The Year That Changed Retail Forever

For retailers, it felt like there was a lot of bad news in 2019. Little did we know what 2020 had in store. Except… to some extent, we did know. Many of the legacy retailers that survived a particularly tough year — think: J.Crew, Neiman Marcus, J.C. Penney — were already hanging on by a thread before the pandemic, with sinking sales, reliance on physical retail and large amounts of debt coming up due. As “retail prophet” Doug Stephens put it to me in an email: “The early retail victims of Covid-19 suffered from a variety of pre-existing conditions.” These companies were in situations that would’ve been nearly impossible to rebound from even without a global public health crisis. Retail analysts had already predicted that some of them would declare bankruptcy in 2020 — add a nearly-worldwide lockdown that mandated temporary store closures into the mix, and their fate was sealed early on. Read more at Fashionista.