This is a generational realignment in the way consumers spend their discretionary dollars, and the ramifications and economic dislocations are going to last for decades.This year alone there will be several thousand store closings. Hold aside for a moment the debacle that is Sears/Kmart -- that has as much to do with complex financial engineering as anything else -- and consider the ongoing changes in retail sales trends. Many factors are driving weakness in U.S. retailing:
The Bloomberg article written by Barry Ritholtz has lots more. Click on the headline above.
Personally I think he's sugar coating. We really won't have any uses for these storefronts at any price. Unlike the old mills of New England they won't last long enough to find new purpose.
Edit: Added this cartoon.