There are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the retail as we near the halfway point of 2017.While there’s no doubt that the retail landscape is changing, some negative stories surrounding those changes is bordering on the ridiculous. This is not one of those stories. There are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the state of retail as we near the halfway point of 2017. As shared by Forbes, here are five bright spots you can point to the next time someone tells you the sky is falling.
For starters, retail sales for the first quarter of 2017 outpaced sales in the same period of 2016 by a substantial margin. Sales are up by 4.1 percent as a whole, and that’s a sure sign of optimism when you consider that the Easter holiday for this year fell in the second quarter. Last year, the Easter bunny came in March.
Next up, about all those store closings. While there are plenty of stories out there about a once-venerable retailer that’s closing its doors, the fact remains that many of those closings are already baked in the cake. It’s common knowledge that Sears, Macy’s and JCPenney are in the midst of shuffling the decks, while retailers such as Radio Shack have been trying to hang on for years.
Third, for all the stores that are closing, there are plenty more that are opening up this year. Dollar General, Autozone, Ulta and TJ Maxx are among those that have announced new openings in 2017, and even more are on the way. That doesn’t even include innovative new retailers such as Warby Parker, which seem to be popping up all over the place.
Fourth, while plenty of people point to the shifts in retail as being technology driven, the fact remains that retailers are making a huge investment on the front lines. People - and customer service specifically - are coming back to the forefront. Over the next three years, retailers are expected to add additional employees to their stores as opposed to decreasing employee counts due to automation.
Finally, malls and retailers are making a concerted effort to bring shoppers back in by offering up something that can’t be packed and shipped online: experiences. Whether it’s interactive activities, increased food offerings, events or flagship-type offerings, retailers and landlords are catching on pretty quick to the next big thing.
“Recognizing that experiences and hospitality are a big part of the next-generation retail experience is a huge step toward continued invigoration of the formats,” writes Paula Rosenblum.