April 20, 2017

macysAfter losing a lot of ground during the Great Recession, today’s economic environment seems perfect for retailers looking to return to their glory days. Gas prices are low, wages are rising, and GDP has grown for the past eight years in a row. Still, even these seemingly ideal conditions can’t help this ailing industry. Nine retail chains have filed for bankruptcy in 2017, including HH Gregg and Payless. Meanwhile Macy’s, Sears, J.C. Penney and RadioShack each announced that they would Continue reading

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February 24, 2017

OakLabsAs e-commerce companies like Amazon become more and more popular, traditional retailers have scrambled to find ways to bring people back into stores. Along with placing scannable QR codes by items, brick and mortar outlets have also tried large internet kiosks that allow customers to browse their online stores. Despite retailers’ best efforts, though, these attempts at modernizing haven’t caught on with consumers. After all, who would walk into a place just to check its online store?

The startup Oak Continue reading

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February 16, 2017

KurtisGarbuttWhen Whole Foods launched in 1978, organic grocery stores were a unique concept for most of the country. As Americans became more health conscious, though, the Austin-based chain eventually expanded into an empire of 469 stores across three countries. In fact, the future for Whole Foods looked so bright that last year the company announced it would add 1,200 stores in the U.S.

But as 2017 arrived, the company’s long term outlook became far less optimistic. Now Whole Foods says Continue reading

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January 31, 2017

WilliamMurphyFor years American Apparel seemed poised to become the next big fashion brand. Their simple but bold cotton clothing and suggestive advertisements catapulted the company to a $1 billion valuation in 2007. A decade later, however, American Apparel filed for bankruptcy and sold its assets to a Canadian firm for just $88 million. Along with shuttering its 110 stores, the company also lost its famed garment factory in Los Angeles.

This production facility was one of American Apparel’s best assets Continue reading

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November 29, 2016

Thomas8047This past weekend the holiday shopping season kicked off with a bang as millions of Americans sought out Black Friday deals both in stores and online. While brick and mortar sales rose about 8 percent from last year, online outlets saw sales increase by 11 percent. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), this spike in e-commerce can be credited to the more than 108 million consumers who shopped online over the weekend. Meanwhile, approximately 99 million people visited physical Continue reading

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November 17, 2016

DavidSteadmanWhile the holiday shopping season in the U.S. doesn’t officially kick off until next week, Chinese retailers are already counting their profits from the phenomenon known as Singles Day. Founded in the 1990s by a group of college students celebrating their bachelorhood, the November 11 holiday has since morphed into a nationwide shopping spree. This year the online retailer Alibaba brought in nearly $18 billion in sales, far more than what the entire American retail industry earns during Black Friday Continue reading

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October 28, 2016

JeffKramerFor most people, the Halloween season is about creepy costumes and candy rather than shopping. But even though the retail sales of All Hallow’s Eve can’t compare to the December holidays, Americans still manage to spend a scary sum of money at the end of October. The National Retail Federation estimates that this year consumers will spend as much as $8.4 billion preparing for Halloween, amounting to an average of $82.93 per shopper.

Costumes account for $3.1 billion of this Continue reading

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October 21, 2016

PaulBicaThe remote region of Cape Breton in Nova Scotia, Canada, is not known for its bustling population. Just 130,000 people live on the 4,000 square-mile island, with 1,000 others leaving each year for the past two decades. As the population steadily drops, many Cape Breton natives have worried about the future of the island’s tight knit communities. Among these concerned citizens was Jim and Ferne Austin, local entrepreneurs who operated the Farmer’s Daughter Country Market in sleepy Whycocomagh, Nova Scotia, Continue reading

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October 7, 2016

DamianSFor those who have spent years ordering items from online retailers like Amazon, setting foot inside a store can sometimes seem like taking a trip back in time. But while the shift away from brick-and-mortar locations has utterly changed industries like music and clothing, grocery stores have remained largely the same since the dawn of the digital revolution. After all, most people still prefer to examine food in person before they buy it.

But that hasn’t stopped a collection Continue reading

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October 6, 2016

BargainmooseIn the 2000s, clothing brands like Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle and Aeropostale were kings of the mall. These retailers rose to prominence by making preppy clothes with large logos that broadcast a certain prestige to the world. After all, teenage customers wanted to make sure everyone knew that they shopped at cool stores. Companies made this message easy to receive by placing an enormous emphasis on branding, thus making the logo even more important than the design of their Continue reading

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