Although reports of chain store closures continue to continue to dominate the news, a new study by a business consulting group shows that the industry in in the last year has seen more than twice as many retail store openings than closings.
The report by the Franklin, Tennessee-based IHL Consulting Group says that in every retail category, including mass merchandisers, convenience stores, and supermarkets, new stores are being built and opened across the country.
More specifically, there were nearly 3,100 more new stores opened in the last three months of 2018 than in that same time period in late 2017.
The biggest growth segment has been seen in convenience stores, which opened nearly 4,600 more outlets in late 2018 over late 2017.
While the report, Retail’s Renaissance—True Story of Store Openings/Closings, does record significant closings primarily in the department store, drug stores, and specialty soft goods categories, it also shows 97 percent of the nation’s convenience store businesses have gained locations.
Even in the troubled department store segment, which saw 19 percent of its outlets closed late last year, a larger 27 percent reported new location openings.
“Retail is a dynamic, fast-changing, highly competitive industry, and there are no guarantees of success,” says the report, before adding: “Consumer expectations are growing and evolving, and retailers must invest heavily to improve the in-store experience.”
The report also suggests that further retail store openings are likely primarily because 98 percent of the industry is made up of always-growing small businesses: “There might well be a small business opening its first store today that will become a dominant player in the next decade.”
While the IHL Consulting Group document acknowledges the growing impact of online retail, it also predicts that in the next three years up to 81 percent of all retail businesses will continue to have a physical store presence.
By Garry Boulard
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