America’s long-standing love affair with shopping at malls and department stores may be nearing an end.
“The traditional mall as we know it is doomed,” said according to Greg Portell, a retail consultant at A.T. Kearney. “When was the last time a mall closed that people missed, other than people the people who worked there?”
And retail workers are taking a huge hit.
Between 2001 and 2016, jobs at traditional department stores fell 46%, according to Labor Department data.
That’s a much steeper drop than other troubled industries. For example, coal mining jobs dropped 32% during the same 15 years. Factory employment fell 25%.
About 60% of department store employees are female, compared to 47% of workers overall. Minorities, the elderly and teenagers are also far more likely to find jobs in department and discount stores than they are elsewhere. Teenagers hold 8% of department store jobs, compared to 3% of jobs overall.
“For the young, it’s a rite of passage in learning how to work, how to deal with customers,” said Amanda Nicholson, professor…