At one point in American history, the mall was viewed as the pinnacle of the shopping experience. It was a gleaming, concrete monument to the wonders of capitalism — and the fact that ticked off the anti-consumerist was half the fun.
Change is eternal, however, and with online shopping and changing American living patterns, malls and big box stores are quickly becoming a thing of the past. That shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. What is surprising is just how quickly the change is occurring.
In the wake of increased competition from Amazon and other online retailers, 23 major retailers have announced that they’re closing up some of their outlets. Here are just a few, culled from the folks at Fox Business.
Abercrombie and Fitch
It’s kind of hard to summon up sepia-tinged nostalgia for A&F on my end; between the pre-frayed bro-magnon fashions that cost five times what they should have and the effluvium of cheap, citrusy cologne that seemed to infect every cubic inch of air within a twenty-yard radius of the store, my best memory of that horrid chain was the unintentionally-hilarious line from LFO’s ridiculous 1999 hit “Summer Girls” in which one of the faceless members of the one-hit-wonder informs us that “I like girls who wear Abercrombie and Fitch.” Of course, this was probably because the store’s catalog was little more than softcore pornography.
They’re also going to focus on “direct-to-consumer” efforts (read: online shopping), so at least you don’t have to suffer through that cheap cologne smell.
You may not be surprised after my low-key invective against Abercrombie and Fitch that I’m also not a huge fan of Bebe. However, the trendy women’s clothier has closed all 168 of its remaining American stores since last year, which isn’t exactly making retail great again.
Rue21 is yet another trendy teen clothing outlet which is experiencing problems due to the shifting economic conditions. It announced the closure of up to 400 of its 1,100 locations last April and promptly filed for bankruptcy in May. (more stores)