With online retail quickly becoming the new standard, we’ve seen a lot of stories in the news lately about big-name national brick-and-mortar retail brands closing stores or approaching bankruptcy.
In just the beginning of 2017, over a dozen retailers have either closed or made plans to close at least 50 of their stores nationwide. These retailers include big names such as Macy’s, CVS, JC Penney, and American Apparel.
In the past day, Sears acknowledged that it may not be able to keep going even after yet another round of store closures, and Payless ShoeSource said they’ll likely have to close 500 of their stores to save money.
Big cities like Jacksonville tend to attract big investments – in the form of several storefronts – from national brands, so when these brands fail it leaves a noticeable impact on our city.
The biggest negative impact brought about by store closures is, of course, the loss of jobs.
Many of these once-mighty brands are having to undo the growth they’ve enjoyed for years. While some companies are able to shuffle employees to other locations, sometimes the employees are simply out of luck.
When Macy’s announced they were closing over 60 stores earlier this year, it came with an announcement of 10,000 jobs being cut as well.
And when Jacksonville-based Body Central went under in 2015, all 2,500 of its employees lost their jobs.
The other issue created by store closures is the vacancies they leave behind.
Regency lost Sears as one of its few remaining anchor stores last year, leaving the mall with three empty former anchor spots. The Avenues recently lost The Limited. Family Christian, the soon-to-be-defunct Christian bookstore chain, is closing locations next to each mall.
Even the Town Center is losing BCBG.
If Payless ShoeSource goes through with closing 500 stores, it’s likely that at least one of its nine Jax locations will be affected. And if Sears tanks, suddenly The Avenues would have an anchor store vacancy for the first time since Parisian shut its doors in 2006.
Meanwhile, empty Kmarts sit at the head of various shopping centers around the city, waiting to be repurposed. Roosevelt Square was left with an empty Belk, which they plan to demolish, and the JCPenney off of Dunn Avenue will soon be empty as well.
And all of those stores’ employees are now left to find work elsewhere.
The shifting retail landscape certainly has its advantages – and Jacksonville has a lot of reasons to be thankful for Amazon these days – but it’s important to remember the impact that these store closures have on our community as well.