The long, slow death of the American mall continues as Perfumania files for bankruptcy.
Retailer Perfumania has filed for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, joining a long parade of former shopping mall stalwarts that have headed for the exits. Behind the death of the shopping mall is the simple fact that there are not enough feet coming into the mall to keep the stores alive. Perpetual anchor stores Sears and JCPenney are having difficulty staying in the locations they already have, while national chains are retrenching for online sales. While upscale retail is fine and healthy, it is the mid-range and lower end that is the populating, as well as stores that previously catered to fashion conscious teens.
The move online can also be traced to the desire to make a dollar go further
Mall brands were once the currency you needed to keep up with the Joneses, but with the late recession, the gig economy, and the struggle with household debt, consumers are demanding that their stagnant wages go farther. Where teens once flocked to brands like Wet Seal and Aeropostale, they are now more likely to shop aggressively on Amazon, order directly from Chinese manufacturers, or find their defining look at delivery services such as Stitchfix.com. After all, who has time to go to a destination retail store when they’re sometimes working two or three jobs?
Retail employees start feeling the strain
For workers in the retail sector, every new store closure is nerve-racking. They have to wonder if they will be next, or if the glut of former retail workers will continue to depress wages in the retail sector. Getting out is difficult since furthering your education is an extra job in itself, and with a wealth of other expenses to cover. While financial aid might stretch, almost all retail workers will end up taking up student loans in order to finance an associates degree, a certificate, or bachelors degree for a more in demand profession.
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