“How did you go bankrupt? Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”
Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
When I think about what is now a crisis in bricks and mortar retailing, I recall an Ernest Hemingway quote in. A character asks: “How did you go bankrupt?" The other character responds: "Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”
How did bricks and mortar retailing get into so much trouble? Two ways. Gradually and then suddenly.
The store closings, which started as a dribble, began to cascade in 2017. 15,000 stores have closed since that time with our own Toys R Us contributing 735. Consider this April 10, Washington Post headline: "‘Retail apocalypse’ now: Analysts say 75,000 more U.S. stores could be doomed." The use of the term "apocalypse" seems a bit hyperbolic until you read this paragraph from Abha Bhattarai's article:
An estimated 75,000 stores that sell clothing, electronics and furniture will close by 2026, when online shopping is expected to make up 25 percent of retail sales, according to UBS. Roughly 16 percent of overall sales are made online.