Online shopping has put tremendous pressure on brick-and-mortar retailers, causing large numbers of locations to go out of business. But lest anyone think retail is shrinking, the opposite is actually true. As of July 2017, retail sales were up $121.5 billion over last year, according to a new report by the IHL Group. With the holidays approaching, the NRF also recently projected an increase of 3.6%-4% over last season’s sales.
It’s true that 10,168 locations currently are slated to close, mostly because retailers have too many locations, too much debt or simply misjudged the market. Yet, 14,248 locations are opening – a net gain of 4,080. That net increase actually tops 10,000 when you take into account openings by retail brands with fewer than 50 stores, IHL says.
These numbers contradict the widely-held belief that physical retail is doomed and online shopping is the future. Forrester and the NRF report that 54% of retailers still generate at least half of their sales from physical stores. And according to the IHL, the retail apocalypse is a myth. Success in retail is still very much attainable – so long as businesses focus on customer service and make the necessary IT investments to improve operations, mPOS and the checkout experience.