Mall Retailers Melt Down in Four Charts

But e-commerce is piping hot.

Total retail sales growth – not adjusted for inflation – has been fairly strong, rising 4.6% in the third quarter compared to a year ago, powered by booming e-commerce sales, which the Commerce Department reported this morning, and by rising inflation. But “real” retail sales (adjusted for inflation) are not so hot, rising only 2.0% in October, and this was at the lower end of the post-Financial Crisis range:

E-commerce sales in the third quarter, not adjusted for inflation, soared 14.5% from a year ago to a new record of $131 billion (seasonally adjusted), the Commerce Department reported this morning. E-commerce sales are on track to blow through the $500-billion level in 2018.

E-commerce includes sales by the online operations of brick-and-mortar retailers, such as Macy’s, Walmart, and Best Buy, along with the sales of online-focused retailers, from Amazon down to small operations. Over the past five years, e-commerce sales have doubled.

I separate these retail sales — $1.34 trillion in Q3 — in three categories:

  • Online sales: +14.5% year-over-year.
  • Sales at online-resistant retailers (gas stations, new and used auto dealers, and grocery and beverage stores), accounting for 52% of all brick-and-mortar sales: +5.7% year-over-year
  • Sales at retailers that are under attack from online, accounting for 48% of all brick-and-mortar sales: +3.1% year-over-year, not even enough to make up for inflation (2.6% in Q3) and population growth (0.9%).

This chart shows how e-commerce has been eating into the share of the brick-and-mortar retailers that are under attack:

But the chart above averages out the two-decade meltdown in specific sectors. Some sectors, like record and video stores have largely been wiped out by e-commerce. Others have been decimated by e-commerce, such as book stores and toy stores.

Department store sales have plunged 36% (not adjusted for inflation!) since their peak in 2001, to just $37.4 billion in Q3, a new record low in the data going back to 1992. These are the stores that anchor malls; it’s the sector populated by the brick-and-mortar stores of Macy’s, bankrupt Sears, soon-to-be bankrupt J.C. Penney, liquidated Bon-Ton Stores, Nordstrom, and others. Store-closings by retail chains and malls losing their anchor stores are the two visible signs.

Nothing is going to help brick-and-mortar department stores. That concept has been obviated by e-commerce, and the department stores that want to stay relevant – such as Macy’s and Nordstrom – are furiously and successfully building out their e-commerce operations. Others will be liquidated.

Sales at electronics and appliance stores, despite a booming business in electronics and appliances, have dropped 9% over the past 10 years to $24.9 billion, as much of it has migrated to online operations, including the successful online operations of brick-and-mortar retailers such as Best Buy.

The chart below shows e-commerce sales (red line) versus some of the other major categories of brick-and-mortar stores that populate the shopping malls of America:

And here’s how these stores in the chart above — department stores; sporting goods, hobby, book, music, toy, and game stores; electronics and appliance stores, clothing, clothing accessory, and shoe stores — all combined stack up against e-commerce:

These are the stores that dominate the shopping malls of America. Year-after-year they’re losing out to e-commerce. Their combined sales have been flat for a dozen years, despite inflation and population growth. While a few of the retailers have done well, many have gotten totally crushed. Some have disappeared from the scene, and others, such as Sears, have gone bankrupt and will soon disappear; while others still, like J.C. Penney, will eventually follow in their footsteps.

The demise of the classic mall stores isn’t happening overnight; it took two decades to get this far, and the torture will continue methodically for many more years, and mall landlords and increasingly mall creditors, when they end up with the collateral, are having to figure out what to do with their malls. 
 

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  75 comments for “Mall Retailers Melt Down in Four Charts

  1. EcuadorExpat
    Nov 19, 2018 at 4:48 pm

    Since the USA population grows consistently at 3% per year, any growth less than that indicates a decline in the prosperity of households.

    The slow spiral into second/third world.

    And any change less than 2% can be considered a statistic anomaly.

    • Nov 19, 2018 at 5:48 pm

      For the past 10 years, the US population has been growing at a rate of 0.8% to 0.9% per year, not 3%. That 3% population growth went out the door decades ago.

      • Rowen
        Nov 19, 2018 at 6:13 pm

        and most of that was growth was lower-income people of color. According to the latest numbers, even that demographic has declined.

      • RangerOne
        Nov 19, 2018 at 7:31 pm

        A well educated population with access to health care and reliable contraception have smaller families.

        If the ideal family size remains around 2 kids, with plenty of people opting for 1 or none, the population will remain low growth. Maybe even negative if you take immigration out of the equation.

        Seems good to me.

        • Nicko2
          Nov 20, 2018 at 4:38 am

          Stagnant population growth is disastrous long term…see Japan, many US states; aging workforces and not enough young people to replace them – death-knell for social programs, tax revenue, infrastructure ect…

          Look for all true economic growth to occur for the next 50 years in Developing nations (Asia and Africa).

        • Nov 20, 2018 at 9:30 am

          Egypt has booming population growth, and look at the mess it’s in. It’s one of the poorer counties in the world. GDP per capita sucks. Unemployment among young people is gigantic (who’s going to give all these young people entering the work force a job?). Wages are desperately low. And people end up revolting in the street because they can’t afford bread.

          China pulled a million years ahead of Egypt in part because of its one-child policy that allowed poor parents to focus their resources on one child and educate that child – rather than having to spread their resources among seven kids. And then when they graduated, they had a very good chance of getting a job because there were fewer people entering the work force every year.

          Japan has the highest GDP per working person of any major county, and GDP growth per capita is also strong, and individual Japanese are in better shape today than they were 10 years or 15 years ago. If you had any idea about Japan, and if you knew any Japanese at all who live in Japan, you’d know that there is nothing “disastrous” about a very gradually declining population in a super-crowded country.

          Sure, companies always want cheap labor and more consumers to sell their products to, so companies want unlimited population growth through any means. And politicians want unlimited population growth through any means, hoping that it might pay for the fraudulent promises they make to get votes. But for the people, for individuals, population growth in this already crowded world is no good.

          When I was born, there were 2.5 billion on this planet. Now they’re 7.5 billion, and I’m not exactly a methuselah. Mankind has gone nuts.

        • Jessy S
          Nov 20, 2018 at 4:16 pm

          Wolf, I like your analysis but you also need to consider this bible verse. It is Genesis 1:28 where God commands us to “be fruitful and multiply.” That is as knowledgeable today as it was in the days of Adam and Eve. The population should be high growth with robots out of there.

        • Nov 20, 2018 at 6:01 pm

          Absolutely right Wolf!
          I so often hear about the “Demographic Crisis” because “GDP numbers won’t climb as high”
          Disasterous for whom? Too many fall into the trap of thinking whatever is good for Wall Street is good for everyone else.
          Who wants to live in a country that keeps it’s GDP growing by increasing the population enough to offset a plummet in GDP per capita?
          If they think we should have more kids, then they should help families instead of crushing them with housing costs, healthcare costs, and so on while wages stay flat and job security is a thing of the past.

      • mike
        Nov 22, 2018 at 12:20 am

        With other increases in living costs, such as for healthcare, the living standards are still going down though. We are subsidizing banksters, the rich (who do not pay taxes), and defence contractors, e.g., for the F35 turkey.

        The majority of US public gets the shaft, every year more.

      • Steve
        Nov 23, 2018 at 2:23 pm

        Does that include immigrants…legal and undocumented?

        • Nov 23, 2018 at 4:32 pm

          Yes, includes everyone with a beating heart.

    • TropicalSunset
      Nov 19, 2018 at 10:07 pm

      People always talk about the negatives of falling population, don’t they do NOT talk enough about the POSITIVES of falling population:
      -less traffic
      -less congestion
      -less environmental damage
      -lower house prices
      -less pollution
      -less noise

      I think most people who grew up in a area that has seen massive growth (i.e. SoCal, Seattle, Austin, Denver) wish they could go back to the old days when the population was less, there were more open spaces, nicer people, less traffic, more affordable, more sense of community, etc…

      Why is it that we have this obsession with growth, growth, growth??? All it does is make people more miserable!

      • hh
        Nov 19, 2018 at 10:31 pm

        I very much agree. How about we work toward a better standard of living instead of a larger GNP? Or would that not be in the interests of the corporate class?

        • TropicalSunset
          Nov 20, 2018 at 1:36 am

          Amen to that HH…problem is our modern “Gods” today are GDP growth, Wall Street, etc…. I think after a certain point, most places get much worse the more the population grows.

      • Rowen
        Nov 19, 2018 at 11:17 pm

        On its own, reduced population is a good thing. However the problem is that an asset and debt based economy pre-supposes an increasing population. Japan has given a taste of what happens when the population stagnates and decreases. Japan was able to buffer some of the effect but exporting demand.

        Now, we’re seeing those conditions throughout the industrialized world, so growing via exports isn’t simultaneously possible for everyone

      • Nicko2
        Nov 20, 2018 at 4:42 am

        Completely false. Millennials are flocking to cities like never before; and over in developing economies (where all real economic growth is happening in the world right now), cities are magnets, bursting at the seams; vibrant with economic activity and innovation.

        • Paul
          Nov 20, 2018 at 7:36 am

          Most of the country is not in the cities.

  2. Kent
    Nov 19, 2018 at 5:20 pm

    Interesting dynamics. E-commerce sites can have essentially infinite inventory. Because everything is just a database entry. Brick and mortar has limited floor space.

    So you go to your local Brick and Mortar, can’t find what you want, go to your fave e-commerce site and find and buy. Your local Brick and Mortar loses revenues and cuts its selection to stay profitable. Classic death spiral.

    But in exchange for that infinite variety, you spend more time looking through all of the options and get overwhelmed. Is it the right size? Right tool for the problem? Where can I get something fixed? The trade offs may leave us in the worst of both worlds.

    • Paulo
      Nov 19, 2018 at 6:52 pm

      I made 3 stops last week trying to buy an electric motor for a metal lathe I am rebuilding. Not too many years ago such an item would have been easily available at a hardware store. After all, they still do sell tools with motors. I went to three locations in my search including a specialty tool store and an electric motor rebuild shop. I tried to buy local. Nada. I ended up ordering one online on Saturday night and today it was shipped out by Canada Post. I did ensure the new motor was NOT made or supplied by any US company and will continue to do so until the softwood tariffs + aluminum and steel tariffs are eliminated. Luckily, the motor comes from China and is about 40% less than a Baldor or Leeson electric motor (of which many are also made overseas, just marketed as US made).

      Gas here is $1.42/litre. My internet contact with suppliers is free. Canada Post is a fraction of the cost of driving to shop, and/or using a private courier service. Plus, Canada Post workers are Union and paid a liveable wage. Online sales service is 24/7 and hassle free. Basically, buying online is a no-brainer. If I could squeeze the lemons and look at expiry dates I would buy groceries the same way. (Well, probably not) :-)

      The question I have about malls is why are any of them still open? They were horrible in the ’80s and sure haven’t improved in decline.

      • interesting
        Nov 20, 2018 at 1:22 am

        “Plus, Canada Post workers are Union and paid a liveable wage”

        Plus the only jobs that do that are government jobs. The motor company you won’t buy from can’t do that because China produces steel and aluminum at a loss (which is why Obama put tariffs on them as well, but he could do no wrong…….remember orange man bad…for doing a similar thing) and pays a slave wage to make that motor 40% less.

        I don’t buy much but necessities because I haven’t had a raise in over 20 years thanks to engineering being cheaper to do anywhere else on the planet…….there’s just not much money left for much else.

        But hey, at least that postal worker is getting his big fat raise……same with here in the USA. Everyone here says all they wanna do is get a job working for the state/government. It’s the only jobs that pays enough to actually live here…….no wonder retail is dying and one of my largest monthly bills are income taxes.

      • Nicko2
        Nov 20, 2018 at 4:48 am

        You just bought second/third rate Chinese slave labor crap. Should have gone the extra mile — at least for a model originating from Taiwan/S.Korea/Japan/Thailand/Indonesia — excellent manufacturing quality control, better quality than China….oh, and those countries are democracies.

        Otherwise, I’d go for German (or possibly Italian, or British —although true British manufacturers are few and far between these days). American origin? — I hear they still make good BBQs. ;)

        • nick kelly
          Nov 20, 2018 at 5:52 pm

          Taiwan, SK, and cream of the crop, Japan: sure.
          Thailand or Indonesia?
          I pay a LOT of attention to where hardware is made have imported a bit from SK and I’ve never heard of Thailand being an exporter of any hardware not even garden tools let alone machinery.

        • JamieKun
          Nov 20, 2018 at 9:57 pm

          I think you got us beat there too… The last couple of American made BBQ grills I bought died right quick after 2-3 San Francisco “winters.” I finally did some research and bought myself a nice Napoleon grill from Canada, which seems to be holding out much better than it’s predecessors.

        • Kaz Augustin
          Nov 22, 2018 at 12:37 am

          @nick kelly
          Thailand makes a lot of computer hard drives. If you own a Seagate or Western Digital, chances are it came from Thailand. There was a bit of a price rise with them about 4 years ago because the part of Thailand where the hard disk factories are located flooded due to heavy rians. Took about six months for the market to recover from the supply squeeze.

      • Paul
        Nov 20, 2018 at 7:43 am

        What is wrong with Canadians making and using their own steel, while Americans do the same?
        What is wrong with Canadians cutting Canadian trees into lumber and using it while Americans do the same?

        • Nov 20, 2018 at 6:09 pm

          It would mean that corporations couldnt just build elsewhere to arbitrage around wages, labor laws, and enviornmental regulations. They couldn’t make as much money! Utter disaster!

        • nick kelly
          Nov 20, 2018 at 6:23 pm

          Someone could rattle on for 100K words about this ‘why have trade’ idea but happily trees are mentioned.

          The US has ten times Canada’s population with ten times the need for construction lumber but Canada has many more trees. During the current housing boom (which may be ending) the US could not supply its market.

          Most trees are relatively useless for construction lumber. The most sought after are the coniferous types like spruce and fir that prefer a colder climate. They grow slowly, tall and straight.

          It’s something to see a 2 by 8 of ‘clear’ spruce 18 feet long. You can stand three feet away and be unable to prove it isn’t a man- made plastic extrusion. Not a knot or even a change in color. This perfect stuff is rare but almost as good is common.
          It is very light. Two guys can lift the main beam of a house into position.

          Even the US bed frame association has asked for an exemption from the tariffs.

  3. RepubAnon
    Nov 19, 2018 at 5:26 pm

    For malls near mass transit lines, I predict mixed use commercial /condos. Small service businesses, such as nail salons, barbers, and bodega-level stores on the first floor, condos above.

    The rest of them will be torn down someday.

    • Anon1970
      Nov 20, 2018 at 9:18 am

      The Rochester, NY Midtown Shopping Mall, one of the first of its kind in a North American downtown was closed and later torn down. The Northland Mall in Southfield, MI (just north of Detroit), which originally opened as a large scale shopping center in the early 1950’s and enclosed two decades later has also been torn down. While e-commerce can take a big share of the blame, changing demographics also are also responsible in some locations.

  4. Howard Fritz
    Nov 19, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    Once upon a time, you would walk into a shoe store and the wares would be made by dozens of small manufacturers (which fueled a strong middle class). Now shoes, whether purchased online or in a store, come from a handful of super conglomerates which employ people in Thailand, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and in China (less so now).

    I understand what creative destruction is but it doesn’t seem right that our manufacturing base is being hollowed out as it is.

    Soon many of these malls which employed teenagers for decades will no longer exist. I’m not a Luddite who wants to revive the horse and buggy industry but what will the future entail? Surely we can’t all work in Amazon fulfillment centers.

    • Unamused
      Nov 19, 2018 at 7:15 pm

      -> Surely we can’t all work in Amazon fulfillment centers.

      Of course not. Those will be automated. They can all get jobs as Uber drivers.

    • nick kelly
      Nov 20, 2018 at 1:17 am

      Less in China? Take another look. Making shoes is much more demanding than shirts etc. You aren’t going to find 100$ shoes in the mall made in Thailand or Bangladesh.

      There are many high- end. US owned cos having stuff made in China: Pacific Trail, Wind River (sandals), Lee etc.

      They have established their lines and are in no hurry to move to Bangladesh.

      Nor are there any US outfits (apart from niches) lusting after the biz.
      Like consumer electronics (27% of Chinese imports) and apparel (19%) there is no US industry to protect.

      Bangladesh etc. can’t fill the gap on 6 months notice.

      Result: China can pass the tariffs on to the US budget consumer.

    • Nicko2
      Nov 20, 2018 at 4:52 am

      I bought a pair of Clarks recently for $150 (on sale)…made in Vietnam. I really wanted a new pair of Ecco (made in Eastern Europe) – but they were $300. Ouch! My last pair of Eccos lasted ~8 years. We’ll see how long the Clarks last… not getting my hopes up.

    • Cynic
      Nov 20, 2018 at 5:16 am

      Working in traditional retail, having to turn up on time, be well-presented, with decent conditions and some real prospect of promotion is one of the things that give society a firm foundation. We let it collapse at great peril.

    • Paul
      Nov 20, 2018 at 7:40 am

      Yes, and many of those shoes and boots were made in America, many near where I am in Maine.

      Same was true of hardwood furniture.

  5. Petunia
    Nov 19, 2018 at 6:21 pm

    I am currently resolving a problem over an Amazon purchase that I would like to address here as part of this article. The item was purchased on Amazon but fulfilled by a third party merchant. I have never had a problem with any purchase fulfilled by Amazon directly. The item arrived damaged and I have had a bad experience with the seller who I now consider to be a scammer.

    Amazon has been great helping me deal with it, but I can already see that Amazon is putting a great reputation at risk by allowing others to sell through their platform. Now I will never again buy anything from Amazon that is not fulfilled directly by them, so allowing these third party sellers on their platform is not advantageous to them as far as I’m concerned.

    In other retail drama, I was at a major discount retailer this weekend looking for holiday merchandise and the shelves were bare. All the prepackaged gift sets that should already be out were nowhere to be seen. The store was not ready for Xmas the weekend before Black Friday.

    • Sporkfed
      Nov 19, 2018 at 6:58 pm

      Amazon is quickly setting up a delivery network
      that will not only deliver their items but allow
      other businesses and consumers to tap into it.
      This will potentially devastate UPS,FedEx, and
      USPS. Creative destruction brought to you
      by Amazon.

      • Rowen
        Nov 19, 2018 at 7:12 pm

        A delivery network of independent contractors who will bid each other lower and lower until profit margins get to zero.

        Welcome to the uBer-fication of America!

        • Unamused
          Nov 19, 2018 at 7:18 pm

          ->Welcome to the uBer-fication of America!

          Uber drivers will be replaced by self-driving vehicles. They can all get jobs in Amazon fulfillment centers.

        • Petunia
          Nov 19, 2018 at 8:10 pm

          I had independent contractors delivering my mail in Florida. Half of my mail went missing most months. Now the post office brings my mail and I only lose one or two things a month.

    • Anon1970
      Nov 20, 2018 at 9:32 am

      Some Third Party sellers on Amazon offer their products at very high prices, hoping to pick off unsuspecting shoppers, and Amazon appears to make no effort to police such abuses. It is a case of buyer beware. In one case, a Chinese made flashlight I ordered from Amazon came with no instructions or warranty but Amazon did agree to take it back. I guess Amazon is willing to take some customer complaints in exchange for the large amount of revenue it receives from Third Party sellers. Where price and quality compare, I would prefer to deal with a web site that also has a local presence.

    • Edward Boyer
      Nov 20, 2018 at 3:07 pm

      First…have faith in the third party. It is in the interest of Amazon that third parties follow strict guidelines. and they do, if they are a scammer, trust me, Amazon will shut them out of the marketplace.
      Second…you are bedazzeled by all things Amazon. Most likely you have never had a bad purchase from them. BUT they do happen. While they aren’t scamming you, you still need to find a phone number, call, explain, get a new shipment or refund.
      Third… Amazon is so huge, they can “afford” a percentage of shrinkage, refunds etc. with no hazzle to you. So, you keep buying. But did you know…they have barred customers from Amazon for too many “mistakes”?
      Fourth…The fees a small retailer pays to Amazon, make it hard to profit. So if something arrives damaged…did it happen via courier (USPS, UPS), or was it shipped damaged? A claim needs to be processed through the carrier. This takes time, and not always successful. So..how does that retailer keep eating the loss? Based on your word?
      Fifth..it is because you precisely don’t support your local community that stores have problems with inventory. I’m not talking mega corps. here like Macy’s. The only thing local is the payroll.
      Sixth..get out of the house and meet your local business people, express to them your needs, that’s how we know what to stock…..I speak as a small buisness owner. Oh, and stop looking for coupons, sales and discounts. If all you want is to pick the bones for the joy of “getting a bargain” you will be paying a lot more when Amazon takes control of all. You will get a huge surprise.
      Simply follow the money. Wolf St. is awesome commentary, listen closely!

      • Petunia
        Nov 20, 2018 at 5:30 pm

        I don’t buy that much on Amazon, but I do admit I grew to expect a lot from them based on past experience. They have refunded my money, but the experience has made me cautious, and I am resentful that a third party soured me on what I consider to be a great company. This is the sentiment that I really wanted to express. Amazon works so hard to do a great job and some jerk ruins the experience of shopping with them. Amazon would be better off without the exposure.

        As far as discounting goes, I wish I didn’t have to shop that way, but I do.

  6. Anthony Aluknavich
    Nov 19, 2018 at 6:33 pm

    I suppose many of the empty malls could be converted into merchandise warehouses for Amazon. Another use might be converting the properties into low income housing for warehouse workers and their families.

  7. Unamused
    Nov 19, 2018 at 6:49 pm

    Eventually online will kill off stores, distribution centers will be completely automated, and packages will be delivered by drones.

    So look at the bright side: no more lousy retail, warehouse, or delivery jobs. And everybody will be happy.

    • Panamabob
      Nov 19, 2018 at 8:57 pm

      ” And everybody will be happy”.
      Unamused, superlative irony and I hope you are old like me and have enjoyed the old days, something that will be elusive to the younger generations as time marches on.

      • Unamused
        Nov 19, 2018 at 9:58 pm

        One must pity the young, Panamabob, knowing they have no future.

        • Panamabob
          Nov 19, 2018 at 10:33 pm

          “One must pity the young”, I want to be hopeful but from my observation(I have grandkids), it’s a pretty ugly view. Plus the parents(my kids) live in “don’t worry about tomorrow”.
          Life has been too good progressively for a few generations but there is a theory,..”The Fourth Turning”.
          If we live long enough the truth will reveal itself.

    • Javert Chip
      Nov 19, 2018 at 9:40 pm

      Straight-lining current events and call that a “prediction” is a classic mistake. The USSR didn’t outgrow the USA; Japan didn’t outgrow the USA; the EU (giggle, chuckle, laugh) hasn’t outgrown the USA.

      Depending on how old you are, if you’ve seen 40-50 years of retail, you’ve seen 4-5 retail business models come and go.

      I have no doubt, someday, the current Amazon model will…go. However, at the moment Amazon is so good at delivering what the market wants, that a “new Amazon” (low tech, hi touch) may invent a model that destroys “old Amazon” (hi tech, low touch). The market (not Amazon) will decide.

      ps: I suspect one of the fastest growing retail market segments at the moment is the Dollar store…they’re killing Walmart in that segment.

      • nick kelly
        Nov 20, 2018 at 1:28 am

        They are killing Walmart in the dollar store segment which is maybe 5 % of what Wally sells.
        Can’t buy a toaster, TV, bedding, shoes, clothing, microwave, food, camping, sporting, bikes. etc. etc. etc. in a dollar store.

        • Jessy S
          Nov 20, 2018 at 3:18 am

          You mean like super small boxes of Cap’n Crunch?

      • Nov 20, 2018 at 10:51 am

        The dollar stores cannot compete, Walmart has its own transportation, which implies bulk fuel discounts. They also have sophisticated inventory control and now they have an online presence. Dollar stores buy Walmart’s extra inventory. Now shops like ALDI are raising the bar on dollar store shopping, the dollar store has the same symbiotic future as the convenience store.

  8. volgas
    Nov 19, 2018 at 8:30 pm

    “Sales at electronics and appliance stores, despite a booming business in electronics and appliances, have dropped 9% over the past 10 years ”

    Mobile phones have boomed in the last decade but those were never sold through electronics and appliance stores but through (captured) mobile phone shops and other electronica sales were not exactly booming.

  9. Joe Banks
    Nov 19, 2018 at 8:48 pm

    I can’t stand going into stores any longer except for groceries at Costco and Trader Joe’s. I needed wrapping paper for my sweetheart grand daughter and I ordered it online. I could have gone to .99 Cent store but what a hassle especially you live in a city like mine with traffic at the times I have available to shop (after work). The market wins again and always does unless the government gets in the way.

  10. Ripp
    Nov 20, 2018 at 1:14 am
    • MC01
      Nov 20, 2018 at 8:52 am

      My Spider-sense started tingling when I read the name “Breitling”… do they really need a brand store in Scottsdale, of all places?
      Breitling is a Swiss-registered SA (Société Anonime), meaning they don’t have to make their financials available to the public and are owned by CVC Capital Partner, one of those PE firms that have long elicited my curiosity due to their connections, chiefly to German industrial outfits and Middle Eastern investors.

      Breitling has been throwing money around like confetti for years: those aerobatic teams they generously finance cost huge sums of money just to insure. After the Ramstein tragedy forget even going near an air show without substantial insurance coverage, especially if you are a privately-owned outfit.
      A store with remote chances to ever turn a profit seems to fit nicely into their business pattern.

      Because no matter how high your profits, you need to sell a whole lot of watches to keep flying that Lockheed Constellation they have at Basel-Mulhouse.

      • Petunia
        Nov 20, 2018 at 12:28 pm

        They now sell luxury watches on discount at Cosco.

        • MC01
          Nov 21, 2018 at 3:16 am

          I am not surprised.
          I know little about watches, but I know a fair bit about manufacturing and the expansion drive Valjoux and Lemania (the two firms manufacturing over 90% of mechanisms used in Swiss watches; both are wholly owned by The Swatch Group) have experienced over the past two decades is simply mind-boggling. As I like to say Asia cannot create parvenus fast enough to keep up with the supply of luxury watches from Switzerland…

      • nick kelly
        Nov 21, 2018 at 11:41 am

        The main driver of the high- profile expensive watch demand is enabling an affluent male who wants to be perceived as affluent to wear a form of personal adornment. i.e., jewelry.

        For the type who is not inclined to earrings or gold chains, and does not believe that a special bracelet can balance his electrolytes (or something) it is almost the only such avenue.

        • MC01
          Nov 22, 2018 at 3:10 am

          I am only saying this once… the number of watches these Swiss manufacturers (led by The Swatch Group) put on the market every year simply boggles the mind, especially considering resale value ranges from poor to non-existant and hence they are not an “investment” nor a “store of wealth”.
          The SA’s manufacturing these watches, their components and selling them all over the world are among the most opaque and secretive in the already opaque and secretive Corporate Swiss world, and it’s not like they are protecting some manufacturing secret: Valjoux set up whole assembly lines and trained designers and craftsmen for the Soviet government back in the 70’s, happily trading their “secrets” for hard cash at a time when the Japanese were putting them under pressure. These Swiss-designed Soviet mechanisms are still manufactured and sold as Poljot.
          These SA’s have long been suspected of all sorts of financial shenanigans but, again, this is Switzerland, meaning it’s all part of the system and you had better not ask too many questions.

    • Juanfo
      Nov 20, 2018 at 1:03 pm

      “Quadrupling down”, I love this place

    • Ripp
      Nov 20, 2018 at 3:52 pm

      It’s funny because at the opposite end of the mall (where Barneys closed down over 2 years ago) they’re putting in something like 30k square feet of “co-working” space.

  11. Jessy S
    Nov 20, 2018 at 1:15 am

    Something has to happen to Amazon.com. It is the canary in the coal mine and approaching 50% of all e-commerce sales. That is not healthy for America and something must be done at once. If nothing is done, then we are looking at a future where one company controls upwards of 70% of all retail. Not even Sears had that much of a stranglehold on the economy, that Amazon now enjoys, in its heyday.

    • Nicko2
      Nov 20, 2018 at 5:02 am

      When compared to the Global-economy, Amazon is up against stiff competition in rising powers such as India and China. The global economy is much larger than domestic USA.

      • Jessy S
        Nov 20, 2018 at 4:35 pm

        And both countries get on both eBay and Amazon and ship their wares to the United States for pennies. And a ton of it is counterfeit of brand names in Europe and the United States. I don’t exactly know about India but China is so deeply in debt that it is next to impossible to believe that their economy will not fall apart provided that they don’t reach a trade deal with the United States.

        Speaking of counterfeit merchandise, there is a Chinese company called Lepin which produces exact copies of LEGO sets. How exact you ask? So exact that it can be mistaken for the LEGO product, it is offered at a much lower price than the LEGO product, and their products are brought by US consumers on eBay as well as Amazon I suppose.

        In the end, there is the US and global economy, but it still doesn’t excuse what is happening in this country. Amazon has a far too large portion of the retail economy and something has to be done.

        • MC01
          Nov 21, 2018 at 8:01 am

          My brother is one of the biggest Lego fans out there so I know everything about this charade.
          Lego actually spent a huge amount of money and effort to sue the companies behind the “Lepin” brand in Guangzhou and they won the lawsuit. They won it back in July 2017 to be precise.
          According to the court ruling the aforementioned three companies were to:
          Stop using the Lepin brand
          Stop using the NexoKnights, Chima and Ninjago brands
          Stop advertising their products on Chinese-based websites
          Pay Lego RMB 15 million in damages
          Pay full legal expenses

          Here we are in November 2018 and Lepin products are still commonly sold not just online but in shops as well. It makes you wonder why Lego even bothered.

          Please note that Amazon does not sell Lepin products, nor does allow third party sellers to sell them through their websites. This is not due to Amazon being gentle and caring but due to the huge contracts Jeff Bezos’ company signs every year with Lego.

  12. xear
    Nov 20, 2018 at 8:21 am

    Where I live in eastern europe the post office no longer delivers mail. If you want package delivery there is DHL and the like …and no one gets mail anymore, everything is done online.

    If you do get mail you go down to the post office and pick it up. They call you if they get something for you.

    • Petunia
      Nov 20, 2018 at 8:36 am

      I can see that coming to America. The younger generation lives on their phones and does everything online. The post office can’t deliver the mail efficiently anymore. Yes, I complained to the PO and it was fine for a couple of months, then back to losing my mail and giving me other people’s mail.

      • xear
        Nov 20, 2018 at 10:09 am

        I doubt that is coming to America any time soon. Seems like they were considering dropping Saturday delivery & couldn’t do that let alone dropping all deliveries.

      • Unamused
        Nov 20, 2018 at 6:27 pm

        “This message was brought to you by the Committee to Privatize the Post Office.”

        It’s why congress keeps screwing it. Once it makes money for corporatists they’ll subsidise it.

        Happens every time.

        • Petunia
          Nov 21, 2018 at 11:19 am

          I don’t want to see the PO privatized, but they now do a lousy job of delivering the mail. I grew up in NYC and for 35 years I never lost one thing in the mail. I regularly mailed jewelry for repairs by throwing it in the big blue mailboxes and got it back thru the mail. Now I have to ask anyone sending me a check to send it fedex or I might not get it. I am not joking when I say I lose at least one piece of mail every month and get more pieces than that of my neighbor’s mail. I don’t think privatization will make the workers any better at their jobs.

        • NoEasyDay
          Nov 22, 2018 at 9:54 pm

          The U.S. Post Office is suffering from Diversity Fatigue.

  13. ML
    Nov 21, 2018 at 1:12 am

    There is much too much duplication amongst retailers. A massive shakeout is long overdue. I am a fan of Amazon and A is my second port of call for anything I want to buy. My first is John Lewis (UK) deoartment stores whose online I find excellent: stores a pleasure to visit and generally staff of a friendly and helpful disposition and attitude.

    As for Amazon capturing the market, so what? Competition in retailing is an outmoded concept.

  14. Mike Earussi
    Nov 21, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    People order through Amazon and other online stores not necessarily because it is cheaper but because the selection is much better. There are many products that have been discontinued by my local stores that I can now only buy online. If the local stores are dying, to a great extent it’s their fault.

  15. Nov 21, 2018 at 10:17 pm

    The Amazon Effect, has also started to suck the life out of independent on line retail outlets. I have an on line retail parts business since 1996, seen it grow until the 2008 bubble popped, flatlined for awhile -actually losing ground as internet sales have grown. I found the problem. Why search the web for an unusual item when you can go to eBay, “Search for anything” and bring up 128 of them? “buy now”! So, my only recourse was to join the fun, manufacture and order in lots of a few popular items from China and join the fun. Now suddenly I have a 25% TAX (O, sorry, tariff) on my imports while vendors in Thailand, Bangladesh, etc import the same items to fulfillment warehouses at no tariff and distribute from here. So, it remains to be seen what fate I and others like me will suffer next. BTW, unless your brain dead, guess where this tariff money goes. Yep, right to the UNITED STATES TREASURY. So much for my tax relief.

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