In the wake of the Great Recession, it appeared that brick-and-mortar retail was all but over. Pundits used terms like “retail apocalypse” as weak consumer spending led to deep declines in sales, which were already lagging due to the rise of online shopping.
Even in today’s strong economy, household incomes are not keeping up with inflation, and consumers are spending their money on other priorities, such as education, healthcare and housing.
Many established retailers continue to struggle in this environment. JCPenney, for instance, has seen declines in profits and store traffic. Sears is closing stores and filed for bankruptcy, months after it began thinning its marketing department. But it’s not all doom and gloom, as some retail stores see growth.
In August, Target reported its strongest same-store sales numbers in 13 years, and traffic to its stores rose 6.4% during the second quarter – the biggest increase since 2008. American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. has also had tremendous growth in the past year, gaining a solid 86.5%, compared to 29.87% industry growth. So how have these retailers survived as others have languished?