Report: The 'Retail Apocalypse' Is Fake News

Reports of the death of brick and mortar retail have been greatly exaggerated, according to a new analysis.
September 4, 2017, 1pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"Retail is not dead," writes Debra D. Bass. "According to a report by IHF Group, the U.S. gained 4,080 more retail stores than it lost this year."

The report, titled "Debunking the Retail Apocalypse," counters a prevailing narrative about a "retail apocalypse" in the United States due to the growing popularity of e-commerce. (Planetizen readers have proven the popularity of this narrative, as shown in this traffic analysis of the first six months of 2017.)

Yet, there are many still arguing that the future of brick and mortar retail is bright. Writes Bass: "The net increase in jobs, sales and store locations belies the more scintillating 'retail is dead' narrative […] and it considers the report welcome validation. Retail lives."

Bass notes that the National Retail Federation (NRF) has been making the same case, recently bolstered by the IHF report. The NRF has even created a website called "The Future of Retail," which calls the retail apocalypse "fake news." The National Retail Federation has spent the summer collecting news to bolster its claims, including articles in Forbes and USA Today.

For more insight into the IHF report, see also a Retail Dive article written by Daphne Howland.

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Published on Friday, September 1, 2017 in St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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