In April, the Indiana Supreme Court handed Kohl’s Corp. a victory when it agreed not to review a lowered property assessment that was awarded to one of Kohl’s stores because of the growing vacancy and dropping values of other shopping centers in its area.
The decision, which translated into a $219,000 refund for Kohl’s, was a sign of the drain to tax revenues resulting from the worsening retail real estate landscape for Howard County, the taxing jurisdiction, as well as other local governments throughout the country.
Retail sales and occupancy rates are falling in many parts of the country, partly due to oversupply of stores and competition with online retail. That has meant lower property values, lower tax collections and—in some cases—less to pay teachers and firefighters.
With light-truck sales exceeding passenger car transactions for the first time in recent history, California’s new-car sales are again expected to exceed 2 million vehicles in 2017, according to the Sacramento-based California New Car Dealers Association. CNCDA released its second-quarter 2017 report Tuesday, showing 1.026 million new-car sales in the January-to-June period, down 2 percent year over year. That slight decline was no surprise, as numerous experts have been saying that California’s red-hot auto sales market will slow down throughout 2017. Even so, CNCDA projected 2.05 million new-vehicle sales statewide by the conclusion of this year.
Now almost all of Wal-Mart’s 4,700 U.S. stores have a Cash360 machine, making thousands of positions obsolete. Most of the employees in those positions moved into store jobs to improve service, said a Wal-Mart spokesman. More than 500 have left the company. The store accountant displaced last August is now a greeter at the front door, where she still earns $13 an hour. “The role of service and customer-facing associates will always be there,” said Judith McKenna, Wal-Mart’s U.S. chief operating officer. But, she added, “there are interesting developments in technology that mean those roles shift and change over time.” Shopping is moving online, hourly wages are rising and retail profits are shrinking—a formula that pressures retailers, ranging from Wal-Mart to Tiffany & Co., to find technology that can do the rote labor of retail workers or replace them altogether.
California’s new-car sales market is cooling down, but Golden State dealers remain on track to again ring up more than 2 million unit sales in 2017, according to the Sacramento-based California New Car Dealers Association.
CNCDA released its first-quarter 2017 report on Tuesday, showing 506,745 new-car sales in the period. That was up less than 1 percent from 503,463 in the opening quarter of 2016.