Retail stores struggle to survive among online shopping

Sam Patterson, Reporter

You’ve probably heard the news. The Boston Store at the Brookfield Square Mall is closing. Let’s be honest though, when was the last time you went to Boston Store? You probably haven’t been to a retail store for a while, so where did you shop instead? Online. In a world where consumers crave quick and easy online markets, it can be declared that stores in the retail industry will die out and cannot be recovered unless paired with an online presence.

Let’s focus on Boston Store for a minute. Several locations in Wisconsin are being affected, and according to, over 2,255 employees will lose their jobs. The parent company of Boston Store, Bon-Ton, decided to close down twelve locations due to the inability to find investors. According to Journal Sentinel, the retail company lost $63.4 million dollars in 2016, and in 2017, they had stocks worth less than a dollar per share.

Many people associated with the store are choosing to accept the change in shopping culture. Jerry O’Brien, the executive director of the Kohl’s Center for Retaining Excellence said in an April 18th interview with the Wisconsin State Journal, “Retail is in a state of disruption right now and the role of the department store has changed.” Frequent Boston Store shopper, Lynne Roy, expresses both sorrow and understanding in an April 19th interview, saying, “It is the end of an era. It is sad on many levels.”

Right now, you might feel bad for the closing stores, but you can’t deny that times are changing. Most people in the digital age are shopping online for their clothing and accessories because of the speedy delivery and the convenience online stores provide. Take Amazon, for example, a popular online store. From their launch in 1998, Amazon has had a stock share increase of $1,600 dollars, a massive jump for only twenty years! Sites like Amazon, Craigslist, and Ebay aren’t the only ones taking advantage of the online shopping craze. Other popular department stores, such as Nordstrom, have both a physical and online shopping presence.

Business Insider shows that accounted for over 25% of the company’s total sales in 2016, equal to around $844 million dollars per quarter. However, it’s not like the teens of this generation aren’t picky about what they buy. Many teens enjoy the mix of online and in-store shopping. Brookfield Central Freshman Pranneil, responds to the question of “Do you mainly shop for items at stores or online?” by saying, “I shop for clothes at stores so I can see, feel, and try things on. I shop for pretty much everything else online because there’s a much broader selection and usually more money to be be saved. Buying online is also more convenient.” So it’s obvious that shopping styles can vary, but convenience is something consumers look for, and online stores deal this out the best.

In the end, the next generation wants the fastest and most convenient method of buying their stuff. As retail stores like Boston Store begin to close, no one will head over to the mall and boost their sales back up, allowing them to simply wither away and die. However, there is a ray of hope for retail stores. A productive online site paired with the department store itself can draw in huge amounts of profit. So while the stores themselves may begin to wither away, retail companies can still find a way to adapt.