2017 has been a tough year for traditional retailers. As more and more customers move towards online shopping, traditional retailers have been left to struggle to stay in business. In 2017, 7,000 stores closed down and 662 bankruptcy filings were made in the retail sector. That number is up 30% from the same time period last year. Many of those closed stores were small mom and pop shops, but many were also part of major retail chains including Toys R Us, Payless Shoes, and Gymboree. The Limited and Radio Shack closed down, RadioShack after its second bankruptcy.
This seems a lot worse when compared to Amazon, whose stock has risen 55% this year. Retailers are moving away from traditional stores, and are moving to strengthening their online presence. This can be seen with the increased automation in stores and increased hiring rates for online operations. This comes at a time when employers hired 2 million workers and unemployment reached a 17-year low. But in the retail business, employment fell by 36,000 jobs.
2017 was a tough year for retailers, and many have been looking towards this holiday season to make up their sales. However, analyst believe that once the holiday season is over, we could see another wave of bankruptcy filings in the retail sector early in 2018. Strong retail chains have suffered too; Sears, JC Penny, and Macy’s have closed down stores. But they have also started to strengthen their online presence. The same goes for Walmart. Buying habits are changing, and retailers need to change with them so that they aren’t left in the dust, and eventually go out of business.