Rough road ahead for chain retailers ... but maybe not so bad for independents.

Yet more bad news for the chain retail industry: February-March were the worst months for retailers since 2009, with retail stores eliminating 60,000 jobs.

This could be good news for downtowns and for independently owned downtown retail businesses, with market share shifting from malls to main streets. Independently owned businesses have always been more adaptable to local markets than chain retailers. And, downtowns already have many non-retail uses.

Ethics, not acquisition.

Retail prognosticator Deborah Weinswig predicts that minimalism, environmentalism, and the Marie Kondo-fueled decluttering movement mean that people will buy less in the future, investing in products that last longer. She cites the five principles of Patagonia's Common Threads program as an example: reduce, repair, reuse, recycle, and reimagine. "Consumers' future priorities will be ethics, a concept of 'disownership' and sustainability", she says in her November 2016 report "Decluttering: Anatomy of a Consumer Trend and How Retailers Can Win".

 

Millennials might be all the rage, but they're not spending all the money.

Chain Store Age reminds us that Baby Boomers still have greater disposable income than Millennials. Like Millennials, Boomers place a high value on convenience. But, unlike Millennials, Boomers aren't particularly brand-loyal, and they have a pronounced (but not exclusive) preference for shopping in physical stores rather than shopping online.