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The New York Times offers a bit of commentary about the state of retail, which often looks dismal, but, the piece suggests, actually may be rosier than one might imagine:

“Traditional retailers have already made meaningful progress addressing one of their three biggest problems — too many stores — and have begun to address the other two: the high level of debt on their balance sheets and the rise of digital retailing.”

The authors of the piece, Joel Bines and David Bassuk, global co-heads of retail consulting at AlixPartners, write:

“We see the innovative experiments going on in retail today — the ‘experiential’ stores appealing to those craving experiences as much as things, the ‘shoppertainment’ malls combining entertainment with spending, the back-to-the-future ‘local’ retail that eschews universal brands in favor of more curated offerings — and this gives us even more confidence.

“Don’t bet against retail; the destruction it’s going through now is, as in the past, of the creative variety.”
KC's View:
Totally agree.

Not being a consultant, however, I just use different language. What I’d say is this:

Bet against crappy, mediocre, non-differentiated retail. Bet on the people and companies that believe in innovation and imagination. And most of all, don’t think of retail narrowly. Form is less important than function. Walls are less important than relevance. Reputation and achievement matter less than what you do today and tomorrow.