Article | August 4, 2017

Why the State of Brick and Mortar Retail is Far from Gloom and Doom

Source: Epson America, Inc.

By Luis Artiz, Group Product Manager, Business Systems Group, Epson America, Inc.

Luis Artiz

Here’s a snapshot of the top retail headlines that appear from a recent Google search on, “retail store closing trends 2017:”

  • “America’s Retailers are Closing Stores Faster than Ever” (Bloomberg)
  • “More Retail Stores Have Closed in 2017 than at the Same Point in 2008” (The Washington Post)
  • “Stores are Closing at an Epic Pace” (CNN Money)
  • “The Ugly (Retail) Truth: Which Stores Will Close or Survive” (Forbes)
  • “RIP Retail: These 19 Retailers are Closing Hundreds of Stores in 2017” (Fox Business)

The fact that we’re witnessing several brick and mortar stores closing this year is not fake news, but much of the media’s coverage of these events has painted a false picture that it’s all but over for traditional retailers.

To get a little more perspective on this topic, it’s important to look at some of the positive things that are happening in retail along with research that challenges the mainstream narrative.

Q1, Q2 2017 Retail Sales Up from Q1, Q2 2016
According to the latest statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau (July 2017), advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for June 2017, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $473.5 billion. This number represents a 2.8 percent increase from June 2016. Total sales for the April 2017 through June 2017 period were up 3.8 percent from Q2 2016. When comparing Q1 2017 numbers to the same time last year, the comparison is even more promising with this year’s results coming in 4.1 percent higher than 2016. As Greg Buzek, founder and president of IHL Group so succinctly sums up, “Seriously, can we stop with the death of retail comments? Since when is 4.1% growth of a $2 trillion industry a death spiral? Only in fake news.”