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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Sep 17, 2021 - Health

Retail sales increase despite low expectations from Delta

Data: FRED; Chart: Axios Visuals

Consumers defied expectations and shopped at an increasing rate amid a resurgence in COVID-19 cases.

Why it matters: Several measures of consumer confidence fell sharply in August, suggesting consumer spending could fall during the month. In fact, concerns about the Delta variant's impact on the economy had prominent Wall Street economists cutting their expectations for Q3 GDP growth.

IPO for shoemaker On a sign of growing demand for athleisure products

Runners in front of the New York Stock Exchange this week. Photo:

Investors rushed to buy shares this week of running shoes company On in its stock market debut, amid new signs that consumer spending remains resilient.

Why it matters: Apparel sales rebounded earlier this year as the economy reopened — and buying athletic apparel, especially sneakers, is one pandemic habit that’s not dying out.

Report: Bustling holiday shopping season ahead

Shoppers in San Francisco. Photo: David Paul Morris/Getty Images

This holiday season, e-commerce sales in the U.S. will likely be 50% higher than 2019 levels. Brick and mortar retailers' sales will also be up over the same period, but by just 9%, estimates a new Deloitte report released this morning.

Why it matters: The pandemic drove businesses and consumers online — habits that are sticking around for the long term.

Sep 14, 2021 - Economy & Business

Fake meat companies are hungry for meat-lovers

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

Plant-based meat firms aren't just going after vegans and vegetarians anymore. They're betting that closely mimicking the taste of meat will let them chip away at the meat-eating market too.

Why it matters: Diets that include meat — especially beef — have a steep climate impact. If plant-based protein gains popularity, more and more people could reduce or even halt their meat consumption.

Salesforce to help relocate employees after Texas abortion law

Salesforce logo. Photo: Jeremy Moeller/Getty Images

Salesforce will help employees who want to leave Texas after a law that imposed a ban on abortions after six weeks went into effect this month, CEO Marc Benioff said on Friday.

Why it matters: Salesforce is the latest company to take action against the law that's known to be one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the U.S.

Impossible Foods debuts chicken nuggets

Impossible Chicken nuggets at Fuku in New York City. Photo: Katelyn Perry/Impossible Foods

Impossible Foods is out with a chicken nugget that closely mimics the taste and texture of the American fast food favorite.

Why it matters: Plant-based meat companies aren’t just after the vegan and vegetarian market. They’re thinking much bigger.

Restaurant recovery’s screeching halt

A restaurant window. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Bars and restaurants went from powering America’s jobs comeback to slowing it down.

Why it matters: The industry is a proxy for how the labor market and economy are faring amid the pandemic.

Walmart to raise hourly pay for 565,000 employees

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Walmart plans to raise hourly wages for about 565,000 workers in departments such as food and general merchandise starting Sept. 25, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Walmart, who employs 1.6 million people in the U.S., will raise the average wage to $16.40, but its minimum wage of $11 an hour falls behind other large retailers such as Amazon and Target.

Apparel makers' new supply problem

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

New COVID lockdowns in Vietnam are creating supply problems for some well-known U.S. brands.

Why it matters: Big retailers have reported healthy demand from consumers, even amid elevated levels of COVID infections in recent weeks. The main challenge hindering sales has been limited supply.

Best Buy's surprise

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Best Buy reported surprisingly strong Q2 sales and earnings. The company also had some surprising things to say about customer behavior. Bullish things.

Why it matters: The distribution of COVID vaccines and the reopening of the economy came with an expected shift in spending toward experiences and less on goods.

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