Written by Bobby Nairn, One Step Retail Business Development Manager | 2 MIN. READ

For a while now, retail’s most talked about subject has been the retail apocalypse. Too often sharing stories of bankruptcies, store closures, and the end of brick and mortar retail as we know it.

Today was a little bit different though... 

I was lucky enough to come across an article shared by the National Retail Federation highlighting a newly-released report by the IHL Group titled, Retail Renaissance - A Growth Story, “True Story of Store Openings and Closings.”

The CliffsNotes? 

  • For every retailer closing a store, five retailers are opening stores.
  • Just 16 retailers are responsible for 73% of store closings so far in 2019.
  • 10 years from now, stores will still play a vital role in the shopping experience.

According to the recent discoveries in Retail Renaissance - A Growth Story (Full Report Available Here), for every retailer closing stores, there are 5.2 retailers that are opening stores. A vastly different story than what we are used to being told about the state of the retail industry. Interestingly enough, every single segment of retail is seeing growth in regards to store openings—even the department store category, which has braved much of the spotlight for negative attention in recent years.

Let’s pause for a moment... Is that a ray of sunshine finally gleaming through the dark clouds that have made a home above the heads of retailers? Is the retail industry… thriving?

Probably the biggest misconception is that store closures are sweeping across the industry, when in fact, only 16 retailers are responsible for 73% of the store closings that have taken place so far in 2019. That’s not to say the rest of retail can stand still—the retail landscape is fast-changing, extremely competitive, and requires constant innovation to keep up with the expectations of today’s shoppers. The National Retail Federation confirms, “retailers must invest heavily to improve the in-store experience.” But, an increase of 3100 stores between the Holiday Season of 2018 and just a year prior is a hopeful sign. 

In NRF’s 2019 Consumer View Report, two-thirds of consumers cited technologies for improving and delivering a more satisfying customer experience. Some of the more promising options for enhancing the in-store experience include upgrading your point-of-sale system to offer a truer omnichannel experience, refined fulfillment methods, smoother checkout, and mobility, as well as in-store navigation apps, smart dressing rooms, and AR/VR. While the costs of taking on a project of this magnitude can seem high, retailers adopting technology to modernize the in-store experience are seeing remarkable results. 

Despite what much of the media surrounding retail may suggest, this is a very exciting time to be a part of the retail industry. As shoppers expectations continue to evolve and technology takes on an even more vital role in the shopping experience—change is imminent, but stores will remain an essential and expanding part of the retail landscape.

While technology continues to reimagine the way consumers shop and retailers interact with customers, One Step provides next-level technologies to help retailers meet the growing expectations of today’s shoppers while delivering a meaningful shopping experience across all channels.