30 May 2017

Winners and Losers in Retail

You have probably heard the news and it isn’t good. Sports Authority is gone. The Limited is gone. Shoes.com – gone. Payless Shoes – gone. Wet seal – gone.

JC Penney, Macy’s, Nordstrom have all reported declining sales. Even Kohl’s is hurting. The latest report was Target—also down—for the fourth straight quarter. 

The News Isn’t All Bad…

Meanwhile, there was an 11% increase in online and non-store retailers and an increase among restaurants and bars. I guess folks get hungry while shopping online and then go out to eat.
At the same time, Wal-mart revenue is up. And, of course, Amazon is up and prepping for another “Prime Day” in a couple of months.

We can surmise why some of these retailers are not doing well and why others are cleaning up. But let’s take a look at what the analysts say.


Wal-mart Shows Behemoths Can Innovate!

Wal-mart has cut prices and improved in-store traffic, while Target has less foot traffic. Wal-mart is also improving its e-commerce performance, which the company says rose more than 60% in Q1 2017 and are the highest ever. Wal-mart’s growth surpassed even that of Amazon and was attributed mostly to Wal-mart, not its recent acquisitions of Jet.com, and Moosejaw, which provide access to a more affluent and sophisticated shopper.

Wal-mart has expanded its online catalog to more than 50 million products up from just 10 million one year ago. The company also now offers free two-day shipping on orders that total more than $35 and a discount to shoppers who order online but elect to pick up select products in-store. Wal-mart is capitalizing on its close proximity to a large percentage of the US population—something that Amazon cannot easily counter.

Other innovations include investing in online grocery ordering that provides curb-side pickup services by busy moms and dads. Wal-mart also is investing in new technologies to speed shelf stocking to ensure that products are there where and when consumers need them.

Amazon Continues to Experiment 

In turn, Amazon has turned their popular Alexa device into your own personal style consultant with Echo Look. The device sits quietly in your closet and takes full-length photos and short videos upon command with a built-in camera to help you see yourself from every angle. This complements Amazon’s efforts to become a bigger player in fashion—introducing several private label apparel lines and hiring hundreds of personnel to manage the category.

Join inRiver at IRCE

These are only a few of the interesting trends that we are seeing in the retail industry. We hope to hear and see more at IRCE on June 6-9 in Chicago. Stop by our booth (#739) or sign up for a meeting in our private room (#W472) to discuss how inRiver PIM can help you address these, and other, disruptive trends in retail.

Kathryn Zwack, Senior Content Marketing Manager, inRiver Inc


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