In this video, the Epic Economist crew examined the impacts of the generalized retail meltdown and also listed some of the most popular stores that are closing doors for good. Mandatory store closures enacted by the government, social distancing rules, supply chain issues, and the upsurge in e-commerce sales have contributed to accelerate the collapse of brick-and-mortar retailers, provoking a massive wave of bankruptcies that is diving into the second half of the year as well. The reduction of foot traffic in shopping centers have affected stores in malls, which, as a consequence, also put their lives in jeopardy.
That is to say, the retail apocalypse has become so extensive that is causing a downfall of historical proportions. With almost no prospects for a recovery during the 2020 Recession, the sector is facing major challenges, and economic experts have been emphasizing that this is almost certainly the worst year in recent history for retail. By the end of August, 29 big retailers filed for bankruptcy.
In the first half of 2020, 18 major retailers filed for chapter 11 protection. Then, From July through mid-August, 11 more retailers filed, and the number of store closures is catastrophic. Moreover, the excessive debt, store saturation, high unemployment, and changing shopper behaviors can also be added to the reasons why stores in malls were hit particularly hard. Small businesses are struggling to survive until the holiday season, and many retailers are still relying on their physical locations to stay afloat during this recession. However, market experts indicate that critical changes should be put into place to prevent their extinction. The retail bankruptcy trend has been going on for a long time, which proves that despite the eruption of the health crisis, the US economy was already deteriorating long before.
Last year there were 22 retail bankruptcies filed. From 2017 to 2018, over 5,000 stores were closed as well. Historically, the most recent record for bankruptcies in this sector came in 2010 when 48 retailers filed for bankruptcy in the wake of the 2007-09 recession. this year is that the spike in bankruptcies was recorded immediately after the recession started in February, signaling that most of these companies were already experiencing difficulties, or – as people say – they already had “one foot in the grave”, the viral outbreak implications just drove them further down.
With that said, it is expected more bankruptcies to be filed in the coming years, even renowned specialists have stated that it’s very unlikely this is going to stop anytime soon. Amongst the brands that are cutting the number of their stores down, moving into online retail, or completely liquidating their assets are Tesla, Abercrombie & Fitch, Starbucks, H&M, Target, Gap, Forever 21, and many others.
Additionally, as bankruptcies are expected to climb, the financial pain will resonate in shopping malls and in the commercial mortgage-backed securities market, while forecasts suggest that more than half of all mall-based department stores will close by the end of 2021. These factors will pile up to higher the pressure on the markets, possibly prompting a financial crash, because there is a huge bubble that could burst due to the enormous rates of rental delinquency. Yet, another blow on the fragile US economy would severely affect its future, knocking it down into a deeper, scarier, and more complex depression.
The retail apocalypse is only one of the problems in the American economy, there are many other areas that we should also be watching. The downfall of retail is just a sign of the deterioration of the economy. The nation has been crumbling for years, only accumulating economic and financial trouble, but at some stage, the reckoning day will arrive.
In the meantime, keep in mind that the failure of many other sectors will only come later in the cycle, which means the US has gotten itself into a large-scale solvency crisis that it is beyond the Fed’s ability to overcome it. Taking all factors into account, it seems like nothing can stop this ship from sinking.
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