retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Bloomberg has a story suggesting that while tradition bricks-and-mortar retailers love to blame their troubles on Amazon, a more accurate view of the situation might be that Amazon gets too much of the blame while traditional retailers get too little.

Among the problems pointed out in the story are: too much retail (more retail square footage per capita than any other nation) ... too much lag time between conception and opening ("trends change much faster than permits can be issued, buildings constructed and subsequently rented," and "that lag can be consequential") ... too many shopping experiences that are geared to a nineties consumer point of view ... not enough shopping experiences designed for the fact that millennials simply live their lives differently (they don't own cars or houses and wait to have children, which affects what and when they buy certain things) ... and consumers, because of the transparency offered by the internet, have a better sense of what things cost and when discounts will happen, which affects traditional retailers' ability to promote effectively.

While there are exceptions to the rule, the story suggests, "for every retail out-performer you can name, there are many more under-performers. Those warnings about excess retail space are almost a decade old. If anything, the existential threat to the consumer retail industries are even more acute today."
KC's View:
I'm not sure there are very many people who would suggest that the nation is under-stored, and yet I wonder how many new stores will be opened this year that, from the moment the front doors swing wide, are destined to be under-performers simply because they don't bring anything different to the table.

I know that most companies and executives are judged by sale growth, and that most sales growth is linked to new stores. But maybe it is time to start rethinking this benchmark.