Retail Apocalypse – Preparing for the Inevitable

Go Lean Commentary

Remember the dream … of 7 Fat Cows and 7 Skinny Cows?

The articulation of the dream was that the 7 Fat Cows represented 7 prosperous years while the 7 Skinny Cows represented 7 years of famine with poverty and distress. – The Bible; Genesis Chapter 41.
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In that Bible drama of Joseph in ancient Egypt, those circumstances were more than just in a dream; it was a prophecy of prosperity and famine. It came true!

Joseph was able to use the foresight to prepare that kingdom for adversity, after first exploiting the opportunities.

Here it comes again.

There is feast and famine “in the cards” as related to the retail eco-system. On one end of the spectrum , there will be prosperity for electronic commerce stakeholders, but on the other end, for brick-and-mortar establishments, there will be a Retail Apocalypse.

Will be? Actually, the threat has already manifested!

This is the assertion in this news article by the financial-economic magazine Business Insider:

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Title: The retail apocalypse has officially descended on America
By: Hayley Peterson

Thousands of mall-based stores are shutting down in what’s fast becoming one of the biggest waves of retail closures in decades.

More than 3,500 stores are expected to close in the next couple of months.

Department stores like JCPenney, Macy’s, Sears, and Kmart are among the companies shutting down stores, along with middle-of-the-mall chains like Crocs, BCBG, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Guess.

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Some retailers are exiting the brick-and-mortar business altogether and trying to shift to an all-online model.

For example, Bebe is closing all its stores — about 170 — to focus on increasing its online sales, according to a Bloomberg report.

Some are going out of business altogether, like The Limited which recently shut down all 250 of its stores.

Others, such as Sears and JCPenney, are aggressively paring down their store counts to unload unprofitable locations and try to stanch losses.

CU Blog - Retail Apocalypse - Preparing for the Inevitable - Photo 3Sears is shutting down about 10% of its Sears and Kmart locations, or 150 stores, and JCPenney is shutting down about 14% of its locations, or 138 stores.

According to many analysts, the retail apocalypse has been a long time coming in the US, where stores per capita far outnumber that of any other country.

The US has 23.5 square feet of retail space per person, compared with 16.4 square feet in Canada and 11.1 square feet in Australia, the next two countries with the most retail space per capita, according to a Morningstar Credit Ratings report from October.

Visits to shopping malls have been declining for years with the rise of e-commerce and titanic shifts in how shoppers spend their money. Visits declined by 50% between 2010 and 2013, according to the real-estate research firm Cushman & Wakefield.

And people are now devoting bigger shares of their wallets to restaurants, travel, and technology than ever before, while spending less on apparel and accessories.

As stores close, many shopping malls will be forced to shut down as well.

When an anchor store like Sears or Macy’s closes, it often triggers a downward spiral in performance for shopping malls.

Not only do the malls lose the income and shopper traffic from that store’s business, but the closure often triggers “co-tenancy clauses” that allow the other mall tenants to terminate their leases or renegotiate the terms, typically with a period of lower rents, until another retailer moves into the anchor space.

To reduce losses, malls must quickly find a replacement tenant for the massive retail space that the anchor store occupied, which is difficult — especially in malls that are already financially strapped — when major department stores are reducing their retail footprints.

That can have grave consequences for shopping malls, especially in markets where it’s harder to transform vacant mall space into non-retail space like apartments, according to analysts.

The nation’s worst-performing malls — those classified in the industry as C- and D-rated — will be hit the hardest by the store closures.

The real-estate research firm Green Street Advisors estimates that about 30% of all malls fall under those classifications. That means that nearly a third of shopping malls are at risk of dying off as a result of store closures.
Source: Business Insider e-Zine. Posted 03/21/2017; retrieved 04/17/2017 from: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-retail-apocalypse-has-officially-descended-on-america-2017-3

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Related:

1. Monday Market Mayhem – The Retail Apocalypse – Look out Wall Street

2. Dollar General is defying the retail apocalypse and opening 1,000 stores

See the related AUDIO Podcast below here:

———–

AUDIO Podcast – Wal-Mart battles Amazon with discounts for online ordering and store pickup – https://www.marketplace.org/2017/04/14/business/its-battle-amazon-walmart-offers-discounts-ordering-online-and-picking-store

Published April 14, 2017 – Big Box giant Wal-Mart battling e-Commerce giant Amazon for New Economy fulfillment.

As noted in the foregoing, the Retail Apocalypse is affecting the news in the United States. It’s only the news today, tomorrow will be jobs, the next day the finance apparatus holding the debt (mortgages and security instruments on Wall Street) for the many shopping malls and then soon, the rest of the economy will be impacted.

This is so familiar. Remember the housing-real estate bubble in 2003 to 2010. This previous blog-commentary identified the following 5 steps of a bubble:

1.   Displacement

2.   Boom

3.   Euphoria

4.   Profit Taking

5.   Panic

Here we go again! Sounds like a crisis is imminent.

The book Go Lean…Caribbean serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU) and Caribbean Central Bank (CCB); it declares that a crisis is a terrible thing to waste – quoting famed American Economist Paul Romer. Though the impending crisis is slated for the US, the actuality of economic contagions mean that the Caribbean member-states will be affected as well.

Where do the tourists come from that drive the Caribbean region’s primary economic driver?

The question is rhetorical; the answer is obvious!

The Go Lean book seeks to prepare the Caribbean region for the change dynamics impacting the world. The “Agents of Change” at play in the foregoing news source are as follows:

  • Technology
  • Globalization

The underlying issue with the Retail Apocalypse is not the demand for retail products, it is the supply. Consumers are still demanding and consuming fashion and commodities, just not at shopping malls; e-Commerce is “all the rage”.

Consider the experience of this commentator:

I went to buy 3 pairs of slacks.

I was only able to find one – with the brand, make, size and color – at a Big Box retail store. So then I went home and matched the brand, model, size with the e-Commerce merchant Amazon.com and acquired the same pants in 2 divergent colors that the Big Box retailer did not have in inventory. 3 days later, the whole shopping expedition was over; I acquired 3 pairs of slacks, primarily from the online merchant and delivered by the shipping company United Parcel Service (UPS).

The quest of the Go Lean/CU roadmap is to elevate the Caribbean’s societal engines – not the US – starting first with economics (jobs, commercial developments and entrepreneurial opportunities). In fact, the following 3 statements are identified as the prime directives of the CU:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance – as e-Commerce alters sales & border taxes – to support these engines.

The changes taking place in the US with the Retail Apocalypse will eventually traverse the Caribbean member-states as well. This is the parallel with the opening Bible Drama. A crisis is coming and we have the opportunity to exploit the prosperous years and prepare for the famine. The Caribbean region – all 30 member-states – needs to better exploit e-Commerce. There are so missing ingredients, fully detailed in the Go Lean book; see  this sample advocacy on Page 198:

10 Ways to Foster e-Commerce

1 Leverage the full population – 42 million people in all 30 member-states to deploy the CU and the CCB.
2 Regional Currency (Caribbean Dollar or C$)
3 Card Culture
The CU will seek to foster the eco-system for e-payments beyond government activity. To assimilate this change, a card culture, on Main Street, will entail utilizing debit/credit cards, benefits pay cards, and even smart cards on cruise ships.
The CU will collectively bargain with the cruise lines to deploy C$ electronic “purses” to facilitate port-side and onboard retail commerce. All of these changes will garner a better monetary multiplier on the CU economy, by expanding M1.
4 CU Social Media
The CU web portal www.myCaribbean.gov will grant free access, email, IM, and profile pages for CU stakeholders, even normalizing communications thru social media sites. This will facilitate internet commerce activities in the region, as the CU will have hot data on profiles, habits and previous activities, thereby creating opportunities for measured marketing.
5 A Market for the Downloads of Intellectual Properties
6 Remittance Methods (Card & Email)
7 Mobile Apps – Hi-Density Wi-Fi
8 Regional Postal Services – CPU
The CU will assume the responsibility for mail services in the region; (all member-state postal employees will become federal civil servants). The embrace of the Caribbean Postal Union allows for parcel mail to be optimally shipped and delivered throughout the region, with Customs considerations in place. The CPU will therefore ensure the fulfillment side of e-commerce, even allowing for computer applications for printing electronic stamps/barcodes for value savings.
9 Turnpike Logistics
10 Customs and Import Optimizations

The missing ingredients for this new marketplace – electronic commerce – are not just banking-related, the full eco-system must be enabled: electronic (technology), commerce (trade) and fulfillment (logistics). The implementation of these provisions will constitute a New Day for the region. Overall, the Go Lean book stresses the community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to reboot, reform and transform the economic engines of Caribbean society, so as to benefit from changes coming due to the Retail Apocalypse, this New Day.

Though not directly mentioned in the Go Lean book, this Retail Apocalypse is planned for in the roadmap. A comprehensive view of  the technocratic stewardship for the region’s economic engines, including the banking eco-system, is presented early in the book with these opening pronouncements in the Declaration of Interdependence (Page 13 and 14):

xxiv. Whereas a free market economy can be induced and spurred for continuous progress, the Federation must install the controls to better manage aspects of the economy: jobs, inflation, savings rate, investments and other economic principles. Thereby attracting direct foreign investment because of the stability and vibrancy of our economy.

xxvii. Whereas the region has endured a spectator status during the Industrial Revolution, we cannot stand on the sidelines of this new economy, the Information Revolution. Rather, the Federation must embrace all the tenets of Internet Communications Technology (ICT) to serve as an equalizing element in competition with the rest of the world. The Federation must bridge the digital divide and promote the community ethos that research/development is valuable and must be promoted and incentivized for adoption.

The points of effective, technocratic banking and retail stewardship were further elaborated upon in previous blog/commentaries. Consider this sample:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=11184 Big Bank investing $Billion on ‘Fintech’ for e-Commerce positioning
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=8823 Lessons from China – WeChat: Model for Caribbean Social Media
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=8704 Lesson from MetroCard
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7991 Transformations: Caribbean Postal Union – Delivering the Future
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7034 The Future of Money
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6635 New Security Chip in Credit Cards Unveiled
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5668 Move over Mastercard/Visa – Time for Local Banking Cards
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4425 Cash, Credit or iPhone …
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3889 Royal Bank of Canada’s EZPay – Ready for Change
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3881 The Need for Regional Cooperation for Cyber-Security & e-Security
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3858 Model of Central Banking Technocracy: ECB 1 trillion Euro stimulus
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2488 Model of an E-Commerce Fulfillment Company: Alibaba
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1416 Model of an E-Commerce Fulfillment Company: Amazon
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1350 PayPal’s model to pay for e-Commerce
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=906 Bitcoin model to pay for e-Commerce
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=528 Facebook to pay for e-Commerce

Warning to all retail stakeholders – buyers, sellers and governments: Change is coming!

This is a familiar stance – preparing for the inevitable – for the Go Lean movement; there have been previous warnings of disruptive changes; see this sample here:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7847 To the Personal Computer industry: Cloud Computing, Smartphones and Tablets are making actual laptop and desktop computers inconsequential.
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6151 To the regional government’s Revenue Officials: 3-D Printing is coming and will change fabrication to local rather than import. This will disrupt border taxes revenue expectations.
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6016 To the Infrastructure Planners: Climate Change is making Caribbean summers hot-hot-hot and northern winters milder; there must be cooperative refrigeration to provide relief, otherwise people will leave for northern destinations.
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5784 To Jamaica’s Public Safety Officials: Human Rights protections must be extended to people who identify as LGBT. Whether you agree or not, the international community will force you to respect their rights for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5210 To the Cruise Line industry: The Caribbean region’s collective bargaining will extract greater benefits and protections for port city commerce.
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5155 To the Caribbean Power Grip: Home-based batteries will allow for successful deployments of solar/wind power generation and require less power from the grid.
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4767 To the regional government’s Revenue Officials: Under the WTO regime, customs duties must eventually be eliminated; same too with conditional property taxes. VAT or Sales Taxes are OK.

As for the Retail Apocalypse, now is the time for all stakeholders of Caribbean banking, retail and governments to lean-in for the empowerments for e-Commerce described here-in and in the book Go Lean … Caribbean. This is where the marketplace is going, not just tomorrow, but already here today. We can do this; we can elevate our communities and our retail eco-systems. We can be a better place to live, work and play. 🙂

Download the free e-book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Sign the petition to lean-in for the roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.

 

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