The consolidation, downsizing, and outright shuttering of chain retailers continues. In this morning's Weekly Roundup, Fung Global Retail & Technology predicted that 9,452 stores will close by the end of 2017, a 361 percent increase over the previous year. The latest announcements include denim chain True Religion's bankruptcy, hot on the heels of announcements that Sycamore Partners will buy office supply retailer Staples (and close many of the stores), that Sears and Bed Bath & Beyond are closing more stores, and that Eddie Bauer is looking for a buyer.
What's going on? Lots of factors are at play, including overly ambitious chain store expansion plans, consumers' continuing shift toward online shopping, and the many ways in which Millennials' shopping patterns and preferences differ from those of previous generations. Many of these are promising signs for traditional downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts who stand to benefit from capturing sales that shoppers previously spent in now-closed chain stores. After all, independently owned downtown businesses offer shoppers the ultimate combination of personal attention, deep product knowledge, hyper-local market responsiveness - and, for those businesses that are savvy, both bricks-and-mortar and online shopping opportunities.
Want to talk about how to make your downtown more competitive during this period of enormous retail transition? Drop us a line or call us.