If you’ve spent the last couple of days shopping with that Christmas money or returning unwanted gifts, many of those stores could be gone by this time next year.
We all know online retailers are taking a huge chunk of the foot traffic typically seen at malls, but according to our partners at USA Today, there are nearly 20 stores expected to close shop in 2018.
So we sent a reporter out on a tough assignment to chat with people at the mall. Shoppers we caught up with said they weren’t surprised online retailers are taking over, but they aren’t happy.
That USA TODAY article calls it “Death Watch 2018," listing a slew of stores that have either filed for bankruptcy or have already started closing stores.
Some of the big names include Sears, Toys R Us, JC Penny, and GNC. Smaller but other well-known stores like the cosmetic and accessory store Claire’s, J Crew, Charlotte Rousse, Nine West and Charming Charlie are on that list as well.
While many people agree shopping online is convenient, the people we spoke with were surprised to learn some of their favorites could soon be a thing of the past.
Michelle Hoag visiting family in town from Virginia said she had no idea so many stores were closing. “I shop at JC Penny, Sears, sometimes Claire’s for my cousins. I was just at Charming Charlie today. They are having a great deal,” she said.
Diana Gail said she shops both online and at the mall and says she prefers the mall. “It’s sad, it’s depressing. A lot of us still like to go to brick and mortar stores. I like to touch and feel and see what I’m going to buy. I’m not good at going back and forth to the UPS store to return and pick up,” Gail said.
We found Kevin Solis shopping at Toys R’ Us with his daughter. “This store has been around for a long time and it’s going out of business. You’ve got to get it while you can. It’s not going to be like you go to a market and things are easily accessible much longer,” he said.
Ana Peraza says she never shops online. We asked how the stores closing would impact the way she shops. “It’s really going to suck because I’m going to have to then make a really big decision. It's going to take me longer to pick items out online versus having the ability to try it on at the store,” Peraza said.
Hoag agrees. “I hate shopping for clothes in general. It takes forever to find something that fits just right. Online it’s just a hassle to try to return things. It so much more fun to shop and see all the mannequins wearing fun stuff,” she said.
“I think it’s sad because a lot of people will lose their jobs for something a computer can do. It’s horrible. It’s a bad thing,” said shopper Kevin Rachubinski.
While the stores are taking a hit, so are jobs. For example, Sports Authority closed last year leaving more than 14,500 people nationwide out of work.
No firm numbers for how many people would lose their jobs with this latest report, but it sure is a sign of the times here at the mall and something to think about as we head into 2018.
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