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

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Companies hurry to give paid day off for Juneteenth holiday

Yelp is one of the more than 800 companies to offer a paid holiday for Juneteenth. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

More than 800 U.S. companies offered employees a paid day off Friday for the newly established Juneteenth federal holiday, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: President Biden signed legislation late Thursday making Juneteenth a federal holiday, leaving many U.S. companies rushing to create policies for workers to take the day off.

A silver lining for retail sales

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Data: Census; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Retail sales in May fell at a greater rate than what economists predicted. But a closer look reveals a somewhat encouraging economic snapshot.

Why it matters: Consumer spending accounts for about 68% of GDP. So, the trajectory of retail sales acts as a rough proxy for the direction of the economy.

Jun 15, 2021 - Economy & Business

Scoop: Gopuff launching an ads biz


Gopuff, the $9 billion food delivery startup, is launching its own ad network, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: It's the latest delivery giant to use advertising to boost revenues and increase sales. Insider reported Monday that rival Instacart is quietly building a $1 billion ads business.

Mall owner Washington Prime Group files for bankruptcy

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Mall owner Washington Prime Group has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, saying the "COVID-19 pandemic proved insurmountable."

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Aja Whitaker-Moore: Malls have been on the decline for years due to consumer demand shifting online. The pandemic has accelerated the trend for some operators grappling with disappearing foot traffic from shutdowns, and struggling tenants who've stopped paying rent or filed for bankruptcy themselves.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Jun 14, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Amazon third-party businesses acquirer Thrasio in talks to go public via SPAC

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Thrasio, a Walpole, Mass.-based acquirer of Amazon third-party private-label businesses, is in talks to go public via Churchill Capital V (NYSE: CCV), a SPAC led by Michael Klein, per Bloomberg. The implied valuation could top $10 billion.

Why it matters: This comes just days after Congress introduced a bipartisan bill that would break apart Amazon's control of its marketplace, thus benefiting the sorts of sellers that Thrasio rolls up.

Jun 10, 2021 - Economy & Business

Netflix launches online merchandise store


Netflix on Thursday debuted an online merchandise store,, that features products inspired by shows on its streaming platform.

Why it matters: It is the company's first foray into commerce. Until now, the streaming giant made almost all of its money selling streaming video subscriptions.

Main Street retail fears grow

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Owners of independent brick-and-mortar businesses have a bleak outlook of the competitive threat posed by online shopping.

Driving the news: A new survey of local U.S. retailers published by Shopify Thursday shows that 82% of respondents agree that major online marketplaces are making it more difficult to operate.

Study reveals inaccessibility of paid leave for low-income workers

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

About two-thirds of service-sector workers said they could not take leave, or took less leave than they wanted, when they experienced a major life event, according to a Harvard and UC San Francisco study released today. Within this group, 71% said the reason was they couldn’t afford to.

Why it matters: Part of President Biden’s American Families Plan provides 12 weeks of guaranteed paid family and sick leave to workers, marking the first time that a U.S. president has introduced a national-level paid leave program.

The de-globalization of retail banking

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Big banks are pulling back from the heights of their global ambitions for retail banking.

Why it matters: The globalization dogma says bigger is better, and that more markets offer more opportunities for making money. But increasingly, the international mega-bank model is getting clunky, more expensive — and less popular.

Rising costs crimp new home sales

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Data: U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

New home sales volumes came in lower than expected for April, at 863,000. That’s down 5.9% from the month before.

Why it matters: Economist's expectations were for around 950,000. But building has slowed as raw materials prices like lumber skyrocket, as Axios’ Hope King recently reported.

  • The gridlock pushed the median new-home sale price to $372,000, up 11.4% from March, and up an eye-popping 20% since April of last year.
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