Macy's has announced the closure of 100 stores as retailers continue to cope with the growth of online shopping. Trae Bodge, smart shopping expert, says most retail sales are still done in stores, but that’s slowly changing. “The older consumer is still by and large shopping in stores,” she notes. “That consumer is slow to change. However, they are starting to change; we are seeing online sales starting to creep up.”
How great an impact has online purchasing had on brick-and-mortar stores so far? “The online sales have been accounting for about 10% of retail sales for many years now,” Bodge says, “and we’re not seeing that really accelerate as much as I think a lot of us would expect.” But as stores continue to close, she says online sales will one day reach a “tipping point.”
In addition to store closures, expensive brands that don't want their goods sold at a discount are retreating from store shelves. “We are seeing some of these high-end brands pulling out of department stores and sinking more of their budgets into their own Web site,” Bodge observes. “But I think that there’s a challenge in that they then have to bring the consumer to their Web site.” `
Bodge says brands still benefit from the visibility that comes with foot traffic at the mall. “I do think that it’s important for brands to have that brick-and-mortar presence,” she says. “We are seeing malls doing a lot more interesting things to bring the consumer in.” She says malls are offering more services such as doctors' offices, hair salons, and restaurants in order to attract shoppers.