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August 21, 2013
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Retail is Evolving

By Allen J. Lynch, President

Allen Lynch - LR

Despite repeated predictions about the imminent death of brick-and-mortar retail, especially in the big-box sector, a funny thing is happening along the way.  Retailers are figuring a few things out – they’ve realized that they CAN compete effectively with the likes of Amazon and Overstock, and that for a majority of products, customers still like to see and touch what they are about to buy.  We’ve been saying for a few years that the retailers who are going to survive and prosper during the continued growth of internet shopping are the retailers who figure out ways to leverage their brick-and-mortar presence by not only keeping the customers who walk through their door, but who use that physical presence to strengthen distribution and fulfillment to the average consumer.  At the same time, if brick-and-mortar retailers can be effective price competitors, while promising instant fulfillment, especially for customers who crave ease of execution, the advantages are obvious.

The Wall Street Journal is watching these developments closely, and over the last 48 hours has focused on two interesting stories:  the rise from the dead of retailer Best Buy, a company that shook up its complacent  executive ranks to focus a new attention on details like controlling costs and retaining customers; and the quiet success of Bed Bath and Beyond, a savvy retailer that has used a great combination of fantastic merchandising and aggressive pricing to compete with Amazon.

Retail is evolving in a dramatic way right now, and it’s heartening to know that retailers are taking the internet challenge seriously.  A developing story…..

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