Retail Roundup: The State of Brick and Mortar in the United States

There is no denying that the retail industry is changing. But is this change an actual retail apocalypse, leaving thousands of storefronts empty in its wake? Or is this shift in how consumers relate to offline brands ore of a regenesis, making way for a new and improved shopping experience?
Here is our current “Retail Roundup” keeping tabs on the people talking about the state of brick and mortar in the U.S.
What in the World is Causing the Retail Meltdown of 2017?
From rural strip-malls to Manhattan’s avenues, it has been a disastrous two years for retail. There is no question that the most significant trend affecting brick-and-mortar stores is the relentless march of Amazon and other online retail companies. But the recent meltdown for retail brands is equally about the legacy of the Great Recession, which punished logo-driven brands, put a premium on experiences (particularly those that translate into social media moments), and unleashed a surprising Golden Age for restaurants.
To continue reading, please visit Derek Thompson’s article for The Atlantic.
Is Amazon to Blame for Slew of Retail Store Closures?
As digital transformation continues to engulf everything in its path, opportunities and challenges will co-evolve. With this in mind, maybe it is time to adopt a proactive approach rather than the traditional, reactive response?

Let’s not mistake the symptom for the cause.

Rather than pointing the finger at Amazon, diagnose and treat the inability to adapt. Without a mobile-first approach, a seamless user experience across devices, and a digitally literate workforce, every day is a missed opportunity to be the disruptor, and not the disrupted.
To continue reading, please visit Anurag Harsh’s article for The Huffington Post.
Nearly Every Retailer Says This is How They’ll Bring Back Traffic. But Few are Truly Delivering
It’s one of the most common responses when retailers are asked how they plan to bring customers back into their shops: make the in-store experience more exciting.

But few have figured out what, exactly, that buzz phrase really means — and fewer still have made meaningful efforts to roll out an effective solution.
Time is running out. With mall traffic deteriorating in nearly every quarter since 2014, retailers need to hone in on what makes their brand unique and find a way to bring it alive for customers.
To continue reading, please visit Krystina Gustafson’s article for CNBC.
The Death of Retail is Greatly Exaggerated
Retail isn’t dying, it’s changing.

Let the malls implode. Young retailers will remake them in their own image, gutting the old Gap stores and putting in a coffee shop. Large buildings will be repurposed into markets and micro-retail will replace maxi-retail. And the process will repeat – small becomes big which topples and the small rise again. While the seismic effects of retail death are real and dangerous in the short term I’m optimistic enough to bet on the small scale in the long term.
To continue reading, please visit John Biggs’ article for TechCrunch.
Is American Retail at a Historic Tipping Point?
Store closures, meanwhile, are on pace this year to eclipse the number of stores that closed in the depths of the Great Recession of 2008. Back then Americans, mired in foreclosures and investment losses, retrenched away from buying stuff.

The current torrent of closures comes as consumer confidence is strong and unemployment is low, suggesting that a permanent restructuring is underway, rather than a dip in the normal business cycle. In short, traditional retail may never recover.
To continue reading, please visit Michael Corkery’s article for The New York Times.
‘The Dominoes are Starting to Fall’: Retailers are Going Bankrupt at a Staggering Rate
Retailers are filing for bankruptcy at an alarming rate that’s quickly approaching recessionary levels.

It’s only April, and nine retailers have already filed for bankruptcy since the start of the year — as many as all of last year.

“2017 will be the year of retail bankruptcies,” Corali Lopez-Castro, a bankruptcy lawyer, told Business Insider.
To continue reading, please visit Hayley Peterson’s article for Business Insider.
Urban Outfitters CEO Says Retail Carnage Proves ‘Bubble’ Has Burst
Stores, particularly those focused on apparel, are grappling with drops in foot traffic in the order of 6% a year, and an increasingly promotional environment as consumers shift spending away from clothing, the surfeit of which has made it a commodity. That, coupled with years of overbuilding has led to dismal comparable sales results for specialty clothing stores and department stores in particular.
“Our industry, not unlike the housing industry, saw too much square footage capacity added in the ’90s and early 2000s. Thousands of new doors opened and rents soared. This created a bubble. And like housing, that bubble has now burst,” Urban Outfitters CEO Richard Hayne told the Wall Street analysts.
To continue reading, please visit Phil Wahba’s article for Fortune.

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