But it may be too early to declare the death of retail. Americans have started shopping more — in stores.
From the garden section at Walmart to the diamond counters at Tiffany & Company, old-school retailers are experiencing some of their best sales growth in years.
The strong revenues start with a roaring economy and an optimistic consumer. With more cash in their wallets from the tax cuts, Americans have been spending more.
The boom also reflects a broad reordering of the $3.5tr industry, with fewer retailers capturing more of the gains. Stores that have learned how to match the ease and instant gratification of e-commerce shopping are flourishing, while those that have failed to evolve are in bankruptcy or on the brink.
“The retailers that get it recognize that Amazon has forever changed consumer behavior,” said Barbara Kahn, a marketing professor and former director of the retailing center at the Wharton School. “I shouldn’t have to work to shop.”
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