Almost 9000 Retail Stores Will Close This Year: Here’s the List of Businesses in Trouble

Almost 9000 Retail Stores Will Close This Year: Here’s the List of Businesses in Trouble | retail-stores-going-out-of-business | Economy & Business Special Interests

Back in January, after the worst Christmas sales in a decade, I predicted that 2017 would be the year of the Retailpocalypse and that we’d see hundreds of retail stores closing.

Sadly, I was wrong.

We’re going to see thousands of stores closing.

According to a CNN Money report, more than 300 retailers have filed for bankruptcy already and we’re only halfway through the year.

Another report by Credit Suisse has an even gloomier prediction:

…around 8,640 stores in the U.S. will close by the end of 2017 — easily surpassing the number of stores closed in a year over the past two decades. (source)

When retail stores close, it affects everyone.

Even if you’re not much of a consumer, when retail stores close, it can still affect you.

  • Higher rates of unemployment mean more competition for available jobs.
  • When larger stores in a mall close, it often takes down the other stores with it.
  • Thousands of newly unemployed people are adding even more weight to our already strained social safety net.
  • Scarcity drives up prices.

Retail stores can be a glimpse at how our economy, in general, is faring.

Underserved communities have a lot of problems that are all rooted in the loss of their retail stores.

When consumers have to drive further for everything, that is like a tax on everything they purchase. Travel time, expenses, and wear and tear mean that they’re spending just a little bit more on everything they buy.

Often, people begin moving out of smaller towns that are bereft of retailers because it’s so inconvenient to purchase the things they want or need. Others leave because they lost their job and there were no other jobs available. Property values decline.

Mom and Pop stores that existed before the chain retailers arrived were often driven out of business. Fewer options mean higher prices at any stores still remaining.

As Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse Blog wrote:

At this moment, the number of working age Americans that do not have a job is hovering near a record high.  So being able to at least get a job in the retail industry has been a real lifeline for many Americans, and now that lifeline may be in grave danger.

For those running our big corporations, losing these kinds of jobs is not a big deal.  In fact, many corporate executives would be quite happy to replace all of their U.S. employees with technology or with foreign workers.

But if the middle class is going to survive, we need an economy that produces good paying jobs.  Unfortunately, even poor paying retail jobs are starting to disappear now, and the future of the middle class is looking bleaker than it ever has before. (source)

These stores could be filing for bankruptcy or closing their doors this year.

Some experts predict that one in four malls will be closed within the next five years.

The retail apocalypse is real.

So real, in fact, that 20 to 25% of all U.S. malls will close by 2022, according to new research from Credit Suisse.

That translates to 220 to 275 of the nation’s 1,100 shopping malls, the research note said, according to Fortune.

Fueled by the rise of e-commerce, mass store closings and bankruptcies, brick and mortar retail stores have been closing around the U.S. at an increasing rate. And the fight against e-commerce giants like Amazon will only get worse. (source)

Ouch.

According to a Moody’s Investor Service report, the outlook is extremely grim for the following retailers, who have been downgraded to the lowest ranking on their credit spectrum. All of these brands/retailers are now classed by Moody’s as “subject to very high credit risk.”

  • Boardriders SA
  • Bon Ton
  • Cole Haan
  • Charlotte Russe
  • Charming Charlie
  • J. Crew
  • Claire’s
  • David’s Bridal
  • Eddie Bauer
  • Fairway Market
  • Gymboree
  • K-Mart
  • MAG Retail
  • Neiman Marcus
  • Ninety-Nine Cents Only
  • Nine West
  • Savers
  • Sears
  • Tom’s (weeps – I love those shoes)
  • Totes Isotoner
  • Tops Friendly Market
  • True Religion
  • Vince

This is on top of stores that were in trouble or whose projections were down back in January:

  • Aeropostale
  • American Eagle
  • Chicos
  • CVS
  • Finish Line
  • Kohls
  • Macy’s
  • Men’s Wearhouse
  • The Children’s Place

Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself in a crumbling economy.

I really don’t believe that all of this can be blamed on Amazon. We’ve become a country of consumers instead of a country of producers. We work to pay for things that profit huge corporations who have their goods produced for pennies in other countries instead of working to produce these things ourselves.

The problem with our economy is that we’ve become a country of consumers instead of a country of producers.CLICK TO TWEET

That, in my opinion, is the problem in a nutshell.

There are a few things you can do to provide some stability.

The most important prep you can make when the future is questionable is to learn to become a producer. Learn to meet your own needs by growing food, providing a necessary service, or creating something that people will always need.

 

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8 Steps To Surviving A Job Loss

8 Steps To Surviving A Job Loss | lost-job | Business Economy & Business PreparednessSurvival

A 2014 report on jobs showed some alarming statistics:  1 in 5 Americans have lost their jobs over the past five years and remained unemployed. The US economy is free-falling, and the middle class is taking the hit.

Unless you live in a neighborhood of rainbows and unicorns, it’s a good bet that this has happened to either your family or someone you know.  Sometimes the lay-off is expected, as you see your company’s profits dwindling. Other times, it is completely out of the blue when you get called into the managers office and handed your walking papers.

Either way, when the axe falls, you are reeling in shock. Well, tough love, here: Get ahold of yourself!  The first steps you take can help you to survive until you get a new source of income.

This article is not about how to prep for a personal financial collapse. Hopefully, you’ve already begun creating a food stockpile8 Steps To Surviving A Job Loss | ir?t=frugality00-20&l=as2&o=1&a=1495933415 | Business Economy & Business PreparednessSurvival , socking away an emergency fund8 Steps To Surviving A Job Loss | ir?t=frugality00-20&l=as2&o=1&a=1595555277 | Business Economy & Business PreparednessSurvival , and working towards self-reliance8 Steps To Surviving A Job Loss | ir?t=frugality00-20&l=as2&o=1&a=1496092589 | Business Economy & Business PreparednessSurvival .

I recently wrote about the 3 steps for surviving any disaster, and job loss is no exception. You must ACCEPT that the event has occurred, you must make a PLAN, and you must ACT on that plan. Here are the steps to minimizing the damage to your personal finances when a sudden job loss occurs.

1.) Don’t sign anything right away.

As much loyalty as you may have had to your company, they clearly don’t feel the same sense of loyalty towards you. Many companies will try to get you to sign paperwork right away to “settle the details.”  Trust me when I say, these details will be skewed in their favor, and not yours.  You do NOT have to sign anything while sitting there, stunned at your sudden change in circumstances.  It’s vital that you take the time to read over everything carefully. Your severance package, your 401K, any accrued pension, and unemployment benefits will be at risk.  In some cases, you can negotiate this, even though you are not sitting in the power seat. Don’t commit to any type of agreement while you’re reeling, particularly if they try to coerce you into signing immediately. Regardless of what you may be told, any delay in your unemployment benefits or severance will be minimal.

2. Begin a total spending freeze for a couple of days.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when faced with a shocking job loss is to go on spending as though they still have an income. Perhaps they go and buy something to try and make themselves feel better. Maybe they just continue spending like they always did, with hundreds of dollars going out for kids’ activities, dinners out, and shopping trips.  Just stop.  You need a few days to re-assess your budget and see where you’re at.  You don’t want to regret the expenditures you make right after a job loss. Put yourself on a complete spending freeze for the next few days while you assess the change in your financial situation.

3.) Apply for unemployment benefits.

Unemployment is not welfare. It is something that you paid in to the entire time you were employed. Please don’t feel guilty about taking the money that is rightfully yours. Keep in mind that it can take up to two months for your benefits to start, and that money from your severance package can delay the onset of benefits. Unemployment is only a portion of what you made when you were employed, so a revamp of the budget is a must.  Make your application immediately so that you know where you stand and when you can expect the money to start coming in.

4.) Create a budget for necessities.

It’s absolutely vital that you drop your expenditures to the bare minimum until you are able to get another stream of income.  You need to take a look at where your money goes and base your new budget on the necessities. Although having a vehicle in each stall of the garage and an iPhone in the hand of every family member is nice, these are not necessary to sustaining life.

  • Water
  • Food (and the ability to cook it)
  • Medicine and medical supplies
  • Basic hygiene supplies
  • Shelter (including sanitation, lights, heat)
  • Simple tools
  • Seeds
  • Defense Items

Absolutely everything above those basic necessities is a luxury.

So, by this definition, what luxuries do you have?

5.) Slash luxury spending.

Reduce your monthly payments by cutting frivolous expenses. Look at every single monthly payment that comes out of your bank account and slash relentlessly.  Consider cutting the following:

  • Cable
  • Cell phones
  • Home phones
  • Gym memberships
  • Restaurant meals
  • Unnecessary driving
  • Entertainment such as trips to the movies, the skating rink, or the mall

6.) Start looking for new streams of income.

You know those people who tell you that it’s easy to find a new job if you wouldn’t be such a snob? Ignore them. The job market of today is not the job market of a decade ago. Jobs are few and far between, and good jobs are as elusive as unicorns in Central Park.  You may need to look at creating your own streams of income, like:

7.) Sell stuff.

All that stuff you’ve been meaning to go through in the basement just might be the key to keeping a roof over your head.  It’s time to start an Ebay account8 Steps To Surviving A Job Loss | ir?t=frugality00-20&l=as2&o=1&a=150084439X | Business Economy & Business PreparednessSurvival , have a yard sale8 Steps To Surviving A Job Loss | ir?t=frugality00-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B00MFCY2A0 | Business Economy & Business PreparednessSurvival (free at the time of publication), or get on Craigslist8 Steps To Surviving A Job Loss | ir?t=frugality00-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B00V7LCM3Y | Business Economy & Business PreparednessSurvival (free at the time of publication) and start selling things that have just been sitting there for a while.

Your trash might be another person’s treasure.  Instead of regifting those things in your attic, sell them so they can become someone else’s clutter.  You’d be surprised how much money you can make while decluttering your home.

8.) Look for the silver lining.

Although job loss can be terrifying, it can also be the start of something wonderful. When I lost my job in the automotive industry, I was devastated. As a single mom, how was I going to continue taking care of my two girls with no income?  Instead of being a bad thing, it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. I was able to take the writing I’d been dabbling in for years from a hobby to a full-time job.  I made a conscious decision NOT to search for another job, but to follow my dream of being a writer.  Maybe I succeeded because it was do-or-die time.  There was no option but to make it work. I began writing for other websites, started my own site, and began outlining books. As it turns out, that shocking, unceremonious discussion in the manager’s office was the best thing that ever happened to me.

When I lost my job in the automotive industry, I was devastated. As a single mom, how was I going to continue taking care of my two girls with no income?  Instead of being a bad thing, it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me8 Steps To Surviving A Job Loss | ir?t=frugality00-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B00JESFWNO | Business Economy & Business PreparednessSurvival . I was able to take the writing I’d been dabbling in for years from a hobby to a full-time job.  I made a conscious decision NOT to search for another job, but to follow my dream of being a writer and editor.  Maybe I succeeded because it was do-or-die time.  There was no option but to make it work. I began writing for other websites, started my own site, and began outlining books. As it turned out, that shocking, unceremonious discussion in the manager’s office was the best thing that ever happened to me.

As it turned out, that shocking, unceremonious discussion in the manager’s office was a turning point in my life. I’ve read many success stories that began the same way. Sometimes what seems like an ending can actually be a new beginning.

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Fears Google Hire Could Allow Employers to See Your Entire Search History

Fears Google Hire Could Allow Employers to See Your Entire Search History | google-censorship-of-hillary-clinton-search-results-1024x640 | Economy & Business Science & Technology Special Interests

By: The Daily Mail |

Job interviews could get even more awkward with Google’s help.

IN THIS day and age, every boss is going to quickly Google a prospective employee before asking them to come in for an interview.

But now the technology giant is working on project called Google Hire, which The Sun reports will help employers learn perhaps a little bit too much about their new recruits.

It will reportedly be a recruitment tool similar to LinkedIn — however, early reports suggest it will be available through your personal Google account.

If that’s the case, it will link things like your search history and YouTube account with your job applications, laying it all bare for employers to see.

Imagine if recruiters knew every single thing you’d ever looked up on Google.

Technology website Axios reports the tool is currently under testing, and that it will let employers post job listings, and accept and manage applications.

Read More…


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The Upcoming Trade War Between The U.S. And China Will Be The Biggest In The History Of The Planet

The Upcoming Trade War Between The U.S. And China Will Be The Biggest In The History Of The Planet | chinavsus | Economy & Business Special Interests World News 2

The United States and China are the two largest economies in the world by far, and the upcoming trade war that is about to erupt will be cataclysmic for both sides.  The Trump administration and the Chinese government are both gearing up for a prolonged trade war, and this is going to have very severe implications for the entire global economy.  During the campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly stated that we “can’t continue to allow China to rape our country”, and he was quite correct about that.  Over the past ten years, the U.S. has run a trade deficit of over $2 trillion with China, and as a result of imbalanced trade we have lost tens of thousands of manufacturing businesses, millions of good paying jobs, and hundreds of billions of dollars of tax revenue.

So clearly something needs to be done to balance our trade with China and other countries.  But the situation must also be handled delicately, because trade disruptions could bring substantial short-term economic pain.

Prior to winning the election, Trump threatened to unilaterally impose a 45 percent tariff on Chinese exports.  Unfortunately, China is not just going to sit there and take whatever Trump throws at them.  Every single time the U.S. has imposed tariffs on Chinese goods in the past, China has responded by slapping tariffs on U.S. goods.

And this time around, the Chinese are already preparing a very harsh response even though Trump has not officially made his move yet…

The policy advisers believe the Trump administration is most likely to impose higher tariffs on targeted sectors where China has a big surplus with the United States, such as steel and furniture, or on state-owned firms.

China could respond with actions such as finding alternative suppliers of agriculture products or machinery and manufactured goods, while cutting its exports of consumer staples such as mobile phones or laptops, they said.

Other options include imposing tax or other restrictions on big U.S. firms operating in China, or limiting their access to China’s fast-growing services sector, they added.

When this coming trade war erupts, economic activity will be reduced significantly.  And considering the fact that U.S. economic growth is projected to be about one percent in the first quarter of 2017, that could be more than enough to push us into a deep recession.

Some of the biggest U.S. exports to China include airplanes, autos and agricultural products, and the Chinese are ready to attack on all of those fronts.  The following comes from CNN

Here’s what Global Times, a newspaper backed by the Communist Party, had to say about how Beijing would respond to tariffs of 45%:

“A batch of Boeing orders will be replaced by Airbus,” the paper said Monday. “U.S. auto and iPhone sales in China will suffer a setback, and U.S. soybean and maize imports will be halted.”

But once again, something must be done for the long-term good of our country.  We have been allowing the Chinese to flood our shores with super cheap goods, but meanwhile they have already been hitting our products with ridiculously high tariffs.  Here is just one example

U.S.-made cars exported to China face tariffs of at least 25 percent, including American-made Cadillacs. The American-made Jeep Grand Cherokee costs $27,490 at U.S. dealerships and cost at least $85,000 in China.

What we have with China today is very far from “free trade”, and if they want to trade with us they need to do so on a level playing field.

But China will never allow that to happen.  As Donald Trump has correctly stated, they have been “raping” us for years, and they are going to fight very hard to keep anything from upsetting the status quo.

Trump has got to do something for the long-term good of the U.S. economy, but he has also got to try to find a way to avoid a major trade war, because a major trade war would be exceedingly painful for both countries.

Most Americans don’t realize this, but more iPhones are actually sold in China than in the United States.  And it is being projected that Boeing will sell nearly 7,000 airplanes to China over the next decade…

By the end of 2015, Chinese consumers bought 131 million iPhones. The total sales to U.S. customers during the same period stood at only 110 million. And iPhones are only a small part of U.S. exports. Boeing, which employs 150,000 workers in the U.S., estimates that China will buy some 6,810 airplanes over the next 20 years, and that market alone will be worth more than $1 trillion.

So what happens if all or part of that economic activity goes away?

According to one study, in the short-term millions of U.S. jobs could potentially be at risk if a major trade war happens…

“Millions of American jobs that appear unconnected to international trade—disproportionately lower-skilled and lower-wage jobs—would be at risk,” according to the PIIE study.

And of course a major trade war would hit American consumers very hard as well.

Just think about it.  When you go into a Wal-Mart or a dollar store, are more of the products made in the United States or in China?

A trade war would hit all of us in the wallet as the cost of living goes up.  And considering the fact that about two-thirds of the country is essentially living paycheck to paycheck, that would not be a good thing.

So yes, our trading relationship with China definitely needs to be rebalanced, but Trump needs to find a way to make this transition as minimally disruptive as possible.

A major trade war is just one of the “black swans” that could push us into the kind of economic nightmare scenario that I have been warning about for a very long time.  And sometimes a trade war can serve as a prelude to a real war.  The South China Sea has become a major sticking point between the U.S. and China, and the Chinese are getting ready to cross one of the “red lines” that Barack Obama established while he was still in office…

Beijing has plans to start construction on the disputed Scarborough Shoal this year.

China has reclaimed land in both the Spratly and Paracel Islands and constructed military outposts, but it has been hesitant to start construction on the Scarborough Shoal. Xiao Jie, the mayor of Sansha — an administrative base for China’s South China Sea activities masquerading as a city — said this week that China intends to construct environmental monitoring stations on a number of territories in the South China Sea, including the Scarborough Shoal.

So how will Trump respond when construction on Scarborough Shoal actually begins?

It will be very interesting to watch how that plays out.

The relationship between the United States and China was starting to deteriorate badly even before Donald Trump was elected, and it is very easy to see how it could totally break down in the months ahead.

And considering how interconnected the global economy is today, the United States and China could easily end up dragging down everyone else along with them.

 


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Employees Who Decline Genetic Testing Could Face Penalties Under Proposed Bill

Employees Who Decline Genetic Testing Could Face Penalties Under Proposed Bill | dna | General Health Medical & Health Sleuth Journal Special Interests US News

By: Against Crony Capitalism |

Better hope your genes are all in order.

“I’m sorry Bill but we can’t promote you as your DNA test shows that you have a genetic tendency toward cancer. We as a firm just can’t take that risk. Also we need to talk about your retirement plans.”

(From The Washington Post)

Employers could impose hefty penalties on employees who decline to participate in genetic testing as part of workplace wellness programs if a bill approved by a U.S. House committee this week becomes law.

In general, employers don’t have that power under existing federal laws, which protect genetic privacy and nondiscrimination. But a bill passed Wednesday by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce would allow employers to get around those obstacles if the information is collected as part of a workplace wellness program.

Such programs — which offer workers a variety of carrots and sticks to monitor and improve their health, such as lowering cholesterol — have become increasingly popular with companies. Some offer discounts on health insurance to employees who complete health-risk assessments. Others might charge people more for smoking. Under the Affordable Care Act, employers are allowed to discount health insurance premiums by up to 30 percent — and in some cases 50 percent — for employees who voluntarily participate in a wellness program where they’re required to meet certain health targets.

And how long until the government gets its hands on this information too? Just think eugenics through the back door.

Click here for the article.

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War Against Humans Wins Another Fight. Will Technology Win the Battle?

War Against Humans Wins Another Fight. Will Technology Win the Battle? | public-domain-technology-food-robot | Science & Technology Sleuth Journal Special Interests

Robotics grow stronger everyday. Technology becomes “smarter” everyday and doubles it’s capacity approximately every two years. The giant multi-national corporations, the owners of our world, are doing their level best to automate as many task as quickly as possible.

Thirty plus years ago it began in earnest with the replacement of a number of human positions on the factory floors. Robots began manufacturing automobiles, processing food, medicine and a great many other task that humans used too perform. We now accept this reality as there is nothing anyone can do about it.

Today, with robots in a number of everyday places and automation replacing humans at every turn, why would fast-food workers believe they are any different? If google and uber are working around the clock to replace cab drivers with driverless cars why wouldn’t McDonalds want to replace the human with a robotic burger flipper, fry-frying robot and kiosk to take the order?

Wendy’s, to be more competitive with McDonalds, just announced the roll out of order taking kiosk in 1,000 locations all across America. McDonalds began rolling out order taking kiosk in 2016, so Wendy’s is attempting to make up for lost time, wages paid and sales lost.

These are just a few examples showing how every human could be replaced with technology. Most people, globally, use some type of automated banking service, email, text message and the like. All of these technologies replace letter carriers, payment processing humans and a wide variety of other, formerly, human performed task.

As a news website, The Daily Coin, we see more and more automated websites coming online everyday. These news sites use an RSS feed and have little to no human interaction. Once the technology is deployed the owner moves to their human based task. The web site does 99% of the work and the human owner simply checks in to ensure the technology is working as programed.

Now we learn how the “Fight for $15” crowd has shot themselves in the foot. Odds are these global burger giants were planning on rolling out the above mentioned programs regardless of people demanding higher wages but it probably stoked the fire to fast-track these programs.

Today we find out how bad it is for the Fight for $15 crowd and the burger flippers can now be replaced with a robot. CaliBurger doesn’t pay for burger flippers, it uses a robot to do the cooking.

A burger-flipping robot has just completed its first day on the job at a restaurant in California, replacing humans at the grill.

Flippy has mastered the art of cooking the perfect burger and has just started work at CaliBurger, a fast-food chain. Source

And don’t think for a second the robotics developer have achieved their ultimate goal. They haven’t even started. Burger flipping robots is soooo yesterday.

“Though we are starting with the relatively ‘simple’ task of cooking burgers, our proprietary AI software allows our kitchen assistants to be adaptable and therefore can be trained to help with almost any dull, dirty or dangerous task in a commercial kitchen — whether it’s frying chicken, cutting vegetables or final plating.”

Cameras and sensors help Flippy to determine when the burger is fully cooked, before the robot places them on a bun. A human worker then takes over and adds condiments. Source

Unless people begin thinking, and more importantly, doing for themselves and creating the world they wish to prosper a great many more people are going to find themselves as a slave to the system. Universal Basic Income (UBI) is being discussed in back rooms and in open door meetings around the world. If you do a simple web search for “universal basic income” you will find out exactly what is being discussed. UBI would make anyone on the dole nothing more than cannon fodder for the globalist. Step out of line and their world would come crashing down. Say the wrong thing, protest for your human rights or simply have a robot determine the cost of “benefits” is too high and the next thing you know, with the push of a button, a persons financial, economic and social world comes to a grinding halt.

Robotics and automation are beginning to move into areas of our lives that people just 10 years ago couldn’t or wouldn’t see. Today, we had all better be on high alert or the job we thought would never be performed with automation or a robot will be gone with the push of button.

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A Third Of All U.S. Shopping Malls Are Projected To Close As ‘Space Available’ Signs Go Up All Over America

A Third Of All U.S. Shopping Malls Are Projected To Close As ‘Space Available’ Signs Go Up All Over America | retail-stores | Economy & Business Special Interests

If you didn’t know better, you might be tempted to think that “Space Available” was the hottest new retail chain in the entire country.  As you will see below, it is being projected that about a third of all shopping malls in the United States will soon close, and we just recently learned that the number of “distressed retailers” is the highest that it has been since the last recession.  Honestly, I don’t know how anyone can possibly believe that the U.S. economy is in “good shape” after looking at the retail industry.  In my recent article about the ongoing “retail apocalypse“, I discussed the fact that Sears, J.C. Penney and Macy’s have all announced that they are closing dozens of stores in 2017, and you can find a pretty comprehensive list of 19 U.S. retailers that are “on the brink of bankruptcy” right here.  Needless to say, quite a bloodbath is going on out there right now.

But I didn’t realize how truly horrific things were for the retail industry until I came across an article about mall closings on Time Magazine’s website

About one-third of malls in the U.S. will shut their doors in the coming years, retail analyst Jan Kniffen told CNBC Thursday. His prediction comes in the wake of Macy’s reporting its worst consecutive same-store sales decline since the financial crisis.

Macy’s and its fellow retailers in American malls are challenged by an oversupply of retail space as customers migrate toward online shopping, as well as fast fashion retailers like H&M and off-price stores such as T.J. Maxx. As a result, about 400 of the country’s 1,100 enclosed malls will fail in the upcoming years. Of those that remain, he predicts that about 250 will thrive and the rest will continue to struggle.

Can you imagine what this country is going to look like if that actually happens?

Shopping malls all over the United States are literally becoming “ghost towns”, and many that have already closed have stayed empty for years and years.

The process usually starts when a shopping mall starts losing anchor stores.  That is why it is so alarming that Sears, J.C. Penney and Macy’s are planning to shut down so many locations in 2017.  According to one recent report, 310 shopping malls in America are in imminent danger of losing an anchor store

Dozens of malls have closed in the last 10 years, and many more are at risk of shutting down as retailers like Macy’s, JCPenney, and Sears — also known as anchor stores — shutter hundreds of stores to staunch the bleeding from falling sales.

The commercial-real-estate firm CoStar estimates that nearly a quarter of malls in the US, or roughly 310 of the nation’s 1,300 shopping malls, are at high risk of losing an anchor store.

Once the anchor stores start going, traffic falls off dramatically for the other stores and they start leaving too.

Four years ago in “The Beginning Of The End” I warned that empty storefronts would soon litter the national landscape, and now that is precisely what is happening.

Now that the Christmas season is over, some retailers that have been around for decades have suddenly decided that it is time to file for bankruptcy.  Sadly, one of those retailers is HHGregg

HHGregg Inc., the 61-year-old seller of appliances and electronics, is moving closer to Chapter 11 after announcing a store-closing plan, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The filing may come as soon as next week, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter isn’t public. Bloomberg previously reported that HHGregg might file for bankruptcy in March if it couldn’t reach an out-of-court solution.

Another retailer that was once riding high but is now dealing with bankruptcy is BCBG

BCBG, the California-based fashion retailer that had acquired fashion design firm Herve Leger in 1998, and that once had more than 570 boutiques globally, including 175 in the US, and whose cocktail dresses and handbags were shown off by celebrities, filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday.

It is buckling under $459 million of debt. It has 4,800 employees. Layoffs have already started. More layoffs and other cost cuts are planned, according to court documents, cited by Bloomberg. It started closing 120 of its stores in January. It wants to sell itself at a court-supervised auction. If that fails, it wants to negotiate a debt-for-equity swap with junior lenders owed $289 million.

If the U.S. economy was actually doing as well as the stock market says that it should be doing, all of these retail chains would not be closing stores and going bankrupt.

But of course the truth is that the stock market has become completely disconnected from economic reality.

We live at a time when middle class consumers are tapped out.  According to one recent survey, 57 percent of all Americans do not even have enough money in the bank to write a $500 check for an unexpected expense.

And people are falling out of the middle class at a staggering pace.  The number of homeless people in New York City recently set a brand new record high, and city authorities plan to construct 90 new homeless shelters within the next five years.

On the west coast we are also seeing a dramatic rise in homelessness.  The following comes from an article by Dan Lyman

Citizen journalists have captured stunning images and video of homeless encampments that are spiraling out of control in the shadows of Disneyland and Anaheim Stadium in California.

The tent city has recently sprung up along the Santa Ana riverbed, near a busy convergence of three major California highways known as the “Orange Crush,” at the border of Anaheim and Santa Ana, the latter a “sanctuary city.”

Homeless activists estimate that as many as 1,000 people are camped in the region.

You can see some video footage of this homeless encampment on YouTube right here

Incredibly, the Federal Reserve is almost certainly going to raise interest rates at their next meeting even though the U.S. economy is faltering so badly.  That only makes sense if they are trying to make Donald Trump look as bad as possible.

Even though this giant bubble of false economic stability that we are currently enjoying has lasted far longer than it should have, the truth is that nothing has changed about the long-term economic outlook at all.

America is still heading for “economic Armageddon”, and the retail industry is a huge red flag that is warning us that our day of reckoning is approaching more rapidly than many had anticipated.


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The post A Third Of All U.S. Shopping Malls Are Projected To Close As ‘Space Available’ Signs Go Up All Over America appeared first on The Sleuth Journal.


Source: Alternative news journal

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Retail Apocalypse Gains Momentum As David Stockman Warns ‘Everything Will Grind To A Halt’ After March 15th

Retail Apocalypse Gains Momentum As David Stockman Warns ‘Everything Will Grind To A Halt’ After March 15th | sorry-were-closed | Economy & Business Special Interests

J.C. Penney and Family Christian Stores are the latest retail giants to announce widespread store closings. As you will see below, J.C. Penney plans to close between 130 and 140 stores, and Family Christian is closing all of their 240 stores. In recent months the stock market has been absolutely soaring, and so most people have simply assumed that the “real economy” must be doing well. But that is not the case at all. In fact, the retail apocalypse that I have been documenting for quite some time appears to be gaining momentum.

J.C. Penney is not in as rough shape as Sears is just yet, but it is definitely on a similar trajectory. In the end, they are both headed for bankruptcy. That is why it wasn’t too much of a surprise when J.C. Penney announced that they are getting rid of about 6,000 workers and closing at least 130 stores

J.C. Penney (JCP) plans to close 130 to 140 stores and offer buyouts to 6,000 workers as the department-store industry sags in competition with online sellers and nimble niche retailers.

The company said Friday that it would shutter 13% to 14% of its locations and introduce new goods and services aimed at the shifting preferences of its customer base.

Meanwhile, many observers were quite surprised when Family Christian Stores decided to fold up shop for good. They were known as the largest Christian retailer on the entire planet, but now after 85 years they are going out of business forever

Family Christian, which bills itself as the “world’s largest retailer of Christian-themed merchandise,” announced Thursday it is closing after 85 years.

The non-profit company, employing more than 3,000 people in 240 stores in 36 states, said in a brief statement that the retailer had been facing declining sales since filing for bankruptcy protection in 2015 and had no choice but to shut down.

These two announcements are part of larger trend that we have been witnessing all over the country. As I have documented previously, Macy’s announced that it would be closing 100 stores earlier this year, and about the same time Sears said that it would be closing another 150 stores.

Back in 2010, Sears had a staggering 3,555 stores.

Before their recent announcement, Sears was down to 1,503 stores, and now this latest round of cuts will leave them with somewhere around 1,350.

Of course it won’t be too long before Sears has zero stores, and my regular readers know that I have been talking about the demise of Sears for a very long time.

The cold, hard truth of the matter is that the “real economy” is a total mess, and that is one of the primary reasons why these ridiculous stock market valuations that we are seeing right now are not sustainable.

One expert that agrees with my assessment is former Reagan Administration White House Budget Director David Stockman. In a recent interview, he explained why he believes that “everything will grind to a halt” after March 15th…

Stockman, who wrote a book titled “Trumped” predicting a Trump victory in 2016, says, “I don’t think there is a snowball’s chance in the hot place that’s going to happen. This is delusional. This is the greatest suckers’ rally of all time. It is based on pure hopium and not any analysis at all as what it will take to push through a big tax cut. Donald Trump is in a trap. Today the debt is $20 trillion. It’s 106% of GDP. . . .Trump is inheriting a built-in deficit of $10 trillion over the next decade under current policies that are built in. Yet, he wants more defense spending, not less. He wants drastic sweeping tax cuts for corporations and individuals. He wants to spend more money on border security and law enforcement. He’s going to do more for the veterans. He wants this big trillion dollar infrastructure program. You put all that together and it’s madness. It doesn’t even begin to add up, and it won’t happen when you are struggling with the $10 trillion of debt that’s coming down the pike and the $20 trillion that’s already on the books.”

Then, Stockman drops this bomb and says:

“I think what people are missing is this date, March 15th 2017. That’s the day that this debt ceiling holiday that Obama and Boehner put together right before the last election in October of 2015. That holiday expires. The debt ceiling will freeze in at $20 trillion. It will then be law. It will be a hard stop. The Treasury will have roughly $200 billion in cash. We are burning cash at a $75 billion a month rate. By summer, they will be out of cash. Then we will be in the mother of all debt ceiling crises. Everything will grind to a halt. I think we will have a government shutdown. There will not be Obama Care repeal and replace. There will be no tax cut. There will be no infrastructure stimulus. There will be just one giant fiscal bloodbath over a debt ceiling that has to be increased and no one wants to vote for.”

In that same interview, Stockman also predicted that “markets will easily correct by 20% and probably a lot more“, and he noted the glaring disconnect between current stock prices and how the U.S. economy is actually performing

“The S&P 500 has been trading at 26 times earnings while earnings have been dropping for the past six or seven quarters. There is no booming recovery coming. There is going to be a recession and there will be no stimulus baton to bail it out. That is the new fact that neither Trump nor the Wall Street gamblers remotely understand.”

It is very difficult to argue with Stockman on this.

There are some people out there that seem to think that Donald Trump can miraculously turn the U.S. economy around just because he is Donald Trump.

It doesn’t work that way.

We are 20 trillion dollars in debt, and we are currently adding about a trillion dollars a year to that total. There is no possible way that Trump can cut taxes, increase military spending, build a border wall, spend much more on veterans and spend an extra trillion dollars on rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure.

We are flat broke as a nation and there simply is not money available to do everything that Donald Trump wants to do.

So we shall see what happens after March 15th.  Unfortunately, I happen to agree with Stockman that economic reality is about to come knocking and Trump and his supporters are about to get a very rude wake up call.


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The post Retail Apocalypse Gains Momentum As David Stockman Warns ‘Everything Will Grind To A Halt’ After March 15th appeared first on The Sleuth Journal.


Source: Alternative news journal

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Here Come The Robots – And They Are Going To Take Almost All Of Our Jobs

Here Come The Robots – And They Are Going To Take Almost All Of Our Jobs | Robot-Human-Hand-Public-Domain-700x465 | Economy & Business Science & Technology Special Interests

What is going to happen to society when robots are able to do just about everything better, faster and cheaper than human workers can? We live at a time when technology is increasing at an exponential pace. Incredible advancements in robotics, computer science and artificial intelligence are certainly making our lives more comfortable, but they are also bringing fundamental changes to the workplace. For employers, there are a lot of advantages to replacing human workers with robots. Robots don’t surf around on Facebook when they are supposed to be working. Robots don’t need Obamacare, lunch breaks or vacation days. Robots never steal from the company and they never complain. Up until fairly recently, human workers could generally perform many tasks more cheaply than robots could, but now that is rapidly changing.

For example, a coffee shop has just opened up in San Francisco that is manned by a robot instead of a human…

Tired of your barista misspelling your name on your morning cup of joe? Perhaps a robot could do better. On Monday, Cafe X opened its very first robotic cafe in San Francisco’s Metreon shopping center. Promising “precision crafted specialty coffee in seconds, the way the roaster intended,” Cafe X thinks that anything a human can do, its machines can do better.

Specifically, one very special machine. Nicknamed Gordon, after a Cafe X employee, this robot mans, or robots, two standard professional coffee machines in order to serve up espressos and lattes. In the San Francisco location, customers can grab a cup of coffee with beans from AKA Coffee, Verve Coffee Roasters, or Peet’s. While the coffee itself may not make Cafe X stand out from the competition, the startup hopes that the robot’s efficiency will.

If that coffee shop demonstrates that it can be much more profitable than a coffee shop with human employees, it is just a matter of time before human baristas start to be phased out all over the nation.

A similar thing is happening in many supermarkets. Personally, I hate the “self-checkout lines”, but you are starting to see them everywhere these days.

And according to the Sun, Amazon is playing around with a concept that would employ hardly any human workers at all…

In the case of Amazon’s automated retail prototype, a half-dozen workers could staff an average location. A manager’s duties would include signing up customers for the “Amazon Fresh” grocery service. Another worker would restock shelves, and still another two would be stationed at “drive-thru” windows for customers picking up their groceries, fast-food style.

The last pair would work upstairs, helping the robots bag groceries to be sent down to customers on “dumbwaiter”-like conveyors, a source said.

With the bare-bones payroll, the boost to profits could be huge. Indeed, the prototype being discussed calls for operating profit margins north of 20 percent. That compares with an industry average of just 1.7 percent, according to the Food Marketing Institute.

During the recent presidential campaign, much was made of the fact that we have shipped millions of good paying jobs overseas over the past several decades.

We can certainly try to make some laws that would keep American workers from losing jobs to foreign workers, but pretty soon workers all over the world are going to be losing millions of jobs to technology, and it is going to be just about impossible to make laws to prevent that from happening.

Just check out what is happening in China. Many big firms had moved manufacturing to China because labor was much cheaper over there, but now a lot of those cheap Chinese workers are being replaced by robots

Apple’s iPhone manufacturer, Foxconn, in fact, has already begun automating certain work that was previously done by hand. A Chinese government official told a Hong Kong newspaper in May that Foxconn had replaced 60,000 workers with robots at one factory there. And the company is receiving incentives north of Shanghai in the eastern-central Jiangsu Province to accelerate investments in robotics to replace human labor, according to Chinese state media organization Xinhua.

Sadly, this is just the beginning. According to one study, 49 percent of all activities currently performed by human workers could already “be turned over to some sort of machine or robot”…

About 49% of worker activities can be turned over to some sort of machine or robot, increasingly helped along by artificial-intelligence software, according to consultancy McKinsey.

About 58% of CEOs plan to cut jobs over the next five years because of robotics, while 16% say they plan to hire more people because of robotics, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey.

And Carl Frey of Oxford University has determined that some professions have more than a 90 percent chance of becoming automated in the coming years

The revelations that dependable office jobs such as insurance workers and real estate agents have a more than 97% chance of becoming computerised could now spark fears among the middle class workforce.

‘While low-skilled jobs are most exposed to automation over the forthcoming decades, a substantial number of middle-income jobs are equally at risk.’ Frey told The Times.

Other jobs that feature high on the ‘risk list’ are credit analysts who have a 97% chance of losing their jobs to robots, postal service workers at 95% and lab technicians who have an 89% chance of seeing their role become automated.

So what in the world are we going to do with billions of human workers around the globe that are no longer needed when technology takes virtually all of our jobs?

Some have suggested that the idea of “work” will become a thing of the past, and that society will evolve into a socialist utopia where everything we need is provided for by the government. In fact, the concept of a “universal basic income” is already being promoted in Europe and elsewhere.

But others see a dystopian future where the gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” grows greater than ever before. Humanity has always been plagued by poverty and greed, and everyone agrees that the gap between the very wealthy and the rest of us has been growing very rapidly in recent years.

Where there is nearly universal agreement is on the fact that big changes are coming. Workers are going to be displaced by technology at an accelerating rate in the years ahead, and this will present a tremendous challenge for us all.


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The post Here Come The Robots – And They Are Going To Take Almost All Of Our Jobs appeared first on The Sleuth Journal.


Source: Alternative news journal

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The NYT Furious Over Trump Killing TPP

The NYT Furious Over Trump Killing TPP | donald-trump | Economy & Business Globalism Mainstream Media Trump US News

On his first Monday in office, Trump fulfilled his campaign pledge to kill TPP, his memorandum saying future trade deals will be negotiated one-on-one with individual countries.

He’s off to a good start in saving US jobs, his action and whatever follows hopefully helping to staunch their offshoring – transforming America into a nation of low-paid service workers, its manufacturing base largely abroad.

“We’ve been talking about this for a long time,” he said, calling pulling out of TPP a “great thing for the American worker” and US manufacturing.

Union leaders he met with on Monday applauded his move. AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka issued the following statement, saying:

“Last year, a powerful coalition of labor, environmental, consumer, public health and allied groups came together to stop the TPP. Today’s announcement that the US is withdrawing from TPP and seeking a reopening of NAFTA is an important first step toward a trade policy that works for working people.”

“While these are necessary actions, they aren’t enough. They are just the first in a series of necessary policy changes required to build a fair and just global economy.”

“We will continue our relentless campaign to create new trade and economic rules that end special privileges for foreign investors and Big Pharma, protect our planet’s precious natural resources and ensure fair pay, safe conditions and a voice in the workplace for all workers.”

The New York Times supports anti-consumer, anti-labor, anti-ecosanity trade deals – along with endorsing all US imperial wars, silent on their mass slaughter and destruction, other than blaming victims for crimes committed against them.

During the great debate over NAFTA, it effusively praised what cost over a million US jobs, claiming ones “lost to cheaper Mexican labor…would be gained because American exports would increase as Mexico’s high tariffs gradually disappeared” – a Big Lie.

Times editors endorsed TPP throughout long drawn out talks, turning truth on its head, saying America’s relations with Asian countries would be strengthened. The Electronic Freedom Foundation blasted its endorsement, calling it “an act of extraordinary subservience” to monied interests at the expense of American workers.

Last November, Times editors said abandoning TPP “would empower China.” It was mainly concerned about Obama not getting his key economic scheme adopted, along with monied interests failing to achieve what they’ve long sought.

In response to Trump killing TPP, The Times accused him of “upend(ing) America’s traditional, bipartisan trade policy” – ignoring its enormous harm since NAFTA’s adoption.

Instead it said “he demonstrated that he would not follow old rules, effectively discarding longstanding Republican orthodoxy that expanding global trade was good for the world and America – and that the United States should help write the rules of international commerce.”

Nothing said about jobs destruction, shifting America’s manufacturing base abroad. Nothing about TPP constituting destructive NAFTA on steroids.

Nothing about letting corporate interests override domestic law for greater profit-making. Nothing about TPP’s anti-consumer, anti-labor, anti-environmental provisions.

The Times is a house organ for wealth, power and privileged interests, consistently against peace, equity and justice for all.

The post The NYT Furious Over Trump Killing TPP appeared first on The Sleuth Journal.


Source: Alternative news journal

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