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Our expert voices conversation about the death of retail.

What has always been clear is that if companies do not invest in their workers they will fail in the marketplace – just like J.C. Penny and American Apparel.

A face-to-face, human experience is always going to have a place in retail if companies want to survive a shift to online sales. We see it at Bloomingdale's 59th Street and Macy's Herald Square. These are internationally famous tourist destinations that are hugely profitable, making up nearly 9 percent of Macy's sales alone, and their knowledgeable and experienced retail workers are a big part of their continued success. These workers are the face of the stores, and by extension, the face of the company.

Consumers can't get this experience by shopping online, and they'll continue to come to these brick-and-mortar stores – even if they end up buying online. It's an experience they'll never be able to duplicate by filling up their Amazon shopping cart. Nor will these iconic companies ever be able to compete on pricing in the online marketplace.

Bottom line: We don't see a death of retail stores, but a reconfiguration. Consumers will always need products, and brands will always need storefronts for visibility and to satisfy customers' need to touch and feel products for quality and fit. What we've actually seen is a growth in fulfillment jobs, many of which come with higher wages, but that still don't give workers a voice.

Other voices in the conversation:

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus variant surveillance varies widely by state — Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate — Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come.
  4. World: WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming — Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Prosecutors charge parents of Michigan school shooting suspect

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The parents of a 15-year-old accused of killing four students and wounding seven other people at a Michigan high school have been charged with involuntary manslaughter, according to court documents.

Driving the news: James and Jennifer Crumbley were each charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter.

3 hours ago - World

Putin to demand legal guarantee against NATO expansion in call with Biden

Biden and Putin meeting in Geneva in June. Photo: Mikhail Metzel\TASS via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin is demanding a legally binding guarantee that NATO will not expand east — including to Ukraine — and plans to raise the issue in an upcoming phone call with President Biden, according to the Kremlin.

Why it matters: Russia has massed more than 94,000 troops on the border with Ukraine and could be preparing for a large-scale invasion at the end of January, Ukraine's defense minister said Friday.