The growing sales share of big box stores

In recent years, big box stores have increased their share of overall retail sales:

In the past two decades, the share of sales going to the top general merchandise stores has soared from 47 percent annually to 73 percent, according to an analysis of census data by University of Oregon sociologist John Bellamy Foster and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign communications professor Robert McChesney…

“In pretty much every category, you’ll see that the biggest guys are a lot bigger today than they were 10 years or 20 years ago,” said Lawrence Ring, business professor at the College of William & Mary in Virginia.

The implications of retail consolidation are varied: lower prices for consumers, but also less energetic hiring of workers and a more streamlined economy overall…

Whatever the big stores are doing has been working: Walmart’s U.S. sales last year were $308 billion. Target’s were $78 billion; Costco’s, $59 billion; Sears, $35 billion; Macy’s, $25 billion; Kohl’s, $18 billion; and J.C. Penney, $18 billion.

More points of evidence in a long-running discussion about the value of big box stores in the United States.

Another way you can tell how powerful these stores are: how many communities will turn them down if a big box store wants to open in the community and provide jobs plus tax revenues?

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