The Vicious Cycle of Retail’s Decline

Springfield, OHIO—The Upper Valley Mall here used to be a place that drew in shoppers. Now it looks like a fortress designed to keep them out. The concrete façade of the empty department store looms large at one end, the letters that once spelled ‘JC Penney’ removed but their outline still present. A recently shuttered movie theater anchors the mall’s middle, its dark glass foreboding. And at the other end, an MC Sports store is draped in garish yellow and red signs that read “STORE CLOSING” and “EVERYTHING MUST GO.”

Inside the mall, the majority of the stores are empty, their gates locked. Only a few bother to put up “for lease” signs. In the past few years, this mall has lost JC Penney and Macy’s, American Eagle, Christopher & Banks, Rue21, Deb Shops, Vanity, and Kays, to name a few, according to Brenda LaBonte, the mall’s manager. The few that remain—a CVS, a Claire’s Boutique, and a Hot Topic—were empty on a recent weekday evening.

Scenes like this are playing out across America. As my colleague Derek Thompson has pointed out, the reasons for the decline of malls are multifold: People are buying more things online, developers built too many malls in the 1980s and 1990s, and consumers are now spending more on services and less on material goods.

But these changing in spending habits have big implications for the counties and towns that depend on retail for sales- and income-tax revenue. Many of the areas affected by retail closures have already weathered other departures: factories closing, young people departing for bigger cities, home values dropping. The constant departure of more retail stores is another blow. Counties in Ohio, for instance, get half of their budget from the sales tax that they levy on top of the state’s 5.75 percent rate, …read more

Source:: The Atlantic – Business

Utah Senate confirms appointment of 3 to GOED board

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Senate confirmed the appointment of three new members to the board of directors of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. They will be officially sworn in at the June 8 board meeting.

The new appointees are Carine Clark, a member of the Silicon Slopes executive board; Steve Neeleman, general surgeon and founder and vice chairman of HealthEquity; and Ted Wilson, former executive director of the Utah Clean Air Partnership and former mayor of Salt Lake City.

New board members replace Josh Romney, Jake Boyer and Sam Granato and will begin a four-year term ending in 2021. In addition to the new appointments, board members Margo Jacobs, Mel Lavitt and Peter Mouskondis were reappointed for another term.

The GOED Board of Directors serves as an advisory board, providing recommendations to the executive director regarding GOED’s incentives and grant programs, in addition to initiatives in marketing, workforce development and other relevant economic development matters.

…read more

Source:: Deseret News – Business News

How Trump’s proposed trade policies could impact Utah

SALT LAKE CITY — The Trump administration’s proposed changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement could have a significant impact on Utah’s economy, a local analyst says.

Last week, the Trump administration officially notified Congress of its plans to renegotiate NAFTA, but it offered only vague hints about any potential changes the president would pursue to the agreement. Trump has described the 23-year-old trade deal as “the worst trade deal ever.”

At the time of its implementation, the goal of NAFTA was to eliminate barriers to trade and investment between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. But, Trump has long said he wanted to scrap NAFTA and has begun the process to making at least some of the changes he promised on the campaign trail. However, what changes are still unknown, Derek Miller, CEO of World Trade Center Utah, said.

“We don’t know any of the details, any of the particular things that this administration wants to renegotiate,” he said. “They didn’t mention any of those things or specifics in their letter (to Congress).”

He said that when it’s comes down to it, the administration would probably make “some tweaks on the edges” of the deal in a way that may make minor differences rather than sweeping changes.

“I would be surprised if we saw significant changes to NAFTA primarily because there just isn’t time,” he said. Trade deals are complicated by the realities of politics, including elections in both America and Mexico, so any changes would be made with those issues in mind, he noted.

Broadly, Miller said forging a mutually beneficial trade relationship is something that will serve Utah well for decades to come. He also said revising NAFTA would likely be less time-consuming than scrapping the whole thing and starting from scratch — which would take much longer.

Trade deals like NAFTA have been …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Business News