As the dust settles from a record-shattering holiday shopping season, the retail industry turns its focus to a new year — along with new opportunities and challenges. Here’s what you can expect.
These are the best of times for retail. The industry is coming off a record-setting holiday shopping season that formally kicked off with Black Friday online sales of $3.34 billion — an all-time high, up 21.6% year over year. In all, holiday spending surged 3.8% to $196.1 billion in 2016, the strongest rate of growth since 2011, research firm Conlumino found. Both physical and online channels witnessed growth, with online spending soaring 17.1% over the prior year.
These are also the worst of times for retail. National chains including Macy’s, Sears, J.C. Penney’s, Kohl’s and Barnes & Noble all suffered absolutely brutal holiday seasons, calling into question what — if anything — they can do to right the ship and compete more effectively in an increasingly digital world…[READ MORE]