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Retail: An industry in decline or in resurgence? 

Debunking the myth of the retail apocalypse 

There has clearly been a sea change in the retail market, but it is not the retail apocalypse…For retailers, surviving and thriving in this environment may require adapting sales strategies and value propositions to align with consumers’ economic well-being and needs. As always, determining what matters most to the customer can provide a clear path forward.

– Kasey M. Lobaugh, chief retail innovation officer; Christina Bieniek, U.S. Retail, Wholesale, & Distribution consulting leader; Bobby Stephens, senior manager; and Preeti Pincha, senior manager, Deloitte Consulting LLP (Source: WSJ)

Reports of the retail industry’s collapse have dominated headlines in the past year. “The retail apocalypse has descended on America,” declared one recent Business Insider article. A Bloomberg article made a similar proclamation, claiming that retail’s decline is “really just beginning.” Overall, more than 3,800 stores are expected to close in 2018.

But just how real is the so-called retail apocalypse? 
Is the future as bleak as the headlines suggest? And more importantly, what are the implications for retailers?

Retail is undergoing massive transformation, but contrary to what many headlines are claiming, it is not collapsing. In fact, data shows that the industry is poised to grow.

From an era of decline to an era of renaissance 

- net increase in the number of store openings in 2017


IHL Group

of consumers are confident or very confident in the economy as of January 2018—a record high


Consumer Mood Index

- the retail industry’s projected growth between 2017 to 2022



Recently, companies such as Target, Walmart, Nordstrom and Home Depot all reported growth in both brick-and-mortar and e-commerce sales.

These stats suggest that there’s massive opportunity in the retail industry right now. But in order to win, companies need to really understand their customers. According to experts from Deloitte, insight on what really matters to customers can provide the competitive advantage companies need to win in this landscape.

4 ways to future-proof your place in retail

Experts and business leaders have identified key strategies to thriving in today’s retail landscape.

Create a better
in-store experience

Focus on growth

Get closer to your employees

Fail fast

Retail expert Doug Stephens says physical stores can drive revenue by delivering memorable experiences to customers

According to Gene Lunger of Ashley HomeStore, now is the time to pursue growth.

Deliver a better experience to your employees because they play an important role in improving the customer experience.

Taking risks is important, but companies should use new technologies to solve problems customers have, says Chris Hansen of TGI Fridays. 

To keep up with changing customer expectations and with increasing competition, Canadian Tire engages 15,000 customers for feedback and insight. The result: better brand perception, enhanced marketing and more loyal customers. 

Read the following related articles for more insights on the industry.

Explore the current retail landscape




Retail: An industry in decline or in resurgence?