All over the U.S., retailers big and small are closing dozens – or even hundreds – of their stores. Why is this happening and, more importantly, what does it mean for the future of the country’s economy?
Michael Snyder, the man behind the Economic Collapse Blog, is not the only one who thinks this is a sign of sinister things to come. Middle class families have long been the main driving force behind the economy, thanks to the ‘spending money’ they could put aside from their incomes. But now, as the middle class is being “systematically destroyed”, as Snyder puts it, consumer spending just isn’t there anymore.
Large and well-known retailers like Abercrombie & Fitch and Barnes & Noble will have closed hundreds of stores by the end of 2015. Sure, part of that could be attributed to the rise of online retailing, but that’s far from the real culprit behind struggling sales: lack of money to spend.
A troubling statistic sheds light on why people suddenly have less – if any – money to spare. An analysis performed by Enterprise Community Partners revealed that one out of four American citizens now spends half of his or her income on rent. With the rest being spent on things like groceries and gas, it’s not hard to see why little is left for discretionary spending.
This situation sounds bad enough, but Snyder believes the worst is yet to come. He quotes Thad Beversdorf’s belief that consumer spending is showing “the initial signs of a severe pull back” to strike an unpleasant point: the current trajectory of our economy is eerily reminiscent of the build-up to the collapse of 2007/2008.
Snyder concludes by wondering: if thousands of stores are being closed already, what will things look like when an economic crisis truly hits the U.S.? “Once it does, the business environment in this country is going to change dramatically, and a few years from now America is going to look far different than it does right now,” he warns.