2016 was a good year for a plethora of companies, but for a handful of retailers it was a year of Doom! Quite a few big name retailers closed a substantial amount of stores or completely went out of business. Walmart being one of the stores that battled with cut backs in 2016, closing 269 of its locations; 154 being in the United States. Aeropostale, a retailer that has been struggling to reinvent themselves for years shut down 154 of its store last year. Kmart/Sears, another store that has been struggling to stay above water for many years now decided to close 78 of there locations in 2016. In August Macy's announced that it would shut down 100 stores in an effort to boost profitability. Office Depot promised to close at 400 stores by the end of 2016. The most shocking of all has to be Sports Authority going out of business this past year after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy back in March citing online competition being the reason for their failure and what seemed to be a sudden demise. There are many more stories of Big BOX closings to come in 2017 as well.
One thing that all these retailers have in common is the fact that they all seem to be closing due to the new wave of online shopping. Even Black Friday in store shopping sales were down significantly in 2016 compared to past years and guest what went to through the ROOF? Black Friday online sales broke records with $3.45 Billion in sales. Online retail is getting bigger and bigger each year. The progression of online retailers is making it more difficult for actual retail stores to generate business. This seems like a positive innovative change, but it could cause severe problems for future generations looking to get into the workforce.
Many retailers hire teenagers in high school who are looking to get some work experience and college students who need a job with flexible hours. With so many retailers rapidly closing stores there is a possibility that finding a good retail job will be near impossible if many of these businesses keep closing at the pace they currently are. While online shopping can be quick and beneficial for us, will it ultimately cause the retail workforce foundation to crumble in coming years?
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