The retail graveyard is already quite full. Sports Authority is on its way there and surely the Sears and Kmart that we used to know can’t be too far behind. They’ll hardly be the last.
In fact, considering the rapid shift in customer behavior and the blistering pace of retail disruption, one could readily argue that far more brands will disappear in the next decade than in the last one.
And it’s not just that brands are going away entirely. Malls, Main Streets, strip and power centers, are already littered with empty boxes, big and small. Some locations quite old and dated, others still bright and shiny, opened a mere few years ago, their carcasses now hollowed out, the result of a merger or, more likely, plain and simple irrelevance.
Maybe we can blame Amazon or the failed economic policies of the Bush administration. Perhaps we can put it all on Obamacare. Maybe some totally unanticipated event came out of left field. Maybe we were just unlucky. Maybe.
More often than not, by the time a brand is buried, there are few who truly will miss it. By the time the final padlock is secured after a store closes, most folks are hardly surprised.
Irrelevance rarely happens overnight. Most often, the brand and their stores have been disappointing customers for years.
Blame Amazon, blame the government, heck, blame Canada (NSFW). Just know that the reality is the symptoms of creeping irrelevance are almost always there if you actually pay attention and if you are willing to act upon what you see and learn.
Whether our stores and malls will become exciting destinations or simply museums of disappointment is, when all is said and done, nine times out of ten, a choice.