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The Sky Is Falling; Retail Bedtime Stories

by Robert Hetu  |  January 28, 2016  |  1 Comment

Yet another headline came into my email today “Do Macy’s Troubles Mean The End Of The Department Store?”. The financial markets and pundits are going insane so its time to be clear: THE SKY IS NOT FALLING.  Chicken Little needs to take a break. Yes things are changing in retail.  Yes Amazon has continued its momentum.  Yes consumers are shopping differently. Yes the economy is a little shaky.  Yes retailers are slow to learn. Yes, maybe the department store will eventually disappear.  However the $22 trillion dollar global retail industry is not going to move entirely online anytime in the next 50 years.

All this hand wringing over Macy’s sales is somewhat ridiculous.  A large percentage of Macy’s sales come from the east coast with a concentration on the mid Atlantic from New York to DC. Guess what, it was almost 70 degrees at my home in PA on Christmas Day.  If there had been a seasonal winter the headline above would not exist.  Now don’t think I am a Pollyanna, I know there are real business issues here and some companies will not survive.  However the glass is definitely more than half full.  I have written before about the need to allow multi channel retailers to report flat to slightly negative comp store sales while they make the transition to digital retail. If the financial markets don’t get it they need to ask people that do understand.

While the sky is not falling there are storm clouds on the horizon, retailers that prepare now will be fine.

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Category: retail-trends  technology-and-emerging-trends  

Tags: amazon  competition  consumers  customer-analytics  digital  ecommerce  economy  jcp  macys  multichannel  omni-channel  retail  revenue  sears  stores  target  trends  walmart  

Robert Hetu
VP, Analyst Retail
7 years at Gartner
29 years IT Industry

Bob Hetu is a Research Director with the Gartner Retail Industry Services team. His responsibilities involve tracking the technology markets and trends impacting the broad-based retail merchandising and planning areas. Mr. Hetu is an expert in the areas of brand, vendor and assortment management, merchandise planning, allocation, and replenishment. Read Full Bio

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