While there is much talk in the U.S. media about a "retail apocalypse," the NRF published an article, based on a report that was released by IHL Group, named "Retail Renaissance - A Growth Story," pointing out, that [brick-and-mortar] retail stores "are definitely not going away." Quoting the IHL report, the NRF wrote that "for each company closing stores, 5.2 are opening stores. For every segment of retail, there are more companies opening stores than closing stores. Even the much-maligned department store category has more brands opening stores than closing them."
According to IHL, the recent wave of store closures is driven by just a handful of companies, with 16 retailers accounting for 73 percent of retail store closings to date this year.
Noting that consumer expectations are evolving, retailers must clearly invest heavily to improve the in-store experience, IHL reported. The NRF said that in the most recent edition of its Consumer View report, two-thirds of consumers had said that technologies such as augmented and virtual reality, smart dressing rooms and in-store navigation apps have improved their in-store experiences. "At the point of sale, technologies such as self-checkout, curbside pickup and mobile payment have made checking out an easier and more satisfying experience. The cost of implementing these technologies has been high but it appears to be paying off. If anything, stores remain an integral and growing part of the retail landscape," the NRF wrote.
And in a remark that is Highly relevant to the retail jewelry industry, in particular to the independents, the NRF emphasized that it is "easy to forget that retail is an industry dominated by small business: 98 percent of retail is made up...