Apparel retailers are struggling while online is growing. Are your habits playing into this trend? Please vote — and stay for the links and haiku.

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The retail news is mixed. On the one hand, Macy’s and Nordstrom turned in disappointing earnings, especially in shopping mall locations. On the other, overall retail sales rose in April, with online shopping and autos showing gains.

Nordstrom’s plunge was especially surprising, with big stakes for its headquarters city of Seattle. Macy’s is so ubiquitous after the mergers of the 1980s, 1990s and beyond that one analyst said its troubles could doom a third of the nation’s malls.

Changing habits, online competition and many other factors are also hurting — in many cases killing — the distinctive local shops that make a city such as Seattle more interesting and lively than dull-opolis, USA.

How are your habits changing or not?

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This Week’s Links:

Monopoly’s new era | Joseph Stiglitz

Ending too big to fail — what’s the right approach? | Ben Bernanke

What governments spend on social assistance | The Big Picture

Map: U.S. population living in the state of birth | Oregon Office of Economic Analysis

Effect of Chinese slowdown on U.S. is no longer negligible | Dallas Fed


Today’s Econ Haiku:

In the boom town’s heart

Remains a persistent hole

Chip off the old block