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Future of Retail

Future of Retail

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Retail is undergoing an enormous transformation, leaving many asking, “What’s the future of retail?” The narrative that the industry is struggling, dying or even suffering a retail apocalypse inaccurately depicts what’s really happening.

Get the facts

While the headlines tell one story, the data shows the real facts.

Dive deeper

As NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said, “Clear sins of omission are distorting the true picture of the retail industry. As an industry we’re pushing back and providing the data and anecdotes that show the true picture. And we will continue to do so until these distortions stop.” Not only is retail not dying, most retailers are adapting to changes in consumer preferences, behavior and technology — as they have throughout history.

The growth of retail

Over the last decade, retail sales and jobs have continued to grow despite challenging economic conditions. And despite the press on store closings, data fom IHL Group shows a net increase in store openings of over 4,000 in 2017.

Monthly retail sales growth

Sales have increased more than 3% year/year since the recession
U.S. Census Monthly Retail Trade Survey

Retail industry employment

The retail workforce continues to expand
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

More Resources

Presentation August 23, 2017

Don’t take our word for it

Check out what members of the media that follow retail are saying:

Here’s what retail insiders have to say

“I work with a lot of ecommerce companies, and  the moment they get to any sort of critical mass, one of my first pieces of advice is ‘Open a store.’

Scott Galloway, professor of marketing at New York University and author of The Four: How Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google Divided and Conquered the World


Retail’s moving so, so fast; it’s changing. You either want to be on the sidelines watching the rocket ship take off, or you want to be on the rocket ship when it takes off.”

— Trey Stewart, manager of talent acquisition for The Home Depot


The story of retail’s death is greatly exaggerated. ... There will be more opportunity for well-placed stores than ever before” and “It’s practically impossible to actualize your brand without a physical world presence. That’s why [traditionally pure-play ecommerce companies] are opening stores.”

— Barry Beck, co-founder and COO of Bluemercury


“What’s going on in the financial markets and these stores does not necessarily mean that consumers have gone away and stopped shopping. The market has been changing and consumers have changed their behavior.

Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist for NRF


Retail is cyclical. It goes through ebbs and flows.” The most successful companies will blend bricks-and-mortar retail with digital strategies. The key is to “keep the consumer at the center of everything we’re doing.”

— Martine Reardon, former chief marketing officer for Macy’s


In our industry, things just continue to evolve and move forward ... . It’s interesting to me that when we look at what’s happening in the retail landscape and the power of ecommerce retail, that the only retailer in the top 10 [of STORES Top 100 Retailers 2017 list] that’s an ecommerce behemoth is Amazon.”

— Susan Reda, editor of STORES magazine


 “If a business owner can only learn how to do one thing, it is to evolve constantly.

Cary Kelly, owner and founder of The Cookery