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Justin Fox

Where All That Retail Spending Went

Americans are buying less and less stuff in stores. They're buying lots more health care, though. Hmm.
The way it used to be.

The way it used to be.

Photographer: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

Retail is in trouble. Sales declined for the second month in a row in the U.S. in March, and there's talk that perhaps traditional retail has passed a tipping point, with lots of store closings, layoffs and bankruptcies to come.

One obvious reason for retailers' difficulties is the rise of Inc. and other establishments that the Census Bureau classifies as "nonstore retailers."