A wave of department store closings announced since late December has hit states that voted for Donald Trump particularly hard, according to an informal analysis by TheStreet.com.
The states seeing the largest number of store closings were Pennsylvania, 23; Michigan, 22; Texas, 22; Ohio, 18; Florida, 17; and North Carolina, 13. Many were key battleground states, which Donald Trump wound up winning by narrow margins, in the November presidential election.
Brick-and-mortar retailers are struggling to contain costs and concentrate on more efficient stores to better battle online retailing giant Amazon (AMZN - Get Report) and discounter Wal-Mart Stores (WMT - Get Report) .
Because the large department stores frequently serve as anchors in local malls, their departure can create knock-on effects for other mall retailers and real estate investment trusts. And in smaller communities, the loss of retail jobs and stores can be a significant blow to the tax base.
Not surprisingly, states with small populations lost the most stores per capita, led by North Dakota and South Dakota. But even by that measure, Michigan was in 9th place. Other states hard hit on a per capita basis include West Virginia, Maine, Kansas and Kentucky. Three states -- Vermont, Delaware and Alaska -- weren't so caught up in the most recent closures.
Here's a map of states hardest hit in the latest round of department store closings.
Jim Cramer recently told his Mad Money viewers that sectors that have big secular themes running against them are falling knives they don't want to catch. And with brick-and-mortar retail struggling, the retail REITs are the next sector that should be avoided, he said.
Cramer said the mall is dying a slow death as the stay-at-home economy continues to blossom. With anchor stores suffering, he said, times could be tough for the likes of Kimco Realty Trust (KIM - Get Report) , Simon Property Group (SPG - Get Report) and Federal Realty Trust (FRT - Get Report) . Check out what Cramer and the AAP team are telling their investment club members with a free trial subscription to Action Alerts PLUS.