Today's record unemployment claim numbers changed the subject of today's Throwback Thursday look back at last year's top posts on a common theme. Because of the news, today's theme is the Retail Apocalypse, the topic of seven of last year's most read entries, including the most read post from the back catalog.* I'll get to those over the jump. First, watch 6.6 Million Americans File for Unemployment | TODAY. When I wrote "Today's record unemployment claim numbers," I meant it literally in more ways than one.
NBC senior business correspondent Stephanie Ruhle talks about the news that a jaw-dropping 6.6 million Americans have applied for unemployment benefits. She says “we just don’t know yet” where the bottom of the economic downturn may be. She answers TODAY viewers’ questions related to the coronavirus outbreak, such as what happens to “flat-rate” workers and whether companies are allowed to cut employees’ pay without their consent.Note that Stephanie Ruhle segued into retail and the transition from brick-and-mortar job losses into job opportunities in online ordering and delivery. The response to the coronavirus pandemic is accelerating existing trends. That's the theme of the next three videos. Ruhle and her guest made that same point in Retailers Reeling From Coronavirus Pandemic on MSNBC yesterday.
Thousands of retailers are closed right now, some unsure of if they'll reopen. Stephanie Ruhle is joined by Matthew Shay to discuss what's next for an industry that was already struggling before the pandemic. Aired on 4/1/2020.Again, the effects on employment played a major role in this interview.
CNBC uploaded two inteview clips on the subject of COVID-19 and retail this morning, beginning with Fmr. Toys "R" US CEO: "Retail was already going through a revolution," virus is just amplyfing (sic) exist. Looks like the caption writer for CNBC ran out of room in addition to making a typo. I think the second clause should read "virus is just amplifying existing trends." Yes, I used to be an English teacher.
Gerald Storch, Storch Advisors CEO & former CEO and chairman at Toys "R" Us, talks the state of the retail industry amid a spike in unemployment numbers and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.That segment was relatively sanguine compared to the next one, Coronavirus 'is an existential threat to retail,' says former Saks CEO.
A new report by Cowen shows that retail store traffic is down 97% year-over-year. The market caps of retailers are plummeting, with Macy's getting kicked out of the S&P 500. Steve Sadove, former chairman and CEO of Saks Inc. and now a senior advisor for Mastercard, joins "Squawk Box" to discuss.And I thought things were bad for brick-and-mortar retail before. The current crisis seems to have compressed the next two years into two months — or less! The exception might be grocery stores and supermarkets, a sector Business Insider thought might have 7,310 stores close by 2026, a statistic I quoted in 12,000 stores are likely to close this year, including at least 313 Fred's, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse. That could still happen, but not as a result of the response to COVID-19. They're one of the few kinds of businesses that are open right now.
Follow over the jump for the most popular tales of the Retail Apocalypse during the ninth year of this blog.
I wrote the footnote to Washington Post on whistleblowing and WHAS11 on Rand Paul testing positive for coronavirus update the top post from the ninth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News telling my readers that it wasn't really the most read entry during the ninth year of the blog.
It was not the most read entry overall during the year. That honor belongs to a post about the Retail Apocalypse from the back catalog. I'll get to it when I write the retrospectives for those two topics.The actual most read entry during the blogging year just ended was JCPenney and Macy's also closing stores in 2019, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse from January 10, 2019, which earned ~2,640 raw page views between March 21, 2019 and March 20, 2020, ending the blogging year with 3428 raw page views all time. It returned to the top 10 in August 2019, when it ended the month with 232 default page views after maxing out at 261 on August 20, 2019, placing it third overall for the month.
The entry was getting page views before I shared it in a comment to Race Hustle at Kunstler's blog, where I wrote, "In other news, the Retail Apocalypse rolls on, as CNBC warned yesterday that "Bed Bath & Beyond is facing extinction" — CNBC's words, not mine." It was the sixth most read entry during September 2019 with 207 default page views and the 16th most read during November 2019 with 220 default page views. It ended the 2019 calendar year with 804 default and ~3,070 raw page views, ranking it 13th in default page views but first in raw page views. Other than sharing it at Kunstler's blog, I don't know what drove the page views for this entry during the ninth year of this blog other than general web search or a no-follow link.
Last year's retrospective on this topic, Company Man on JCPenney's decline updates tales of the Retail Apocalypse for the eighth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News from April 18, 2020 was the most read entry on today's topic posted during the previous blogging year. It garnered ~1,260 default and 1,4610 raw page views between being posted and the end of the blogging year on March 20, 2020. It ranked fifth according to default views and sixth according to raw views among entries posted during the ninth year of this blog and seventh overall. It was the most read entry during April 2019 according to default views with 1259 and the second most read according to raw views with 1276. It also ended the 2019 calendar year with ~1,260 default and ~1,420 raw page views, enough for it to rank second according to the first metric and fifth according to the second.
In addition to being shared at the Coffee Party USA Facebook page, It earned its page views by being shared in a comment on An Empire of Bullshit at Kunstler's blog.
"[T]heir apparent job of speeding up this bus to the cliff’s edge" — I remember where I first read this as the metaphor for our current situation, in "Escape from the Zombie Food Court" at Joe Bageant's blog, which is now defunct along with Joe. I described how our host and Joe had a conversation of sorts through their blogs when I wrote about Joe's death eight years ago. I'm glad to see that image of our predicament still survives.I'll get to an entry about that last item shortly. In the meantime, I'm noting that this entry earned 8 comments during April for the second most comments that month and 11 comments by March 20, 2020, the second most comments on an entry posted during the blogging year. Some things don't change.
Speaking of food courts and going over cliffs, the Retail Apocalypse rolls on. Company Man's saga of JCPenney's decline is merely one of many tales of the Retail Apocalypse, the latest being Sears Holdings former CEO "Fast Eddie Lamprey" being sued by Sears unsecured creditors for asset stripping.
April was a good month for entries about the Retail Apocalypse. The second most read post on the subject from the fourth month of the previous calendar year was 6,000 stores have already announced they are closing in 2019, more than all of 2018, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse from April 27, 2019. It ended the blogging year with 872 default and 1,151 raw page views, enough for it to rank 11th according to the first metric and eighth according to the first among entries posted during the ninth year of this blog and 12th overall. The entry finished April 2019 with 913 default and 922 raw page views, ranking it the third most read entry of that month according to both measures. Finally, it ended the 2019 calendar year with 872 default and ~1,120 raw page views, ranking it tenth according to the first and 12th according to the second.
In addition to being shared at the Coffee Party USA Facebook page, I shared the link in a comment on Tom Petty was Right at Kunstler's blog.
That was an impressive list of avoidances of reality, but it failed to include the actual fantasies on screens, particularly the big silver ones. The superhero fantasy "Avengers: Endgame" had the best opening weekend box office ever with more than $350 million in North America and $1 billion worldwide. While Marvel's superheroes were saving the world, 6,000 stores have already announced they are closing in 2019, more than all of 2018. Welcome to the Retail Apocalypse, where Thanos doesn't have to snap his fingers to make things disappear.
The last popular entry posted during April 2019 was Lampert and Mnuchin sued by Sears, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse from April 24, 2019. It garnered 887 default and 1,096 raw page views by March 20, 2020, enough for it to rank tenth according to both measures among entries posted during the ninth year of this blog and 14th overall. It ended April 2019 fourth according to the default views with 862 and fifth according to raw views with 865. It ended the 2019 calendar year with 864 default page views and ~1,040 raw views, ranking it 11th according to the former and 13th according to the latter.
In addition to being shared at the Coffee Party USA Facebook page, I shared the link in the comments on Blowback Is a Harsh Mistress.
Our host wrote of consequences. One of them is being visited upon Treasury Secretary Mnuchin for his time as a board member of Sears. He and his college roommate "Fast Eddie Lamprey" are being sued by Sears Holdings for stripping assets from the corporation. When I shared that link on Facebook, the image I used prompted several to comment that Mnuchin and his actress wife looked like a pair of Bond villains. Personally, I think they would fit better in Austin Powers.I reproduced that image here, so my readers can see if they think that, too.
The top post of May 2019 was also about the Retail Apocalypse, Retail Archeology looks at Family Dollar, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse from May 18, 2019 ended the month of its posting with 719 default and 787 raw page views, ranking it first for the month according to both measures. It ended the blogging year with 880 raw page views, ranking it 18th among entries posted during the ninth year of the blog and 23rd overall. It did not make the top 20 according to default views.
I shared this at the Coffee Party USA Facebook page and in a comment on The Tranquilizer at Kunstler's blog: "Meanwhile, the Retail Apocalypse lumbers on, as Family Dollar is closing 390 stores and turning hundreds more into Dollar Tree locations." In addition, Erik at Retail Archaeology liked the tweet with the link.
Pier 1 Imports closing stores, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse from October 26, 2019 earned 831 raw page views by March 20, 2020, ranking it 22nd among entries posted during the blogging year and 28th overall. It fell out of the running 12-month top 20 with 683 default page views on March 8, 2020. It earned 682 default and 787 raw views by the end of the 2019 calendar year to rank 20th and 19th respectively for the 12 months ending December 31, 2019. It was the number one entry during October 2019 with 667 default and 685 raw page views.
This was the last link about the Retail Apocalypse I shared at Kunstler's blog in a comment to The Fumes of Fanaticism: "Pier 1 Imports, the favorite of aging hippies all over the country, is closing stores, including the one nearest me. The Retail Apocalypse rolls on." My peace of mind may have increased since I stopped posting there, but it was a good place to share links about the Retail Apocalypse. In addition, I posted the link to the entry at the Coffee Party USA Faceback page.
Just as I began the section after the jump with an entry from the back catalog, I end it with one. Sears Holdings still 'not dead yet' as deadline extended for rescue offer from January 9, 2019 earned 770 raw page views during the ninth year of the blog with 1077 all time as of March 20, 2020, ranking it 33 overall for the year. I suspect it earned its page views by search for the "I'm not dead yet" .gif from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," as the image is about the plague and the entry became more popular in January, once the pandemic looked like it would get to the U.S. It's not the only entry to get attention because of coronavirus, but that's a story for another day.
*It would have been an update to Wonkette reacts to its Media Bias Chart placement, an update to 'A comparison of two measures of media bias shows readers and viewers respond to both ideology and quality', but I'm saving that for tomorrow. Stay tuned.
Previous posts in this series.
- Happy 9th birthday to the blog and Nowruz Mubarak (Happy Persian New Year) to my readers
- Statistics for the ninth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News
- Washington Post on whistleblowing and WHAS11 on Rand Paul testing positive for coronavirus update the top post from the ninth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News
- Michigan to mail ballots and $400 million for elections in coronavirus stimulus bill update the election news and views for the ninth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News
- Company Man on JCPenney's decline updates tales of the Retail Apocalypse for the eighth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News
- Shopko liquidating, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse