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What the retail apocalypse means for the American economy
(CNN) -- The retail apocalypse over the past several years has devastated America's department stores, chains and mom-and-pops. Stores are closing at record levels. The number of people working in retail is on the decline. And all of that happened at a time when the economy was strong. But if the United States slips into a recession, as many economists fear it will sometime next year, the problems plaguing retail could get far worse. Store closings could accelerate and layoffs in the sector — a major provider of American jobs — could spread.