Month of July
Store closings in the US are not letting up. Having failed to adapt to the new reality of retail, thousands are closing their doors every month. But despite this, sales continue to grow, thanks to a robust economy that is fueling domestic consumption, and a similar situation is playing out across the pond, specifically in the United Kingdom. It is paradoxical to see retail store closings while sales are on the rise: that can only be explained by the natural forces of market concentration, in which only the most able to adapt to the current reality will survive.
With much discussion about the retail apocalypse and some of the world’s largest retailers closing hundreds of stores, it’s more important than ever that retail executives focus on getting new customers and connecting with the customers they already have. In 2019 alone we have seen more than 36 retailers announce major closings, and there seems to be no sign of stopping.
Amazon started a new retail revolution, according to the former Toys R Us CEO Gerald Storch. “We’ve been trying to build Christmas in July – and nobody has shown up – and Amazon has succeeded,” he told FOX Business’ Stuart Varney on Monday.
U.S. retail sales increased more than expected in June. The data pointed to strong consumer spending, which could help to blunt some of the hit on the economy from weak business investment. The Commerce Department said retail sales rose 0.4% last month as households stepped up purchases of motor vehicles and a variety of other goods.
Retail is in constant change, and that seems to be understood by the new rules that have been created to explain an industry that is equally able to succeed online, rather than through physical spaces. The book The New Rules of Retail: Competing in the World’s Toughest Marketplace is the best example of the revolution the industry faces.
If the carnage in the retail industry seemed bad last year, it pales in comparison to the damage the sector is suffering in 2019. Already above the pace 2018 set, U.S. store closing could exceed 12,000 this year. That’s according to Coresight Research, which pegs the count of retail outlets that have closed in 2019 at 7,062, versus 3,017 stores opening.
Brand-on-brand and brand-with-retailer collaborations are nothing new. Brands and retailers have been doing them for years. But retailer-and-retailer collaborations are just beginning to pop up, like Kohl’s and Amazon, J.C. Penney and Sephora, Walgreen’s and Birchbox, Target and Casper (mattresses) and Harry’s (shaving supplies), and West Elm and corporate sister Pottery Barn and mattress-brand Leesa.
Until recently, the great focus of attention for digital marketing strategies was Millennials and Generation Z, but every year, baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) are shopping online more and losing their initial fear of the digital environment. In addition, it is important to keep in mind that this target usually spends more on their purchases because they have more purchasing power.
Retailers and brands have both seen a tremendous shift in traditional retail dynamics, with merchants and marketplaces increasingly ceding control of the online and in-store shopping experience to the brands themselves. Democratizing access to data through new verticalized tools, however, represents a unique opportunity for retailers to leverage this trend by further transforming the retail dynamic and changing their role in the process.
British retail spending was surprisingly strong in June, according to data released Thursday, with shoppers seeking out discounts at charity shops. Monthly sales grew 1% in June, for a 12-month growth rate of 3.8%, the U.K. Office for National Statistics reported. That was much stronger than the 2.6% year-over-year gain anticipated by economists.
July celebrates Independent Retailer Month. As we see big-box retailers like Walmart, Target and Best Buy scaling back operations in the wake of Amazon’s proliferation, independent retail is holding its own.