The big picture

The year of the mall makeover

The retail apocalypse isn't happening exactly the way experts warned it would.

Jan 9, 2020
A crisis for retail jobs

A hit to the retail industry would reverberate across the economy.

Oct 16, 2019
Loosening Walmart's vise-grip on low-income consumers

Companies are betting that selling to this cohort of customers will rake in billions.

Jun 1, 2019
Deep Dive: How vanity will save retail

If Main Street is going to be saved, enduring American vanity will be among the primary reasons.

Updated Jan 12, 2019

All Retail stories

A reckoning for small business

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The coronavirus pandemic is putting America’s small businesses to the test of a lifetime. Millions might not survive — and many of the tens of millions of jobs they support could evaporate.

The big picture: None of the rescues that have emerged — including federal government loans and grants, states offering their own support programs, and even some in the private sector stepping up to help — has made the future look particularly bright.

Retail rents suffer most from coronavirus-driven plunge

Reproduced from Urban Land Institute; Chart: Axios Visuals

This year's real-estate outlook is bleak, but commercial property rents are expected to improve over the next two years, according to the Urban Land Institute's annual survey of real estate economists and analysts.

The state of play: Brick-and-mortar retailers, which were already shrinking before the pandemic, are suffering across the board. Meanwhile, e-commerce is rapidly increasing its market share.

Seafood industry struggles as coronavirus keeps restaurants closed

Photo: Gotham/Getty Images

The seafood industry continues to struggle due to the coronavirus, even as more Americans are buying fish and shellfish at the grocery store, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: The rise in seafood sales at the grocery store isn't enough to offset the economic loss the industry is dealing with. Nearly 70% of seafood sold is eaten at restaurants, which are either closed or are open in a limited capacity.

Walmart grounds, but the $3.3 billion acquisition still paid off

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Walmart yesterday announced plans to shutter its e-commerce brand, less than four years after buying it for $3.3 billion.

Under the hood: Appearances can be deceiving. Not only was this deal not a failure for Walmart, but it arguably was the retail industry's most successful acquisition ever of a tech company.

Target's digital sales jump 141% as coronavirus keeps shoppers home

Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Target's digital sales jumped 141% during the first quarter as Americans upped their online shopping during the coronavirus pandemic, CNBC reports.

Yes, but: Even as digital sales increased, the pandemic still took a bite out of Target's profits, as supply chains shifted, stores increased cleaning protocols and customers moved away from higher-margin purchases in favor of staples like groceries.

Pier 1 to permanently close following bankruptcy, coronavirus fallout

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Pier 1 Imports filed a motion seeking bankruptcy approval on Tuesday, planning to initiate the closure of its approximately 541 stores and liquidate its inventory and assets after COVID-19 retail restrictions are lifted, per a statement.

Why it matters: This is the latest in a string of nonessential retail closure announcements throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Chains that were already struggling financially have faced amplified shortfalls due to social distancing regulations and market uncertainty.

May 19, 2020 - Technology

Facebook Shops is tech giant's new online marketplace

Photo: Facebook

Facebook is launching a new online shopping marketplace called Facebook Shops, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: To date, most Facebook commerce has taken place between users via its Marketplace tab, a Craigslist-like feature, but Facebook Shops is at the center of its push to create an e-commerce platform for businesses.

Coronavirus retail apocalypse could be a win for chains that survive

A person walks past a closed store in San Francisco. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Retail has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic as bankruptcies and store closures have accelerated, but that is creating opportunities for the companies that survive, especially as a period of surging traffic could be on the way, data firm says.

What they're saying: The much ballyhooed retail apocalypse is poised to benefit budget retail names like Ross and Kohl's that have gained market share in recent years.

Podcast: Misery at the mall

JCPenney filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Friday, becoming the third major retailer to do so this month. Dan digs into the future of retail, including what companies to watch, with Fortune senior reporter Phil Wahba.

April retail sales drop record 16.4% amid coronavirus pandemic

Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

U.S. retail sales fell 16.4% in April, even worse than the previous record fall set in March, as consumers pulled back on spending during the coronavirus economic lockdown.

Why it matters: It's another indication of how the pandemic is curtailing consumer spending, which is the main driver of the U.S. economy, as people stay home and a record number of Americans are out out work.

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