U.S. retailing, an industry that employs one in 10 American workers, is experiencing a profound disruption. A combination of technological change, massive overbuilding and a seismic shift in how consumers shop has created what one business writer called “the retail meltdown of 2017.” The relentless growth of Amazon and other e-commerce sites has taken a huge toll on traditional outlets: Since the start of the year, 2,800 stores have gone under, taking 55,000 jobs with them, and retail bankruptcies are up 31 percent. The stores filing for bankruptcy protection include well-known brands such as RadioShack and The Limited, and even bigger names – Sears, J.C. Penney and Macy’s – are struggling to stay afloat. The outlets that are surviving, such as Apple and Home Depot, are emulating Amazon by embracing technological innovation rather than resisting it, industry analysts say.read full report
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Can traditional stores survive the online onslaught?
Even as traditional retailers are closing stores, Amazon is opening new warehouses, such as this million-square-foot facility in Fall River, Mass. (John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)