Why has this doomed model of overbuilding and poaching sales become so dominant? Look no farther than the cheap-money policies of the Federal Reserve.
The rising Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and other simulacra of "growth" are masking the real model of growth in America: overbuilding and poaching, as in poaching customers and sales from competitors.
No matter how many outlets a company has, there's always room for a few hundred more somewhere. Now that there's a Starbucks on every corner, you might think the opportunities for expansion are limited. No way--now there are Starbucks in bookstores, Safeway supermarkets, subway stations (BART), etc.
Not only is there a coffee outlet of some sort everywhere you look (hey, how about a Starbucks in every Home Depot?), Starbucks is getting into everybody else's business as well--even occasionally hawking music CDs, for example, at least until CD sales plummeted to the point it wasn't worth poaching the declining sales.
Dollar stores are proliferating at a phenomenal rate, as are drug stores in various sizes and iterations--all aimed at poaching customers from WalMart and Target. There is a certain irony in this ...