Toys-R-Us' situation highlights a bigger threat to jobs than robots
In one of my earliest articles, I wrote about how GameStop's heavy reliance on its stores will be one of the many reasons for its future downfall. Today,
Toys-R-Us fell prey to that very strategy.
Although not yet official, Toys-R-Us is set to file for bankruptcy as early as today. Its bonds have fell significantly today and the downtrend should only continue.
Toys-R-Us' reliance on stores and, in a sense, unwillingness to rebrand themselves as an online toy seller, was at the heart of their inevitable bankruptcy. But I sense that this is only the start of this "trend".
This "trend" I am talking about is this:
Stores and some physical goods will eventually be displaced by some form of technology.
Another reason for Toys-R-Us' collapse is, in part, due to the phones. The value of toys have significantly diminished with the uprising of apps. This goes back to that deadly trend, as physical goods (toys) are being replaced by technology (apps, etc.).
Also, those stores I mentioned; they, too, are being crushed by eCommerce and online stores. Let's go through a specific example of why Toys-R-Us' stores and many other stores, in general, have/will fail:
Let's say you want to buy a toy helicopter for your kid's birthday. You can either:
1. A few minutes to find what the helicopter you want on Amazon/or eBay with nearly unlimited quantity and after few clicks and you should receive your product within a few days time. (You can also find the toy alongside your kid)
2. Drive to the store, have limited quantity to select from because Toys-R-Us has other toys to put around the store, and after your kid nags you to go home after ten minutes, you and him/her are both unhappy because you either didn't buy the toy or got one you both don't like.
The ease and comfort of ordering online is becoming common in the consumer's mindset, thus eliminating the need for stores.
But how does this trend indicate a bigger threat to jobs than robots?
Well, robots are controlled by humans, so we can control how much they expand and, if necessary, the government can intervene. As for this exponentially growing trend of "forget physical, go digital" among consumer, that cannot be contained. The government cannot control how consumers consume, and we will almost always find the most comfortable and easy way to buy a product.
This trend would, as a result, kill stores, thus putting the nearly 4.86 million people who work in outlets and such out of work.
This trend can also be utilized by investors currently long in stocks like Macy's or GameStop. It can be used to tell them to exit their position as soon as possible.
As for other investors who are very comfortable with taking large risks, shorting these types of stocks should be a top priority for them (in my view).
Overall, I would advise any investor to avoid stocks who are refusing to rebrand as an online company.
Please read my Disclaimer before taking any financial action.