Now is a tough time to be a retailer. Even before the 2020 coronavirus pandemic brought rapid changes to the market, many traditional brick-and-mortar businesses were struggling. For example, from 2011 to 2020, the number of US department stores shrank from 8,600 to just over 6,000.
The global crisis only amplifed retail challenges. Since March 2020, at least 347 US companies cited the pandemic as a factor in their decisions to fle for bankruptcy. Among them was Guitar Center, whose executives said its e-commerce sales couldn’t replace the experience of musicians trying out instruments in person. Some businesses are fnding new ways to cope— or perhaps come out of the crisis in better shape than when it began. In 2021, it appears many retailers are ready to shift the way they do business.
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