The state of retail heading into 2019

It’s the time of year when we take a moment to reflect on how we’ve grown, our accomplishments and what we want to achieve in the future. “2018 has been one of the best years for the retail industry in a decade,” says Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation. While the economic environment will be more complicated in the year ahead, retail CEOs are feeling optimistic about 2019, he says.

On the final 2018 episode of Retail Gets Real, Shay reflects on the state of the industry and what’s to come in 2019.

This year the industry reached new heights. Retailers are embracing the convergence of channels — online and bricks-and-mortar stores — reimagining the store and building the new retail ecosystem. Retailers are seeing their investments in technology, digital, experiential shopping and the supply chain begin to pay off, resulting in greater traction and engagement with consumers.

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The predictions of a retail apocalypse have quietened. “There are going to continue to be companies that may not successfully make the transition to the new retail,” Shay says, “That's not different from the way the world has always been.” But the notion of retail dying is no longer a table topic with retail CEOs, investors, analysts and media.

NRF projects continued growth for the industry in 2019 — consumer confidence is very high, the unemployment rate is at a historically low level, wages continue to grow and consumer spending power is gaining traction. “Certainly, there are things that are out of our control,” Shay says. “But if we avoid self-inflicted wounds, we can have another fabulous year in 2019.”

Listen to learn more about the current state of retail and what the industry can look forward to in 2019. To learn more about current topics in retail, attend the world’s largest retail conference and expo, NRF 2019: Retail’s Big show, January 13-15 in New York City.

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