Shift in shopping closes down big-name retailers, affects Louisianans

Shift in shopping closes down big-name retailers, effects Louisianans
Published: Mar. 19, 2018 at 12:49 AM CDT|Updated: Mar. 19, 2018 at 8:01 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - They used to be retail giants. Now, more and more big box businesses, even grocery stores are closing their doors thanks to shoppers opting for convenience in the age of the Internet. While the affects are nationwide, economic experts say some here in Louisiana will feel it more than others.

Macy's...Toys R' Us...Winn-Dixie. One by one, longtime retail giants are shuttering their stores, or closing down altogether.

"I think what you see are a lot of department stores closing at an alarming rate," said Certified Public Accountant Kemberley Washington.

It's no secret online sales have played a big role.

"Online shopping has increased to 10-percent in the couple, past years. In the early 2000's, it was only at two-percent and five-percent. So, it's drastically changing," said Washington. "Many of us are online all day long, if it's not our smart phones, it's in front of our desk so, it's just convenience."

Washington says the ones that recognize that are making it.

Places like Walmart and Target are amplifying their online presence. Grocery stores like Rouse's are now competing with Amazon.

"Many stores are now understanding the needs of their consumers and they're saying, 'now I'm going to offer some sort of online opportunity for individuals to go online, pick out their groceries and come into the store and just pick them up,'" Washington explained.

She says the shopping shift also means a shift in employment.

"Now, you don't have the cashiers needed as much anymore because now people are able to check out on their own," said Washington. "Your mom or your sister, your family or friends, they're no longer with those types of jobs anymore."

Washington says, while employment rates may remain steady, department store jobs are declining. This, as online retailers, like Amazon, are hiring.

"Here in the New Orleans area, where there's not a big Amazon, where there's not a big distribution center, it could really impact someone's personal economy," Washington said.

Lawmakers have combated large-scale impacts on the economy, due to online shopping, by requiring consumers to pay state and local sales tax.

According to Louisiana's website, the Consumer Use Tax protects state businesses from unfair out-of-state competition since online retailers don't collect sales tax.

The tax is calculated at a rate of nine- percent. That includes five-percent state and four-percent local.Copyright 2018 WVUE. All rights reserved.