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Transportation

The Ticking Time Bomb for Suburban Retail

Lightning-speed deliveries and autonomous cars could accelerate the current big-box implosion.
Closing time: What will become of America's suburban shopping centers?
Closing time: What will become of America's suburban shopping centers? Charles Krupa/AP

Thanks largely to the rise of e-commerce, chains like Macy’s, Toys “R” US, and Best Buy are shuttering faster than analysts predicted even one year ago, with at least 24 major retailers planning store closures in 2018.

According to some forecasters, an even larger retail apocalypse sits on the horizon. As overbuilt malls, corporate mergers, and autonomous vehicles converge as trendlines, “the ingredients are in place for major disruption,” said Rick Stein, the founder of Urban Decision Group, a Columbus, Ohio-based planning consulting firm.