The seismic aftershocks of towering inflation and increasing costs in America continue, as yet another brand name tumbles into retreat. Macy’s, an apparatus of American retail, fortifies the roll call of chain stores going dark in 2024. Blame is placed on ballooning costs, sagging profits, and a scarred economic terrain arising from precarious policies adopted since 2021.
Born from a continuous wave of high inflation since 2023, a string of well established retail giants, fast food chains, and pharmacies started to crumble under the fiscal strain. Among those who yielded were Tuesday Morning, Christmas Tree Shops, and David’s Bridal, with tens of thousands of pleas for work silenced in their wake.
The behemoth of retail, Sears, is now a mere speck in the landscape, its presence reduced to 12 operational stores from a towering 700. Foot Locker, the veteran of athletic retailers, pledging to tear down 400 store banners across North America by 2026. Likewise, pharmacies CVS and Walgreens brace for tough times, with cost trimming measures pruned off 900 and 450 store branches respectively.
The culled growth spread to the hot food sectors as well, with Pizza Hut and Boston Market snuffing out their presence in many states. Imperiling their reputation however, Boston Market’s faced legal hits for failing to meet wage commitments in New Jersey, Arizona, and Massachusetts.
Starting the new year, Macy’s drops the bombshell of closing five of its stores nationwide, leaving 2,350 employees bereft of their livelihoods, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. Macy’s outgoing CEO, Jeff Gennette, lamented on the ongoing fiscal pressure his company faces in a relinquishing memo.
One cannot sidestep the elephant in the room – a turbulent tide of inflation and freewheeling prices of goods and services, brought forth by the legacy of President Biden’s administration that took over in January 2021. This surge, which tumble aboard four decades of record-breaking highs, serves as a feeding ground for the collapse of wages and an upswing in familial fiscal stress, as per The Heritage Foundation’s “Biden Inflation Tracker”.
In just two years under Biden’s reign, from January 2021 to November 2023, tangible financial bruises emerged. Real disposables, homeownership, and savings perished by 7.5%, 37%, and 81% respectively to the onslaught of inflation, while a roping debt chain of credit card bills swelled by over 36%. Consumer and gas prices whistled beyond their usual limits by 17% and a jarring 50%.
Contrary to recession prognosticaters, the economy lumbered forth in 2023. The Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes, congressional overspending combined with other sparks ignited an inflationary torch that gobbled up $1.7 trillion in just one fiscal year, and shoved the national debt over the treacherous $34 trillion line for the first in American history.
As these convoluted fiscal tangles unfold under President Biden’s watch, whose job approval languishes at 39% – we must herald an unwelcome truth: inflation sinks ships, and America’s retail giants and small businesses alike have foundered upon these jagged financial shores. Having lost thousands of jobs and witnessing an economic slowdown, Americans will bear the brunt of these inflationary impacts. The year 2024 delineates itself as a definitive timeline – a poignant beacon spotlighting the direct consequences of fiscal decisions, economic outlook, and policy implications.