People plan to spend more this Mother's Day but it won't prevent more stores from closing

Stores closing despite an increase in employment and spending

Sears, K-mart, JC penny, and Macy's are just some of the department stores that can no longer afford to keep all of their stores open.

This year the National Retail Federation says people plan to spend more on Mother's Day gifts than they have in over a decade. But a local retail expert says that won't do anything to prevent more stores from closing their doors.

Dr. Bob Robicheaux, a marketing and economics professor at UAB, says everything is going in the right direction for the economy, employment is up, spending is up, but people aren't spending their money inside brick and mortar stores.

He says these days people want experiences, not a product off the shelves. So for example this Mother's Day people are buying spa gift cards and restaurant gift cards. And the products people do buy, they're buying online. "It's that whole experience thing, just going to the store to buy a bottle of wine is no longer sufficient customers want to go in and have somebody educate them or give some information about the wine," says Robicheaux, "retailers have to find a way to make shopping fun, to get people into their stores where we learn something, we experience something that we can't get online."

Dr. Robicheaux says an example of a store that's an experience and doing well is Build a Bear.

Robicheaux says retail will never go away because consumption is 70% of the U.S. gross domestic product. But what people spend their money on and where they spend is changing.

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