Updated Jun 7, 2018

How brick-and-mortar retailers can adapt to the age of e-commerce

A Bonobos in lower Manhattan on April 18, 2017, in New York City. The high-end men's clothing retailer is in talks with Walmart for an approximately $300-million sale. Photo: Spencer Platt via Getty Images

Last month, Sears announced its plan to close another 72 stores and identified 100 as unprofitable, after its 26th consecutive quarter with diminishing sales. Sears and similar retailers have suffered largely because of changing consumer behavior and market dominance of Amazon, which was responsible for 44% of all U.S. e-commerce sales last year. 

But, but, but: While sales have declined the past six years for Sears, brick-and-mortar sales overall have increased each of the past four, driven by retailers who blend online and offline commerce and deliver memorable experiences. Companies such as Amazon and Apple built on consumer-first retail DNA, while other leaders such as Walmart and Target have acquired that DNA through aggressive acquisitions of next-generation brands such as Jet.com, Bonobos and Shipt.

Flashback: Never forget Blockbuster, the once-leading but now-defunct movie rental business. Blockbuster didn’t embrace digital change despite an opportunity in 2005 to purchase Netflix for $50 million, doubling down instead on the brick-and-mortar model by acquiring Hollywood Video. Today, Blockbuster is gone and Netflix is bigger than Disney, Comcast and Fox.

Lessons learned: Retailers that want to satisfy tomorrow’s consumer demand have to embrace trends, invest aggressively and acquire smaller, well-positioned companies, brands and management teams. Sears could have leveraged its retail footprint, scale, supply chain, iconic Craftsman and Kenmore brands and distribution advantages in concert with startup strategy to transition its business, but missed the opportunity.

The big picture: Successful retailers meet consumers where they want to be, providing value, variety and minimal purchase friction. Those that hold on to dated brands, distribution channels, experiences and value propositions will likely be left behind.

Tige Savage is a managing partner at Revolution Ventures.

Go deeper

Wells Fargo agrees to pay $3 billion to settle consumer abuse charges

Clients use an ATM at a Wells Fargo Bank in Los Angeles, Calif. Photo: Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Wells Fargo agreed to a pay a combined $3 billion to the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday for opening millions of fake customer accounts between 2002 and 2016, the SEC said in a press release.

The big picture: The fine "is among the largest corporate penalties reached during the Trump administration," the Washington Post reports.

Bloomberg offers to release women from 3 nondisclosure agreements

Mike Bloomberg. Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Mike Bloomberg said Friday his company will release three women identified to have signed nondisclosure agreements so they can publicly discuss their allegations against him if they wish.

Why it matters, via Axios' Margaret Talev: Bloomberg’s shift in policy toward NDAs comes as he tries to stanch his loss of female support after the Las Vegas debate. It is an effort to separate the total number of harassment and culture complaints at the large company from those directed at him personally. That could reframe the criticism against him, but also protect the company from legal fallout if all past NDAs were placed in jeopardy.

Coronavirus spreads to more countries, and U.S. ups its case count

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the United States.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,250 people and infected almost 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 20 mins ago - Health