We’ve been hearing about it for almost two decades – online retail is killing brick-and-mortar stores. But for many Texans, it’s getting personal. The Dallas Morning News reports Plano-based JCPenney is kicking off the new year by closing a string of stores. This announcement comes on the heels of the Sears bankruptcy. But wait: there’s more. Macy’s this week announced a lackluster holiday season, sending its stock tumbling along with other staples of the suburban shopping mall, like Nordstrom.
And yet a few companies are making new investments in physical retail, including the biggest of the online retailers, Amazon.
So what’s happening? Maria Halkias covers retail for the The Dallas Morning News. She says the outlook for shopping malls is mixed – but those that are changing how products get to their customers are the retailers that are surviving.
“Overall the stores are trying to make these expensive building that they operate more relevant by using them to fill online order[s]. This ‘buy online pick up in stores’ concept that everyone is doing…they’re seeing traffic with that because not everyone wants a package sitting on their door,” she says.
Online stores like Amazon have made a shift and are opening storefronts to get their products to customers even quicker.
“Some people feel like that’s more convenient,” Halkias says. “So it’s not always waiting for a truck to bring something two days from now or even two hours from now with what Amazon Now is doing…its something these busy moms love. They can drop by and somebody puts the bags in their back seat and they are off.”
Texas-based JCPenny has been in the news for being on the brink of bankruptcy. Though, Halkias is more optimistic about the future of the once-reigning retail giant.
“They are in this middle space that is a little tougher,” she says, “that’s where all the competition is. They have had a string of bad decisions that has really hindered them and weakened the company. But they have a new CEO. Yes, they will be facing debt down the road but they pushed that back to give them time to fix themselves.”