Retailers are losing ground in the retailing space in the U.S., as consumer demand for online shopping and other retail services has increased.
With the growth of mobile and e-commerce platforms, many small business owners are also trying to compete with big box stores.
One of the biggest culprits is Car dealerships, which are often smaller and more underperforming than big box outlets, according to a report by the National Retail Federation.
“They have more in common with the smaller grocery stores than big chain stores,” says Mark Belsky, an analyst with the consulting firm J.P. Morgan.
Car dealers have also been accused of charging higher prices and providing poor service.
They also are the only retailing sector to have suffered a severe decline in the number of full-service stores, according a recent report from retail research firm Trulia.
In 2016, Car dealers sold 1.4 million vehicles in the United States, according the National Automobile Dealers Association.
Car buyers are also looking to fill the gap in their shopping needs with smaller- and more affordable options, says Belski.
The latest survey from the National Association of Realtors found that more than 20% of American shoppers are looking for something a little different than a store-owned vehicle, and nearly half of shoppers would pay $300 or less for an RV, SUV or minivan in a year.
“Retailers are in trouble because they are getting smaller and less competitive with the online market,” says Betsky.
The industry has also struggled to find enough staff to fill retail vacancies.
The number of retail store employees grew from 4.6 million in 2013 to 5.4,000 in 2016, according data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
While some stores have been closing stores to cut costs, some have been finding ways to keep the same staff.
In 2017, about 40% of all U.s. stores closed in 2017, according research firm iSpot.
The same year, about half of all American retailers closed.
In the U, the average store closed for a total of 3,000 employees in 2017.
The Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that car dealerships had the biggest share of all retailers in closed stores in 2017 of all retail companies.
Some retailers have tried to boost employee numbers by cutting costs, and some have cut back on advertising and customer service, says John Leavitt, an attorney at law firm Mayer Brown who specializes in retail law.
Car dealer vacancies have increased in the past decade as people who work in the industry have seen a decline in sales.
But as they look for jobs, some are struggling to fill positions, according Belsker.
“We’re not going to have enough people working in the auto industry to fill all the retail positions,” he says.
Some retail outlets are also closing down, like the new Kroger in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which closed in April, according news reports.
“The auto industry is a tough one to break into,” says Leavitks.
Leavits has been trying to work with some local car dealers in Annapolis, Maryland, to try to fill an empty car dealership space in a former warehouse.
The company has hired about 60 employees and is making a push to keep them employed.
The retail space is in the form of a trailer park, and there is not enough space to set up an automated service center, according Toomey, the Kroger spokesperson.
Kroger is not alone in closing stores.
Many large retail chains have also faced challenges with finding employees.
In 2015, the National Federation of Independent Business reported that the industry had lost about 6,000 jobs over the past three years, or about 2.6% of the overall U. S. workforce.
Leaps in workforce also can lead to more competition for retail workers, says Levester.
Levesters office has seen a surge in workers from other industries who are trying to fill vacancies, and he says the competition has been fierce.
“I’ve heard from several of my competitors in other sectors that have lost hundreds of thousands of jobs in the last 10 years because they’ve lost retail jobs, and we’re just kind of catching up,” he said.
“You hear it all the time.
The more retail jobs you lose, the more competition there is for those jobs.”
Belskys office has had to close a handful of stores to make room for more staff.
“If you want to get more people working, you’ve got to take a harder look at your staffing levels and find more people that can be productive,” he tells the magazine.
But the industry is not without hope.
“There are some companies out there that are really doing some really great work in retailing and the rest of the economy,” says Michael Fogleman, CEO of the American Automobile Association.
Foglemans group has been lobbying for decades for more retail job opportunities, and has a strong track record.
In 2011, the group helped pass