Axios Pro: Retail Deals

February 04, 2022

Axios Pro Exclusive Content

Good morning, Retail readers!

Today's newsletter features bullish data on store openings and closings, and we've got a quick take on Kohl's news.

1 big thing: Open for business

Announced 2022 U.S. store openings square footage estimates
Data: Coresight Research; Chart: Thomas Oide/Axios

Retailers are opening physical stores at the fastest pace since 2016 based on January data, according to Coresight Research.

  • From Jan. 1 to Jan. 28, new store openings for retailers rose 3% to 1,910, Coresight data show, compared to the year-ago period.
  • In that same period this year, there were 748 closures. (See more below.)

Why it matters: Stores are one of the main ways that brands fuel growth, which in turn drives valuations, and in turn, drives deals.

Catch up fast: LBOs of legacy brick-and-mortar retailers over the last 15 years were predicated on opening new stores.

  • But several factors, from the competition of e-commerce to the decline of the enclosed suburban mall, dealt blows to that investment thesis.

What's next: It's not just the usual suspects pouring concrete. Digitally native brands now see stores as essential.

  • Activewear brand Vuori plans to more than double its 13 locations. Parachute also plans to more than double its physical store count.  

Quick take: "Physical stores are still important, and this was recently noted by CEOs of several large retailers and brands at NRF," Deborah Weinswig, CEO of Coresight Research, said via email.

  • "The physical store is being re-purposed, it can be a fulfillment center, a last-mile solution, or a platform for purchase," she said.
  • "Retailers and brands are embracing the 'showroom persona' of a physical store, through which consumers enter, browse options and then ultimately make purchases online."

View archive