USA Today released a report late last week listing the top eight retailers planning major store closings in 2013 due to the struggling economy and financial instability.

Never mind the rhetoric from the White House about the economic recovery. This story from USA Today shows otherwise. In fairness, stores don't get into this kind of trouble overnight, says the report. Many of these retailers are finding they just aren't attractive to consumers anymore. Before the recession, these companies may have gotten by with a minor tweaking, but now they are facing layoffs and hundreds of store closings.

Here's the list:

  1. Best Buy - plans to close 200-250 of its 1,056 U.S. stores. Biggest problem? "showrooming" customers. People shop for product ideas in the store, then buy online.
  2. Sears Holding Corp - plans to close 100-125 of its Sears stores plus 175-225 Kmart locations. Biggest problem? Still losing market share to Walmart and Target.
  3. J.C. Penney - plans to shutter some 300 of itss 1,100 U.S. locations. Biggest problem? Trying to lean away from a history of being cheap, the store advertised consistent low prices all the time. It hasn't worked.
  4. Office Depot - plans to shut down 125-150 of its 1,114 U.S. stores. Biggest problem? Sluggish economy has hurt the businesses that use them. Add to that  the growth of online competitors such as Amazon.
  5. Barnes & Noble - cutting 190-240 stores out of 689. Biggest problem? E-books have carved into their business despite efforts to head that off by pushing Nook e-book reading devices.
  6. Gamestop - 500-600 stores out of 4,471 U.S. locations slated to close. During the 2012 holiday the company announced 200 closings. It has now more than doubled number. Biggest problem? The explosion of mobile gaming devices such as Nintendo DS and others caused a big drop in console game platforms.
  7. Office Max - 150-175 stores out of 872 will close. Biggest problem? Like Staples and Office Depot, the clients are struggling. It is also facing online competition.
  8. Radio Shack - 450-550 stores out of 4,412 slated to close. Biggest problem? Company was unable to renew its deal with Target to continue to operate kiosks in some 1,500 Target stores across the country. This had helped them generate significant business while they re-branded over the last couple of years. We've seen the barrage of ads on TV.

Even using the lowest-end figures above, and assuming some of these retailers might close fewer stores, you are still considering at least 1,800 closings. It's safe to assume the four or five biggest retailers on the list employ at least 50 people per store while the smaller venues at least 10-20. That could amount to at least 52,000-plus jobs lost across the country.

We're hoping none of these closures touch the Tri-Cities or the Mid-Columbia economy.  Under-performing stores are usually targeted first. Our economy seems to be doing pretty well. None of the retailers have announced timetables or specific locations for closing.