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This might be easy to say as someone who doesn't work in retail, but I feel like the disaster isn't the impact to the workers, it's the municipalities left with decaying property values and infrastructure constructed on the premise of supporting business that pays taxes.

It all seems to be a positive feedback loop for being awful. A closed anchor store means lousy jobs but also diminishing profits for neighboring stores, limiting their ability to hire the displaced workers and maybe closing shop themselves. The closed businesses lead to lost tax revenue, making it harder for municipalities to maintain the same quality of roads and police, making the area less desirable to customers and new businesses.