evident), they will, at least, be paying attention.

              The ones that don’t adapt are the ones like Spatial who spend all their time crowing about how the good times will keep on rolling, which they know from their formulae, and quibbling about minutia. The landslide will go right over them because they’re more interesting in trying to show how smart they are in the details, while they listen to no one’s opinion that doesn’t validate their own. As a result, they will not hear the rumble of the falling rocks over the timber of their own voices.

              It happens every time we go through something like this.

        • Lorungee

          Great….your local mall being then stuffed with Paki, Indian, Arab, Afghani, Haitian shopkeepers selling everything from love potions, ramen noodles, and bull penises

      • Spatial Memory

        Knave if you consider your musings “right on schedule” with actualized price action then no telling what you consider “horrendously inaccurate”. Jmho

  • Morgan Harris

    kmart sells low grade shit i hate kmarts im so glad the one by me is closing down kenmore is junk i’ll never never by a kenmore appliance again

    • Me, too. Never bought at Kmart and didn’t buy much at Sears, certainly not Kenmore stuff. Be that as it may, the impact of this events along with several others that are equally big is going to capsize the economy.

      It’s not about feeling sorry over which ones are going down or wishing they weren’t going down (since I never frequented their floors anyway); it is about the impact on the overall economy when so many are all going down at once.

      It’s sort of like this: You can handle one dead animal in the wild by just skirting the stench or holding your nose as you walk past it on the trail. It happens. Big deal. However when 10% of the animals on the mountain all die at the same time, the whole mountain reeks, and you don’t want to be there. One dead fish in the water may not hurt you if you drink from the stream, but when there are 23,000 of them rotting in the stream after spawning, probably not a good time to drink the mountain water.

    • Lorungee

      I agree.

  • 8Peyote

    I see Gender Mountain is closing stores.
    I’m surprised the transexual freaks aren’t enough to keep them in business

    • TomSawyerB

      It’s a typo. It’s supposed to be Gander Mountain. That’s an outdoor supply store.

      • Johnny Wendigo

        Gander…History…Cabela got their crap for free?

    • Tom Tom

      LOL, Gander Mountain.

  • Sha’ul an Emissary

    Yes it looks bad, but as the population of the earth and our country continue to grow – the bigger question for me is whether the percentage of store closings is actually the real indicator. And where these stores are closing is important as populations shift from one place to another.

    I wonder if it really matters if all the retail stores close so, small mom and pop grocery and clothing stores can come back to life and Service become a way of life again.

    As we continue to wonder what all this means – I put my faith in the Creator to watch over my life and keep me safe and protected and fed and clothed.

    We will find out in short order, what all this stuff means – but the one constant is G-d, if you believe.

    Man is just not capable of handling the complexities of life that man has created. G-d will have to swoop in and save us from ourselves as usual.

    • Hi Sha’ul,

      I’d love to see the big Walmarts go out of business and little mom & pops and rural town life make a comeback. Likewise, the shift toward buying online will remove a lot of traffic from the roads. The thing here, however, is not that I love big stores and hate to see them go (because I hate shopping anyway), but that the transition will be a huge hit to the economy.

      So, I’m not saying it shouldn’t happen, just like I’m not saying the end of the Jurassic Age shouldn’t have happened. I wouldn’t want to be living with behemoth dinosaurs. It’s a better world now for mammals. If, however, you were alive when the asteroid hit that wiped out the dinos, you’d probably have been wiped out with it. It certainly would have been an apocalyptic event and horrible decades to live through.

      So, the transition is not going to be pretty.

      • Spatial Memory

        Such nonsensical hyperbole while your homespun guesswork is clearly rejected as confirmed by markets price action

        • “Confirmed by markets price action?”

          Oops on your part:

          “Stocks slide after health-care vote delayed; tech stocks big losers again” ( http://www.marketwatch.com/story/wall-street-stocks-on-track-to-slip-hurt-again-by-a-drop-for-techs-2017-06-27?siteid=bigcharts&dist=bigcharts )

          “Tech rout puts Nasdaq on pace for 1st monthly loss in 2017” ( http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tech-rout-puts-nasdaq-on-pace-for-1st-monthly-loss-in-2017-as-stock-market-ends-lower-2017-06-27?siteid=bigcharts&dist=bigcharts )

          “Wall Street’s ‘fear gauge’ books biggest daily jump in a month as health bill is delayed” ( http://www.marketwatch.com/story/wall-streets-fear-gauge-jumps-by-the-most-in-a-month-as-health-bill-is-delayed-2017-06-27?siteid=bigcharts&dist=bigcharts )

          “The stock market seems to be running pretty much on fumes,” San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President John Williams said in an interview carried on Sydney’s ABC News affiliate and available on the internet on Tuesday. “It’s something that clearly is a risk to the U.S. economy….”

          That summary analysis from the all-brilliant operators of the Federal Reserve.

          • Spatial Memory

            Spatial Memory 5 days ago
            Futures sinking after giving back 30%+ of yesterdays intraday gains on closing basis – price weighted DJIA best tell. QQQ – NASDAQ minus financials heavy tape – violation of 139.46 – (16 ta confluences) sure seems significant IMHO. Maybe VIX and UVXY scream today through the close – as hidden divergence becomes classic divergence. Looking like qtrly and prolly cyclical highs are behind. Jmho

            Spatial Memory a day ago
            Wiksilian Conundrum puts q2 window dressing charade and orderly market unwinding at unprecedented risk levels here. Jmho

            Spot on. 🙂
            Whocouldaknowed:)

            • Yeah, but eight days ago, it was all going up due to the brilliance of the Fed. Then you saw signs that I kept pointing out that it was going down, and you started hedging your bets with statements that indicated there would be a temporary and minor adjustment down. (But when it was going up, you used that as proof you were right at the time, and hedging your bets was a move in my direction.) Eventually, when it all gives way, you will have continued hedging further and further in my direction and then claim you saw it coming all along. Nice try.

            • Spatial Memory

              Obviously you’re very uneducated and inexperienced which resulted in you’ve been whipsawed and decimated by capital markets. Your GUESSWORK has ranged from “total financial collapse” sometime maybe this year or next. You may believe those ludicrous homespun guesses are valid, actionable forecasts but those with education and experience enjoy the comedy and pity any that have relied on such. Although it is disingenuous, you can continue to deny the accuracy and analysis which I have provided while I continue laughing to banks. Watch and learn. Rotflmao

      • Sha’ul an Emissary

        If we switch our focus from Man’s view of the world at large to the view of the Creator – the transition is just part of the game plan and what comes after the painful transition will be glorious for all those who are included in the Post Transition Model being prepared for us.

        Hmmmm – 6,000 complete years of Human history or 100s of millions of years of earth History?

        Perspectives are important to consider.

        I have no reason to disagree with your logic based on how I presented my first writing and how you presented yours, But.

        So, which real perspective do we feel most comfortable looking at? Mine is that Man for the most part is evil and we can not get out of our own way trying to make things better for everyone because we are always focused on the wrong things. I look forward to a brighter future with G-d having tried as hard as I can to be Obedient to His Will for me in my life. That Will includes not allowing myself to support EVIL ( what ever that really means ) and to support Good ( what ever that really means ) and certainly does include keeping my eyes on G-d and not man.

        I enjoyed your response.

  • Soft Serve

    What happens when a gander flies to Gender Mountain? Just curious.

    • MadMagyar

      He craps on Bruce Gender’s head . . .

  • Vlad TheSkewerer

    It has been awhile since I have heard about “green shoots”, or it’s a new economy and the old rules don’t apply. Golden oldies pre 2008, back when you could dress Erin Burnett up in a catholic school girl uniform and bend her over one of those fine Konica copiers.

    • Spatial Memory

      2008 is history. 15,000+ DJIA points higher looks like great rubesession readers seem bent over.

      • Vlad TheSkewerer

        Helluva dip comin, get ready to pounce! The algorithms are your friend 🙂

    • Robert Carter

      Hilarious and true! Remember the moron talking about how Americans should appreciate all the lead-laced low-priced shit from CHina. What a moron!

  • Alleged Comment

    9 out of 10 stores listed I never heard of. Many over expanded. Where I live there was too much “office” stores practically within blocks of each other.

    Just the natural culling of the herd when you over expand and want to just prop your stock price up and the CEO really wants his stock options and Golden Parachute before he leaves.

    • Not a natural culling of the herd. 13,000 in one year goes far beyond any year … probably ever, but I only looked back a couple of decades. And THAT is going to hurt big time. Even if it were just due to natural culling of weak out of the herd and not the massive paradigm shift that is taking out the strong and the mighty along with the weak, it would still be a massive hit to the economy because the scale is completely out of line with history. You cannot slam the door on that many businesses and not feel the economic impact.

  • Chris P

    We can see the cracks that the central bankers can’t paint over. It will not make any of the main stream media but it sure shows the condition of our economy and country. I would have to defend the C.B.ers that they are not that stupid. I know they are dumb for sure but this is orchestrated to make sure it comes down hard for midterm and following general election. You can see the snow ball gaining speed and size as it rolls down hill. We will all be watching this one closely .

    • Spatial Memory

      Those homespun misconceptions may get some validation around this blog however obviously markets have clearly rejected such guesswork for nearly a decade.

    • You sure can see it coming. The cracks that I’ve said would become visible by summer are now appearing and are widening at such speed that they look more like they will be gaping canyons by year’s end.

  • Spatial Memory

    Markets flying – Knaivpocalypse continues!!!

  • akagaga

    Another factor affecting restaurants is the minimum wage laws being implemented piece by piece around the country. Here’s an article about closing restaurants in California:

    http://www.fresnobee.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/article155979969.html

    • Not only hurts restaurants, but hurts high-school kids, too. Who is going to hire a high school kid now that you have to pay them the same as an adult. Not all jobs are meant to be livable-wage jobs. Until the new “livable wage” minimum wage went into effect, some jobs were entry jobs — jobs where someone with no training could gain some skills and learn a little work ethic and BECOME employable.

      • But, but, but Dave, Ole Yeller (sorry, Mister Janet Yellen) at the Fed says there is “solid job growth.” And her analysis is always spot on. [cough] And that’s why he/she raised the rate — because the economic outlook is so damn good.

        I mean, everything is AWESOME!!

        Isn’t it? ;?P

        • For sure. You wouldn’t raise rates unless everything was perking along peachy-keen, would you? It must be awesome. As Spatial will point out, it clearly is because the stock market is still rising, and we all know that isn’t rigged beyond any useful measure as an economic barometer.

          This has been an education year for me on that. I suspected it was entirely rigged by central banks, but hadn’t seen the proof until this year. So, who knows how long they will have their colleagues in other nations continue this new concept of central banks buying up vast amounts of stocks in healthy companies?

          So, we’ll all watch the economy bust up into major chunks, as it has started to do right on schedule, regardless of whatever the stock market does. The cracks will be canyons soon. It will be interesting to see how they can justify propping up stocks when business profits are cascading down into the canyons that have just started to open up.

      • daniel lee morgan

        If they can get a job considering the amount of illegals taking those jobs!

      • L. A. McDonough

        Teens don’t want to work anyway, parents can’t get them to mow lawns. Sorry slackers, I wouldn’t hire them because they are late showing up and slack in their work attitudes. I see older people working in dept stores more .

        • All true enough, but also the exact reason we need much lower minimum wages in order to make it sensible for some businesses to hire them and start teaching them what real life is about (because eventually they will be completely running the nursing home you have to live in). They are clearly not worth hiring at Seattle’s new minimum wage of $15.

          I pay teens $10 per hour to help out on my farm when I need some extra help because anyone decent is worth that to me. If they’re not good workers, they work one day and are done. If they are really good, I sometimes pay them $12, even though I only promised $10. But at $15, I can find adults who will do better; so, the teens are out.

          You have to be able to pay them less to justify hiring them because, as you say, they’re usually not worth today’s minimum wage.

          The older people working in department stores are largely the ones who saw their retirement plans go bust in 2002 or in 2008. The next round of older employees who cannot afford to retire is about to come again. And, with congress (both sides of the aisle) having robbed social security to pay for everything else for years, that won’t be there for a lot of older people either, as the retirement age for SS will be raised.

      • Spatial Memory

        What training, skills (and ethics-rofl) to BECOME doomsday predictor throughout a decade long 15,000+ point DJIA bull run?- now known as a Knaivpocalypse.

  • V_ANGERY

    Another great article. Particularly how you break down the effects this will have on other industries and employment as a whole.

    It seems now that unlike in 2008, there is no gas left in the can. You can’t have unemplyment rates much higher without crippling the tax base and you can’t print money because nobody want’s to buy your worthless paper (or digits) to bail you out.

    History makes a lot more sense when you think of it in economic terms.

  • Kim

    47 million student debtors (13% of the entire population) owe an average of $38,000, for combined student debt of about $1.5 trillion outstanding (8% of US GDP). These debtors average in age between 25 to 30 years old. What a way to start out in life! 10 million now in default and growing, with useless degrees from idiot colleges like Evergreen and UPS.

    Pensions being cut, and now the entire state of Illinois in “massive crisis” (comptroller’s words), owing 15 billion dollars to vendors and will run out of money on June 20th, 2017.

    It’s going to be a fun summer. I can just feel it.

    • Indeed. One more big stack of problems that have been building for years on top of several other major stacks of financial crises that are coming to head this summer.

    • generalmax

      JUNE 20th!!!!!!! That’s tomorrow!!!

  • Auldenemy

    Same is happening on this side of the pond. In fact in traditionally less well off areas, stores that closed down after the 2008 financial crash have never re-opened. One town not far from me now has its High Street full of

    • I’m a boomer and yes, indeed, I am way past my prime shopping days. I’ve got enough “stuff” to last a lifetime (a psychic told me I’ve got another 30 years to go, dammit, but yeah, I’ve got enough stuff to last that long).

      What most boomers are worrying about is the hit to their savings. Even the most generous — Goldman Sachs’ 1.2% — doesn’t cut it as far as interest on hard-earned savings go — if we even have savings at this point. And Social Security is a pittance to get by on.

      On top of that, we’ve got very expensive healthcare to pay for. Medicare is not cheap, and unfortunately, unlike healthcare in the UK and most of Europe, doesn’t cover much. The #1 cause of personal bankruptcy in the U.S. is due to medical expenses. Ouch.

      So, even if a boomer only has to look after him/herself, it will not be easy to live comfortably — not luxuriously, mind you; I’m talking the basics.

      Sadly, most boomers have more than just themselves to take care of. The sandwich generation is alive and not very well. Parental care, children’s college, housing that needs constant maintenance, rising taxes — it all adds up to a dismal future.

      • Kim

        Fret not- stuff today is designed to self-destruct in about six month a to a year from point of sale, that will need to be replaced with more stuff designed to self destruct. It all ends up in the ocean (see Plastic Ocean, Netflix) for your convenience.