Debunking the Retail Apocalypse, a report published Aug. 30 by research firm IHL Group, has found that brick-and-mortar retail in the U.S. is growing at a decent clip, despite the financial challenges brought on by the sharp ascent of e-commerce.
The research reviewed over 1,800 retail chains with more than 50 U.S. stores in 10 retail vertical segments.
Some key findings:
—The three fastest growing core retail segments are mass merchandisers such as off-price retailers and dollar stores (up 1,905 stores), convenience stores (up 1,700 stores), and grocery retailers (up 674 stores).
—The total net increase of stores for 2017 is 4,080, including retail and restaurants.
—Specialty apparel retailers are seeing the largest number of closings, with a net loss of 3,137 stores. Yet, for every chain closing stores, 1.3 chains are opening new stores.
—When it comes to chains shuttering stores, only 16 chains account for 48.5 percent of the total number of stores closing. Five of these chains (Radio Shack, Payless Shoesource, Rue21, Ascena Retail, and Sears Holdings) represent 28.1 percent of the total stores closing.
Greg Buzek, president of IHL Group, said in a statement that while surely, “The days of ‘build it and they will come’ are over,” retailers focused on “customer experience, investing in better training of associates, and integrating IT systems across channels will continue to succeed.”