I arrived to work one evening in late December 2018 expecting just an ordinary shift.
Everyone who was working that night had been called to a meeting to discuss that evening's plans. Before the meeting ended, my AP manager (whose job I still know nothing about) informed us that he was leaving the store next Friday and that we should all look for jobs somewhere else.
At this moment, I knew our store would end up closing down.
I worked at a Kmart that had been around since the 1970s. I used to go there when I was younger and buy things like video games, toys, and even VHS tapes. After a certain point, I didn't really buy anything from there anymore. One day I walked in and found out that they had completely removed the video games section in expectations of shutting down soon. But that wouldn't happen for another three years.
I'm currently unemployed. So are many others as a result of retail giants like Sears, which owns Kmart, going bankrupt and shutting down.
This has been a huge trend within the past decade. With the rise of Amazon and the evolution of the internet, it is becoming harder for retail stores to make money. The video game section removed at my Kmart was probably removed due to not making enough income to justify keeping it.
Right now, I can open up my phone, select the PlayStation app and purchase the newest "Call of Duty." This takes less than 5 minutes to do. Now if I wanted to go to my former Kmart and purchase the newest "Call of Duty," I'd first have to walk to the video game section in the back of the store, get an employee to unlock the case it is in, then stand in line to purchase it.
Depending on how busy it is that day, this may have taken over 10 minutes. The convenience factor is a big reason why something like Amazon has thrived.
You may not be able to get what you want right away, but you also don't have to deal with annoying shoppers and long lines.
At one point, Sears was basically Amazon. It had a large selection of merchandise within the Sears catalog, which at one point was the equivalent to Amazon's website. Unfortunately for Sears, they were overtaken by Amazon and many other retail chains because they were too slow in taking their catalog online, allowing you to make purchases online as Amazon does.
Sears has declared bankruptcy and will most likely be gone in a year.
Sears will not be the only retail chain to potentially close.
GameStop has not declared bankruptcy yet, but it may by the end of this year since they are slowly losing money. Other stores like Family Dollar and Gymboree are also losing money, which has resulted in the closing down of multiple stores.
I don't want to make it seem like Amazon is this big and evil company that is solely responsible for shutting down the poor, innocent stores. These stores, especially Sears, had their chance to adapt and failed.
GameStop, in particular, has been constantly made fun of for how they force their employees to annoy customers with questions about video game pre-orders. Did they ever fix this issue? Of course not, and now there are tons of articles speculating about how they may go bankrupt.
Not adapting to sell online isn't the sole reason for these retail chains failing as a business. But the fact that they don't listen to their customers could also have contributed to their downfall.
In the near future, I don't think there will be that many retail store chains around anymore due to poor business decisions and Amazon. Shoppers have asked for convenient shopping experiences and they now receive them due to the evolution of the digital marketplace. This wish for convenience may have doomed retail stores, since not all of them can really keep up with a company like Amazon.