We find ourselves again considering the state of retail and predictions of its demise. This time around, it's hard to not think all hell is breaking loose.
We are at an inflection point. We are in flux.
The social, political and economic forces that bear down on each of us (and in aggregate–millennials, boomers, etc.) are resulting in fragmentation like we’ve never seen before. This is exposing attitudes and behaviors that can seem puzzling. I expect there is nothing predictable or normal about the new normal.
Is the sky falling in on retail? No. On stores? Perhaps.
I agree that the mediocre are getting squeezed out. When Marshall Field’s was absorbed into the Macy’s collective people were sad. Will anyone miss Sports Authority? When times are good, the OK are OK. When times are bad, the strong survive.
BUT, survival today doesn’t look like anything we’ve seen before. I think we will see more flux–closures and consolidations, loin-girding and chain-strengthening for the remainder of 2016, especially this summer as we witness the political conventions and as we elect a new president.
What comes from all of this uncertainty won’t be fundamentally different from what we know–retail isn’t really that vulnerable–but how, when and where will certainly continue to change.
(Here's a link to my original RetailWire comments: http://www.retailwire.com/discussion/is-the-retail-sky-falling/#comment-112443)