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Despite the phone efforts by the flacks over at Amazon (AMZN) , the reality is that the digital beast is increasingly wrecking bricks-and-mortar retailing.
In fact, Amazon is probably licking its chops at the real estate it will be able to digest over the next 25 years from failed retailers. What was once a distribution center for Sears (SHLD) will probably be a flagship Whole Foods that is testing mind-blowing new shopping technology. What was once a Kmart store will be nothing more than a place for Amazon to hawk exclusive, limited-time only Nike (NKE) sneakers that self-tie. How else could one at least partially explain the fresh bankruptcy filing by the iconic Toys 'R' Us? The toy retailer has done about all it could over the last five years to get people through the door. But the fundamental truth is that visiting Toys 'R' Us is a waste of time in the internet age where finding the lowest possible price, and a broader selection of goods, is only a swipe or click away. Heck, this was reaffirmed to me this past weekend -- I went to pick up my two-year old niece a doll and couldn't find the exact model at two Toys 'R' Us locations. Talk about moments of rage.
The sad situation at Toys 'R' Us sheds light on some seriously scary data on retail right now. More than 5,300 store closing announcements have been issued so far this year, according to Fung Global Retail & Technology. That's TRIPLE the number of store closings on a year-over-year basis. Fung Global Retail & Technology estimates about 10,000 stores will be closed by year end, up 361% from the prior year.
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