The big picture

The impending retail apocalypse

The coronavirus and online shopping are forcing brick-and-mortar retail stores to close, often for good.

Jul 6, 2020 - Economy & Business
Coronavirus retail apocalypse could be a win for chains that survive

That could benefit budget names like Ross and Kohl's.

May 19, 2020 - Economy & Business
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 - Economy & Business
GM to recall millions of vehicles with Takata air bag inflators

This new regulation will cost the company around $1.2 billion.

Nov 23, 2020 - Economy & Business
Where Americans are opening their wallets

Cities like Atlanta, Houston and Orlando helped buoy merchants' coffers in October, according to Mastercard.

Nov 19, 2020 - Economy & Business

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Obama's "A Promised Land" to become best selling presidential memoir

Photo: Charles Guerin/Abaca Press via Reuters

President Obama's "A Promised Land" (list price: $45) sold nearly 890,000 copies in the U.S. and Canada in its first 24 hours, putting it on track to be the best selling presidential memoir in modern history, AP's Hillel Italie writes.

Why it matters: Obama's book is the highlight of publishing's holiday season, and for some independent bookstores, the potential difference between remaining in business or closing.

How consumer spending slowdown affected U.S. businesses

Data: U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The consumer-spending pullback whacked businesses that were already struggling to recover from the initial hit from the pandemic, data from the U.S. Census Bureau show.

Why it matters: This month’s lockdowns (or people curbing their own activity for safety reasons) will be a bigger setback for these same shops in the weeks to come.

Nov 17, 2020 - Economy & Business

Exclusive: Dotdash brand The Spruce strikes commerce deal with Lowe's


The Spruce, one of the largest home decor websites on the internet, is launching its own organization product line in every Lowe's store in the country, executives tell Axios.

Why it matters: It's a major step for Dotdash, the parent company to The Spruce, in its effort to move into e-commerce. To-date, Dotdash has been profitable by focusing on internet advertising around evergreen content.

Amazon launches online pharmacy, prescription delivery service

Photo: ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images

Amazon launched Amazon Pharmacy on Tuesday, which will allow U.S. customers to order prescription medications without leaving their homes.

Why it matters via Axios' Dan Primack: With the pharmaceutical business going digital, this could create a major challenge for companies like CVS and Walgreens, whose stocks stumbled this morning after Amazon's announcement.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
Nov 13, 2020 - Economy & Business

7 million packages could experience delays per day this holiday season

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Retailers and shippers are on a mad pre-holiday hiring spree, making them one of the few industries adding jobs during COVID-19.

Why it matters: With the entire country turning to online shopping, shippers across the U.S. are preparing for unprecedented package volumes — around 80 million per day between Thanksgiving and Christmas — and frustrating delays.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Nov 13, 2020 - Economy & Business

Guitar Center plans to file for bankruptcy

Hollywood Rock Walk at the Guitar Center on the Sunset Strip. Photo: AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Guitar Center, a 61 year-old musical instrument retailer owned by Ares Management, plans to file for prepackaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, per the New York Times.

Why it matters: This is one of the last chapters of private equity's so-called Golden Age, during which well-known retailers were taken private with huge new debt obligations but without meaningful e-commerce strategies.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Nov 12, 2020 - Economy & Business

Justice Department takes on a monopolist

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The Department of Justice antitrust lawsuit against Visa is important, not just for the outcome of a $5 billion fintech acquisition, but for the whole future of the industry.

Why it matters: While there are a lot of financial startups, very few of them are genuinely disruptive. In fact, many of them implicitly rely upon the Visa and Mastercard duopoly. The DOJ wants to ensure that there's still a chance that duopoly could face real competition.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
Nov 10, 2020 - Economy & Business

Robots vs. retail workers

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

For years, retail has been lurching toward automation. Last week, Walmart took a significant step back.

Why it matters: In a rare win for retail workers, Walmart decided to take shelf-scanning robots out of its stores in favor of humans. But automation is still coming faster for retail jobs than for most other occupations, experts say.

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