"The Retail Bubble Has Now Burst": A Record 8,640 Stores Are Closing In 2017

Tyler Durden's picture

        “Thousands of new doors opened and rents soared. This created a bubble, and like housing, that bubble has now burst.”

        - Richard Hayne, Urban Outfitters CEO, March 2017

The devastation in the US retail sector is accelerating in 2017, and in addition to the surging number of brick and mortar retail bankruptcies, it is perhaps nowhere more obvious than in the soaring number of store closures.

While the shuttering of retail stores has been a frequent topic on this website, most recently in the context of the next "big short", namely the ongoing deterioration in the mall REITs and associated Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities and CDS, here is a stunning fact from Credit Suisse:"Barely a quarter into 2017, year-to-date retail store closings have already surpassed those of 2008."

According to the Swiss bank's calculations, on a unit basis, approximately 2,880 store closings were announced YTD, more than twice as many closings as the 1,153 announced during the same period last year. Historically, roughly 60% of store closure announcements occur in the first five months of the year. By extrapolating the year-to-date announcements, CS estimates that there could be more than 8,640 store closings this year, which will be higher than the historical 2008 peak of approximately 6,200 store closings, which suggests that for brick-and-mortar stores stores the current transition period is far worse than the depth of the credit crisis depression.

As the WSJ calculates, at least 10 retailers, including Limited Stores, electronics chain hhgregg and sporting-goods chain Gander Mountain have filed for bankruptcy protection so far this year. That compares with nine retailers that declared bankruptcy, with at least $50 million liabilities, for all of 2016. On Friday, women’s apparel chain Bebe Stores said it would close its remaining 170 shops and sell only online, while teen retailer Rue21 Inc. announced plans to close about 400 of its 1,100 locations.

Broken down by retailer, either in bankruptcy or not yet:

Another striking fact: on a square footage basis, approximately 49 million square feet of retail space has closed YTD. Should this pace persist by the end of the year, total square footage reductions could reach 147M square feet, another all time high, and surpassing the historical peak of 115M in 2001.

There are several key drivers behind the avalanche of "liquidation" signs on store fronts.

The first is the glut of residual excess retail space. As the WSJ writes, the seeds of the industry’s current turmoil date back nearly three decades, when retailers, in the throes of a consumer-buying spree and flush with easy money, rushed to open new stores. The land grab wasn’t unlike the housing boom that was also under way at that time.

“Thousands of new doors opened and rents soared,” Richard Hayne, chief executive of Urban Outfitters Inc., told analysts last month. “This created a bubble, and like housing, that bubble has now burst.”

The excess retail space means that North America has a glut of retail outlets, as well as far too many shopping malls, something which is becoming apparent as sales per capita decline. On a per capita basis, the US has roughly 24 square feet of retail space per capita, more than twice the space of Australia and 5 times that of the UK.

 

The over-storing, including the influx of fast-fashion and off-price chains, has resulted in a brutally competitive landscape that made difficult for retailers to raise prices. “A pair of men’s dress pants costs less today than they did a decade ago,” Manny Chirico, chief executive of Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger parent PVH Inc., said in a recent interview.

* * *

Then there are retail rental rates, which across top US markets, such as New York, remain the highest in the world. For years, retailers could afford the egregious demands by landlords. But as overall traffic and volumes have declined, this has also prompted an exodus of outlets even among the most desired locations, leading to a surge in "fors rent or lease" signs popping up in unexpected places like Madison Avenue's "golden mile."

 

According to the FT, on New York’s Fifth Avenue, the world’s most expensive shopping street, vacancy rates have jumped from 10 per cent a year ago to 16 per cent, according to Cushman & Wakefield. Rents there have fallen for the first time since the recession “and the trend is not over”, the consultancy warns. Vacancy rates across SoHo have climbed to 18 per cent, from 12 per cent a year ago, according to Jones Lang LaSalle.

The newfound caution among retailers has had a “very significant and fast” negative impact on retail property, says Chris Conlon, chief executive of Acadia Realty, a real estate investment trust. 

 

It is not just prestigious streets that have been hit. Malls are also hurting, as chains from Sears to Macy’s shut hundreds of stores. Analysts at Green Street Advisors argue that “low growth is the new normal”, while market rents are becoming decoupled from tenants’ revenue growth as more sales move online. 

“[Rents] are at a price point now that exceeds what retail sales can perform,” says Spencer Levy, global head of research for CBRE. He notes that a stronger US dollar also hurts sales in New York, where deep-pocketed foreigners historically flock for deals.

* * *

Then there is the online migration, which recently made Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon, the world's second richest man.

As the WSJ adds, as retailers rushed to expand their physical footprint, the internet was gearing up to do to apparel companies what it had already done to booksellers: sap profits and eliminate what little pricing power these chains commanded.

Despite the view that shoppers prefer to try on clothing in physical stores, apparel and accessories are expected this year to overtake computers and consumer electronics as the largest e-commerce category as a percentage of total online sales, according to research firm eMarketer.

 

Helena Cawley, 37 years old, said she used to be a “die-hard” department-store shopper. But with two small children, the Manhattan entrepreneur doesn’t have time to visit physical stores the way she once did. “I buy much more online now,” she said. “With free returns and free shipping, it’s so easy.”

Ironically, that shift to online shopping has come at a high cost to retailers. It is less profitable to do business online than in a brick-and-mortar store, largely due to the higher shipping, customer-acquisition and technology costs of the digital world. Retail margins on average fell to 9% last year from 10.5% in 2012, according to consulting firm AlixPartners LP. Over that period, e-commerce sales increased to 15.5% of total sales from 10.5%. The internet has also made it easier for consumers to comparison shop, thereby erasing any pricing leverage retailers may have had. “The internet has acted as the great price equalizer,” said Joel Bines, the co-head of Alix’s retail practice.

* * *

Yet while the retail bubble may have burst, does that mean the conventional brick-and-mortar industry is doomed? Perhaps not:

Retailing has gone through shakeouts before, whether it was the superstores such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target Corp. and Kmart that killed mom-and-pop shops, or category killers like Barnes & Noble Inc. and Toys “R” Us Inc. that did the same to smaller booksellers and toy chains. And even today, there are chains that continue to grow, such as off-price retailer TJX Co s., which is opening hundreds of stores under its Marshalls, T.J. Maxx and HomeGoods banners, as it steals market share from Macy’s Inc. and other traditional department stores.

 

“This is not the end of retailing as we know it,” Mr. Bines said. “People are not going to stop going to stores.”

He's right, however in the meantime there will be an avalanche of defaults: compounding the retail decline is the debt that retailers have added to their balance sheets in recent years, either through leveraged buyouts or to fund share buybacks. That leverage has become a problem as profits dry up. According to Moody’s Investors Service, the amount of debt coming due for 19 distressed retailers is set to more than double over the next two years.

Many retailers were slow to seize on the significance of these changes. When business was bad during the 2015 holiday season, many chains blamed unusually warm weather. But when the most recent holiday season once again failed to produce robust sales growth, “retailers realized this was a structural change,” Credit Suisse analyst Christian Buss said.

With all that in mind, is Amazon assured of becoming the world's first trillion-dollar stock, perhaps hitting the milestone even before Apple? Perhaps, then again, chains such as Wal-Mart have stepped up their game. In a bid to better compete with Amazon.com , the giant retailer has been scooping up e-commerce startups, including Jet.com and ModCloth. And just this past week, PetSmart Inc. bought Chewy.com, a fast-growing online rival.

Others have given up waiting for a recovery that seems always out of reach and are settling into what appears to be the new normal. “We’re planning as if the environment is not going to improve,” Jerry Storch, chief executive of Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor parent Hudson’s Bay Co., told analysts earlier this month. In the meantime, expect more store closures, more bankruptcies (recall "According To Fitch These Eight Retailers Will File For Bankruptcy Next"), and, of course, far lower asset prices, both for retail equities and mall REITs, as well as the underlying CMBS securities that for years funded the US retail (and especially mall) bubble, which has now violently burst.

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adr's picture

What makes the store closings even more impressive is that there are far fewer chains around than 2008. Store counts may be up, but competition is not. 

No, a pair of mens dress pants does not cost less than they did ten years ago. 

I bought $180 pants on sale for $50 last year that feel worse than $20 Walmart slacks. The same brand pants used to sell for $100 ten years ago. I still never paid full price, however the pants I bought years ago fit and wear better than the new ones. The old ones were double stitched everywhere, the new single stitched with lower thread count. 

The problem with Amazon is you can't tell how shitty the product is until it arrives and a whole lot of the apparel is fake. Not really much of an issue since the fake stuff is better than the real stuff most of the time. Fake Levi's in China are almost always better than the American shit. Yes a lot of American products are complete shit. 

The real problem is retail exists to channel stuff bullshit inventory to support the Jewish stock exchange and enrich the C Suite and directors, not to sell product to consumers. The product sold to consumers is only meant to pay for rent and the electric bill. All else can be faked. You see stores closing because the American economy can no longer support selling enough real product to keep the lights on. 

AGuy's picture

"The problem with Amazon is you can't tell how shitty the product is until it arrives and a whole lot of the apparel is fake"

Unfortunately, I don't think it really matters. Its getting cheaped down to the lowest price point. Its become increasing difficult to buy anything that isn't utter crap. What suck is finding clothes that fit right. Pants are too tight in the Crotch, or just don't fit right (I haven't gained weight or grown in over 25 years).

vealparm's picture

The Chinese have small dicks.....hence "no room in the crotch".

Friedrich not Salma's picture

Try AllAmericanClothing. Read about gusset crotch.

Good made in USA business.

Chauncey Gardener's picture

Strolled into a Nordstrom's for the first time in years. Saw Tommy John's t-shirts for $39.95 each, sold on hangers. Their men's (?) underwear was more like lignerie for uh, men? Also at obscene prices. I walked out in total disgust, what a rude reality check. 

I Write Code's picture

Some upper-end malls in the west San Fernando valley are showing more vacancies now, though they've made it this far without major problems.  I don't morn for the big chains closing some outlets.  Lot of crazy greedy landlords.  It's land prices and rents that are half the problem.

AGuy's picture

Love that Sign Picture "adioS" for RadioShack. I remember about 15-20 years ago an Radio Shack campaign to put a Robotic Lunar Rover that customers could drive. Now RS can barely keep the lights on.

FWIW: Its a shame, that RS didn't re-invent itself into something like a Best Buy, or move to online sales. Companies must evolve to a changing market and consumer demand or go extinct.

silverer's picture

I remember an electronics store, Lafayette Electronics, where you could go in and buy retail individual electronic components: transistors, capacitors, diodes, relays, resistors. They had the Heathkits, build your own working devices from the component level. You'd actually be soldering the components onto the board. Ordinary 'Joe the Plumbers' were in there all the time, doing their own home electronics projects, as a hobby and for fun. Now you walk into Radio Shack, and they really don't have any of that. Just a few pre-packaged modular components. It just isn't happening anymore. Seems the interest is lost among the young. It's not about doing it yourself, learning, gaining satisfaction from the experience and sharing it with friends. It's about owning something "cool" that somebody else makes. And few have a clue how the device actually works.

Mr.BlingBling's picture

Surprisingly . . . heathkit.com

LyLo's picture

About a quarter of the Microcenter near me is all hobby electronics.  It's hard to get through the section some days because so many people are shopping there.  I have friends that get mad at me if I run up there and don't tell them so we can carpool.  Oh, should mention, it's actually an hour away, yet still draws our business every few months as they have things others just do not carry anymore.  Imagine old school Radioshack but with new computer parts too, and often with pretty good pricing.

No, this is strictly an issue of some retailers being pieces of shit and failing the consumer. 

HRH Feant's picture
HRH Feant (not verified) Apr 22, 2017 8:54 PM

Who actually goes to a store? Why?

rejected's picture

Because I like to see and feel what I am buying.

You ever return something to Amazon or other online retailers? How long does it take? Pay for return shipping.  Local store less than 1 hour.

Something that's $5 in a store or $3 on Amazon. Add $8 shipping it is now $11. Do FREE shipping on Amazon and you will be punished. My average turnaround when I pay shipping,,, 3-5 days. Free Shipping 10-14 days. Was faster in 1960 using a Sears catalog.

Savings,,, Where?

 

Singelguy's picture

You forgot one variable. Driving to the mall costs money for gas, wear and tear on your car, and sometimes parking. Then factor in all the time you waste walking from the parking lot, sifting through the stores trying to find what you want, and then stand in line to pay for it. Then when you get to the front of the lne, you have to deal with some airhead who you can tell would rather be anywhere else but working that job. Unless you are unemployed and have nothing else to do, you can find better ways to use your time. I rather pay a few bucks extra to avoid all that.

Bay Area Guy's picture

I go to a bricks and mortar store for clothing and running shoes, as well as groceries.  That's it.  I know I can shop for that stuff online and get it delivered.  But for groceries, I think my wife and I pick better quality meats, seafood and produce than some zit-faced kid is going to pick.  Given the vast differences in sizing for clothing, even within the same brand, I have to try the stuff on first.  And running shoes are definitely somthing I have to try on.  Again, even within the same brand, the sizing can be different enough to cause me to get pretty severe blisters if I get the wrong size.

Rakksan's picture

You won't find fresh seafood in a grocery store. Not fresh and quality.

Silver Savior's picture

Don't want to wait or pay shipping and don't want to use credit cards or debit cards. I pay cash only. That's why I go to an actual store. And I am not a hermit hanging out at home :)

Rebel yell's picture

I like stores. Instant gratification and 5 senses.

silverer's picture

This, according to well educated and renowned experts, is a sign of recovery. Thank you all for coming out today and shopping.

whatswhat1@yahoo.com's picture

Lowest common denominator is the direction and has been for the past 40 years. I still remember the discount catalog warehouses (1963) that required a resale number to purchase a slip n' slide. 

Able Ape's picture

No jobs, no money, NO SALES...it's not that difficult folks....

groundedkiwi's picture

Wish I could upvote you + 100

GreatUncle's picture

If you got a job you have a life, if not you are fucked.

All the fucking welfare in the world will not give you a life.

Dilluminati's picture

I'm in IT and a contract is ending, many merges, bottom line wage stagflation and job insecurity (I'll damn sure find something) but leaves me buying zero of anything unless I have to absolutely do so.  And your right, I'm tucking my wallet tightly and unless it is the necessity of education, food, transportation, or healthcare it isn't being bought.  How much of what is at the mall is what you "need?"

I shopped the prcies on gardening supplies, watching every penny.  I can help a stepson get a masters degree but not interested in the latest shoe fashion.

But your right the consumer has no cash and the emphasis on a higher price for barrel of oil removed any discretionary spending that consumers had.  Additionally for each rate hike most Americans watch their credit card balance walk further away from any credit line to spend on furbies.

Own the home (no mortgage), have savings, book and 45 days away from possible SQL SERVER 2017 certification having the 2000 cert as well.  But I'm not spending dick on anything, nadda, nothing.  I put all my savings and 401K into garunteed returns, too many debts chasing too few dollars = deflation and what the fed has done is rotate the deflation out of the banks and into the larger economy.  In real earnings due to healthcare costs alone allot of retail will close.  And the emplyment numbers? Jobless claims?  those discourgaed and unemplyed hoping for a "service job" are in for a real rude awakening as AI and Robotics erode that segment.

I worked at the IMF over a decade ago as a SME to come in and fix their economic data for publication, and I gave serious thought to the data and what they were actually doing, the technical solve was easy enough, but in the larger picture, debt without circulating economy growth is death.  That means unless there is some resource like oil (why the us wants higher price) or some other organic catalyst for circulating economy growth then debt = debt deflation.  

People around the globe are rightfully apprehensive of the disruptive technologies and globalization, they look at their takehome and know that it is less.  Many of the financially uneducated cannot do the math and conclude the match was reduced, the commute is longer, and the general benefits which are compensation lessened.  I have people with a straight face suggesting two hour one way commute for a job with the same Co. which I know is a trap in that the time cuts my earnings by a third, and then there is the costs associated with that commute in miles and gas.  Rainman gets math.  

One last point all of the math in finance all of it that matters doesn't go beyond addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.  The question from a data standpoint is are you factoring the correct input?  Looking at the malls closing and parroting the excuses of retailers isn't the answer.  One last point in harrd science, when Japan was trying to address debt deflation they would just give everyone cash or helicopter money, and guess what??  They saved it or paid down debt!   Thats a historical fact, they intuitively knew that they were in debt deflation.  I'll end this with a prediction: you cannot push the string on debt!  I didn't cause any of this, I'm a product of my day and age, just stating the facts.  Awaiting the next round of rate hikes and whoever 50 cent is and his Vix play will probably strike in spades.

But faced with a 40% cut in compensation there is no cruise for a week, no new subaru, nothing nada..  the unemployment at 30% cut and focused on re-engineering looks better.  Most people will suffer a lifetime because they don't apply simple math to the world that surrounds them.  The retailers excuses and what you hear from the schills that pass as economic experts and "animal spirits" are BS.  If you hear somebody talk "animal spirits" or they ever used that term they don't deal in facts but are schills.

Ajax_USB_Port_Repair_Service_'s picture

Gender Mountain? LoL! Proofreader is off this weekend?

dobermangang's picture

The excellent outlet bakery I shop at is closing next week.  Tough times. 

Angry Populi's picture

Amazon destroyer of malls. 

Yen Cross's picture

 Malls were toast from inception.  As soon as Kissinger started bombing the "brown peoples"...

  Mall Rats ~~~  Nobody bought shit back then.

  Let's build a Pyramid???  {history repeats]

 Welcome to France ---Bitchez

TheAntiProgressive's picture

If I can't walk to my nearest big box store, I'm a gonna phone it in.

 

Dyingtime's picture

The internet is doing what cell phones did to pay phones. You can not compete with retailers on the net that have no shrink.

Yen Cross's picture

 Can you try it on?  There will always be space for "bricks mortar'.

  Amazon sucks personally.

  BTW, Did I forget to mention I'm short GOOG?  and DAX,,, Bitchez

Rebel yell's picture

I hope that you're right! Personally, I believe that Amazon is in violation of anti trust and monopoly laws! I've really got a major problem with bezoar and his robots. He should replace waPo journalists with robots to improve the company. I don't think that robots know how to lie.

Oldwood's picture

How do we avoid monopolies if commerce is controlled by a single technology? 

Rebel yell's picture

The internet sales tax avoidance scheme that was in place until just a couple of years ago made matters worse!

sukebesan's picture

Once the 4 rermaining full-size Sears stores in Hawaii closes permanently, the final death blow to SHLD will be delivered. All remaining Hawaii Kmarts will close before the last Sears store closes.

MATX's picture

Here is what's going to happen:

In a few years some enterprising Asian immigrants are going to put all of their money together (that they saved up while working at the bodega) and buy a dillapidated strip mall and put a business in every vacant space (some combination of nail salon, hair salon, convenience store, pawn shop, an indian/chinese buffet and a car insurance office-CASH ONLY types of businesses).

They will then pay off that loan and own that strip mall along with any other strip malls in that area. They will have gone from a low wage worker to real estate moguls in less than a generation.

Then they'll sit on that property (shuffling the businesses around to family members) until another real estate boom, sell the crappy little strip mall, and retire wealtheir than you.

'Merica. (get your shit together, stop whining, figure out how these people do this over and over and over)

LyLo's picture

Immigrants qualify for rather juicy loan deals courtesy of Uncle Sam to open small businesses.  An a native, I do not qualify for that particular program.  They are often from countries where corruption is endemic, so they know exactly who's palms to grease and don't seem shy about doing so.  As a native, the idea turns my stomach and I honestly don't even know where to begin...  Although the Health Department lady that just stopped showing up while we were trying to get certified might have been my first stop, considering they let the immigrant owned bar across the street open with no bathrooms...

SO, I figured it out.  Now what?  Drop US citizenship so I can qualify for these loans and start bribing people?  I don't think you understand: none of this is for you.  No whining: I'm doing very well. 

But I'm done trying to start over-the-table businesses in this country...  Which, for the record, is why my family came here in the first place when they fled the Soviets taking over their home.

kidbroge's picture

Maybe malls dying are a good thing. Maybe it might bring back the mom and pop stores, you know the ones that existed on a side walk as you walked along your town or neighborhood and you knew the shopkeeper and he or she knew you by name and acknowledged your existance as you walked in, you exchanged some chit chat and you left with a smile. There are places still like this but where are they?

Cardinal Fang's picture

The same mom and pop that stuck it up your ass charging $20 for a pair of pliers, the same that you could get at HD for $10?

That mom and pop?

Mom and pop were sticking it up your ass all along and you didn't know it until the big boxes came around.

Then when the big boxes put them out of business, the big boxes stuck it up your ass.

Do you detect the pattern yet?

The merchant class is always looking to stick it up your ass and I have no sympathy for any of its forms.

I am waiting for the news story where a DMV clerk gets assaulted by a flight attendant.

That will be justice in a world without it.

peippe's picture

payless shoes & r. shack

yeah real loss to the community.

Moe Howard's picture

Payless shoes - where the vegetarians buy shoes.

No leather permitted.

kidbroge's picture

Maybe malls dying are a good thing. Maybe it might bring back the mom and pop stores, you know the ones that existed on a side walk as you walked along your town or neighborhood and you knew the shopkeeper and he or she knew you by name and acknowledged your existance as you walked in, you exchanged some chit chat and you left with a smile. Downsize, maybe that's the way to go, bigger is not better.

Yellow_Snow's picture

The government should use these vacant stores to open up neighborhood food stamp and welfare offices since that biz is so good.  Think of the franchise opportunities.

just the tip's picture

a guy who used to come into my liquor store, was the manager of a wal-mart.  he had all sorts of fucked up stories about when wally world started getting all their shit from china.  this is one.  the chinese have no conception of the american body.  the shirts they first made were all the small, medium, and large sizes.  then came x-large as we got fatter.  so the chinese would increase the girth of the shirts according to size.  what they did not do, was increase the size of neck opening, the sleeve opening, or the length of the shirt.  which if you think about it, you can see in all the photos of those wal-mart shopper e-mails.  it was not until the mid-nineties, when all the '80s merchandise had been sold.  did the corrections start to make it into the market place.  and wal-mart shoppers finally were able to buy a shirt they could tuck in.  of course being wal-mart shoppers, i'm not sure where they would tuck that shirt tail.

what i can't figure about this article is where the title states:

A Record 8,640 Stores Are Closing In 2017

the article contradicts this by saying:

CS estimates that there could be more than 8,640 store closings this year,

ElTerco's picture

"Ironically, that shift to online shopping has come at a high cost to retailers. It is less profitable to do business online than in a brick-and-mortar store, largely due to the higher shipping, customer-acquisition and technology costs of the digital world."

This makes no sense to me. I can build a warehouse in a field by a major freeway for peanuts. In the long run, I can have the majority of the order fulfillment done by robots. The software is a large one time charge, followed by minor annual maintenance costs, assuming the people who put the software in place are competent.

Retail space lease rates in many metropolitan areas across the country are outrageous. People should be exiting commercial REITs tied to retail as quickly as possible.

Anyone with privately owned retail space should think about selling, since minimum wage laws that phase in over the next several years in states such as California will drive most retail out of business at current lease rates.

Peterman333's picture

I'm sure when you cut out the middleman retailer all together it hurts them quite a bit too. /s 

I'm' thinking of the shoe companies that have official stores on ebay such as puma, asics, Birkenstock. If you know your size, these are the best deals anywhere and since you're getting directly from the manufacturer, no need to worry about the seller and whether they're legit or not. 

Also, for stackers, usually the best price over spot comes fom the legit sellers with their ebay sales such as apmex.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1-oz-Silver-American-Eagle-BU-Random-Year-Lot-Ro...

CHX13's picture

Bcs it never gets old and is ongoing right now. Back by popular demand, I proudly present: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anGXld-4hCA

Jack4952's picture

1. The last time I shopped at RADIO SHACK (near my home) was at least 25 years ago. I was looking for a new JOYSTICK. They had ONE brand of which I had never heard - probably their "home brand". I took it home and the object in the program it was was supposed to control moved all over the screen in a random-like fashion. The "contacts" were obviously very loose inside joystick. I returned it to the store, accepted a "replacement" (same brand) and got the same results. I returned to the store again and got a full refund. MOST IMPORTANT: After the two obviously defective joysticks were returned, I expected the manager to mark them as "defective" and set them aside for replacement. INSTEAD, he placed those very same joysticks back on the shelf with the "good" joysticks!!! Enough said!!! 2.) Why are retailers (especially "brick-and-mortar") failing? a.) People simply have "NO FUCKIN* MONEY"!!!! Their "disposable income", if they are lucky enough to have an income, buys less - and is now spent on "necessities" such as food, rent, etc. Most of what they buy is purchased via CREDIT b.) Those people with some money saved are SCARED SHITLESS! Banks, 401Ks, CDs, equities, etc. are not safe. Even "cash" (U.S. Dollar) is under severe pressure. There are safe havens: PHYSICAL gold, silver, food, weapons and ammunition - things of REAL VALUE that one can actually use, BUT the "main-stream" media keeps telling folks that "all is well"; "not to worry". They fear being financially "wiped out". A small percentage may have purchased PHYSICAL gold and silver, food, guns and ammo (all within their possession; no third-parties), but WHAT PERCENTAGE have an actual "action plan" for when the SHTF? 3.) Online-retailers are definitely my personal favorites for: a.) finding what I want; and 2.) purchasing it. Better than driving to a dozen stores (with no guarantee of finding what I want). Plus, if the online-retailer has a nearby "brick-and-mortar" location, I have the option of going there and "testing" out my intended purchase BEFORE I buy - especially electronics. Jack4952 LAW BLOG: http://JohnHenryHill.Wordpress.com

Peterman333's picture

the annoying thing abouut no more electronics stores is if you are doing something with your tv/computer/stereo, etc, you have to usually find the part online now and wait for shipping unless the lame electronics dept at Walmart has what you need and i wouuldn't think of buying a cable or anything at Best Buy and paying 10x the online price. But still, the wait for delivery sucks.