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Stars and Stripes: Overseas military exchange stores thrive in face of ‘retail apocalypse’

The so-called retail apocalypse may be hollowing out shopping malls from coast to coast — but that’s a world away from government-run stores overseas that turn a healthy profit selling tax-free goods to a captive market.

Despite a booming economy, at least 94 million square feet of retail space will be closed in the United States this year, according to data in a Business Insider report published in April. That’s on the heels of more than 100 million square feet shuttered in 2017.

Hundreds of stores operated by big-name retailers such as J.C. Penney, Sears, Kmart and Toys ‘R’ Us have closed their doors this year.

But the situation is different for servicemembers stationed overseas who can shop at on-base malls run by the U.S. military. Exchanges and commissaries don’t face the same threats as stores back home that blame an oversupply of retail space and growing ecommerce for the closures.

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