A series of articles together paint a dire picture for traditional brick and mortar retail. Overall, the structure of retail is changing – online sales are growing, stores are becoming showcases for sales that will happen on mobile devices, and warehouses are continuing to boom. E-Commerce is continuing its influence and increased its rate of growth from $30 billion per year from 2010-2014 to $40 billion per year in the last three years. This has led to a disappointing jobs report in March with retail losing nearly 35,000 jobs in that month alone. This is part of a larger trend of job losses and store closing. The US currently has more than six times the amount of retail space per capita than Europe and that historic trend is starting to feel like a bubble. Since October, the US has sees a loss of 89,000 jobs in the retail – more than all of the employees in the US coal industry that was the poster child of economic hardship during the presidential campaign.
All of this, coupled with a booming economy, seems to suggest that we are seeing a categorical shift in retail and not a momentary blip. Brick and mortar stores will continue to close – and this will continue to create issues for land use, urban activity, tax revenue, and labor.