Retail Is Not D**d, It Just Smells Funny

The last couple of years, the massive change from brick and mortar retail to online shopping has since picked up steam. Digital sales have been growing at a flat-rate speed, and online sales as a proportion of overall U.S. shopping is now at 9%. Online-only stores aren’t the ones driving this number anymore, however.

A siege on physical stores

For years, Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) has been leading the charge in retail disturbance by providing easy online shopping, competitive pricing, and quick delivery times direct to customer’s homes. Revenue has doubled many times within the previous decade since the business gobbles up market share, and in the meantime Amazon has come to be not just the largest digital retailer in the U.S., but also one of the largest retailers overall.

Stores have been slow to move on the tendencies that were shifting, yet this year might wind up being a turning point. It is estimated that over 5,000 stores have closed through the first half of the calendar year, that places 2017 on speed to be the worst year for shop closures ever (over 6,000 stores closed in 2008). The pain was widespread, in the well-documented woes of section shop Sears (NASDAQ: SHLD). to smaller specialty retailers like and .

Retail sales slowed down together with momentum favoring the organization’s newer web services firm, although the organization’s overall revenue continued to increase double digits when Amazon reported second quarter 2017 results. Meanwhile, conventional retailers like Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE: WMT) and Goal (NYSE: TGT) have been exhibiting signs of life, with digital store sales growth well in excess of, not only the above illustrated national average, but also in excess of Amazon’s retail growth also.

Year-over-Year Online Retail Sales Growth

It is worth noting that the total sales of both company so are smaller than the lead Amazon has and are from the mid-single-digits. Looking at the numbers, Amazon is still driving complete U.S. e-commerce sales growth as the greatest player in that area, however other retailers getting into the online activity are making up an increasingly larger share of those gains.

The race to deliver retail into the 21st century

Not convinced these attempts will be enough? That could be fair, since the few billion in digital sales at Wal-Mart and Target moderate compared with the $48.5 billion in retail earnings at Amazon so far this year. Where foot traffic has been decreasing plus, while both Goal and Wal-Mart have been reporting positive advancement, there have been numerous quarters within the previous two years.

That means online revenue are replacing store visitors in many cases. Conventional retailers race to head online is not against Amazon as much as it is against every other, with that being the situation. The shop is underneath transformation, not becoming extinct. Even Amazon apparently believes that this with its pending purchase of Whole Foods (NASDAQ: WFM).

The conflict is not only among stores either. Companies like Shopify (NYSE: SHOP)., a major supporter of small companies and provider of digital-physical hybrid retailer applications, are flourishing due to the migration to online. As demand for online support from small companies continues to ramp up Shopify’s revenue has been up 90 percent last year and grew up 75% up to now this year to $ 279 million. As of the mid-point of 2017, the business supported the efforts of a million companies.

An inflection point for conventional retail?

Headlines would imply that the retail sector is currently in a world of hurt, and for the ones that are overdue. But for those faster to trace Amazon’s blazed trail, life was a little more easy.

It is still early on in this battle, however with the majority of shopping done in-store, older stores are being pitted by customer demand for a adventure against each other in new ways. Since the retail business innovates, investors should guarantee that that the companies they have are leading the wayin which

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John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, is now a part of the Motley Fool’s board of directors. Nicholas Rossolillo owns shares of Shopify and Goal. The Motley Fool owns stocks of and urges Shopify and Amazon. The Motley Fool owns shares of Whole Foods Market. The Motley Fool has a disclosure coverage.