Is the Death of Retail Greatly Exaggerated?

According to one writer, the heavily-promoted notion that bricks-and-mortar retail is on life support is a bunch of – as she puts it – “baloney.”


We’ve been hearing a whole lot recently about how traditional retail is quickly going the way of the wind, but industry analyst Paula Rosenblum, in an article for Forbes, says much of that talk is coming from real-life Chicken Littles.

In “Five Reasons Why ‘The Retail Apocalypse’ Is a False Scare Story,” Rosenblum points out that while some storied retail chains are, indeed, struggling, the bigger picture is that as society continues to evolve, the industry finds itself in a mode of readjustment and adaptation that will see it remain very much a part of the American commercial landscape.

One of the great pieces of information imparted by Rosenblum is that after a long period in which stores could take in-person customer service for granted, the advantages offered by Internet-only retail have driven many to now make plans to invest in more staff in the coming years, and thus return to shoppers more of the one advantage Internet shopkeepers simply cannot provide. For countless numbers of consumers, the in-store experience has, for many years now, left a lot to be desired, and that has surely helped to create a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy, vis-à-vis the impending death of retail.

Additionally, Rosenblum shines some light on those retailers that do seem genuinely at risk, and details that many are suffering from unfortunate business decisions, including overbuilding (like Macy’s), changing consumer tastes (Rue 21 and The Limited are cited as two examples of that phenomenon), or a combination of both (J.C. Penney). All of that is not, however, the same thing as “retail is dying.”

There’s much more to Rosenblum’s article, of course, and you’re encouraged to take a look at it. It’s a great read, and serves as a lean, tight, informative counterargument to the prevailing narrative about how bricks-and-mortar retail is about to become a thing of the past.

The information contained here is for general information purposes only. The Financial Writer blog and Bob Yetman disclaim responsibility for any liability or loss incurred as a consequence of the use or application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein. Nothing contained in this article, or any other article featured at this blog, should be construed as a solicitation or recommendation to engage in any financial transaction. You should seek the advice of a qualified professional before making any changes to your personal financial profile.

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