Are your changing shopping habits killing the department store and the mall?
Death by Amazon
More from this episode:
- No shirt, no shoes, no service: malls are not public spaces
- 'We can't get out': For this northern community the Sears catalogue was a lifeline
- 'They had it all and they threw it away': Former Sears employee laments the fall of the retail giant
They are signs of the times. Bright yellow banners with enticing slogans... "Store Closing," "Everything 20-50% Off," and "Everything Must Go"... splashed across the entrances of Sears Canada stores.
Nostalgia aside, the closure of roughly 130 Sears Canada stores will hurt current and former workers — 16,000 employees are out of work without severance. But it's also part of a growing trend: the Retail Apocalypse of 2017.
That's what they're calling so many stores closing in malls all over North America.
The Sears saga is just the latest problem for Canadian shopping malls. Eatons, K-mart, Target, Woolco, Woodwards, and Zellers... remember them? Those once familiar department stores were mainstays of the malls. But when the anchor store leaves, the mall often goes too. In the U.S., JC Penny and Macy's have announced hundreds of closures, and a quarter of American malls are expected to be out of business by 2022.
If you shop at Sears, where will you go now? Malls have been our gathering places — a combination of community and commercialism. Are indoor malls as meeting places now an endangered species? What about our cold Canadian winters? Don't we have a special need for indoor public spaces — a place for seniors to exercise and chatter, and teens to hang out? Are you one of the many shifting to shopping online? If so, and if local retailers continue to suffer "death by Amazon, " where is the new town square in cyber space?
Our question: "Are your changing shopping habits killing the department store and the mall?"
Jerry Hancock, Sears historian and highschool history teacher based near Atlanta, Georgia
Detlev Zwick, associate professor of marketing at Schulich School of Business
Shauna Brail, professor and director of Urban Studies Program at the University of Toronto
David Soberman, Canadian National Chair in strategic marketing and professor at Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto
- 'It's just a sad story': Sears historian laments end of era
- Sears store potential home for new Saskatoon central library
- Pop-up shops may be temporary, but the retail trend is here to stay
- Middle class retailers dying a slow death: Don Pittis (Feb. 17, 2014)
- Sears' real-estate exodus will hit the hardest in small-town Canada
- Small cities and their malls brace for economic blow of Sears store closures
- How retail giants seized on pop-ups to woo millennials, test expansion plans
- The Sears liquidation could ruin Christmas for other Canadian retailers
- 'Death by Amazon': Why some retailers are withstanding the onslaught
The Globe and Mail
- First Target, now Sears: Store closings will add to glut of unwanted retail space
- Who killed Sears Canada?
- Small-format Target stores twice as productive as traditional
- Sears landlords face major vacancies amid a changing retail landscape
- Sears Canada's biggest problem was its bad parent
- Why traditional retail hasn't hit rock bottom — yet
- What are we really mourning when brands like Sears die?
- Here are 18 ads from when Sears Canada was booming in the 1970s