Disappointing sales figures for big department stores over the critical holiday season have several of them scrambling to close stores, sell assets and commit to online retail.
Sears announced it is selling its Craftsman brand tools to Stanley Black & Decker is another retreat for the beleaguered Hoffman Estates retailer that dovetails with an announcement from Macy's that it's slashing 6,200 jobs after holiday sales dropped 2.1 percent from 2015.
"People are just going around department stores, they are just shopping directly the brands, they don't even have to walk into the store anymore; the department stores have reacted by saying, let's have an online store, Macy's has an online presence they will expand that so if you can't beat them join them but that trend is not going to slow down," Brian Battle, Performance Trust Capital Partners, said.
Kohl's November through December sales also plunged 2.1 percent across its 1,100 stores.
Macy's CEO Terry Lundgren said in a statement that he expects sales this year to decline at a similar rate to the holiday performance. Stocks of these and other department stores fell sharply on Thursday.
"People who used to work at Macy's are probably go and work at Amazon fulfillment or they are going to have to work on the online store accounting department, those jobs will transfer to different places," Battle said.
But some people still like to shop in stores and analysts contend the bricks and mortar can still churn out cash. At Bloomingdale Mall they have all three of those department stores facing trouble right now and they said the future of retail is all about specialization.
"We have a theatre, we have a bowling alley and there's so much more is coming in. Also, shopping centers are also community centers so our ownership realizes that," Stacy Kallas, Stratford Square Mall marketing director, said. "Our holiday sales and traffic were up for the season which means it is working for us."
Major retailers see drop in sales, some stores to close