Declining foot traffic and falling profit margins have forced many chains to scale back. Limited Stores Co., RadioShack owner General Wireless Operations Inc. and Gander Mountain Co. have filed for bankruptcy protection this year. Department stores including Macy's Inc., Sears Holdings Corp. and J.C. Penney Co. are closing hundreds of locations. Some retailers intend to use the savings to increase their efforts to capture more e-commerce spending.
As retail companies push the idea that their stores can be optimized to serve online customer, the word "omnichannel" has become a buzzword among executives. John Blackledge, an analyst at Cowen & Co. who attended Shoptalk last year, said executives at the conference were touting several such strategies, such as letting customers buy goods online and pick up the items in store.
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