J.C. Penney, Sears and Kmart Store Closings the Latest Casualty as Amazon Continues to Dominate Retail Sphere

 News outlets are taking notice of J.C. Penney, but locally-owned small businesses – the proverbial “canary in the coal mine” have been dealing with everything from big box stores to e-commerce. In the wake of 138 store closings announced by J.C. Penney plus another 150 Sears and Kmarts — most in small cities — national retailers are now feeling the pinch too. The Institute for Local Self Reliance and Local First Arizona are calling on the nation to shift a portion of their shopping from online retailers like Amazon to locally owned or national retailers in their communities.

/EIN News/ — According to ILSR, Amazon, the rapidly expanding company founded by Jeff Bezos in 1995, is undermining competition and reshaping the U.S. economy in ways that curtail opportunities for small businesses, reduce jobs and wages, limit product diversity and the choices available to consumers, and harm the economic and fiscal underpinnings of communities, according to a report produced by ILSR.

The report, Amazon’s Stranglehold: How the Company’s Tightening Grip is Stifling Competition, Eroding Jobs, and Threatening Communities, presents new data; draws on interviews with dozens of manufacturers, retailers, labor experts, and others; and synthesizes a broad body of previous reporting and scholarship. The report can be downloaded for free at http://ilsr.org/amazon-stranglehold.

Among report findings:

  • 55 percent of online shoppers use Amazon to search instead of Google or other search engine
  • The number of local, independent retail businesses in the U.S. fell by 108,000—a drop of 40 percent when measured relative to population over the last 15 years
  • In 2015 Amazon employed 145,800 people; displaced 294,574 brick-and-mortar jobs; and created a net loss of 148,774 jobs

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) is a 42-year-old national nonprofit research and educational organization. ILSR’s mission is to provide innovative strategies, working models and timely information to support strong, community rooted, environmentally sound and equitable local economies. For more information about ILSR, visit www.ilsr.org.

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