The retail apocalypse is far from over.
Dollar Tree, Charlotte Russe, Payless, Gymboree, Shopko, Abercrombie & Fitch, Gap, Sear's, Kmart, JC Penney, Victoria's Secret, Tesla, Chico's, Foot Locker, Lowe's and Nordstrom all announced store closings this year. That brings the total to more than 4,800 locations. It's only March.
Retailers have closed more than 250 million square feet in the last two years, according to estimates by a commercial real estate firm, Business Insider reported.
In the interest of survival, some department stores are getting creative in the quest to shrink space and lower expenses. Two can live cheaper than one.
Kohl's plans to lease or sell empty space to discount grocer Aldi and Planet Fitness.
Macy's is following suit by expanding its program to share space with LensCrafters optical shops staffed by licensed optometrists. Remember when Sears and JC Penny had optical departments? They have all but disappeared, so this move fills a void.
Macy's also recently announced a multiyear money-saving restructuring program to save $100 million and eliminate 100 vice president positions.
Big Box retailers and department stores like Macy's and Kohl's will keep tinkering with new ways to scratch out an existence as Amazon continues to take a gigantic bite out of sales.
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Amazon is only going to get bigger with its long tentacles touching and shaping every aspect of retail. After near total destruction of Sears, Bon-Ton and Toys R Us among the 10,000 locations that have shuttered in the last two years, the grocery market is now in the cross hairs. It's a $840 billion industry.
In addition to operating Whole Foods Market, Amazon plans to open dozens of grocery stores with the first in Los Angeles by the end of this year. The company also is exploring purchasing regional grocery stores, the Wall Street Journal reported. And it's planning to roll out more Amazon Go cashierless convenience stores, with 3,000 locations by 2021, reports say.
A network of Amazon owned brick-and-mortar stores will put more pressure on Walmart, Kroger and Albertsons, the three largest grocers, respectively.
That means the grocery industry will soon be facing the same disruption and turbulent times as legacy retailers.
The retail apocalypse has really just begun.
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