We're only into the third month of 2019, and it's already been a brutal year for the brick-and-mortar retail industry.
Earlier this month, iconic retail names such as Gap, J.C. Penney, Victoria's Secret and Foot Locker all announced store closings of more than 465 locations in less than 48 hours.
Coresight Research reports more than 1,000 major store closings have been reported this month, bringing the total to more than 4,800 already this year.
The most surprising closing news so far this month, however, may have come from Amazon, the online retail giant that for years has been blamed for the demise of many traditional retail locations.
Amazon said it planned to close all 87 of its pop-up shop locations across the country.
Sign of the times
Talk about an unwanted sign of the times. More and more companies are making sure they have what is termed "active shooter" or "active assailant" insurance, according to the massshootingnews.com website.
Policies generally cover liability, business interruption and property damage not covered by other policies, as well as expenses such as counseling, public relations and funerals.
The FBI reports that 42 percent of the 250 mass shootings between 2000 and 2017 occurred in businesses, more than any other type of location. The next-largest category, schools and universities, saw 21 percent of the shootings.
Massshootingnews.com reports coverage limits average about $20 million, although some go as low as $1 million or as high as $35 million. Premiums vary substantially.
They said it
SBlt Felice Robinson, a General Motors employee for 24 years: "It's just not the same company that I used to work for. It's so much more cutthroat, and it's meaner. I know that the old GM is gone."
º Jackie Breyer, editorial director at the Toy Book and the Toy Insider, on the lasting power of the Barbie doll: "Barbie has indefinite longevity. All toy brands are cyclical, but Barbie's got staying power. ... Today, female empowerment is stronger than ever, and I think Barbie fits into that."
º The Associated Press: "In the world of emoji, interracial couples had virtually no options in terms of skin tone. But the emoji gods, otherwise known as the Unicode Consortium, recently rectified that, approving 71 new variations. Using six skin tones already available for one-person emoji, vendors such as Apple, Google and Microsoft will now be able to offer couples of color. Additions are expected later this year."
The top five
Thrillist.com ranked all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums for variety and quality of their concession offerings. These were the leaders.
1. Seattle Safeco Field: "Toasted grasshoppers in a zesty citrus seasoning" is one of the favorite offerings.
2. Minnesota Twins Target Field: "Be adventurous and try the ‘Indian burrito' from Hot Indian Foods, one of the Twin Cities' premier food trucks and purveyor of eclectic Indian dishes."
3. New York Mets Citi Field: "The transcendent spicy chicken sandwich from Fuku ... (is) the best thing to happen to the Mets since Keith Hernandez and his moustache came to town."
4. San Francisco Giants AT&T Park: "But alas, there is one item, courtesy of Crazy Crab'z in centerfield, consisting of fresh crab meat stuffed between two slices of buttered, authentic Bay Area sourdough, that shakes off all contenders."
5. San Diego Petco Park: "Embrace the fresh seafood. And don't be afraid to eat raw fish at a ballpark, anymore."
Words of wisdom
º Bronze medal: "When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it." -- Henry Ford.
º Silver medal: "I'm convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance." -- Steve Jobs.
º Gold medal: "Whatever you are, be a good one." -- .