March 1st, 2023 | Nick Edward

Retail Stores Are Dying, Let Them Go

They pay their employees next to nothing and new forms of shopping are more efficient.
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 rent.
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 comfort zones.
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 possibilities.

Declining Sales

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.
March 2023