As I sit here, cigarette in hand with a glass of
whisky on the rocks, I can't help but ponder the death of retail
stores. The world around us is changing and it seems that the brick
and mortar establishments that once lined our streets are slowly
fading into obscurity. But why? What is leading to the demise of our
beloved retail stores and should we care?
First, let us talk about the rise of e-commerce.
The internet has changed the game and it's a game that many retail
stores are not equipped to play. They are too busy counting their
profits and resting on their laurels to notice the tides shifting.
But the tides have shifted indeed and consumers can now shop from the
comfort of their own homes with just a few clicks of a button. The
convenience is unparalleled and the prices are often better than what
you would find in-store. Who needs to put on pants and deal with
pushy salespeople when you can have your purchases delivered straight
to your door?
But it's not just e-commerce that's to blame. No,
there's something deeper at play here. Retail stores have become
stagnant, stale, and downright boring. They've lost their spark,
their sense of wonder and their ability to captivate us. The same old
brands, the same old displays, the same old everything. Where's the
excitement? Where's the innovation? It's as if they've given up,
resigned themselves to a slow and painful death.
And then there's the issue of customer service.
Or, rather, the lack thereof. It's a sad state of affairs when you
walk into a retail store and are met with disinterested, apathetic
employees who couldn't care less about your experience. You're just
another faceless customer, another dollar sign to add to their bottom
line. Where's the passion? Where's the enthusiasm? It's as if they've
forgotten that they're in the business of making people happy.
Can we blame them, after all? The truth is that
retail pays some of the lowest wages out there. According to the U.S.
Bureau of Labour Statistics, the average hourly wage in America for
retail workers in 2020 was $13.46. That's barely enough to make ends
meet, let alone live a comfortable life. In Canada, $15 won't pay the
Retail workers can be some of the hardest-working
people. They're on their feet for hours on end, dealing with irate
customers and navigating a constantly changing landscape of products
and trends. They are the backbone of the retail industry and yet
they're often treated as disposable, replaceable cogs in the machine.
But I digress. The death of retail stores is not
something to be mourned. It is a wake-up call, a reminder that the
world is always changing and that we must change with it. The retail
stores of old may be dying, but that doesn't mean that the concept of
retail itself is dead. It just means that we need to adapt, to
innovate, to think outside the box.
The Old Folks
How about that older generation. They're a tough
bunch, aren't they? Set in their ways, resistant to change and
utterly bewildered by the concept of online shopping. They're the
ones who remember a time when shopping meant trudging down to the
local store and browsing through shelves of goods. They remember the
smell of fresh leather shoes, the sound of jingling cash registers
and the warm glow of human interaction.
But times have changed and the older generation
needs to adapt. They need to embrace the new world of online
shopping, with its virtual storefronts, endless options and
lightning-fast delivery times. They need to learn how to use
computers, navigate websites and enter credit card information.
Convincing them is not an easy task, of course.
The older generation is used to doing things a certain way and the
very idea of change can be overwhelming. But if they want to keep up
with the times, they will need to put in the effort. They will need
to be willing to learn, to ask for help and to step out of their
Let's not forget about the benefits of online
shopping for the older generation. No more long walks through crowded
malls, no more waiting in line at the checkout, no more struggling to
carry heavy bags of groceries and no more exposure to insidious
viruses and germs. With online shopping, they can have everything
they need delivered right to their door, without ever having to leave
the comfort of their own homes.
But it's not just about convenience. Online
shopping also offers a world of opportunity for the older generation.
They can explore new products, learn about new trends and connect
with people from all over the world. They can shop at any time of the
day or night, from anywhere in the world, with just a few clicks.
To the older generation, I say this: don't be
afraid of online shopping. Embrace it, explore it and make it your
own. It may be a strange new world, but it's a world brimming with
The decline of retail sales in North America is a
topic that cannot be ignored. It's a phenomenon that has been
sweeping the continent for years, leaving empty storefronts, bankrupt
businesses and a sense of unease in its wake. The numbers don't lie.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, retail sales
in the United States fell by a staggering 16.4% in April of 2020
alone, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. And that's just
the tip of the iceberg. It's not just the pandemic that's to blame.
Retail sales have been on the decline for years, as more and more
people turn to online shopping for their needs. In 2020, online sales
in the United States grew by a whopping 44%, while overall retail
sales fell by 3.4%. .
And it's not just a U.S. problem. In Canada,
retail sales fell by 10.8% in April of 2020, according to Statistics
Canada. While the decline in Canada hasn't been as steep as in the
United States, the trend is there. Retailers are struggling to stay
afloat in a world that's rapidly changing.
One of the most high-profile bankruptcies in
recent years was that of Sears Canada. The department store filed for
bankruptcy in 2017, citing increased competition from online
retailers and changing consumer habits. It was a shocking blow to the
Canadian retail industry and one that many experts saw coming.
Other notable bankruptcies include electronics
retailer Future Shop, which closed all of its stores in 2015 and
clothing retailer Jacob, which closed its doors in 2014. Even
well-established brands like Laura's Shoppe, Danier Leather and HMV
Canada have all gone bankrupt in recent years, leaving many Canadians
wondering what the future holds for the industry.
It's a tough road ahead for Canadian retailers.
The industry is changing faster than many retailers can manage and
the competition from online retailers is fierce. So let's raise a
glass to the death of retail stores. Let's celebrate the end of an
era and the beginning of a new one. Let's embrace the chaos, the
uncertainty and the madness that comes with change.