Every day it seems another retail chain announces that they are closing multiple stores. Some are so unexpected. Those of us that reside in medium to small towns, the impact is scary.

The list keeps growing

Abercrombie & Fitch have announced they are closing 60 stores, this one actually does not surprise me, the popularity of their clothes has waned in the past few years. Crocs are closing 160 stores, the shocker here is I didn't know there was a free standing store just to sell crocs, and Crocs are being pushed out by all of the cheap knock-offs that you can buy everywhere.

Unfortunately, chef Mario Batali's love of these shoes can't keep the stores open. Jc Penney has announced closing 130 to 140 stores, thankfully my local store missed the list. Vanity a mall staple in the Midwest is closing all of their stores. Cherry Berry frozen yogurt store has closed, I will admit this is my local store, and the cold Minnesota winters, do make it difficult to sell frozen treats. Sears has announced another round of closing that includes K-mart and Sears, after closing many stores in the last few years.

Is online shopping the culprit?

The ability to search for an item and immediately compare prices is the main reasons that shoppers are hitting their laptops, tablets, and smartphones to browse.

Sitting on my couch in my pajamas is much more appealing then circling the mall for a parking spot, and fighting crowds. Factor in Amazon prime, with its low prices and 2-day shipping, as well as Wal-mart rolling out their new 2-day free shipping without a membership service, even more people going online instead of going to the traditional brick and mortar shops.

Can stores be saved?

Yes they can. Retailors need to re-invent themselves, by making the experience of shopping at their stores unique and different. Consumers are driven by convenience as well, the ability to go to a store website, pick put your items, and pick them up at the store bagged and ready to go. Some of the major drug stores have been doing this for a while with great success, and now some are adding drive-thru pick-up. Bottom line is to keep changing things up, to keep things fresh.