seven out of eight products can be procured more cheaply on the Interweb
To be honest, this isn't really news is it? Just too small to compete with the slightly bigger chains who could bulk buy more cheaply. Who are already probably realising that whoever is now on the smallest remaing level will be next....... and so on up the pecking order...... until what are we left with after physical retail has all but disappeared? Most probably Amazon and the reseller sites where kit of non-verified provenance can be disposed of "more cheaply than at xyz" as your (and everyone else's) Google searches will show.
However, I always liked them, from the days when soldering irons were still widely used in anger (and it was often anger), to more recent years when I worked at a place near one, and could pop round the corner to just buy stuff there and then when it was needed - I realise this was not a choice for nearly everone else by the way.
So where do we go from here? Is it really now a choice between Amazon and ordering direct from manufacturers, with risk of abuse of monopoly power ever present? Any upstarts trying to break the huge monopolies being ruthlessly squashed before prices are ramped up hugely again? We consumers may not end up benefitting as much as many think we will in the end, if efficiency and economies of scale can be so great that all competition is stifled.