Jan 13, 2019

The death of department stores

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Data: FactSet; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

In a sign of the times, the Lord & Taylor department store has closed its flagship New York City location; the building will become a WeWork.

The big picture: Other department stores are struggling too, not least Sears, which is in bankruptcy and is also this close to liquidation. (Sears includes Kmart, which declared bankruptcy in 2002.)

  • Macy's stock imploded this week after the department store reported disappointing holiday sales and said it expects sales to be flat in 2019.
  • Other department stores followed Macy's shares south: JC Penney closed Friday at a mere $1.32 per share, down from $11.85 in early 2016 and a high of $87 in 2007.
  • Meanwhile, Amazon is eyeing shuttered Sears and Kmart locations as it looks to to expand the reach of its Whole Foods subsidiary.

The backdrop: As Deloitte detailed in an influential 2017 report on "the great retail bifurcation," brick-and-mortar retail as a whole is not suffering. But all of the growth is either at the low end (stores competing purely on price, like Walmart or 99-cent stores) or at the high end (stores offering premium experiences, like free beer for people who pick up their Nordstrom orders in person). Stores in the middle, attempting to be all things to all people, are in a long secular decline.

Go deeper: Axios has a great deep dive on the future of retail.

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Retail's rough post-holiday ride

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. stock market rose broadly on Thursday, but a number of retail stocks went south after companies revealed distressing news about their holiday sales.

What happened: J.C. Penney and Kohl’s reported lower sales during the critical months of November and December, and Macy's announced poor holiday sales and the closure of several stores.

Go deeperArrowJan 10, 2020

A record for out-of-store spending

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Americans are now spending nearly as much money remotely as they are in person.

Why it matters: It's a nod to the e-commerce boom, where corporate giants like Amazon and other businesses that bulked up their online presence are cashing in like never before.

Go deeperArrowDec 20, 2019

Toy stores get interactive with "experiential retail"

Children ride scooters on an elevated loop at Camp, a new chain of toy stores, in New York. Photo: Mark Lennihan/AP.

A new generation of toy stores hopes to capitalize on the demise of Toys R Us by emphasizing playtime with "experiential retail," AP writes.

Where it stands: Toy stores long offered activities and interactive elements, like the floor piano at FAO Schwarz that Tom Hanks danced on in "Big."

Go deeperArrowDec 24, 2019