The Retail Apocalypse Continues

The Retail Apocalypse Continues

Gary Hawkins, CEO, Center for Advancing Retail and Technology


An article in USA Today a couple days ago called out that 2019 will see over 12,000 store closings by the end of the year, an estimated 50% more than in 2018. Already just eight months in to the year, there have been nearly 30% more store closings than in all of 2018, according to Coresight Research.

And we’re not close to stabilizing. UBS Securities expects the pain to continue into the future, stating that 75,000 more stores will need to close if eCommerce penetration rises to a projected 25% from today’s 16%.

While most of the damage is occurring in non-CPG retail sectors, supermarket retailers, drug store operators, convenience, and discount retail should not feel safe. Traditional retailers in these sectors are under growing siege as sales shift online, new competitors (think Amazon) enter the market, and tech-fueled innovation shifts the battlefield.

Perhaps the most significant challenge traditional retailers must face is changing consumer expectations. Consumers have come to expect, even take for granted, the personalization and customization in the digital world. Those expectations are quickly migrating to the physical world as 3D printing, personalized medicine, and customization of products spread into a growing number of markets.

So if you’re a retailer, how are you preparing for this new Age of ‘i’, a time when shoppers expect marketing, the shopping experience, even the physical store to be made relevant to them.
And if you’re a solution provider, what capability are you bringing into the market to help retailers adapt to this new world?

Remember, the pace of change grows each day. Tomorrow will no longer resemble today.

About the Author

Gary Hawkins is the founder and CEO of the Center for Advancing Retail & Technology (CART) and leverages his unique knowledge and view to new technologies to shape the future of FMCG retail. He can be reached at