US bricks-and-mortar retailers are bleeding badly. E-commerce is gobbling up a growing share of sales, store productivity has dwindled, consumer shopping habits are shifting toward fast, cheap fashion-or away from stuff entirely-and it all seems to be coming to a head this year. With about a quarter of 2017 now completed, the US retail industry is on pace to close more stores this year than the 6,200 shuttered during the Great Recession in 2008.
– The Atlantic
Will you pay more for those shoes before 7 p.m.? Would the price tag be different if you lived in the suburbs? Standard prices and simple discounts are giving way to far more exotic strategies, designed to extract every last dollar from the consumer.
– Business Insider
Amazon Inc. has quietly created a team focused on driverless-vehicle technology to help navigate the retail giant’s role in the shake-up of transportation, according to people briefed on the matter. Analysts believe Amazon ultimately plans to build its own shipping network so it can completely bypass partners like UPS and FedEx.
– The Wall Street Journal
In April last year, Target published a blog post welcoming transgender employees and shoppers to use restrooms and fitting rooms corresponding with their gender identities. “Everyone deserves to feel like they belong,” read the post, which turned half of Target’s red bullseye logo into a gay-pride rainbow. Other retailers have similar policies. But for Target, the posting of what was its long-held practice quickly became an expensive and distracting lesson about the perils of combining the web’s megaphone with touchy social issues.