young women shopping for clothes

In the world of retail, news stories come out so often and so fast that even a retail expert might have difficulty keeping up. If you’re here, we know that you’re passionate about retail, and so are we! At SPAR, we love following the latest retail news stories and using them to learn more about the industry and where it’s headed every day, and we want to share that knowledge with you. Below, we’ve recapped some of the most interesting news stories that have shaken up the retail world lately, so check them out!

Macy’s Moves Away from Malls 

The forecast isn’t looking great for malls around the country that gather traffic through visits to Macy’s – the iconic department store recently announced that it will be closing 125 stores over the next three years. This will lead to the loss of around 2,000 jobs, as well as the closing of headquarters and tech offices in Cincinnati and San Francisco. Macy’s stated that the primary plan is to close stores that are located in weaker malls and switch the focus to establishing a presence in strip centers, with stores that are smaller than usual. This move comes after a general drop in performance for Macy’s, which is often attributed to the fact that consumers are turning to online retailers like Amazon more and more often. Macy’s has also stated that major pieces of the restructuring of business operations will include growing its outlet business (Backstage), moving away from malls, and improving its online presence. The company has labeled 2020 a transition year, and CEO Jeff Gennette stated that “we are taking the organization through significant structural change to lower costs, bring teams closer together, and reduce duplicative work.” 

Dick’s Sporting Goods Announces Women’s Initiative 

Another retailer looking to try something new in 2020 is Dick’s Sporting Goods, which announced a 2020 initiative at the beginning of February focused on products and sports for women and girls. The sporting goods chain plans to provide a $5 million grant to the U.S. Soccer Foundation to increase opportunities for girls playing soccer, as well as become the official sporting goods retailer of USA Softball. Along with getting involved in the sports themselves, Dick’s plans to expand its selection of women’s and girl’s products in-store, which will involve the partnership between Dick’s and Nike, as well as other private-label brands. Dick’s president Lauren Hobart had everything positive to say about the new initiative, and stated that “in 2020 we’re going to be very focused on women’s and girl’s sports and really trying to provide access for young girls and making sure they have what they need to compete.” 

Sephora Plans for Major Expansion

While other retailers are downsizing or closing their doors altogether in 2020, Sephora is moving in the opposite direction. The beauty retailer announced that it will be opening 100 new stores in 2020, which will be its largest real estate expansion to date. The plan, similar to Macy’s that we mentioned earlier, will be to move Sephora stores away from malls, as the retailer announced that the expansion will be focused on off-mall locations. The goal here, according to Sephora, is to bring its shopping experience closer to where its standard consumer lives and works, so “she can pull right up and grab something.” The new stores will be slightly smaller than those that already exist and will emphasize some of Sephora’s fastest-growing markets – fragrances and hair care. U.S. beauty and personal care sales have risen significantly over the past ten years, and it seems that Sephora is taking advantage of every opportunity to grow their customer base and become a leader in this industry.

SPAR’s Take

As we are fully into 2020 now – the trend over the last couple of years continues – retailers are trying to find their sweet spot with respect to the appropriate number of stores.  There is no doubt that in the USA we have been over-stored for quite some time now. Malls have also become traffic challenged and are trying to find a way to become relevant again.  Macy’s is just one of many retailers taking the mall situation into their consideration set when making decisions. Dicks has a female CEO and are absolutely correct to focus on women and girls – there is huge buying power represented there.  And in the good news column is Sephora – opening stores is always a positive – and they aren’t alone. We can’t wait to see the rest of the gainers joining the list!

Move Ahead in the Retail World with Help from SPAR

At SPAR, we are proud to help retail businesses of all kinds thrive and grow in the bustling world of retail. We offer a variety of retail merchandising services, from assembly and installation to store sets and remodels, and our retail experts will work with you to make the right choices for your business. We know the industry inside and out and we would love to learn more about you and your store- please contact us today to learn more about all we have to offer!