Hearne: Dollar Store Dominance Decimates Dignity

Don’t let your lying eyes fool ya… 

Seems like everywhere you turn in Johnson County and other snooty, upscale urban enclaves, that strip malls and trendy retailers are sprouting up willy nilly. They can’t build ’em fast enough.

The flip side of that equation: brick and mortar retailers nationwide are dropping like flies – dying off so fast the obituaries are being written prior to their actual dirt naps taking place.

Go figure.

Seriously, does anyone out there really expect to be hitting the blue light specials at K-Mart in 2019? Or even 2018?

Same for Sears that sold of its vaunted Craftsman tool line this past year, ostensibly to keep what’s left of the ship of state afloat.

Department stores like Macy’s and Dillards have been hanging on for dear life for decades. Every time I go in one I feel like I’ve crossed over into a time warp back to the 1970s or ’80s.

Now even trendy retailers like Target have begun to hemorrhage red ink.

“Target shows progress, but turnaround still has a way to go,” reads a recent CNBC headline.

JC Penney?

The venerable retailer can’t close its stores fast enough.

It’s oldest store in its original location in Pendleton, Oregon just announced it would close, along with the one in Lawrence and 136 other Penney stores around the country.

Sporting goods stores have become an endangered species with chains such as MC Sports joining retailers like Sports Authority and Golfsmith that have already gone down the tubes.

All of this and much, much more during an arguably healthy economy. 

Is nothing sacred?

Actually the answer is a resounding yes.

I have met the future – you have too – and it’s dollar stores.

Never gave it much though before, but it’s getting harder and harder not to notice ’em – they’re everywhere!

Dollar General, Family Dollar, Dollar Tree, Everything’s a Dollar, Dollar Stop, Dollar Outlet – even Dollar Panties for crying out loud.

You heard me.

Looking for a gray with white polka dot and purple lace trim bikini panty? Forget the $7.99 list price; try two bucks!

How about a $5.99 list price neon day glow fluorescent yellow low rise lace boy short for a measly buck?

Because when it comes to dollar stores, it’s a brave new world.

“I go there to get deals,” says Topeka office worker Stephanie. “I always buy my laundry soap at at Dollar General and there’s an Everything’s a Dollar store I go to to buy chicken and beef broth because you can get a big container for $1. And like at Aldi’s it’s $1.69 or $1.79. I’m one of those girls who goes to different stores to save money.”

Curious why Kansas City greeting card behemoth Hallmark Cards keeps closing stores and laying everybody off?

“The greeting cards at Dollar Tree are 50 cents each or two for a dollar,” Stephanie explains.

You may get free shipping at hallmark.com but be prepared to choke out three to six bills or more per card.

So while the pink slips are falling like rain at conventional retailers, Dollar General recently announced it would create 10,000 new jobs this year.

“I’m addicted to Dollar General’s black cherry sparkling water,” says retiree Mary Shivers. “I think one time I was taking some medicine and I needed something to take it with and I stopped in there .”

The flip side of Shiver’s dollar store addiction:

“It can be scary going into Dollar General,” she says. “Have you ever been in one? One time a guy was trying to back his car over the clerk because she was taking picture of his license plate because he had shoplifted. That water’s worth it, but the people that are in there are the dregs of society.”


The thing is, when the dust settles, hulking centers like Indian Springs and Metcalf South will probably either getting pancaked or turned into ghost malls.  That or developers and cities like Overland Park will throw good money after bad to reinvent them so they can again in 10 or 20 years.

All the while as consumers stumble from one cheesy buck bunker to another in search of cheap greetings, bargain dryer sheets and generic flavored waters.

What a country!



This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Hearne: Dollar Store Dominance Decimates Dignity

  1. Guy Who Says What Others Think says:

    Places like Dollar General and Family Dollar have dominated small town America for a LONG time. The town I grew up in (population 2500) has both stores, and both are thriving. As usual, it takes the major metro areas a while to catch up to the blue collar common sense of small town America. The proliferation of online shopping is the main reason big box retailers are going the way of the do-do bird.

  2. Phaedrus says:

    Target earned $2.7 Billion last year. That’s not quite the same as “hemmorrhaging red ink”. Makes for a good story though.

    • admin says:

      Target is not being described in the business press as in a turnaround mode, has struggling with its grocery division and has suffered a 30 percent hit to its stock price for nothing, wild man.

      Try looking out the windshield instead of the rear view mirror.

      • admin says:

        Here’s how CNN Money described Target earlier this year:

        “Tar-jay is no longer in style.
        Target missed the bullseye badly during the holidays, reporting earnings that were below forecasts. And the company’s outlook for this year was much worse than expected, sending the stock down 13% in early trading. Shares are down 20% this year.
        The terrible numbers from Target (TGT) are just another sign of how tough it is for traditional retailers to compete against the online juggernaut that is Amazon (AMZN, Tech30).”

  3. e.h. says:

    I was talking to a friend the other day and we talked about when/where it all started to go wrong in the U.S. We both came to the realization(conclusion?) it started downhill around 2000. We both agreed the Internet and big corporations honing their diabolical skills were 2 of the primary causes.

    We then agreed that the huge banking/housing market scam that led up to the 2008 economical collapse was really the final nail in the coffin. It pushed millions of people into the lower classes, the banks and big corporations won and the middle class is destroyed.

    All this has led up to Trump being president, insane political correctness, and greed/ hatred is out of control.

    Think about it..you are now a slave to the big corporations. They OWN you.

  4. Phaedrus says:

    Macy’s has earned $6,038,000,000 (that’s $6 billion) over the last 5 years. If they’re still earning that much after “hanging on for dear life for decades”, then I’d hate to see what they were earning back in the 70s.

    Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.

    • admin says:

      And don’t quit your day job for a career in market analysis!

      Let’s see, in January Macy’s announced it was closing 68 more stores and laying off 10,000 people. The announcement coincided with an unfavorable earnings report and a 10 percent dip in the company’s stock price.

      They’ve been dancing this dance for years.

      A Columbia Business School analyst said “that Macy’s — and its competitors in the brick-and-mortar retail industry — have been ‘unwilling to fully acknowledge the reality of their business performance, and he expects job cuts and store closures to be an ongoing trend in 2017.”

      And just last August Macy’s announced it was closing 100 of its stores or 15 percent of all Macy’s department stores.

      One critique of Macy’s is that its real estate holdings are distorting its success.

      Pretty much nobody – present company excluded, I guess – thinks brick and mortar retail stores like Macy’s or even Walmart that announced a year ago it was closing 269 stores.

      • Phaedrus says:

        Again Hearne, you’re ignoring what you wrote in the column. You said “Macys was hanging on for dear life for decades”. That simply is not true. Its stock is down a bunch the last couple of years (now’s probably not a bad time to buy…there’s a difference between price and value, ya know), but a “couple of years” is not the same as “decades”.

        • admin says:

          Department stores have been struggling for decades, Macy’s included…

          I can think of two very upscale, well established prestigious chains that started in Leawood Town Center that both had to die for Macy’s to ride to the rescue.

          True, they’ve had their up and down years but the arrow is down.
          Thirty, forty years ago, department store chains were de rigueur.

          No mas.

          As other chains have died, they’ve benefited some competitively…primarily with oldsters (got a mirror).

          Hey newspapers still make money, but they too are fighting a losing battle.

        • E.H. says:

          Hearne is right on this one. The department stores are failing fast. I admit I will miss Macy’s cheap ass Greg Norman golf shorts AND THAT IS ALL I WILL MISS.

  5. Frank says:

    I agree Hearne. Dignity only comes from spending $4 for what you can get for $1. Or is that another word that ends in Y? One other question Hearne. Are you gonna ridicule me if I try to by a VW from you instead of the BMW?

    • admin says:

      No way, Jose!

      Why, I’ll even throw in the boy shorts. They shipped Jack an extra pair, so no problem.

      • CG says:


        Lets look at united health…huge health insurer crying how
        bad aca is…….
        yet last year they made 40 billion dollars.
        gues that wasn’t enough.
        Now yes there will come the brick and mortar armageddon. But it will include the casual dining industry (cal pizza kitchen/applebees/etc)….cal pizza kitchen paid 11 years of rent to
        get out of their lease.
        Dollar general is the new walmart as wal mart moves to online
        Plus these darn millenials don’t like to shop so they buy everything online…..and hence I just bought a suit online and
        it was incredible!
        go out south and see whats happening in joco….incredible
        new brick and mortar developements….and they all seem to be
        doing well. Von Mauer doing great!
        You’re just another old white male who can’t understand nor see the changing landscape of the world.

  6. porque says:

    When the government of the land is a 100% corrupt, inverted-totalitarian, police-state, owned and controlled by a handful of wealthy miscreants, that run everything for their benefit only, by design, to the impoverishment, oppression, and murdering of everybody else, and a citizenry that is 95-97% composed of totally worthless braindead tyranny-worshipping morons, these are reflective signs of the situation.

Comments are closed.