The Death of Retail Stores - Is Amazon to Blame

Last Update: May 16, 2019

There are going to be a ton of people out of work in 2019 as the death of retail stores pick up steam. With a combined total of at least 6,616 retail stores closing across North America, it makes me wonder, is Amazon to blame?


Below is a list of 36 different retail stores that have either announced several store closings or have gone completely out of business. With the exception of a few that are just closing poor performing stores, most are closing down for the lack of sales.

The majority of us here at Wealthy Affiliate earn money though affiliate programs with various retail companies, in addition to many other forms of online marketing. And it is safe to say that many of us are affiliates of Amazon in their Associates Program.

After going to the website home page for each of the following stores, only 7 out of 36 had an affiliate program link Of those 7 stores, only 2 (Kmart and Sears) are sinking fast towards a total shutdown of both brands in North America.

Do you think affiliate marketing could have helped many of the stores on their way to death's doorstep? I guess we will never know, because it maybe too late for these stores to start with affiliate marketing now. But even if they did, would it really help?


Khols - 4 [Has an Affiliate Program]

Target - 6 [Has an Affiliate Program]

J. Crew - 7

Macy’s - 8

Lord & Taylor - 9

Z Gallerie - 17

Southeastern Grocers (Winn-Dixie, Bi-Lo, Harvey’s) - 22

Henri Bendel - 23 WENT OUT OF BUSINESS

Beauty Brands - 25 FILED FOR BANKRUPTCY IN 2019

JCPenney - 27

Christopher & Banks - 40 [Has an Affiliate Program]

Francesca’s - 40

Bed Bath & Beyond - 40

The Children’s Place - 45

Party City - 45 [Has an Affiliate Program]

CVS - 46

Kmart - 48 FILED FOR BANKRUPTCY IN 2018 [Has an Affiliate Program]

Lowe’s - 51 [Has an Affiliate Program]

Victoria’s Secret - 53

Destination Maternity - 67

Sears - 72 FILED FOR BANKRUPTCY IN 2018 [Has an Affiliate Program]

Performance Bicycle - 102

Pier 1 Imports - 145

Signet Jewelers (Kay, Jared & Zales Jewelers) - 150

Starbucks - 150

Freds - 159

LifeWay Christian Stores - 170

Ascena Retail Group (Ann Taylor, Loft, Dressbarn, Lane Bryant, Catherines, Justice) - 200

Things Remembered - 200

Gap - 230

Chico’s - 250

Shopko - 363

Family Dollar - 390




To read more detail into why these stores are closing and which ones are only downsizing or restructuring, read the following article about Chain Stores Closing in 2019.


As affiliate marketers we cannot deny that Amazon leads the way when it comes to affiliate programs. Many (not all) products being sold at other large online retailers like sports giant Fanatics, which has an affiliate program, can also be purchased on Amazon.

Amazon has diversified into so many markets that it is amazing just how big the company really is beyond just its online e-tailer website. Did you now that all of our websites and blogs here at WA are using Amazon Hosting through their Amazon Web Services?

Amazon is HUGE and Founder / CEO Jeff Bezos net worth is approximately 152.2 Billion Dollars, but he didn't get that wealthy through the online store of Amazon alone. Bezos also owns about a dozen other profitable companies, many which you probably use.

Have you ever used, bought or shopped at any of the following? IMDb (Internet Movie Database), Audible, Box Office Mojo, The Washington Post, Zappos, Goodreads, Twitch, ShopBop, and Whole Foods Market. He also owns Bezos Expeditions and Blue Origin.

One could actually wonder how much of an impact has the explosive growth of Amazon actually had on the slow demise of brick and mortar stores. I certainly do not blame it all on Amazon. Much of the fault belongs to the stores for not embracing the online marketplace.

Though all of those retain stores above had websites, many of them added their sites well after the internet age started. It was like they were thinking, 'we don't need to do that now. We'll get around to that later.' Like it was an after-thought.


We always look at these wealthy company owners and dream of becoming even a fraction of what they are worth. But guess what? All of these owners started out just like you, with very little money and a dream. Those that succeeded never quit, and it took them many years.

When you join Wealthy Affiliate you need to have the dream of learning how to build a business from scratch, apply what you learn, continue month after month to grow it, and scale it up year after year. Great wealth takes many years, so don't quit even after two years.

Always be a forward thinker. Do not have all of your money making streams of income coming from one source. Put in the time to build that first stream and when the time is right, build another stream, then another, and so on. This will take many years but you can do it.

Wealthy Affiliate makes it easy for us. Think about it, for only $49.00 per month you can have up to 25 different money making affiliate niche websites. You can take the knowledge you learn here and freelance your talents. Invest in yourself and get educated.

Jeff Bezos sure didn't become one of the richest men in the world for sticking to just the Amazon online retail website. He kept on re-investing in himself and kept opening more streams of income. Once he bought Whole Foods he expanded and created Amazon Fresh.

Diversifying is key to long term success and growth. Some of those stores above are doing the same thing, those that didn't are sinking or have already closed. There will always be brick and mortar stores but being part of the online marketplace is essential from the start.

We all have a GREAT OPPORTUNITY as members of Wealthy Affiliate because WA is our foundation to bigger and better things. The only obstacle you have to overcome is wanting to make a lot of money in a short period of time without devoting at least 8 hours a day.

I know Kyle and Carson didn't become success stories without working their butts off, and they are STILL working hard at keeping WA the best in the Affiliate Marketing Industry. Just like Jeff Bezos and all the other successful online entrepreneurs, they have not quit.

If you want to flourish in this online marketing world then you need to not quit EVER! Stop looking for that new shiny object of a quick fortune for little effort. Roll up your sleeves and get to building your online empire. Don't join the death of the retail stores. Make your business GREAT!

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NWTDennis Premium
I don't think Jeff Bezos has caused the death of the Brick & Mortar business model. I think they are a casualty of our rapidly changing society driven by technology. Jeff has smartly taken advantage of this.

I mean when was the last time you took half your day to go find a parking place at the mall to buy any thing when you can order the same thing online, probably for less $, and get it delivered to your door in 2 days. Not only that, if it turns out the item isn't what you want you can return it just as easily.

I think Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and maybe even Jeff Bezos started predicting this outcome a long time ago. As Bill Maher would say, "I don't know this for a fact, I just know it's true".

Most Millennials have never been to a mall. Again, as Bill Maher would say, "I don't know this for a fact, I just know it's true".
boomergp08 Premium
I fully agree Dennis. I am one of the roughly 51% of consumers that prefer to shop online instead of going to the mall. Even though I live in an area of the U.S. with the largest shopping experience (Paramus, NJ a 10.52 square miles borough 70% devoted to shopping), I prefer to shop online.

The convenience of online shopping is far better than fighting the crowds, finding a parking spot, standing on line, and not finding what you drove to the store to buy. Jeff Bezos was forward thinking when he learned of the potential the internet could bring to the shopping experience.

Though Amazon is the leading online retailer, they are not to blame for a lot of stores going out of business. Stores like Best Buy, Walmart and many others are thriving. Why? Because they adapted and have a robust online marketing experience in addition to their brick and mortar stores.

Of the 36 brick and mortar stores listed above ONLY 7 have affiliate programs and of the 7 only 2 are struggling to stay afloat. Had they embraced online marketing sooner, they may not be sinking but rather only downsizing. Amazon set the bar and those that adapt and reach for that bar are surviving.
Elijah1916 Premium
No, Amazon is only an online retailer. Stores were closing down because of the shift in peoples' preferences for online purchases rather than going to stores. This is the trend for the future, and that is why you and I are in WA to tap on the resources of this trend.
boomergp08 Premium
Yes, this is true. It is estimated that roughly 51% of consumers prefer to shop online. There will always be certain items you will need to go to the store for, but a majority of products can be purchased online.
HARALD1 Premium
It's amazing that with your interesting post, you make me think of something totally out of my mind until now. This motivates me to give a 180 degree turn and that, at my age, I have to change some of my projects. Thank you very much for your report it is really impressive. Congratulations!
boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome. We all have to make changes because it is inevitable.
HARALD1 Premium
Thank you very much for your valuable report, you are absolutely right, let's keep in touch.
DayOneIsNow Premium
Isn't it wonderful! This is proof that what we are doing is filling a need that is probably growing much faster than affiliates are being trained. We need to step up the game into really getting new affiliates trained ASAP because I do not want to make money while simply getting someone to buy a pair of ferret fur socks! Sounds nasty but they exist!

It's a shame that so many people will be out of work but that is the way the ball bounces. I am sure that most of us here at WA were in a similar position at some point of our lives where we expected a certain amount in our checks and as always, KAPLUNK! $100 shy of what was needed.

I will really miss those stores, not payless, never really liked the quality, but Sears, and so many others were a part of my childhood.

Let's keep it going because we are in great times to be part of WA. and can't wait till they hit 5 million people!
boomergp08 Premium
Yes. We here at WA are taking part in the shopping experience for the foreseeable future. Online affiliate marketing is booming! It is expected to reach 6.8 BILLION DOLLARS in sales by 2020. So we here are definitely in the right place and learning/building the right business at the right time.
VMcBeeInc Premium
I am an absolute fan of all expressions of innovation. Amazon is a pioneer in its approach to the sky mall concept and has revolutionized the awareness and access to millions of different products that we may not have ever been aware of. Change is inevitable and it is the stimulus of creativity. My hats into the air for Amazon. Each and every one us has an "Amazon" idea deep inside of us waiting to be nurtured into $150 billion dollar maturity. All of those companies had the opportunity to invest in the same research and many before Amazon was ever popular. The world belongs to the next big idea.
boomergp08 Premium
I agree. Jeff Bezos realized early on how the internet could change the shopping habits of people. He chose the name Amazon because he was going to make his future company as big and long as the Amazon River.

Retail stores like Best Buy, Walmart, Target and many others that have fully embraced that same online marketing model are doing quite well. The stores that didn't think online marketing was important are the ones having problems.
Raquel14 Premium
Great post. I used to buy online, but sad 😔 to know that many retail stores are now suffering from the new trend of online shopping. But, I think it will not come to the end of the retail stores. Still, many people want to go shopping when they physically see the product.
boomergp08 Premium
Online shopping is now preferred by a little more than 50% of all consumers, but the retail stores will still be around for many more years. Only the stores that have not adapted and made online shopping part of their marketing strategy, will suffer. Those that have will remain viable.
Swangirl Premium
Great points. I have been wondering about this for awhile now. At first I felt a little guilty becoming an Amazon Associate but Amazon is giving many, many small businesses an advantage. There are so many entrepreneurs who sell their products on Amazon as well as us associates out there. It is not as if no one but Jeff Bezos is benefiting from the success of Amazon. I also love that Amazon has successfully competed with Wal-Mart which I really don't like. Maybe that is hypocritical but it seems to me that Amazon is benefiting more small business people than Wal-Mart does. Amazon will even pay back the start-up costs to veterans if they start an Amazon delivery business in their communities.

I know Amazon is far from perfect but I have to say I have had nothing but success with them as an Associate. They get a bad rap but their rules are there for a reason and are very logical. The rules are plainly stated when you sign up and it is not their fault that people don't bother to read them. You have to check the box stating you read the rules so if you don't bother to, then that is on you.

Thanks for this motivation to work like Bezos and build a great business! I appreciate the list of other stores with affiliate programs as well.

boomergp08 Premium
You shouldn't feel guilty for being an Amazon Associate. It is a great way to get your own small business off the ground. I started as an associate but later switched to higher paying affiliate programs. It all depends on your niche.

When it come to affiliate marketing Amazon is a really big player, but Walmart is doing just as well because of Amazon. Amazon sets the bar and the others are trying to keep up. Walmart stores and their affiliate program are doing great.

Like I had commented below, when it comes to consumer electronics I will choose the Best Buy website and affiliate program over Amazon any day of the week. They are so much better in user experience and commissions.

I also like the Best Buy feature where you can buy any of their products online and have it ready for pick up at any of your local Best Buy stores. I equate them as the Amazon of consumer electronics. They are fantastic.

The benefit of being an Amazon associate is when people bundle the products they buy. This increases the amount of commission and Amazon is known for getting consumers to bundle their orders. This is why I recommend that members also affiliate with Amazon in addition to other higher paying programs.
Swangirl Premium
Yes. I get many sales of items that are unrelated to my niche. I prefer Amazon over other programs because I can get so many additional and unrelated sales as well. It helps that my primary niche is in the 8% commission bracket there too. I prefer to stick to Amazon but I know I shouldn't have all my eggs in one basket so I try to diversify.
boomergp08 Premium
There are a ton of other affiliate programs that will pay you for the purchase of other items not related to your niche. As long as your website reader enters their site via your affiliate link, you will still get the commission. Bundling is not exclusive to Amazon.
gartnerf Premium
Yes, I have always wondered what will happen to the brick and mortar stores now that fast Internet and mega-stores like Amazon are now a powerful force. Some of the stores have adapted with an online presence, but were they are day late and a dollar short on that move? Have many tried to funnel some of their business through Amazon (and the like) to increase presence and sales?

I grew up with many of the staple brick and mortar stores and miss having time and money to shop them now. I am guilty of using Amazon and other mega-stores to shop for items at my convenience (usually at night when others are closed). Along with Prime shipping and related benefits it becomes a sweet deal, hard to resist. The "bundling" effect is also a deal maker too, especially with Prime.

If "we" (collectively all humans) stop using the brick and mortar stores to purchase our products then financially they simply cannot continue to operate, hence closing stores or even their entire operation. There is a lot of mixed emotions, from the loss of an institution, to the loss of family time going shopping together, to the loss of work for communities of people. A lot to ponder quickly if we don't want to see a total shopping experience rollover...

Thanks for bringing this to light!
boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome. It is a topic of mixed emotions. Though I too mostly shop online, there will still be certain items I will need to go to a store to buy like certain types of clothing and furniture.

The convenience of shopping online is a good thing in my opinion. Nowadays there are many people who just have problems getting around and having to wait for assistance can be a hassle.

But even though it is convenient to shop online, I still feel that the brick and mortar stores can and will survive, if they adapt to the changing shopping landscape. Those that have are doing just fine.

When it comes to consumer electronics, the Best Buy website is my favorite over Amazon any day of the week. The user experience is great, they have a better affiliate program than Amazon, and their brick and mortar stores are doing GREAT!

They are one of many big retailers like Target, Walmart,... that have embraced the change to online shopping. This in turn has not only increased their sales but also traffic to their stores.
KC1953 Premium
Great article. When are the changing the name of the country from USA to USB, United Stores of Bezos?
Cherry21 Premium

It's coming soon. LOL!!!!
boomergp08 Premium
bazboy247 Premium
Amazon is not to blame , the blame is with business who do not adapt. There has been warning after warning about increasing online shopping

In business the rules are simple

Adapt or die

boomergp08 Premium
Exactly. Like I said in the post above, many of the stores that are shrinking didn't take advantage of online shopping soon enough. They had seen it as not as important.

But those who made their online shopping experience part of their over all marketing strategy from the beginning are doing quite well.
MichelleR4 Premium
If there wasn't and "online" to shop online, there would be no Amazon. The internet has contributed to many industries going belly up. I came from the yellow pages industry. Look what happened there!! We can purchase everything online now. Do we feel guilty and try to bring back the good old days of heading to the store with 4 kids in tow or let them play outside while we drink a cup of coffee and have the groceries delivered??
boomergp08 Premium
Change is inevitable and we all must embrace change whether we like it or not. Most change is for the better and some people can take too far.

But I am one of the 51% of consumers that would rather shop online than actually going to the store and have to deal with the crowds.

There will always be some things you should go to the store for, but for many items, using my computer (which I bought online) is the way to go for me.
Cherry21 Premium
Amazon may not be the cause totally, but they play apart. The brick and mortar store are dying because of "us". "Us" being people in general. It is convenient to stay at home and order on-line from your arm chair.

Groceries store could be next. If, they could figure out how to get the product to people without out the store.

I knew everything was over when fans started to come with remote controls.

My emotions are tied to some of these stores because I grew up with them. Sears & JcPenny's are America companies that were all those rage in the 70's & 80's. I grew with these stores. Shopped for school clothes and birthday and Christmas gifts at these stores.
I see my own personal foundation changing and it is sad.

Online shopping is wonderful, this is what I am making my future on, but society is going to suffer due to less and less human contact.

Just saying...
TDomena Premium
I love how you've explained your view. I'm hoping it's not less human contact, but just different. I use grocery pick up and delivery where I don't go in the store. I also shop online.

The interaction is different in those cases. I talk to people when they come to my house rather than going and standing in lines. You could be right though. I hope it won't mean less interaction.
Cherry21 Premium
Even if, we couple Skype or Face time our way through. The loss of actual human contact is not good. We need to be able to be near other humans, Its they way we are made.

You know the old saying: Too much of anything is not good.
Balance, is whats needed.

Thank you for commenting on my comment. Be Blessed.
TDomena Premium
You're right. I still go out to be involved in the community for other things, so maybe that's why I don't feel like I'm lacking that at this point. I think our hopes are the same though: we don't want to lose the interaction in exchange for convenience.
boomergp08 Premium
I agree Cheryl. Amazon is not fully to blame. They saw the opportunity that the internet could provide for a better and more efficient way to shop. Not only did they seize that opportunity but they took to a higher level.

But I too have lots of memories to some of these stores. I grew up and live within 10 miles of the largest shopping mecca in the U.S. known as Paramus, NJ. About 70% of this borough is nothing but shopping, home to 4 indoor malls within 3 square miles.

Though I used to go to all four of these malls, I now prefer to shop online for most things because I do not have to deal with the crowds, the lines, the traffic, and the parking. It is a matter of convenience to shop online. You can even buy a car online.

But it is kind of sad to see some of these stores I used to go into file for bankruptcy and go out of business. I was just discussing the other day some of the stores from when I was a kid (Gimbels, Two Guys, Caldor, Bradlees) that have long been gone,

Unfortunately there are going to be a lot of people on the unemployment line, many who are baby boomers and not ready (or willing) to start over again. Perhaps something like WA would have been a good decision for them, had they started sooner.

Online shopping is here to stay and the stores that are following Amazon's lead are doing great. Those that do not have online marketing in their business plans will suffer eventually in my opinion, because you need to reach a broader audience.
boomergp08 Premium
Two of the most popular supermarkets in the NYC/NJ area of the U.S. are Stop & Shop and ShopRite. Both of these stores are thriving and both offer grocery pick up and delivery. Also Whole Foods offer Amazon Fresh for delivery.

I personally have never used this service but I can see it being a very popular service for those who do not drive and/or people who have mobility issues with no immediate aid to do the shopping.
Cherry21 Premium
I do hear you. But it still sucks to see somethings go. Your was really good.
boomergp08 Premium
All things at some point must come to an end. Change is inevitable.
AlanJE Premium
A very informative and thoughtful post, Rob, thanks for sharing Alan
boomergp08 Premium
It was my pleasure to share this Alan. I see it as a sign of the times in the world of shopping.
ColleenLVSJC Premium
Great post, Rob! You are spot on again. It's sad to see the demise of the brick and mortar businesses, b/c I prefer to see and try some of the items that I want to buy. To me that beats shipping stuff back any day!

Also, it's sad to see retail stores closing b/c I know that there will likely be older employees in those brick and mortar businesses who are losing their jobs. It may be more difficult for them to find other work where they earn the same level of income and have comparable benefits to what they have now. I've already been hearing about that side of the brick and mortar demise.

Amazon has certainly changed the retail world more than Walmart, but now Walmart and others are jumping into the online race. Should be interesting and even more profitable for affiliate marketing. I know that Kyle & Carson will keep a step ahead of what's happening so we can be ready to take advantage of the latest trends.

Thanks for another great post! :)

boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome Colleen. Though a little over 50% of consumers prefer to shop online, the remaining prefer to go into a store to actually interact with the product prior to purchasing it. And there will always be that benefit of trying something out before making a purchase.

I have complete faith in Kyle and Carson keeping the WA ship cruising at full steam and smoothly through the ever-changing online marketing waters. That's the advantage of having owners who are not just in this to make a quick buck.

But yes, Amazon did certainly change the retail landscape. Many brick and mortar stores that have followed their lead are doing well. Though Walmart is only one of many big name retailers copying the Amazon model, there are many smaller companies doing the same.
OSegun Premium
Refreshingly educative. Thank you. Wish you all the best.
boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome Segun. I am happy you enjoyed reading my post.
MKearns Premium
Amazon may not be to blame but they might be the solution as a marketing alternative!
boomergp08 Premium
I agree Michael. They opened the door to a new way of commerce through online marketing. Those store brands who embraced that new market are doing well.
dragonfly10 Premium
Great information, thanks. Many of these brick and mortar stores have closed in our area of Eastern Wa. In the closest major city in my home area, we are down to one book store! It seems Amazon did put the nail in there coffin.
boomergp08 Premium
It's sort of funny that many people do not realize that Amazon started out selling only books. But since they have diversified into so many other markets it gave some room for companies like Barnes & Nobles to be the dominant book store. But for how long?
Brenda63 Premium
Good point. However, Amazon Affiliate reduced their commissions for their affiliates. We are fortunate to have WA. I went to a local mall a few weeks ago and many stores are closing. Payless Shoes is one of them. Should we blame Amazon? They are the ones that started the e-commerce idea selling books at first then they branches out. Now those brick and mortar stores are closing their locations as the cost of renting goes up. Option is to do e commerce online, better profit margins. Now Walmart is copying Amazon for the next day shipping for their online sales. We shall not quit.
boomergp08 Premium
Amazon may have been one of the first to start the whole e-commerce trend but that was great forward thinking on the part of Bezos. The internet was still very young and he took advantage of this new way of commerce.

It reminds me of the days when Sears had a very big and popular catalog. Mail Order was the way to go before the internet came along. Now the internet retail websites are like today's version of the catalog, but offering more information and quicker interaction.

More than 50% of consumers prefer to shop online, and not just at Amazon. Stores like Target, Best Buy, Walmart and many others are doing well because they have great websites. Plus they all have affiliate programs which help to drive more traffic to them.

Online shopping is here to stay and the brick and mortar stores that adapt to this way of commerce will survive. Those that don't adapt will eventually go under. Each year since 2015, more retail stores, especially in malls, are filing for bankruptcy.
Swangirl Premium
I am really lucky my products are still in the 8% commission bracket with Amazon. They could lower it at any time though.