The retail apocalypse: Here’s your lump of coal
By Ebenezer ScroogeSpecial guest columnistThe writers at Carlisle/Wortman Associates are taking some time off for the holidays and those slackers have asked me to write a guest column about the retail apocalypse. Let’s start with a quote from Charlie O’Shea, a retail analyst for Moody’s.“A pall has been cast on retail,” he said. “A day of reckoning is coming.”Believe me, I know from days of reckoning but even my old pal Chuck Dickens would be hard-pressed to top this one. Forget the Pickwick Papers, this article from Bloomberg paints a grim picture of the future of retail in America.Highlights
- Retailers predict a net loss of 3,800 stores across the country by the end of the year
- There’s a lot of high-yield debt out there -- $1.9 billion maturing in 2019. By 2025 it will average $5 billion a year.
- Even well-regarded chains carry billions in debt
- Refinancing is going to get harder, especially as the Fed raises rates
- Credit card losses are growing and shoppers may stop paying the debt on cards whose stores have closed
- Retail employment, much of it low-wage, grew after the recession but will decline as stores close. Michigan will be one of the hardest-hit
What does this mean for planners? In a future post, my cheery little friend Tiny Tim will share some wisdom from CWA’s planners and communities across the country.Happy holidays. God bless us, every one!