Friday, November 27, 2020

JCPenney has been saved for now plus one-third of malls have closed since 2012, tales of the Retail Apocalypse and pandemic for Black Friday/Buy Nothing Day

Happy Black Friday/Buy Nothing Day! As I have for the past two years, I am serving tales of the Retail Apocalypse. Since it's 2020, those stories come with a side dish of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first story is an update to Retail Archaeology updates two bankruptcies, JCPenney and Stein Mart, tales of the Retail Apocalypse and pandemic, in which I wrote "The answer to 'is JCPenney the next Sears?' is still yes. At least Sears and KMart avoided liquidation." So has JCPenney. Erik of Retail Archaeology informed his viewers of the possibility that could happen last month, when he asked Has JCPenney Been Saved?

Has JCPenney been saved? In this week's episode of Retail Archaeology we take a look at a closing JCPenney at the El Con Center (formerly the El Con Mall) in Tucson, AZ. The El Con Mall is a long dead mall and this JCPenney location is the last part of it that still exists.
Erik asked that question in late October. Almost three weeks later, the answer was yes — for now. Watch J.C. Penney rescue deal approved by judge from Reuters.

A U.S. judge approved a deal that will allow J.C. Penney to emerge from bankruptcy before the upcoming holiday season. The rescue deal is expected to save approximately 60,000 jobs[.]
That's good news, although I share Erik's concerns about whether the mall owners will do the same for other department store chains and if deals like this will make malls and department stores sink together. Only time will tell.

Speaking of malls in trouble, CNBC Television uploaded One third of malls gone in 2020 with 25% more to close in the next 3-5 years last night. Brookfield Properties, one of the buyers of JCPenney, figures prominently.

Retail analyst Anthony Chukumba says malls will have to learn to adapt or suffer permanent closures. With the convenience of Amazon, Etsy, and online shopping, mall owners are being forced to get creative. Frank Holland joins Shep Smith to discuss the struggles that face American malls.
When I did the math, 1000 malls minus 25% is 750 malls. That means that the number of malls in the U.S. will be half of the 1,500 in 2012 by 2025. Wow! Looks like I will be busy writing about the retail apocalypse for years to come.

That's it for this year's Black Friday/Buy Nothing Day. Stay tuned for Small Business Saturday.


  1. Replies
    1. I realized that just before you commented and was thinking of correcting it. It's missing a minus, as in "minus 25% of 1000 malls is 750 malls." I'll put that right in, thank you!