Is Everything You Know About the Retail Apocalypse Wrong?

by MR Magazine Staff

Retail stores are closing. You only have to walk by most malls or shopping plazas to see the shuttered Macy’s and Sears Holdings’ locations. Venture inside the mall and you’ll be greeted by empty storefronts that once housed Radio Shack, Rue 21, The Limited, Wet Seal, BCBG Max Azria, or any of the many other chains that have closed locations or gone out of business entirely. Sometimes, however, what appears to be true, isn’t. Brick-and-mortar retail is most certainly changing and some chains will not survive. But the idea that the rise of the internet has created a “retail apocalypse” that will greatly shrink the number of stores in the United States simply does not match what’s actually happening. In 2017, U.S. retailers have opened, or plan to open, 1,326 more locations than they will be closing, according to IHL Group’s Debunking the Retail Apocalypse report, which was sponsored by several companies. When you add in restaurants, the increase jumps to 4,080 new openings in 2017 with another 5,050 planned in 2018. Or, to look at it another way, between chain stores and restaurants, 10,123 will close in 2017, but 14,239 will open. To compile the study, IHL looked at over 1,800 retailers and restaurant chains with more than 50 U.S. locations across 10 retail vertical segments. It found that for every chain with a net closing of stores, 2.7 brick-and-mortar retailers would be posting a net gain in locations. The research firm also noted that if you add in retail chains smaller than 50 locations (including restaurants) the number of new openings in 2017 climbs to over 10,000. Read more at The Motley Fool.