Don’t get me wrong, online business is that best way to go. However, people with jobs at brick and mortar businesses are going to have to be able to adapt to the changing of how business is conducted. Recent reports indicate that hundreds of brick and mortar stores are closing and thousands of people are being laid off.
Macy’s saw a huge decrease in sales in 2106. According to the New York Times:
The company, which now has 730 stores, announced in August that it would close 100 of them. On Wednesday, it identified 68 stores to be closed.
Some employees may be offered positions at nearby stores, but Macy’s estimated that 3,900 workers would be affected by the closings. It also said it planned to restructure parts of its business, leading to a reduction of an additional 6,200 jobs. Over all, the job cuts represent about 7 percent of its work force.
Additionally, Sears Holdings Co. said that it would be closing 78 K-mart Stores and at least 26 Sears stores in the Spring of 2017.
According to a company statement, “Sears Holdings will continue to strategically and aggressively evaluate our store space and productivity, and accelerate the closing of some unprofitable stores as the company has previously announced.”
“The decision to close stores is a difficult but necessary step as we take actions to strengthen the Company’s operations and fund its transformation,” the statement added. “Many of these stores have struggled with their financial performance for years and we have kept them open to maintain local jobs and in the hopes that they would turn around. But in order to meet our objective of returning to profitability, we have to make tough decisions and will continue to do so, which will give our better performing stores a chance at success. Eligible associates impacted by these store closures will receive severance and will have the opportunity to apply for open positions at area Kmart or Sears stores.”
So, it appears the company kept the stores open because they did care about the employees jobs.
If you really want to see how a company cared for their employees without insurance and without government intervention, I would highly recommend Stephen Mansfield‘s excellent book on the Guinness beer company titled The Search for God and Guinness: A Biography of the Beer that Changed the World.
However, in understanding that a company must remain profitable, measures eventually have to be taken.
Many chain stores have closed over the past couple of years, including 6,000 major retail stores, and that trend will continue into the future.
Many brick and mortar stores have become victims of online sales competition. Much of that had to do with a lack of taxing internet sales, but internet companies had to always provide shipping. If we could just eliminate government from putting their greedy hands into online businesses through taxation, Americans could see a booming economy online like never before. Sadly, faux conservatives are supportive of taxing internet sales. Still, some businesses have rolled with the punches and moved their businesses mostly to online, if not exclusively.
Sites like Amazon.com are not only thriving in their business, but producing their own films, TV shows and products (such as Kindle, Fire TV, Echo), as well as offering Prime, which for a small annual fee provides customers with free 2-day shipping on Prime products and free ebooks, music, and videos.
Even though businesses like Amazon are online, they still must employee people. However, in many businesses today, robots are demonstrating that they are cheaper than people, and some fast food restaurants and warehouses are already replacing human employees with robots.
Before you become discouraged at that trend, remember that robots are machines and therefore require maintenance and repair, and who is going to provide that? Humans.
Humans will always have a place of industry if they are pushed towards it. I expect with many people who lose their jobs that they will either find new ones, or in some cases venture out on their own and start their own business. The internet has made doing that extremely simple. I’ve done it with a variety of items and websites (See here and here). It just takes some effort. You can do it too!