The End of Shopping as Entertainment in America
In America, Memorial Day weekend (like Labor Day weekend) means big sales at most major US retailers. But the credit-fueled consumer frenzy of the early 2000s has come to a screeching halt, reports The Market Oracle:
The pundits, politicians and delusional retail CEOs continue to await the revival of retail sales as if reality doesn’t exist. The 1 million retail stores, 109,000 shopping centers, and nearly 15 billion square feet of retail space for an aging, increasingly impoverished, and savings poor populace might be a tad too much and will require a slight downsizing – say 3 or 4 billion square feet. Considering the debt fueled frenzy from 2000 through 2008 added 2.7 billion square feet to our suburban sprawl concrete landscape, a divestiture of that foolish investment will be the floor. If you think there are a lot of SPACE AVAILABLE signs dotting the countryside, you ain’t seen nothing yet. The mega-chains have already halted all expansion. That was the first step. The weaker players like Radio Shack, Sears, Family Dollar, Coldwater Creek, Staples, Barnes & Noble, Blockbuster and dozens of others are already closing stores by the hundreds. Thousands more will follow.
One thing every responsible parent tries to teach children is the difference between need and want. American consumers may be forced to digest this lesson simply because they're running out of money and credit. Shopping may no longer be a weekend diversion, or a form of ersatz therapy.
Of course dead malls have been with us for some time. But the horrific bust created by the Fed's unholy and artificial boom will endure for decades to come, in the form of rotting strip malls and ghostly, never-rented office parks.