Dont put the toe tag on brick and mortar retailers just yet. According to a great article in the USA TODAY, retailers are opening 1,326 more locations than they planned to close in 2017. The article is quoting a 2017 report from IHL Group, a global research firm in the retail and hospitality industry, called "Debunking the Retail Apocalypse."
"The negative narrative that has been out there about the death of retail is patently false," said IHL President Greg Buzek, "The so-called 'retail apocalypse makes for a great headline, but is simply not true."
Encouraging words for retailers and weekend warrior shoppers, but malls across the country are definately feeling the pinch of specialty retailers closing their doors. Brick and mortar shopping will never really go away. Just like in any other industry, the tides change and either companies adapt, or they die out. There are infinately more options for "entertaining" Americans today than in the mid 80's when there were approximately 30,000 shopping malls in the US alone, accounting for close to 50% of all retail dollars spent. Online shopping, mobile devices, and families binge watching Netflix or, heaven forbid, getting outside and exercising, have all taken the place of loading up the family truckster and heading to the mall for a slice of Sbarro and getting ears pierced at Claire's.
Retailers are going to have to change their game to compete moving forward if they are going to have a presence in brick and mortar. And no, that doesn't mean they have to entertain, or retailtain, to stay relevant. Provide unique and professional customer service. Have products in stock and ready to roll with the customer. Create "in-store" promotional pricing. Utilize the time to truly engage the customer and become a trusted adviser. Or, just make it easy to get in, get out, and back on the couch for another episode of Peaky Blinders.