Drive down any main street and it is hard not to notice all the empty shops, the “Going Out Of Business” and “For Lease” signs, the proliferation of 99-cent and dollar stores.
Book stores and record shops have largely disappeared. Major electronics retailers like Circuit City are long-gone, Fry’s greets customers with leaflets declaring they’ll match any Internet price and now Best Buy plans to wall off a quarter of its giant stores and rent the rest of the space to grocers, beauty suppliers — anybody with a buck.
Is it any wonder retailers are struggling?
Competing for precious tax dollars, cities have green-lighted just about every type of shopping center project for years, over-building — much to the dismay of small, local shopkeepers — as mammoth national chains take an ever greater share of the market.