Retail apocalypse: Separating myth from reality to understand opportunities in today’s retail sector
One of the dominant narratives in both the public equity and real estate markets over the past several years has been the idea that an unstoppable wave of online retailers — with Amazon.com Inc and Alibaba Group Holding at the forefront — will decimate traditional bricks-and-mortar retail businesses and the prospects of their landlords, the owners of retail real estate.
Certainly some evidence supports this perspective. In the United States, more large retailers filed for bankruptcy in 2017 than in any year since the depths of the global financial crisis, and retailers announced 10,000 store closures. In the United Kingdom, more than 70 retail businesses have failed since 2016, affecting nearly 3,000 stores over the past two years. Headlines throughout the past several years have been rife with retailers reducing both sales and profit estimates, and announcing additional waves of store closures. Although these struggles might be regarded as normal during an economic reces