Toys R Us last year at this time.
|Sears, Toys R Us and The Gap all closed locally.|
The smaller picture is that more and more people, I suspect, are smartening up some. We are buying much less of what we don't need. And we are buying better quality of what we do need. I know everyone is not doing this, but I think a lot of us are. We are no longer getting punch drunk at Target and buying every faux artisanal pice-o-crap item that is displayed, (sometimes literally falling apart in the store) for our consumption. Our homes are only so big. Wall, mantle, and coffee table space is finite, and once reasonably decorated, we don't need to keep adjusting the decor.
With Walmart, Target, Lowes, Home Depot, Bed Bath & Beyond, K-Mart, and dozens of other stores all a stones throw away, something had to give. With the Internet as the last straw, the duck-duck-goose music had to stop at some point. And now comes the reality of many stores left standing without a chair. Toys R Us and Sears are two local retailers I have seen vanish in recent years. In years past it was Borders Books that disappeared. Most areas just cannot support that much product, especially when you factor in the Internet. In the short term, it looks bad to have empty stores. In the long term, it can only be good for consumers. Competition and innovation are good things. Paying cover price for a $49.99 book is dumb when it's $29.00 online. Buying more useless crap for your house that breaks in under a year is dumb. And expecting to have thriving mega retail stores every two miles is just delusional.
When riding horses for transportation switched over to cars it was a bumpy transition. When we transitioned from using whale blubber (can you even imagine?) to oil a lot of whalers were out of jobs. Change and progress is never easy but it's often necessary. We are in a transition right now. What will the end result be? Amazon will likely open more physical stores that are run more efficiently than what we currently know. Some existing stores may adopt change. Some more may vanish. Some may get bought (Whole Foods) and forced to change.
|My local Target has looked like this for years now.|
|The future is coming...|
More new ideas are bound to come. 3D printing. Robots. AI. Cashierless stores. Drone delivery. Showroom stores. It's all coming soon. And while the transition might be difficult, in the end it will be better for us, not worse.