2017 was another year of economic growth with some record milestones. The U.S. continued to add jobs last year, although the pace of job growth has slowed as the economy reaches full employment. In the last three months of 2017, the U.S. unemployment rate held steady at just 4.1%— the lowest rate since the end of 2000. Wages have grown for three consecutive years and continue to trend upward. Consumer spending has increased, and consumer confidence hit a 17-year high in November and is expected to remain at historically high levels through 2018. Retail sales also increased in 2017, and indicators point to a successful holiday shopping season. While the final holiday retail sales figures are still being tallied, they reached a record $598 billion from November 1 to December 24, 2017—a $33 billion increase from the same period in 2016.
Despite all that positive economic news, the headlines about a “retail apocalypse” persisted throughout the year, fueled by a record number of store closures. Cushman & Wakefield tracked nearly 9,000 major chain store closures in 2017. That is more than double the number of closures in 2016 and even more than the number of closures in 2008 which was the worst year on record during the Great Recession. According to data from PNC Bank, there were 36 major retail bankruptcies in 2017, nearly matching the record 37 bankruptcies in 2009. The 2017 figure is an increase from the 26 bankruptcies in 2016 and the 22 in 2015.
Source : Cushman & Wakefield