Retail Industry in transition, but still growing.
Speculation is rife across the world that retail stores are rapidly closing owing to a major increase in online sales. However, there are always two sides to a coin and latest reports and research suggests that that no matter what, consumers still enjoy shopping at retail stores and this has resulted in good growth for all retail stores across the US and UK. • The most recent retail sales figures released by the Census Bureau were up by a robust 4.2% year-on-year in July. A report by global research and advisory firm IHL Group shows a net increase in store openings of over 4,000 in 2017. In fact, for each company closing a store, 2.7 companies are opening stores. • According to IHL’S data, 751 brands are increasing their store counts versus 278 that are reducing store counts. On a percentage basis, 42% are opening stores, 43% are holding steady and only 15% are showing a net decrease in stores.
• No doubt changing consumer behaviour is an area of concern, but this does not indicate that growth will not happen. Stores are and will remain relevant and an important part of the retail experience as it has always been. • According to IHL, specialty apparel retailers are seeing the largest number of closings, with a net loss of 3,137 stores. Yet, for every chain closing stores, 1.3 chains are opening new stores. There are over 1 million retail establishments across the US and retail sales have been growing at almost 4 per cent annually since 2010.
• Dollar General alone plans to open 1,000 stores this year and many more retailers are expanding.
Retail is generally misunderstood to be dominated by big businesses. The truth is that 91% of retail businesses have fewer than 20 employees. An increase in that number to 100 employees captures 98% of all retail businesses. These companies that make up the backbone of the US tend to be overlooked as the media naturally focuses on the handful of large companies closing stores.