These haunting photos of the retail apocalypse reveal a new normal in America

JC243Joe AvellaClothing strewn on the ground at a Manhattan JCPenney — a common sign at struggling retailers across the industry.

The retail apocalypse has descended on America.

More than 6,400 stores are expected to close across the country this year.

Department stores like Macy’s, Sears, and JCPenney, and retailers including BCBG, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Bebe have decided to close dozens of stores.

Walking through a mall in 2017 is like walking through a graveyard.

Here’s photographic evidence that a retail apocalypse is hitting the US hard.

Perhaps most emblematic of the retail apocalypse are photos of dead malls.

As customers increasingly shop online, malls are suffering the consequences.

Visits to malls declined by 50% from 2010 to 2013, according to the real-estate research firm Cushman & Wakefield.

In the nearly two years since it closed, Chicago's Lincoln Mall has transformed from a vibrant shopping center into an eerie, deserted wasteland.

Seph Lawless

The mall closed after many retailers -- including Sears -- shuttered their locations inside the shopping center.

Seph Lawless

Photographer Seph Lawless documents abandoned and forgotten malls across the US.

While abandoned malls are spooky, shopping centres in their death throes are scary in a different way.

Regency Square Mall in Richmond, Virginia, is still open -- but numerous storefronts have gone dark as retailers have closed their stores.

Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

The mall's operators have attempted to cover up the closings by installing vending machines in boarded-up walls.

Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

The mall seems almost as empty as the closed malls.

Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

Roughly a third of shopping malls are at risk of dying off as a result of store closings, according to data from Green Street Advisors. When a mall loses an anchor store, like Sears, it can be nearly impossible to survive.

Business Insider/Hayley Peterson


Retailers are struggling to maintain some semblance of normality as sales slump.

Business Insider/Sarah Jacobs

Sears has been hit with both plummeting sales and dwindling inventory, as seen in this empty area of a store in Richmond, Virginia.

Business Insider/Hayley Peterson


Kmart, which merged with Sears in 2005, has been criticised for its disorganized stores.

Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

Some shoppers say Kmart's rough setup is 'depressing.'

Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

At one store in Hillsboro, Ohio, Kmart hung white sheets to hide the area where the grocery section once was.

Mark Schmidt


Sears plans to shutter 283 Kmart stores and 116 stores this year.

Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

A July 2016 visit to the flagship Macy's store in Manhattan revealed messy shelves and lots of sales.

Mallory Schlossberg/Business Insider

It's difficult to convince shoppers that this apparel is high-quality when it's presented so haphazardly.

Mallory Schlossberg/Business Insider

Still, the Manhattan Macy's is better than the scene at Minneapolis' Nicollet Mall location, days before it closed.

Macy's is closing 68 locations in 2017.

A visit to a Manhattan JCPenney earlier in 2017 revealed similar disorganization.

Joe Avella

In addition to clothes thrown on the floor, packaging was damaged and opened.

Joe Avella

JCPenney is closing 138 stores this year.

Joe Avella

Nearly everything at RadioShack was on sale as the chain prepared to close 1,430 stores.

Mary Hanbury

A store in Manhattan is covered with signs highlighting sales.

Mary Hanbury

The displays, however, seem to be hastily set up.

Mary Hanbury

Wet Seal is closing all 171 locations.

Kirsten Acuna/Business Insider

Crocs is closing 160 locations.

Marina Nazario/Business Insider

RIP, retail as we know it.

Business Insider/Anaele Pelisson

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