Despite the closing of several brick-and-mortal retail businesses in the city such as Shopko and Post and Nickel, the retail industry itself is healthy in the Lincoln, according to the president of the Nebraska Retail Federation.
Retail President Jim Otto tells KLIN News most brick and mortar stores closing in the city are doing so because of bad business decisions, not a weakened industry or interference from online retailers.
“Shopko, if you look back at just a few years ago, they bought Pamida,” says Otto. “I don’t know exactly what took place there, but I assume they took on extra debt.”
Otto believes not being able to payback that debt is what eventually forced the company to close its doors.
He says Yonkers and Herberger’s locations also met their ends via debt spiral, except in reverse.
“It’s my contention the Herberger’s and the Younkers in Nebraska were in fact profitable, but because the parent company put on too much debt, they fell victim.”
He says while online marketplaces have threatened some physical retail locations, many brick-and mortar businesses in Lincoln, , both national chains and local start-ups, have adapted to the online age of retail and are taking advantage of the wider reach the internet provides.
“We’ve really got some online leaders here in Lincoln,” says Otto, who singles out nutrition and weight loss company Bulu Box as a prominent example.
Taking all of this into account, Otto says despite attention grabbing headlines of retail locations closing across the Capital City, the retail environment in Lincoln is actually quite healthy.