2. Impending retail apocalypse
UBS predicts that 100,000 brick-and-mortar U.S. retail stores will close by 2025, in a trend that started before the pandemic and has accelerated amid coronavirus-related shutdowns, Axios managing editor Jennifer Kingson writes.
- Indoor malls — which were already turning into ghost towns — are being converted into apartment complexes.
- A relatively new retail model — buy online, pick up in-store — is gaining traction.
Many COVID-19 closures that were supposed to be temporary will wind up being permanent. Among household names that have announced they're shuttering some stores for good: Nordstrom, Bath & Body Works, Gap, and Zara.
- "Accelerated Darwinism" is how Deborah Weinswig, CEO of Coresight Research, describes some of the retail bankruptcies of 2020 (not all of which resulted in widespread store closures). Fashion apparel has suffered the most.
- "We speak to a lot of liquidators about what's in the hopper," Weinswig tells Axios. "The recent conversations we've had suggest that the pace of bankruptcies is going to rise significantly."
Jennifer's thought bubble: The major retail corridor in my Manhattan neighborhood — East 86th Street — is practically unrecognizable. Gone for good are the Children's Place where I bought my kids' clothes and our local Barnes & Noble. Those losses feel like Piggy's glasses breaking in "Lord of the Flies."