BEND — Mark Mathews, vice president of research development
and industry analysis for the National Retail Federation,
acknowledged e-commerce, or online shopping, is no doubt a part
of consumer shopping habits.
he also admitted he was surprised to see retail brick-and-mortar
stores remain strong.
clearly is an increase in e-commerce,” Mathews said. “But
there are several things that are driving the notion that retail
is dying. There are misperceptions of what the data says.”
a report published Aug. 30 on the NRF website, IHL Group, an
international research and advisory firm based in Franklin,
Tennessee, said more than 4,000 brick-and-mortar stores are
opening in 2017 than closing among the big chains. In addition,
the report says for every store closing, 2.7 stores are opening.
think the e-commerce is a thing; it’s happening,” Mathews
said. “It’s not as big as it’s being made out to be. The
store is still relevant.”
report says it projects more than 5,500 stores will open than
close in 2018.
research reviewed more than 1,800 retail chains with more than
50 U.S. stores in 10 retail segments.
is some other data the research revealed:
42 percent of retailers have a net increase in stores, only 15
percent have a net decrease and 43 percent report no
The three fastest growing core retail segments are mass
merchandisers such as off-price retailers and dollar stores
(plus 1,905), convenience stores (plus 1,700) and grocery
retailers (plus 674).
Specialty apparel retailers are seeing the largest dips in
closings with a net loss of more than 3,100 stores. However, for
every chain closing stores, 1.3 chains are opening new stores.
When it comes to chains shutting down stores, only 16 chains
account for 48.5 percent of the total number of closing. Five of
those chains — Radio Shack, Payless Shoesource, Rue21, Ascena
Retail and Sears Holdings — represent 28.1 percent of the
total stores closing.
Retail sales are up $121.5 billion through the end of July.
question, retail is undergoing fundamental changes,” said Greg
Buzek, president of IHL Group, in a news release. “However,
retailers that are focusing on the customer experience,
investing in better training of associates and integrating IT
systems across channels will continue to succeed.”
agreed and added, “You see a lot of innovation. We’re not
sure how it’s going to play out yet.”
that is the key for retailers going forward in the 21st century:
thing I always say is the balance of power has shifted in the
last decade from retailer to consumer,” Mathews said. “It
used to be you had to go a certain place. Now, everything is in
the hands of the consumer to do what they want and when they
want. Retailers have to adapt.”