Market Mad House

In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

The Death Spiral

8,640 stores may close in 2017

America might see 8,640 store closings that would wipe out hundreds of thousands of retail jobs in 2017. That’s the latest assessment from Credit Suisse Group AG Analyst Christian Buss.

Buss based his estimate on the number of store closings reported so far in 2017; 2,880, Bloomberg reported. If Buss’s prediction comes true the number of store closings in 2017 will exceed the record number in 2008, the year of the Great Economic Meltdown.

If Buss is accurate the number of store closings in 2017 will be more than three times the number for 2016, a Bloomberg chart indicates. That means the retail Apocalypse is at its height and growing far worse.

30,000 Retail Jobs Disappeared in March

The retail jobs apocalypse is also in full swing, the United States saw 30,000 retail jobs disappear in March, The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. If that continues for the rest of the year as Buss has predicted 270,000 retail jobs will vanish across America.

Note that figure is probably an undercount because it only lists jobs at retailers or stores. It may exclude nonretail positions that depend upon stores, such as truck drivers, warehouse workers, repair persons, etc. March 2017 was the worst month for jobs since 2009, Bloomberg noted.

Bloomberg reported that another major retailer is going down, Rue21 Inc. a teen retailer which operates 1,000 stores is preparing to file for bankruptcy. Rue21 will join H.H. Gregg, Gordmans, and Gander Mountain Company in bankruptcy court.

Amazon is Driving the Retail Apocalypse

The biggest beneficiary from the retail apocalypse is obvious; Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN). Around 53% of ecommerce growth in 2016 went to the Everything Store, Bloomberg estimated.

Another casualty of the apocalypse is retail real estate, which Urban Outfitters CECO Richard Hayne described as a bubble. As the stores close they will drag down malls and shopping centers with them leading to a wave of bankruptcies for real estate investment trusts (REITs) and mall operators.

The high-tide of the retail apocalypse is at hand and stores are dying like flies. The carnage and damage to our communities is going to be vast.