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The Retail Apocalypse is real and it’s coming to a Shopping Centre near you!

A worrying trend has hit retail businesses over the past year or two and it’s more prominent in America right now than anywhere else in the world.  However, as we all know, where America leads, the rest of the world generally follows, especially when it comes to business matters.  This trend has become known as the Retail Apocalypse and it’s become so ingrained in the USA that the term even has its own Wikipedia entry!  Bricks and mortar outlets are closing down in unprecedented numbers as online shopping becomes more popular and many of America’s most famous and well-loved chains are closing stores in cities in every state.  Despite the fact that retailers announced more than 3000 store openings in the first three quarters of 2017, when you look at a graph of the cumulative closings and cumulative openings, the closings are well in the lead and this is likely to get worse.

Some of the most prominent retailers in the US are closing stores with expiring leases, including Abercrombie & Fitch, Macy’s, J.C. Penney,  RadioShack, Toys R Us and Sears, to name but a few.  Companies are finding it difficult to compete with online retail outlets that often manage to sell products at competitive prices as they don’t have the expensive overheads faced by real life shops and stores.  Just do a quick Google search on America’s shopping malls and you’ll see that many of them have been transformed in recent years from vibrant shopping centres full of people buying, trying, eating and meeting into deserted wastelands past their sell-by dates.

As we’ve pointed out, what happens in America often crosses the Pond to become reality in the UK and Europe too.  Here in the UK, we’re already seeing Toys R Us closing stores after the giant toy store filed for bankruptcy last September.  This Retail Apocalypse is likely to spread and we shouldn’t’ be shocked to see similar scenes here in the UK in the coming years as more of our High Street chains struggle to compete with internet shopping or, in a bid to jump before they are pushed, move their retail business online totally.

This trend is likely to continue over the coming years as technology and the internet take over more areas of our lives than ever before.  Here in the UK, we could see the end of the out of town shopping centres if the fate of the US shopping malls is anything to go by.

If you’re a small business owner, especially if your operations are all online, this needn’t mean doom and gloom for your future – it could be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for to grow your business and take it to the next level.  In the coming weeks, we’ll be taking a closer look at the developments associated with the Retail Apocalypse and bring you tips and ideas on how you can turn this to your advantage and future-proof your business.