Good news for retail: The trend of stores opening outweigh those that are closing

Despite the negative press regarding traditional retail, industry data has supported the fact that in 2017 more stores opened than closed in both the US and UK.

Even with the growing popularity of online sales, they still only accounted for 12% in the US last year and although popular with millennial shoppers, there is still the need for traditional brick and mortar retailing, however, technology will determine success.

There is a call for traditional stores to become more innovative, and this includes adopting the latest technology, which is used mainly to drive the customer experience.

It is true, that some retailers are reducing the size of their store operations and are closing down stores, however, there is a clear pattern that those retailers who are the most innovative, are seen to be growing, and by growing I mean opening more stores and are adopting creative technology. For these retailers, the customer experience at the forefront of everything they do.

From 2017 onwards, research has shown that more stores were opened than closed:

According to the National Retail Federation, data from the IHL Group shows “a net increase in store openings of over 4,000 in 2017. In fact, for each company closing a store, 2.7 companies are opening stores.” (Matthews, 2018).

It’s a similar story in the UK, where data from the British Independent Retailers Association shows that more shops were opened than were closed in the first quarter of 2017. This was an increase of 414 shops in the first three months of 2017, compared to a net increase of just 4 shops for the same period the previous year. (Matthews, 2018).

It can be demonstrated from the research that a large proportion of the retailers that are developing, innovating and opening more stores are in the luxury bracket, however, more consumer goods stores are starting to see the value in modern retail technology such as click & collect, RFID, and digital signage.

The developments in technology including cloud and AR will help, not hinder retailers and offer even the smaller retail brands an opportunity to drive customer experience, using the latest technology.

(Matthews, 2018)
Retail store openings increase in 2017
Matthews, M. (2018). Retail store openings increase in 2017. National Retail Federation. Available at: