The retail apocalypse has been coming for a long time. It was predicted by many of my college professors as I was working on my undergraduate degree back in the 1990s. Most of this is happening because traditional retailers have been slow to adopt to the changes in customer demand and are not really doing things that will attract customers who are becoming more and more accustomed to shopping online.
In looking back at my spending this year, I spent about 70 percent of my holiday budget online. This is more than I have ever done before. It was a benefit to me. I did not have to go out in the cold. I did not have to deal with traffic. I did not have to deal with overworked, underpaid and understandably grouchy cashiers.
One factor in the retail apocalypse not often considered is this: Most online purchases are not subject to sales tax. It puts brick-and-mortar business at a disadvantage. If states like Utah are serious about saving brick-and-mortar retail, they need to level the playing field a little bit. The most conservative way to do this is to scale back, reduce or even eliminate sales taxes completely instead of looking to tax online retailers. Income taxes and property taxes would be higher to make up for the lost revenue, but it is a price that the community should consider if retail jobs are valued and the people who work in retail are important to us.