Retail

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
Coronavirus retail apocalypse could be a win for chains that survive

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

May 19, 2020
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

Kroger CEO: Shift to online shopping accelerated during pandemic

Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen Photo: Axios screenshot

The shift to online shopping during the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated beyond most analysts' predictions, Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen said on Wednesday at an Axios event.

The big picture: McMullen said the industry had expected the shift to online to take about 3 years. Instead, it took place in only two weeks.

Adobe: E-commerce growth slows as stores reopen

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

E-commerce sales are still way up compared to a year ago in the U.S., but growth moderated in July as more traditional stores reopened, according to fresh data from Adobe.

Why it matters: Undoubtedly some of the shifts to online shopping will be permanent, but the numbers suggest that consumers want to do a certain amount of their buying in-person.

Best Buy continues to defy the retail apocalypse

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

One company bucking the woeful news from the world of retail is Best Buy, which saw its stock price hit a record high Monday.

What's happening: Last week Best Buy announced that sales have increased from last year despite the coronavirus pandemic. It also has promised permanent wage increases for employees.

Virtual school is another setback for struggling retail industry

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A virtual school year will likely push retailers even closer to the brink.

Why it matters: Back-to-school season is the second-biggest revenue generating period for the retail sector, after the holidays. But retailers say typical shopping sprees will be smaller with students learning at home — another setback for their industry, which has seen a slew of store closures and bankruptcy filings since the pandemic hit.

Axios Harris Poll 100: Corporate trust soars during the pandemic

Data: Harris Poll COVID19 Tracker Wave 20; Chart: Axios Visuals

The public's view of almost every industry has improved since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new Axios/Harris poll. Industries with a prominent role in life under quarantine have seen especially big jumps.

Why it matters: Businesses in America were already undergoing a transformation from being solely focused on profits to being focused on values as well. The coronavirus pandemic has expedited that shift, and consumers are responding favorably to it.

33% of U.S. museums are "not confident" they will survive next fall

A closed sign outside a museum in New York City. Photo: Cindy Ord/Getty Images

33% of America's museums are at a "significant risk" of closing permanently by next fall due to economic distress from coronavirus-related shutdowns, an American Alliance of Museums survey has found.

Why it matters: Ticket and gift shop sales, school trips and museum events are primary sources of funding, AAM President and CEO Laura Lott told NPR.

How cities can come back stronger from the coronavirus pandemic

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Cities ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic have a chance to come back stronger — and more equitable — than they were before, if they're willing to get creative in the way they think about budgeting, public services and infrastructure.

Why it matters: Making smart decisions now can help build more equitable, livable cities that will also be better equipped to weather public health crises. But if local leaders simply default to old habits, they'll entrench inequities that the pandemic has exploited and made worse.

Retail sales jumped 7.5% in June

Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

U.S. retail sales rose 7.5% in June, after a revised record 18.2% jump in May, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

Why it matters: Consumer spending accounts for roughly 70% of U.S. economic activity, and June's retail sales nearly reached February's pre-pandemic levels, driven by spending at car dealerships, clothing and furniture stores. But economists warn it may have since slowed as states began to reimpose lockdowns amid surging coronavirus caseloads.

Walmart will require all customers to wear masks

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Walmart will require all customers to wear face masks beginning next week in all of its 5,000 company-owned stores, in addition to its Sam's Club locations, the company announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: Walmart is the largest retailer in the U.S. and the latest in a string of national chains — including Costco and Starbucks — to mandate masks for customers.

Brooks Brothers files for bankruptcy

Photo: Andrew Chin/Getty Images

Clothing brand Brooks Brothers on Wednesday filed for bankruptcy, per Marketwatch, becoming the latest retail giant to topple amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters, via Axios' Dan Primack: Brooks Brothers is the poster child for the retail apocalypse. Legacy retail brands were already struggling before the pandemic, facing the death of brick-and-mortar stores as shopping shifts online. The company, which has relatively little debt and no private equity owners, still generated around 80% of its sales in physical stores that have been mostly shuttered for months — as demand for business attire has cratered with consumers working from home.

More Retail stories