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Social Media Killed the Retail Store: How Millennials Have Changed Our Shopping Habits

Dressbarn parent Ascena Retail Group said Monday it would put the troubled brand out of business, with plans to shutter its roughly 650 stores — but it’s by far not the only casualty this year. Brands including Charlotte Russe and Payless ShoeSource have also shuttered stores, and even mall mainstays like Victoria’s Secret and the Gap have pulled back.

“Dressbarn is an example of a retailer that had too many locations. Also, their stores were poorly located in lower-tier shopping centers where traffic and spending has declined severely,” said Lizabeth Dunn, founder and chief executive officer of retail consulting firm Pro4ma. “Ascena failed to invest in the brand and when they made efforts to evolve in the last few years, it was too late.”

Retail analysts say these brands have many of the same challenges facing department stores today. On Tuesday, Kohl’s and JCPenney reported first-quarter earnings that disappointed investors.

Amazon is the elephant in the room. “Amazon certainly spurred a newfound way to shop, essentially, which is easier for consumers,” said Steve Marotta, managing director of equity research at CL King & Associates. “They need to make fewer trips to the stores and, in doing so, has made it very difficult for secondary and tertiary retail brands to prosper…” NBC News

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