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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

Here’s what retail insiders have to say

“The industry is in a massive transformation. ... Our country is over-stored, and it’s going to take a while to shake out.”

— Chris Baldwin, President and CEO, BJ's Wholesale Club


“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


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