online commerce giants like Amazon are taking some of the blame for a retail slump at brick-and-mortar stores.
Nicholas Eckhart / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

They used to be a shopper’s first choice.

These days, Sears and Kmart seem to be on a fast track to extinction.

The parent company of Sears and Kmart has released a partial list of the stores it plans to close across the country; six are in Michigan.  

Analysts see the shakeup as inevitable, noting that after Sears and Kmart merged, the condition of the stores deteriorated, as did the shopping experience.  

Chris Christopher is an economist with I-H-S Global Insight.  He says that deterioration happened at the same time American consumers lost a significant amount of their buying power during the recession.  

jimmiehomeschoolmom's / Creative Commons

Strangers have paid off more than 30 layaway bills at a Kmart near Grand Rapids in the last week.

Dan Veenstra has been working there for more than 20 years and says he’s never seen anything like it.  “In the past we’ve had people come in that want to pay on somebody’s layaway - it’s usually a friend or neighbor or a family member. But it’s never been strangers like this,” Veenstra said.