David Tulis Sarah Cook uses voice commands to communicate with a Google Glass wearable computer headset during a demonstration at Puritan Mill in 2014, in Atlanta. Similar technology could radically revamp retail. David Tulis / AJC Special
The chaos in retail has meant thousands of store closings, but an expected hemorrhaging of jobs has not come to pass – yet.
Experts say it is coming: a dramatic shift in consumer habits and the burgeoning growth of online retailers – along with overly enthusiastic expansions of manty brick-and-mortar stores – will likely mean the sector will be roiled by radical change over the next few years.
Those changes have spurred the announcement of 6,800 store closings in this year alone, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., a global outplacement and executive coaching firm that tracks labor force trends.
About 1,000 of those shuttered outlets were Radio Shacks, which filed for bankruptcy. The chain had at least 17 stores in metro Atlanta. Others had less of a presence, like HH Gregg which had three stores in the area. And some companies, some iconic names like Macy’s and Lowe’s, did not close, but are trimming jobs to cut costs in an effort to prosper.
It’s hard to pin down exactly how many jobs have been shed so far – and in fact, it may be that the sector’s employment has not fallen.
But clearly, the economic stakes are substantial. Nearly 180,000 people in Georgia work in retail, part…