Editorial: Why the ‘Closed’ sign is showing up at familiar stores


Chicago Tribune



Some of America’s favorite shopping destinations from the last few decades are disappearing, with big-name closings seeming to take on sudden speed. Pier 1, Bed Bath & Beyond and Express are among the chains shedding locations.

Retailers shuttered 10,800 stores last year and have already announced 1,000 new closings in 2020. Malls are losing foot traffic.

The twin causes: online convenience and a shift in spending. Millennials prefer to allocate money to services and experiences rather than excess things. Retail analysts say there are simply too many stores after years of expansion. How many Bed Bath & Beyond locations are needed when bed sheets, candles and kitchen gadgets are just as easily ordered online?

Not all brands are struggling. Discount retailers T.J. Maxx and Marshalls added stores last year.

For some of us, it’s hard to accept the decline of once-trendy spots like Forever 21 and Gap, which have been forced to scale back recently. Yet they’re all wrestling with an eternal lesson: Customer loyalty, without rigorous attention, is definitely not forever.

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