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The Death of Retail: Myth or Reality?

Every day we keep hearing about the so-called retail apocalypse. The headlines tell us that historic retail chains are closing stores every day, or worse going bankrupt, and that must mean the retail sector is in a tailspin. Is that the reality, or is it a myth?

It is a fact that consumers have new purchasing habits and that e-commerce is rising, but retail is not dead. On the contrary, although some high-profile brands are closing or are going bankrupt, the overall health of the retail sector is good. In fact, as stated by Chain Store Age, and IHL Group, retailers are opening 4,080 more stores in 2017 than they are closing and over 5,500 more are planned to open in 2018. Also, 42% of retailers have a net increase in stores, only 15% have a net decrease, and 43% report no change.

Although most of the presented data is from the United States, it is broadly applicable to the Canadian market considering many of the Gift Card Warehouse retailers are U.S. based. Also, Statistics Canada consistently reports low, but steady, growth in the Canadian retail sector, including a 0.4% increase in February 2018. The death of the retail sector is far overstated, and so long as retail companies can develop solid strategies and execution to adapt to consumers’ needs and desires in this e-commerce dominated environment, they retail sector will be growing for years to come.