The Changing Retail Landscape

February 10, 2023 • Volume 33, Issue 6
Are the glory days of in-person shopping essentially over?
By Holly Rosenkrantz


Online shopping and the pandemic have transformed an already tenuous retail sector once dominated by brick-and-mortar stores. As pandemic restrictions have loosened, many customers have a renewed interest in joining in-person gatherings and visiting stores. To help bring customers back through their doors, many malls and brick-and-mortars are turning to so-called experiential retail to turn shopping into more of an experience rather than a simple transaction. While certain sectors, such as bookstores, are actually expanding, many question whether the glory days of retail are in the past. The industry is increasingly dominated by Amazon, Etsy and other e-commerce sites, while once-iconic department stores and big-box retailers continue to fall into bankruptcy and permanently close — a trend not helped by the penchant of private equity investment firms for buying up retail brands and then selling off their real estate assets. As consumer preferences and needs change, will in-person shopping pivot to remain relevant to future generations of customers?

Photo of woman walking past store going-out-of-business, in New York, New York, on September 8, 2020. (Getty Images/Noam Galair)
A store in midtown Manhattan advertises a going-out-of-business sale in 2020. The pandemic, combined with increased online shopping, is transforming retail into a more experiential activity as store owners seek to lure customers back. (Getty Images/Noam Galair)
ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Chain Stores
Feb. 10, 2023  The Changing Retail Landscape
Jun. 08, 2018  Retailing Shakeout
Sep. 10, 2004  Big-Box Stores
Mar. 22, 1938  Equalization of Chain Store Competition
Aug. 28, 1934  Taxation of Chain Stores
Apr. 24, 1930  The Chain Store Problem in 1930
May 21, 1928  Development of Chain Store Merchandising
Conservatism and Liberalism
Consumer Behavior
Data and Statistics
Economic Analyses, Forecasts, and Statistics
Economic Development
Employee Benefits
General Employment and Labor
General Social Trends
Infectious Diseases
Internet and Social Media
Labor Standards and Practices
Popular Culture
Retail Trade
Unions and Labor-Management Relations
Work and the Family