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The Devil Lurking In The Retail Store Closure Details

Tyler Durden's picture


"US retail as we have known it for hundreds of years is in sharp decline," warns Bloomberg Brief's Rich Yamarone, adding that "market participants should take note of the fallout in a sputtering US economy." The retail apocalypse, as we discussed here, is dominated by mass layoffs, weak traffic, and poor wage growth and, as Yamarone highlights, it's not hard to see why...


Via Bloomberg Brief's Richard Yamarone,

The 13-week moving average pace of retail spending shown by the ICSC-Goldman Sachs Retail Chain Store Index is below that which traditionally signals a slowdown.




Of course this most recent dive will all be blamed on the weather but another look at the chart shows the trend was well in place long before this winter and will continue well into the future unless something changes. As Yamorone goes to note, this has significant implications - as the shift from bricks-and-mortar to online echoes up through the retail infrastructure of America...

That a lot of the cash not being spent on the high street will show up in online sales is scant consolation for operators of existing infrastructure. There are ripple effects for the towns that surround it, and awful consequences for retail associates and their families.


The need for retail employees is essentially limited to clothing and footwear stores since apparel and shoes are not standard items with varying sizes, colors, and fabrics. For the more ubiquitous items like electronics or sporting goods, the need for a dedicated store or staff is diminished. During February, the number of employees at electronics and appliance stores fell by 12,000 to 503,700, while sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores furloughed 8,600 workers.




Ordering online means reduced foot traffic at malls. The year-over-year change in the ShopperTrak’s month-to-day Retail Traffic Index contracted by 5.2 percent in February – a weak trend that has been lingering for the last 12 months.




Finally, while many high-ranking "economists" of the sell-side varietal would prefer to shove any and all negatives under the capret proclaiming them merely weather events - for instance here is Deutsche's Joe Lavorgna's tweet cloud from the last 40 days (h/t @Not_Jim_Cramer):

Yamorone has more ominous words by way of conclusion...

Economically speaking however, the bottom line remains fewer jobs, the ultimate determinant of income and spending. The broader decline of bricks and mortar retail, have to be factored into any serious forecasting of the direction of the U.S. economy.

Read more here


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Tue, 03/11/2014 - 10:54 | 4534227 Bangin7GramRocks
Bangin7GramRocks's picture

And more poverty stricken warehouse mules to fill the orders! USA USA USA

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:02 | 4534259 Obchelli
Obchelli's picture

And like clock work markets start rallyin perfectly after hitting red in stright line

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:32 | 4534387 max2205
max2205's picture

Lets make sure they get a bump tk 10.15 an hour....that'll finish it off

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:59 | 4534484 dontgoforit
dontgoforit's picture

It ain't just the USA.  It's the west in general.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 12:40 | 4534626 mumbo_jumbo
mumbo_jumbo's picture

LOL, yes cause an economy where 50% of Americans don't make enough to pay taxes is really working out.

min. wage WOULD be over $10 an hour if it kept pace with inflation, speaking of inflation a new worker in my profession with 3 years experience should make $31.50 an hour but in 2014 really makes $22 an hour.

so the REAL ISSUE at hand here is NOT online sales or the snow it's the simple fact that the average income no longer provides a means for the average American lifestyle and it's been this way for a long time so now the symptoms of that disease are finally starting to appear.

the GREED of US corporations have killed the host, and if this continues, look out below. Or as i read recently who the fuck are these boomers going to sell all these assets to during retirement? imported 3rd world peasants? the smaller cohorts of gen X,Y,Z??? WHO DON'T MAKE ENOUGH TO PAY TAXES?

this isn't rock science folks, it's just simple math.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 13:55 | 4534938 DontGive
DontGive's picture

Plenty of folks like me who will, ahem, buy them assets at pennies on the dollar. Then turn them into rentals, like this whole damned rental society. Could always use more on the plantation.


The way I see it, and not to throw salt on this generational divide bullshit, but the boomers are caught between a rock and a hard spot.


Cant beat em? Join em.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 12:42 | 4534633 Groundhog Day
Groundhog Day's picture

Look at MCD, up 3.3% after reduced comp store sales yesterday.  Another fun filled day in the bizzaro market.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:03 | 4534266 Headbanger
Headbanger's picture

"market participants should take note of the fallout in a sputtering US economy"

But but but.... Obama and Yellen and CNBC all said the economy is getting stronger and we just had better than expected jobs growth and.....

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:12 | 4534299 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

Which is then echoed by local media tards, who have not a clue what they're talking about.

The only fact they know is "corporations have more cash than ever."

Never mind that it's because there's no profitable reason to fund capex. Or, that the cash is being used to play in the "financial" space while gutting the company's infrastructure.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:28 | 4534359 foodstampbarry
foodstampbarry's picture

The new American dream, fulfilling orders at an Amazon distribution center.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:32 | 4534388 Cocomaan
Cocomaan's picture

This was an article talking about how Amazon Warehouses are the new Factory in the midwest.


The idiocy was stunning. The two aren't even remotely equivalent.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:46 | 4534418 foodstampbarry
foodstampbarry's picture

Agreed. Real wealth comes from producing stuff, not shipping cheap chinese shit out a door.


Tue, 03/11/2014 - 12:00 | 4534487 Skateboarder
Skateboarder's picture

If all you do is consume, your definition of productivity changes accordingly. Amazing indeed, that the definition of a 'factory,' an entity that is supposed to produce real goods, has been modifed for and accepted by the current age to mean "automated warehouse with a couple of humans to push a couple of buttons and move a couple of forklifts around."

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 12:03 | 4534502 Cocomaan
Cocomaan's picture

Factories have changed, and factories in cheaper countries don't look like they did 50 or even 10 years ago, but there is still an amazing amount of things made by human hands.

This article was so stupid that it made me angry. It's likely written by a Millenial (like myself) that hasn't ever stepped into a factory.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 13:58 | 4534956 DontGive
DontGive's picture

What a waste of space. Can't Amazon do some peer to peer warehousing? Store a little bit here and there amongst it's customers?

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 13:23 | 4534785 rotagen
rotagen's picture

Good Riddance, I can't believe they lasted this long.  Aside from auto parts/repair businesses, I see no need for them.  They have crap inventory at crap prices.  Have you heard of this thing called the internet?

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 10:54 | 4534228 101 years and c...
101 years and counting's picture

This is with stocks at ridiculously high levels. Dec, 09 was after the LEH crash.  How low will this go when stocks finally crumble back to reality near spx 800?

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 10:58 | 4534245 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

You are young.  You may live to see that day.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 10:59 | 4534235 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

"US retail as we have known it for hundreds of years is in sharp decline," warns Bloomberg Brief's Rich Yamarone...

Not that I disagree that retail & the consumer are in critical condition, and not to put too fine a point on it, but the "US" is barely "hundreds of years" old,'Mr. Yamarone.

Next, Yamarone will proclaim that Amazon margins haven't been this negative since the Boston Tea Party.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 10:59 | 4534251 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

Well, TWO hundreds, anyway.  By the time we hit the country's third centennial I have a feeling retail will be the least of our worries.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:19 | 4534330 Gert_B_Frobe
Gert_B_Frobe's picture

3rd centennial? 

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:38 | 4534412 MrPalladium
MrPalladium's picture

Counting the colonial period, the "states" have been around for about 370 years, since approximately 1640 when the mass migration of Europeans began.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:39 | 4534413 MrPalladium
MrPalladium's picture

Counting the colonial period, the "states" have been around for about 370 years, since approximately 1640 when the mass migration of Europeans began.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:04 | 4534267 LFMayor
LFMayor's picture

Well, those East India Trading Company and Amsterdam guild members had some tight analysis going on, didn't they?

Prophetic, even!

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 10:55 | 4534236 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

and Ebay and Amazon aren't doing so well either so there goes the E-commerce myth that it would takeover...

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:34 | 4534303 jay35
jay35's picture

B&M retail stores pressured politicians to start taxing online sales. It didn't actually help b&m stores, it just penalized consumers, which in turn causes them to spend a bit less overall, online or otherwise.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 10:56 | 4534237 the6thBook
the6thBook's picture

They knew retail was in decline for 100's of years?  So, is that 1913? or 1813?

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:14 | 4534308 Winston of Oceania
Winston of Oceania's picture

Reading comprehension issues?

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 10:56 | 4534238 the6thBook
the6thBook's picture

They knew retail was in decline for 100's of years?  So, is that 1913? or 1813?

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:01 | 4534253 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

I wasn't aware of the fact that Simon properties built the first strip mall in the late 1600s.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:12 | 4534301 Winston of Oceania
Winston of Oceania's picture

The footprint of main street America should look similiar to a strip mall with one on either side of the street. Difference is that the merchant no longer owned the real estate an became a middle man for the owner.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:13 | 4534304 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

CFC (Colonies Fried Chicken) opened their first drive thru window franchise in 1764.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:03 | 4534264 TrumpXVI
TrumpXVI's picture

It says, 'retail as we have known it for hundreds of years is in sharp decline'.  

Except retail "as we have known it" hasn't existed for hundreds of years.  I would date, "retail as we have known it", to have begun approximately in the second half of the nineteenth century....maybe around 1880 or so.  That would be more like one hundred and thirty-five years, give or take.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:15 | 4534309 jcaz
jcaz's picture

OMG dude, let it go- really?   It's just a bullet to catch reader attention-  or maybe you need a reminder that the Egyptians had malls?

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:37 | 4534408 TrumpXVI
TrumpXVI's picture

I think it's relevant for people to not get too sloppy about this because "retail shopping as we have known it" is very much a creation of the industrial revolution and specifically, the era of cheap fossil fuels.

The colonial settlement of North America began generating surplus wealth very quickly.  By the second half of the eighteenth century there was intensive trade up and down the eastern coast of North America (as well as over the Atlantic w/Great Britain).  It was this growing wealth and steadily increasing standard of living that contributed so much to the growing dissatisfaction with British rule.  The threat to this standard of living posed by British taxation contributed to sparking the American Revolution.  

The War of 1812 was another speed bump that had merchants (and a growing "consumer") upset on both sides of the Atlantic.  The Treaty of Ghent restored the staus qou to the point where people could once again get back to the business of business, making money, and improving their standard of living and importing/exporting consumer goods.

So, "retail shopping as we have known it", grew out of the early nineteeth century and as the industrial revolution picked up steam.  The retail environment that we would recognize today really took shape basically when I said, in the second half of the nineteeth century.  

I just think it's important for people to know a little bit of the history of how and why we live (are ABLE to live) the way we do.....because IT AIN'T PERMANENT!!!!

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 12:52 | 4534678 Totentänzerlied
Totentänzerlied's picture

1880 - the dawn of the oil age

Nope, just another crazy coincidence.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:50 | 4534438 Skateboarder
Skateboarder's picture

jcaz, remember in 1984 how there's only 500 stars and the way it is now is the way it has always been?

Yeah, about these kinds of statements that attest to a static universe...

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:23 | 4534345 Gert_B_Frobe
Gert_B_Frobe's picture

Well, in 1813 Slaves-R-Us was really gearing up.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 10:57 | 4534243 LFMayor
LFMayor's picture

The local malls here have become The Monkey House anyways.  Bad enough that one put a "No one under 18 without adult (over 21) escort after 6:00 p.m." mandate in place between the holidays. 

Why the hell would I want to endure the shit flingers and patronize those stores?

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:25 | 4534361 Gert_B_Frobe
Gert_B_Frobe's picture

I think this is code for something ... not sure. Don't want to be bossy and imply anything.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 14:27 | 4535086 dobermangang
dobermangang's picture

"There's no more America! Remember when you were a kid, there'd be an America? You'd go see your Grandma, and go to her little town? There's no more little towns - it's all malls! And they're all the same! The mall in St. Louis is the same mall in Detroit.. it's got the same Gap, Banana Republic, Chess King, Sunglasses Hut, all the same crap! And every town's got two malls! They've got the white mall, and the mall white people used to go to. 'Cause they're ain't nothing in the black mall! Nothing but sneakers and baby clothes! "   - Chris Rock

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 12:03 | 4534501 Skateboarder
Skateboarder's picture

So what you're saying is that minors after 6:00pm become enemy combatants? Shiet dawg.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 12:09 | 4534522 LFMayor
LFMayor's picture

Think back to the Wizard of Oz, the scene with the flying monkeys and then mix that in with the old MTV vid of Musical Youth: Pass the Dutchie.

This is the fresh hell I speak of.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 10:58 | 4534246 TrumpXVI
TrumpXVI's picture

Okay, So....everyone is shopping online at profitable?........yet?

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:02 | 4534260 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

No, because the polar vortex froze keyboards & tablets in much of the country for most of the year.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:04 | 4534268 Paul451
Paul451's picture

That would be a big, resounding "No".

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 10:59 | 4534247 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

The kids and I hit two malls this weekend. Both of them had plenty of foot traffic, but very few people were carrying bags. The only  business' doing any volume was Starbucks and Build-A-Bear.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:01 | 4534255 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

Awwww... I LOVE Build-a-Bear!  It's helped me avoid divorce at least twice.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:05 | 4534269 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

Fucking place cost me a Franklin for two lousy bears w/clothes this weekend. Last year I took all three kids and it cost me $75.00.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 12:05 | 4534508 superflex
superflex's picture

Personally, I'd buy the kids 2 ASEs each and tell them to thank you later.

In one month, those bears will be collecting dust.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 14:45 | 4535176 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Dear Holy God Dr E. You've got to be kidding. I've never been in one. Looked too corporate cutzie to me. Seventy five bucks? I'm just reeling in disgust.

I'm glad I rarely go to the mall anymore except to make specific purchases I can't find elsewhere. Just walking around in one is depressing. You've got the tattooed fat women showing way too much skin and the poor emasculated guy that's being made to come along. Then there's the welfare mama with the bratty kids trashing the stores while the sad, downtrodden employees attempt to clean up. When I get home I just want to have a shower and a scotch.


Tue, 03/11/2014 - 12:10 | 4534528 LFMayor
LFMayor's picture

So you saved your marriage by force air blowing fuzz up somethings ass?  Kink-ola!

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:27 | 4534371 Gert_B_Frobe
Gert_B_Frobe's picture

Build-A-Bear ....  Bilderberg. Coincidence or something more?

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 10:59 | 4534250 madcows
madcows's picture

I don't know about that.  I went to the mall during school vacation week, and I couldn't get a parking space.  It would appear that the tweenagers are still spending their parent's money.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:03 | 4534263 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

Yes, but are they buying anything or just hanging out? Or maybe the zombies just like to return to the place most familiar to them.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:06 | 4534274 TrumpXVI
TrumpXVI's picture

The Mall has been one of the prime locations for teenagers to go to get laid for decades.....since the beginning of "Malldom".

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:06 | 4534278 curbyourrisk
curbyourrisk's picture

As a parent and TWEENS and TEENS...  They are going to the malls.  They are hanging out at the malls.  Maybe they buy starbucks, or something to eat.  They are CETAINLY NOT SHOPPING at the malls.  I know my daughter and her friends can sometimes total as much as 20.  Ask any of them..."What did you buy?"  they will giggle and just say... That's not why we go to the mall.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:19 | 4534328 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

when they want to buy something they bring mom or dad who are increasingly tapped out. no mo $100 boots for you!

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 12:11 | 4534530 LFMayor
LFMayor's picture

The answer is ecstasy.  They bought ecstasy.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:02 | 4534261 Paul451
Paul451's picture

Where ya been, man? This has been going on since '06 and there's no end in sight. When do the numbers come out for economic 'growth' last quarter? They should be showing one thing: RECESSION. Oh, right. I forgot. The gov't numbers are all bullshit! DEPRESSION.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:56 | 4534462 cosmictrainwreck
cosmictrainwreck's picture

It truly is amazing to what lengths they'll go and how spin [contort] the "data" to pepertuate the illusion/delusion of staus-quo, "growth" etc isn't it? [alternative = nightmare]

I've posed the question many times for years before 2008: 1) hey...if everybody keeps buying this shit where the fuck they gonna put it? and 2) what ya gonna do after everybody already has 2.5 cars, 3 TV's, 7 dvd's, 5 cell phones, etc. etc. ( a point we hit some time ago)? Yet to get an answer from anybody

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:02 | 4534262 Rising Sun
Rising Sun's picture

can you say amazon?


only problem is that the 40,000 jobs amazon created replaced 400,000 retail jobs


get those fucking food stamps going Barry you fucking asshole!!!

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:06 | 4534277 Winston of Oceania
Winston of Oceania's picture

Yeah well guess who owns all the retail space, go online shoppers!

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 13:00 | 4534703 g speed
g speed's picture

Duh--would that be the BANKS   lol----hahahahahahahahahah ---blahahahahah--cough -hic -hahahahahahah

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:10 | 4534294 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Given that you get the gist of what is happening, what is your issue with BHO and foodstamps?

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 13:01 | 4534705 g speed
g speed's picture

the're racis

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:18 | 4534324 novictim
novictim's picture

Calling him an asshole is being generous.  Obama is a tool for the world corporate agenda, nothing more and nothing less.  

"...40,000 jobs amazon created replaced 400,000 retail jobs"

But I have to ask you, Rising Sun, how is it that you think that O'Bum is the agent of change here?  

This is capitalism, man.  It is deeply flawed.  It relies on consumerism as it eats up the consumers.  

Capitalism is a snake eating its own tail!  It is a system that cooks the Golden Goose which is the consumer.  No matter who the President is, the reality would be the same.  This has been known for 150 years at least.

You can blame the leaders but the puppet masters are the guys with all the money.  Their staff are on it 24/7...what can you possibly do to compete with that?  So we wait for "aware" voters...and that it not going to happen until they get real hungry.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:26 | 4534368 melachiro
melachiro's picture

So what is the alternative?  I am really looking for your opinion; I'm not trolling.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:59 | 4534482 withglee
withglee's picture

I recommend "traderism". It begins by recognizing "money" is "a promise to complete a trade". This is obvious from inspecting trade: (1) Negotiation; (2) Promise to deliver; (3) Delivery. With simple barter, (2) and (3) happen simultaneously on the spot. Money allows (2) and (3) to happen over time an space.

Capitalism requires someone with capital to back a trade. With "traderism", no such backing is needed. The trade is backed by the marketplace itself.

Physical money (currency and account balances) is created by "certifying" trading promises. When the promise is delivered the money is returned and extinguished. In the mean time, money circulates as an item of simple barter. It can do this because it is "guaranteed" to never lose it's value or exchangability.

Why? Because under proper management, failure to deliver (DEFAULT) is monitored and met with an equal INTEREST collection. This assures zero inflation of the Medium of Exchange (MOE) by the relation INFLATION=DEFAULT-INTEREST.

Capitalism requires all traders to find backers for purchases regardless of traders reliability in trade. With "traderism", reliable traders enjoy zero interest. It is the deadbeat traders that pay INTEREST. Thus, when you trade future effort for a house, you only buy the house one time ... not two or three as dictated by capitalism.

Todd Marshall
Plantersville, TX

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 12:07 | 4534520 cro_maat
cro_maat's picture

How about we go back to being Stewards of the Planet! Eliminate the Fed and all central banks, stop suppressing free energy technologies, break up the monopolies. Clean up the mess we have made as a species (WMDs, bioweapons, GMOs, pollution, etc.). Stop depleting / wasting / hoarding all of the resources. Feel free to add your own list.

Of course none of this works unless we dial down our materialistic desires and eliminate a few hundred egos per person on the planet. I am trying to eliminate mine but I'm not holding my breath on the rest of the intellectual animals they mistakenly call humans.

Wed, 03/12/2014 - 12:05 | 4539109 novictim
novictim's picture

See above reply.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:49 | 4534436 withglee
withglee's picture

And you recommend what to replace capitalism?

Wed, 03/12/2014 - 12:03 | 4539094 novictim
novictim's picture

First step is to realize the contradiction in capitalism.  

Second step is to recognize what society is expecting of the economic system.  This "recognition" must involve cleaning up the political system so that it is responsive to the will of the people and not just oligarchs.

The solutions follow steps one and two..  

To some extent, the USA already has a frame work that -can- compensate for the inevitable wealth imbalance of long run capitalist economies.  The political system is standing in the way.


Tue, 03/11/2014 - 12:47 | 4534653 Mike in GA
Mike in GA's picture

Ours is no more free market capitalism than Obama is a true American patriot. 

The ills of capitalism you describe are actually the result of government tax policies and regulatory overload with all the attendant unintended consequences. These have distorted and corrupted free markets to the point that there are no free markets anymore.  

Crony capitalism better describes the fact of corporations and government in bed with each other. There remains a very adversarial position between this administration and business today.  Quite naturally, the political types have no problem taking money from their corporate targets even as they pay lip service to "looking out for the little guy"

Blaming capitalism for the failures of our society is too easy and too limited.  If we ever have true, laissez-faire capitalism without ham-handed government intrusion then we'd have a real-time experiment.  We have never had it and most likely never will.

Capitalism - even imperfectly practiced - enables more opportunity for more people worldwide than any other market system.  It is the most personally rewarding system for hard workers and dream-pursuers.   It enables more freedom for more people and provides the means of private charity well beyond any other system.

It takes a free and moral people to participate fully and responsibly in laissez-faire capitalism.  Maybe that's why it is so vilified today and in decline.

As our freedoms and liberties are being encroached on more often and more deeply than ever before, so capitalism has been taking a beating.  Wonder if they're connected?

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 13:33 | 4534836 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture


We did that experiment already, it was found wanting...

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:52 | 4534449 homiegot
homiegot's picture

Efficiency is a good thing.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:05 | 4534272 elwind45
elwind45's picture

In the AM the older folk are having a heck of a time they are trying to pinch every hair off GW. At night its a paper paradise different time of day same script? Neither can go another round and this will be a long fight!

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:05 | 4534273 insanelysane
insanelysane's picture

Sears and Roebucks started the internet retail business in 1893.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:09 | 4534290 elwind45
elwind45's picture

Not to mention the rest of the mortar and brick empire

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:07 | 4534276 DrDre
DrDre's picture

The good thing is that we do not have to worry about such real economy minutiae any longer. The market has its own dynamics now and it goes up no matter what. All we have to focus on is paper wealth. Real wealth is a thing of the past.

Why worry about doing something productive when all you need is a greater fool to dump your overvalued assets on? Plenty of those around ...

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:06 | 4534280 Fix-ItSilly
Fix-ItSilly's picture

oh please... the retail softness, and it will continue, is dominated by aging demographics and its prior contribution to a bubble retail environment.  The internet will further exacerbate the bricks and mortar job/physical store evisceration.  In the latter throes of the aging demographic playout will be excess inventory of homes for sale, especially so if Govt continues to support home prices through various tax and finance subsidies.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:07 | 4534284 Last of the Mid...
Last of the Middle Class's picture

There is so much excess retail capacity in this economy it is scary. there is no way it is sustainable with many options available to purchase goods and services. I remember every time a Super center opened you could actually see a circle of death around them as local busisness withered and died. Now those companies are doing everything they can to promote their brick and mortar stores claiming somehow they wouldn't do the same thing bezos is doing in a heartbeat if they had thought about it. Technology is changing our economy massively and the effects on employment will be huge. Get a degree or skill that can't be replaced with technology or be prepared for a very rough ride in the future. On the plus side bezos drones might be delivering cold beer in the near future. One can always hope. I was wondering if you shoot a drone down carrying something do you get to keep the payload. This could lead to a whole new black market economy. wow

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 12:13 | 4534538 thamnosma
thamnosma's picture

Get a skill that can't be replaced by technology?   How long is 20-30% unemployment sustainable?  Lots of people with skills already are surplused.  Try getting a tenured professor position anymore.  That's just one example and they weren't affected by technology.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:12 | 4534300 Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

How did people shop out West in 1880? How much retail was supported in little town like Walla Walla, Washington? Where did the fabulously wealthy timber barons get the furnishings for their grand homes?

They ordered that stuff online. Well, they ordered it from a catalogue. A Sears catalogue, probably (funny, that).

Retail as my ancestors knew it 134 years ago.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:17 | 4534318 Kreditanstalt
Kreditanstalt's picture

Yeah...this retail decline is a lot more systemic than just putting it down to "online shopping"...

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:42 | 4534421 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Retail space per capita back then was maybe 2 sq inches...

Last I looked it was ~46 sq ft per person compared to ~2 sq ft in France/Italy...

It was also very common then for the wealthy go on extended shopping trips, i,e, head to NYC or Europe for a month and ship it back by train/boat...


You were not asking about this a while back...

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 12:13 | 4534536 LFMayor
LFMayor's picture

How did they shop out west?  Well, according to revisionist historians,  they rode into the peaceful injun encampment and blasted away with their six guns, then took what they wanted.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 12:20 | 4534566 Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

'Round here, they used smallpox.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 12:23 | 4534580 LFMayor
LFMayor's picture

ROFL! That was technically a trade, wasn't it?  These here fine blankets for them shiny rocks?

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:14 | 4534306 Kreditanstalt
Kreditanstalt's picture

Why does any discussion of "retail spending" have to be MALL-CENTERED???  This is sooooo... 1970s.

There are a lot of other places to shop...

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:18 | 4534321 Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

Being poor, I don't shop much. When I do, it is never at a mall. I go to four stores: Costco, WinCo (poor people grocery store), local hardware store (since 1900), and local farmer's exchange (also from early 20th century).

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 12:05 | 4534466 Kreditanstalt
Kreditanstalt's picture

Well done...obviously you and I are not powering retail sales.  Mine are: the local no fills supermarket (cheapest), the Salvation Army thrift store (GREAT stuff!), the church thrift store (good free-range eggs!) and, very occasionally, Walmart (even though it is expensive).

I have to say Walmart MUST be in trouble.  Where there's smoke, there's can't compete on price.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 14:55 | 4535230 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Poor but rich in spirit. I love the farmers markets and I've got many a great deal being a loyal customer. You can't barter with the produce manager at Safeway. Know where your food comes from and be healthy! We buy from our local hard ware store as well. Some one told my husband Home Depot contracts from large tool manufacturers and ,though branded the same, are made with lesser quality parts. Our high end tools have lasted more than 20 years. It's sad people don't see the benefits of this.


Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:17 | 4534317 elwind45
elwind45's picture

Sure its fuckin easy for amazon they have everyone believing they are selling at cost? Now I get called in to shuffle inventory to make a perfect loss next week for inventory. A once a year drill? Now that's retail!

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:19 | 4534320 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

Think of how much "inventory" each household has accumulated over the past 20 years. No one needs to buy anything !!! And if they are addicted to shopping. Buying and Selling each others items online is the new shopping heroin.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:40 | 4534415 homiegot
homiegot's picture

My wife's grandmother has stuff she bought years ago, never used: clothes, jewelery, stuff bought off the TV. Shit still has the price tags on them. There could be millions more shoppers out there like this. All this buying of stuff, unused and unneeded, is part of our consumer economy. Totally execessive and unsustainable. Take all that type of consumption away and we don't have much of an economy.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 12:15 | 4534546 LFMayor
LFMayor's picture

Dude, your prognosis is spot on.  Have you seen this TV channel "TLC"?  It stands for The Loser Channel and it showcases uh... cases,  head cases, like you just described.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 12:17 | 4534556 thamnosma
thamnosma's picture

That's just silly.  Clothes wear out, shoes wear out, appliances wear out.  Give me a break.  Better yet, I want you to never buy a thing again except food.   The clothes you now own is what you should have on your deathbed.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:18 | 4534323 sudzee
Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:20 | 4534333 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture


Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:18 | 4534325 viator
viator's picture

"US retail as we have known it for hundreds of years is in sharp decline,"

It's hard to take seriously anything written by anyone who wrote that sentence. Is he talking about the Walmarts that existed in 1800? Possibly the Urban Outfitters that you could find in every little village in 1815. Or maybe the little owner operated grocery stores you found 200 years ago where all the goods were behind a counter on shelves.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:19 | 4534332 Ban KKiller
Ban KKiller's picture

Disposable income? Not so much. 

Mall stores have lots of overhead or is it overhang? Mall in our area is slow except the post office. Food, term used loosely, court is dead. Just kids hanging out on their cell phones...

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:21 | 4534337 ejmoosa
ejmoosa's picture

Don't want what they are hawking.....

Just as movies have hit the end of the road with new and creative plots( that's why we see so many remakes), there is very little that is new or must have in the retail pipes....


It was gonna happen sooner or later...


Sometimes sooner actually does arrive first....


Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:25 | 4534357 novictim
novictim's picture

Amazon has call centers in the Philippines.  

We are cooking our own golden goose.  When was the last time you heard talk of trade tariffs and penalties for off shoring?  NAFTA created financial incentives to off shore btw.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:32 | 4534390 Fix-ItSilly
Fix-ItSilly's picture

Without import tariffs on nations that promote slave labor and environmental rape, then a nation practicing unfettered "free" trade abandons its freedom by importing those "no-charge" conditions along with the product.

Establish tariffs now on China and there is still opportunity to correct 2 decades of reckless disregard for time honored global trade pre-requisites.  Jobs will quickly return, smog will be reduced in Los Angeles and China will have to import more Western CapEx to clean up its environmental act.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 12:21 | 4534574 thamnosma
thamnosma's picture

Smog will be reduced in LA?  By what - reducing the smog from incoming barges?  ROFLMAO.  And you're getting up votes?  Sure, let's get back into a global tariff war.  Why not?  Of course, the factory equipment has all been dismantled and sent overseas. Replacement equipment is now manufactured overseas.  The skills are gone.   But hey, some tariffs should fix all that.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 13:21 | 4534780 Leraconteur
Leraconteur's picture

That's the reflexive NA answer, but many nations on earth protect their industry at the expense of others - China being the most obvious but also Russia, France and other countries.

It is NOT axiomatic that tariffs and trade policies that protect native industries will cause a trade war.

This should be common sense on any planet with more than one language, culture, economy and standard of living. 

Of course, the factory equipment has all been dismantled and sent overseas. Replacement equipment is now manufactured overseas. 

Bring that back, too. You think CHINA will allow it's manu base to be moved out of it's grasp as the USA has done?


Tue, 03/11/2014 - 13:26 | 4534794 karzai_luver
karzai_luver's picture




Tue, 03/11/2014 - 13:25 | 4534795 karzai_luver
karzai_luver's picture

Well, You can do nothing and pray to the golden unicorn for it's droppings.


Of course , all the stuff you say is "not here" never was!


When will the idiot serfs wake up and realize they have been played (out)!



Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:31 | 4534384 Fix It Again Timmy
Fix It Again Timmy's picture

No Jobs, No Money, No Sales, No Tax Revenues....and it just gets worst past this point - YET, they continue to plow money THEY don't have into military trinkets and invasions [Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Ukraine].  Is starving covered in BarryCare?....

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 12:09 | 4534416 mendolover
mendolover's picture

'Weather' hasn't kept Cabela's in East Hartford,  CT from packing them in.  Weekdays too.

Very interesting read -

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 11:50 | 4534437 Tenshin Headache
Tenshin Headache's picture

Someone may have already pointed this out, but you can buy clothing and shoes online too, so I'm not sure about that carve-out he made. Free returns, wide selection. I have very wide feet so I always buy shoes online. Most of my clothing as well. Many retail stores can't afford to keep a wide inventory, so they don't have what you want. Catch-22.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 12:00 | 4534491 Leraconteur
Leraconteur's picture

Sizes vary by store, so in order to be sure it fits one must physicall walk in the shop and try the item on.

All social interaction and social abilities are being destroyed by everyone doing everything online.

It's not progress.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 12:24 | 4534578 thamnosma
thamnosma's picture

You're right, but the fact is I don't want to interrelating with the public.  Shopping at home is fun, great selections, no driving, and no social interaction with dangerous subhumans.  What's not to like?

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 13:15 | 4534746 Leraconteur
Leraconteur's picture

Most human beings prefer to interact with other people in person.

You prove the point that online shopping is destroying social interaction ability.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 13:57 | 4534952 LFMayor
LFMayor's picture

not with foam rubber croc shoes and polyester fleece pajama pants, you don't.   Your part about not being progress: Very true, brother, very true.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 12:07 | 4534514 venturen
venturen's picture

well at least the criminal investment banks will continue to do alright issue debt for bankrupt countries and trading the market to pluto....with unlimited printed money. The get a food shelter and couple of bucks....while wall streets decide which $25 million home to tear down to make way for bigger home. 

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 12:55 | 4534689 kellycriterion
kellycriterion's picture

The staggering sticker price on:
1. Hypochondria care
2. Ponzipensionitis
3. Global Empire
4. Educavitation and Diploma Mills Unl
5. Free Stuff Armies

doesn't cover the TRUE COST. Oh the great impenetrable mysteries of labor arbitrage, capital flight lite, income inequality.

I've heard ancient legends told that developed societies were good places to invest. In spite of higher living standards. And not just paper and real estate speculation either. It's claimed in ancient times you didn't have to be poor to be rich. Probably just fantasy.

Time to get back to the blame game. Mustn't look in the mirror too often.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 14:00 | 4534963 Tartarus
Tartarus's picture

Don't blame the weather and don't blame online shopping. People are buying less everywhere because they are earning less, saving more, or both. There is also the understated effect of buyer fatigue. We live in a world saturated with consumer products and a lot of people are sick of it or just plain bored of it. For various reasons the proles are no longer fattening up on Mammon and living to excess. Our economic growth largely depends on the proles living to excess.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 14:03 | 4534983 ClowardPiven2016
ClowardPiven2016's picture

Thanks God….more employees freed from the shackles of a full time job. Now they can sign up for Obamacare and pursue their dreams.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 14:20 | 4535065 Itchy and Scratchy
Itchy and Scratchy's picture

Beware of $ Dollar Stores $ going out of business!

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 14:45 | 4535170 Itchy and Scratchy
Itchy and Scratchy's picture

Sounds like its time to get my hands on some of those Jim Dandy 'AAA' levered CDS reverse-put skewed laddered-yield double contango Shopping Mall Parking Lot REIT warrent futures from Golman Sachs before its too late!

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 15:10 | 4535302 Bobportlandor
Bobportlandor's picture

U.S. Total Gasoline Retail Sales by Refiners (Thousand Gallons per Day)




Tue, 03/11/2014 - 23:32 | 4537160 Idi_ocracy
Idi_ocracy's picture

Its pretty sad when "growth" is only driven by exessive resource consumption. Its a good thing the economy is collapsing, otherwise we would turn the whole planet into a landfill in 100 years or so

Wed, 03/12/2014 - 01:01 | 4537417 knowshitsurelock
knowshitsurelock's picture

All that is needed is a little "supply chain management" so that the toilet paper you need is not produced until you start farting.

Channel stuffing has never worked.

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