Retail Slowdown

Predicting the demise of Sears & Kmart since 2017!
Super S
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
Posts: 2274
Joined: April 1st, 2009, 9:27 pm
Has thanked: 20 times
Been thanked: 88 times
Status: Offline

Re: Retail Slowdown

Post by Super S »

buckguy wrote: January 2nd, 2022, 6:41 am The 80s were when malls really homogenized, which was probably the beginning of their downward slide--every mall came to have the same stores and people easily moved on to a new mall if their old one wasn't keeping up or was in an area that had seen better days. By then, the developers had had dwindled in number and usually had a formula for how they built a mall. The fountains, plantings, etc. things were relics of earlier malls and not features of newer malls. The cheaper clothing and shoe chains began disappearing (most of them went out of business because of changing styles or demographics). Variety stores and drug stores were no longer tenants in new malls (the variety stores stopped going into malls during the 70s, drug stores shortly after). The jean store chains began to thin out, too. The next generation of mall stores weren't exactly upscale but were more expensive than their predecessors. Non-apparel stores began to disappear and the local/regional chains also disappeared, although that was mostly because of their demises.
A good example from the 1980s is the Three Rivers Mall in Kelso, WA. The mall opened in 1987 and did well at first, even adding a smaller Newberry's a few years later (which was an anchor in nearby Longview's Triangle Mall which was enclosed at the time). The mall had variety then...Radio Shack, Kay-Bee Toys, Kits Cameras, J.K. Gill, Musicland/Sam Goody, Waldenbooks, as well as a other stores which were a mix of local and national, and the merchandise mix that a typical Sears had back then. One by one, these chains either went out of business or closed their locations in the mall as business dropped, which began to accelerate when the Emporium chain went out of business and the mall lost an anchor. Sears held on a while longer, but they did have variety that was lacking in the rest of the mall.

As for Longview's Triangle Mall, it was built in the 1960s and converted to an enclosed mall in the 1970s. While a much smaller mall, there was actually good variety with the anchors: Montgomery Ward, Newberry's, and Pay 'N Save (which later became PayLess Drug, then Rite Aid) Newberry's and Wards went away, Rite Aid survived (and is the only building of the old mall still standing today) but a modern Rite Aid doesn't have the variety Pay 'N Save and PayLess had, such as Sporting Goods.

The Triangle Mall was redeveloped into an open-air development (and a few chains moved there from Three Rivers Mall), but Three Rivers is still limping along and doesn't have a whole lot to offer inside the mall..there is a library and a few locally owned shops where the hours do not line up with the main mall and many are closed at any given time during the day now. They still have JCPenney and Sportsman's Warehouse but I don't think they get much business from inside the mall.

I do think some malls could rebound if they simply had more variety and required those operating in the mall to actually open their stores during the posted mall hours. I spend very little time inside a mall if it's mostly clothes.
TW-Upstate NY
Platinum Member
Platinum Member
Posts: 384
Joined: May 11th, 2009, 6:09 pm
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 62 times
Status: Offline

Re: Retail Slowdown

Post by TW-Upstate NY »

buckguy wrote: January 2nd, 2022, 6:41 am The 80s were when malls really homogenized, which was probably the beginning of their downward slide--every mall came to have the same stores and people easily moved on to a new mall if their old one wasn't keeping up or was in an area that had seen better days. By then, the developers had had dwindled in number and usually had a formula for how they built a mall. The fountains, plantings, etc. things were relics of earlier malls and not features of newer malls. The cheaper clothing and shoe chains began disappearing (most of them went out of business because of changing styles or demographics). Variety stores and drug stores were no longer tenants in new malls (the variety stores stopped going into malls during the 70s, drug stores shortly after).
That's because developers wouldn't stop building malls. Every large vacant tract of land (whether it was located near a populated area or not) seemed to be a candidate for a mall. And of course it's going to be the same stores mall after mall; they had to fill up all that square footage somehow. We became over-malled and over-stored and quite honestly still are to an extent.
storewanderer
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
Posts: 8607
Joined: February 23rd, 2009, 3:54 pm
Been thanked: 436 times
Contact:
Status: Offline

Re: Retail Slowdown

Post by storewanderer »

Super S wrote: January 2nd, 2022, 8:46 am

I do think some malls could rebound if they simply had more variety and required those operating in the mall to actually open their stores during the posted mall hours. I spend very little time inside a mall if it's mostly clothes.
This is the trick. The malls need multiple things to make people want to go there and stay there for a long time. By keeping people around longer, they buy more, and have the need for more purchases (like food). When malls had more to offer, it was not unusual to see families go to the mall and then go around to the various store types the different family members were interested in. Now, the mall is "just a stop" and a hassle of a stop at that, for one family member to go in for some clothing, with difficult parking, a long walk between the car and the store, etc.

It is probably somewhat of a miracle the malls in the US have the traffic they have today given how useless they have become.

And based on events over the past couple years in some malls, including in the past couple weeks, I think we can also add serious real life safety concerns to the list of issues with US malls.
Alpha8472
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
Posts: 2531
Joined: February 24th, 2009, 8:55 pm
Been thanked: 105 times
Status: Offline

Re: Retail Slowdown

Post by Alpha8472 »

It does seem a little slower this year. Perhaps it is just the cold weather. It has been really cold and rainy lately, and there just are fewer people out late at night.

Malls need to bring back what made them popular back in the 80s. They need more variety and more popular attractions to get those customers back.

There have been some violent incidents on the news, but it seems to be more because of the internet where we see crime reports from all over the country now getting more publicity.
veteran+
Veteran Member
Veteran Member
Posts: 1045
Joined: January 3rd, 2015, 7:53 am
Has thanked: 941 times
Been thanked: 86 times
Status: Offline

Re: Retail Slowdown

Post by veteran+ »

TW-Upstate NY wrote: January 2nd, 2022, 11:30 am
buckguy wrote: January 2nd, 2022, 6:41 am The 80s were when malls really homogenized, which was probably the beginning of their downward slide--every mall came to have the same stores and people easily moved on to a new mall if their old one wasn't keeping up or was in an area that had seen better days. By then, the developers had had dwindled in number and usually had a formula for how they built a mall. The fountains, plantings, etc. things were relics of earlier malls and not features of newer malls. The cheaper clothing and shoe chains began disappearing (most of them went out of business because of changing styles or demographics). Variety stores and drug stores were no longer tenants in new malls (the variety stores stopped going into malls during the 70s, drug stores shortly after).
That's because developers wouldn't stop building malls. Every large vacant tract of land (whether it was located near a populated area or not) seemed to be a candidate for a mall. And of course it's going to be the same stores mall after mall; they had to fill up all that square footage somehow. We became over-malled and over-stored and quite honestly still are to an extent.
Case in point.........................W. Palm Beach, amongst many others.
veteran+
Veteran Member
Veteran Member
Posts: 1045
Joined: January 3rd, 2015, 7:53 am
Has thanked: 941 times
Been thanked: 86 times
Status: Offline

Re: Retail Slowdown

Post by veteran+ »

Yesterday was extremely busy everywhere I went.

Whole Foods
Target
Macys

I had to go to another Whole Foods near me cuz my reg store was so busy. The store I went to was even worse :(
ClownLoach
Diamond Member
Diamond Member
Posts: 441
Joined: April 4th, 2016, 10:55 pm
Has thanked: 3 times
Been thanked: 104 times
Status: Offline

Re: Retail Slowdown

Post by ClownLoach »

Yesterday I was at a Costco with 18 out of 18 checkouts open with long lines, a 30 person deep queue for self checkout. Sam's Club nearby also very long lines and apparently I'm the only one who uses Scan and Go there. Target, Sprouts and HomeGoods were all busy. I was up in LA instead of my usual OC. I was at Ontario Mills New Year's Day and there was decent traffic... The Lego store had over 200 people in line at opening with a queue that went down the service corridor and back outside the mall. Watching bags going out most customers were buying over $200 in sets. The annual Lego modular building is very popular with collectors - it's a hotel this year and costs $199.99 - a pile of several hundred of these sets sold out in three hours. Guarantee that little store brought in a few hundred thousand on New Year's Day - its usually their biggest day of the year with ridiculous amounts of high priced sets selling out.
arizonaguy
Veteran Member
Veteran Member
Posts: 879
Joined: July 12th, 2013, 6:07 pm
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 35 times
Status: Offline

Re: Retail Slowdown

Post by arizonaguy »

I went to Sam's Club yesterday around 4 pm and was surprised by how busy it was.

The funny thing is that a lot of retailers are cutting employee hours (I saw on an employee board that Walmart / Sam's is cutting FT employees hours to 32 hours per week) yet the stores seem as busy as ever (even with the COVID wave).
Alpha8472
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
Posts: 2531
Joined: February 24th, 2009, 8:55 pm
Been thanked: 105 times
Status: Offline

Re: Retail Slowdown

Post by Alpha8472 »

It is really slow at Walmart stores in the San Francisco Bay Area. I do not know why. I assume it is due to the COVID case surge. I know many people who have gotten very sick despite being vaccinated. The checkout lines are very short at night, and the aisles are very empty of customers. They say 1 out of every 5 people have COVID right now.

My friend who works at Walmart, said that the for the past few weeks the store has had COVID cases practically every day. People are dropping like flies.

I work in a pharmacy and even one young non boosted pharmacist was seriously ill for 2 weeks straight. Even her baby was sick too. My regular customers keep coming in saying that they caught COVID and they want to get vaccine boosters afterwards. It was that awful to be sick.
storewanderer
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
Posts: 8607
Joined: February 23rd, 2009, 3:54 pm
Been thanked: 436 times
Contact:
Status: Offline

Re: Retail Slowdown

Post by storewanderer »

Alpha8472 wrote: February 1st, 2022, 10:12 pm It is really slow at Walmart stores in the San Francisco Bay Area. I do not know why. I assume it is due to the COVID case surge. I know many people who have gotten very sick despite being vaccinated. The checkout lines are very short at night, and the aisles are very empty of customers. They say 1 out of every 5 people have COVID right now.

My friend who works at Walmart, said that the for the past few weeks the store has had COVID cases practically every day. People are dropping like flies.

I work in a pharmacy and even one young non boosted pharmacist was seriously ill for 2 weeks straight. Even her baby was sick too. My regular customers keep coming in saying that they caught COVID and they want to get vaccine boosters afterwards. It was that awful to be sick.
I think people may have overspent during the holidays and are pulling back this winter. I did not notice the "gift card surge" in stores this January that used to take place pre-COVID. Perhaps all of those transactions simply moved online as I think gift card sales keep hitting a record every year.

Also the stores are not overly appealing right now; not much in the way of new merchandise and not much aggressive clearance on winter items just yet.

Not sure about 1 out of 5 people having COVID right now. Active cases keep getting reported but they are slow to report recoveries. Conversely all those active cases not being reported that come from at home tests.... maybe that balances out the lag in reporting recoveries. In some workplaces and households right now it probably feels like 4 out of 5 people have COVID right now. Looking at straight numbers right now in Reno/Sparks the county claims there are 25,000 reported per the health department active cases. Population in this county is around 500,000 so that is nowhere near 1 in 5 people.

The case spike is very peculiar this 2022, vs. the same time last year. Not sure why cases are up so much... what changed between this year and last year... oh... Oh well. All we can do is get through it and hope for the best.
Post Reply