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STORES magazine Editor Susan Reda has been covering retail stories for decades, and has seen the industry through challenging times as well as glory days. With yet another upheaval underway, Reda is optimistic about the future. “In our industry, things just continue to evolve and move forward,” she says. Retailers who strive to better understand the customer and use technology to do so not only survive turbulent times, but grow and thrive.
When evaluating where retail stands now, Reda says “we have to look at how the industry has evolved over the last few years.” With fast-changing trends, businesses that embrace technology and change their strategy accordingly are the ones that continue to succeed. With Millennials and Generation Z coming of age as consumers, Reda foresees retailers using technologies like artificial intelligence and virtual reality to provide a personalized, multi-sensory shopping experience.
“When a consumer embraces virtual technology, it really changes the experience of shopping.”Susan Reda
Reda also shares this year’s companies who made the cut for STORES’ Top 100 Retailers. Each year, NRF’s magazine partners with Kantar Retail to rank the largest U.S. retailers by domestic sales. “The top of the list is no surprise,” Reda says in reference to Walmart. “There’s no denying the strength and the power of this company.”
Rounding out the top 10 are mass market retailers Costco, Amazon and Target, supermarkets Kroger and Albertsons, home improvement retailers The Home Depot and Lowe’s and drug stores CVS and Walgreens Boots Alliance. “It’s interesting to me that when we look at what’s happening in the retail landscape and the power of e-commerce retail,” Reda says, “that the only retailer in that top 10 that’s an e-commerce behemoth is Amazon.” The only other prominent non-store retailer on the list is QVC; the biggest retailers in the United States all have a strong physical presence.
Listen to this week’s episode to hear Reda’s predictions for the next big trend in retail and check out STORES’ Top 100 Retailers to see which companies made the list.
Tony Fontana is one of NRF’s co-hosts on Retail Gets Real. Meet all the co-hosts and learn more about the show.