Even retail executives think brick-and-mortar-only stores are headed for extinctionYou can buy pretty much everything you need online. Brick-and-mortar stores still exist everywhere in the US, but each passing day makes them less essential, and even the people running them can’t deny it.
In a recent survey (pdf), 58% of executives at US middle-market retailers predicted that brick-and-mortar-only stores are destined for obsolescence. The survey polled 250 respondents, and was conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of CIT Group, a bank that lends to small and middle-market businesses.
While surveys often affirm that shoppers still prefer to buy in stores, the spread of e-commerce means fewer people are even making it out to stores to begin with. According to RetailNext, foot traffic to physical stores in the US has seen double-digit drops twice in recent months, and combined sales fell 12.2% in October.
Those sorts of figures are part of the reason for the long, painful decline of the American department store, reflected in dismal quarterly earnings reported by Macy’s, Nordstrom, and JC Penney last week. E-commerce alone isn’t enough to save them, but just imagine what state they’d be in if they were relying entirely on their physical stores. Not surprisingly, 45% of the executives surveyed feel the death of the American mall is inevitable.