It is getting harder and harder for traditional brick and mortar stores to continue. We have seen the deterioration of Macys, Sears, and Pennys. I remember working for two Sears’ Stores as a teenager, and remember my first credit card was with JC Pennys, and further remember that the founder John “Cash” Penny was still alive.
Penny started his stores in the early 20th Century, while Mr. Sears and Mr. Roebuck, first started Sears & Roebuck by selling watches on trains, but all three were indeed the trailblazers of the past, and Macys, a similar tradition. I was surprised to find a Macys in Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City Missouri, while taking training for research at a TWA Training Academy, also now gone.
Today all three of the above are in danger, as Sterns and other stores of a by gone era were, and now Toys R Us, which was in trouble last year, is now in bankruptcy and about to close an additional 182 stores nationwide along with its Babies R Us brand, which will layoff 4550 workers, and 20% of their stores nationwide. Of that total, 12 stores are in New Jersey. Amazon is heading to ‘brick and mortar’ stores, even here in New Jersey, but will cut cashiers from the mix in the thousands.
Traditionally, most retail outfits hired students, seniors, and homemakers, but the composition of our workforce is changing, and those demographics mean the bottom line is to cut, and that is also the process at Walmart, which is a lower end retailer, and has cut stores of its Sams Club Brand, but, it, too, is lessening the hires of cashiers going to more people less systems, and scanners. Increasingly, we are heading to an era that Daniel Bell, an economist and sociologist, called the Post Industrial Society, and for many jobs that are disappearing represent a sudden end of work that we must discuss!
Bill Weightman, Hardyston-