Decline in Retail Stores

I began to write about this issue last week on my personal blog, but technology took over. (Kind of like a character does when you’re writing. LOL) But walking at Ridgmar Mall Monday, working on getting my steps, the emptiness just overcame me. I had to share my thoughts.

So Ridgmar was the first mall in Fort Worth. After Bob finished law school, we moved from Austin to Fort Worth for his job. I had been living in San Antonio and was used to having malls and shopping that way, so it was a huge adjustment and then a cause for great celebration when Ridgmar opened several years after we arrived. It was a fancy with large columns and had all the big stores: Nieman Marcus, Dillard’s, and Sanger Harris (turned into Foley’s into Macy’s.). I have many fond memories of shopping at Ridmar with my mother and my daughters.

Monday, I found a sadly broken down elderly woman whose clothes didn’t fit as well as they once did. So many, many stores empty and dark. Dillard’s wasn’t even open. The second floor of this store has been turned into an outlet facility with clothes crammed in so tightly, you can hardly make out what is what. The Dillard’s lower floor is more like before but about half has been shut off. You can tell from the picture the abbreviated hours the store is open. ☹

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What first caught my attention was the Kay’s Jewelry store with nothing in it. It had stuff on Saturday when I walked. I did notice a couple of counters that looked a bit slim. But Monday, it was empty. The couple of workers were shutting it all down.IMG_2177

On the top floor is of what once was Macy’s. IMG_2180 It’s entirely closed. We now only have one Macy’s in Fort Worth at Hulen Mall. The top floor of that store has also been shrunk and turned into an outlet.

The Macy’s space at Ridgmar Mall  has been turned into a Storage Facility! Have you ever seen this done? At least it’s something in the space.

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What the Mall has done well to keep itself going is become super kid friendly. I didn’t get a picture of the Aquarium which is on the bottom floor and know from personal experience taking a granddaughter there is quite good

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We hear talk about the loss of manufacturing jobs and very little about the loss of retail jobs. And I think it’s the internet. We can buy any and everything on-line. We had a neighborhood coffee on Saturday, and I loved the coffee cups, which could be recycled, that the hostess used. I asked her where she bought them. Her response was Amazon.

Full disclosure here, but I’m sure you know, I sell my books on Amazon as well B & N, KOBO, and iTunes. So, I’m partly responsible for the demise of book-stores. (I don’t sell that many books, so I’m not responsible by myself, but still you get my point.)

What kinds of jobs are the folks who’ve held the retail jobs going to get?

So that’s what I’m worrying over these days. Thoughts? Love to hear from you.

(The flowers at the top I did purchase at a regular store. :))

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17 thoughts on “Decline in Retail Stores

  1. tidalscribe says:

    It’s definitely the internet, followed by the recession, that didn’t help. We have the same with some of our favourite departnment stores closing. But coffee shops abound and we are lucky to have a traditional high street near us with lots of independent food shops and plenty of places to eat and have coffee with your friends, I imagine lots of coffee shops and cafe bars are full of people on their phones an iPads ordering stuff on line!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marsha R. West says:

      Hey, Oh, my gosh, I think you’ve nailed it. I always find it odd to see people walking and texting at the same time. Number one, I admire their balance and two, it’s like stop and call already.
      We have a number of dependent coffee shops and even three Indie bookstores. We don’t live in a walkable area. Have to get in the car and drive to walkable places. I envy folks in who live in a walkable environment. Thanks so much for stopping by. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Joanne Guidoccio says:

    Hi Marsha, I still miss Eaton’s and Sears (two large department stores in Canada). I feel for the employees who suddenly found themselves out of jobs. As for cafes…We have many of them here in Guelph. Thanks for sharing a timely post. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marsha R. West says:

      Hey, Vicki. Yep. The big stores have been forced to also offer on line sales. Even grocery stores. I walk in Walmart a lot and see the shoppers picking up orders. Now this I see as a real boon to the elderly population, or someone who’s hurt and not able to get around, or someone with small kids. Do you think at sometime in the future we won’t have legs anymore, because there’s no use for them. I bet our fingers will grow and become very muscular. LOL Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jeannie says:

    Hi, Marsha!

    I spent 7 years as a retail manager and the problem appears to be systemic. While the internet is definitely the primary cause, the retailers themselves don’t know what to do to halt the downward momentum, either.

    The company I worked for panicked and made decisions that hurt their employees. While they’re still in business, that at huge risk of bankruptcy and may not be there much longer. (Stein Mart).

    People rarely go to malls or big box stores like they used to. I think if they found a unique way to appeal to the community—one mall in Florida became a community gathering place and went from almost closing to thriving. But those malls will not look like the ones we’re used to.

    That said, it’s a big complex issue across the board. Working in retail is incredibly stressful now due to those at the top basically freaking out.

    I’m hoping things settle out and the pendulum will swing back so the business will find its balance.

    Jeannie

    Liked by 3 people

    • Marsha R. West says:

      Hey, Jeannie. Thanks so much for sharing your perspective. Love Stein Mart. Pretty much I only shop at that store and Kohl’s, which is kind of like one of the local stores we used to have in Fort Worth. Love that Kohl’s using solar to heat and cool their stores. They also carry the jeans I love. LOL Have to have your priorities. I have a friend who gets her clothes from Stich Fix. Can’t imagine doing that. Want to try on before coughing up the dollars. She says it’s easy to mail back. Just not my thing. Thanks again for commenting. You’re right no easy answers. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Jacquie Biggar says:

    I think the internet plays a part in the issue, but our economy is at the heart of the problem. Rents are higher and higher every year, minimum wage keeps going up, utilities, taxes… it’s just too much for the average small business owner to handle.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Michele Jones says:

    I believe we are seeing that everywhere. The latest casualty was the local K-Mart where I grew up. Their last day will be December 13, 2019. There will be no place close to shop in my hometown. The nearest place will be about 15 miles away. I don’t like to shop for clothing on the internet, I like to try it on. Some things fit great, others, not so much.

    I think it is sad. I worked retail as a Christmas job to make extra cash when we were first married. Now, that will be a thing of the past.

    Excellent post.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marsha R. West says:

      Hey, Michelle. Wow, not even a K-Mart. That’s pretty devastating. I so agree about clothes shopping on the internet. I just can’t do it. Do you have any Dollar Stores or Dollar General nearby? They would offer seasonal work I think. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your experience. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Judi Lynn says:

    I buy a lot of books for my Kindle, but I make a point of going to our local B&N to buy new books by favorite authors, hoping its doors will stay open and we’ll keep our brick and mortar bookstore in town. Same with clothes, but I have to admit, it’s hard to always find what I want. And then I end up online. I wish there’d be a balance where I could have both, but more and more stores in our area are closing.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Marsha R. West says:

    Hey, Judi. It’s all a balancing act for sure. I seldom read a print book anymore because I see the words easier on my Kindle or Nook. But I still love walking into a “real” bookstore. I occasionally buy something for my grands there. I can always find clothes in Khol’s or Stein Mart, but I’m a pretty casual dresser. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. 🙂

    Like

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