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"The Death of Retail is Overrated"

by Soozy Naylor | | ecommerce, Gary Friedman, online, retail | 2 Comments

I recently read a fantastic article written by Gary Friedman on the topic of Brick and Mortar vs. Online. It captivated me and rung so true between my own brick and mortar business of Key West Express that we have grown with for 20 years. And now as we grow our online presence as Summertime Boutique. 

"There is a growing belief in our industry that physical stores have become a liability, and the growth of online is killing traditional retail. It's spawned a widespread movement to downsize, rightsize, and optimize retail footprints. Leading many to declare "The Death of Retail."

While the web has shined a bright light on the dull and decaying stores that are dying from old age and a lack of innovation, we believe history will demonstrate that the physical manifestation of a brand will prove to be the most compelling and cost-effective way to engage and inspire customers in a physical world. 

Many who report on retail's imminent death are overlooking the obvious. We are physical and social creatures. It's why we still go to the theaters to watch movies, concerts to listen to music, ballparks to see a game, casinos to place a bet, and restaurants to grab a bite. We don't believe "bucket lists" of the future will be filled with lonely online activities, with or without AI, AR, or VR. We look forward to experiencing new restaurants and resorts, plazas and parks, markets and malls, stadiums and, yes stores. 

The ideas of the future don't exist in the past, and neither do the stores of the future. I believe we are witnessing the lost decade of retail. Where the vast majority of capital in our industry has been allocated to the online initiative, while retail stores are left to rot. The truth is, most retail stores are archaic, windowless boxes that lack any sense of humanity. There's no fresh air or natural light, plants die in a department store, and I'm sure it's not the best environment for humans either..."

He then goes on to describe in more detail how he has chosen to make retail born again. But the last thing he says is what I want to leave you with today. And that is

"Come see for yourself, why we believe, The Death of Retail is Overrated."


XOXO Make it count !



To read the rest of Gary's article go to

2 comments to show

Soozy / Reply

Thank you for your comment Kate! I reposted an excerpt from Gary Friedman’s article that he wrote where he goes into detail about how department stores are not good for people in general.

I agreed with his message that there is still space for both brick and mortar and online in the e-commerce world. You can absolutely read the rest of his letter here

I will always love old style brick and mortar and don’t think it is going anywhere; all the while I do believe that the online space has provided a lot of opportunity for small businesses like my own.

Make it count!

Kate Findley / Reply

You make some compelling points on both sides of the debate. Yes, humans are social creatures and physical establishments will never truly die out, at least in our lifetime. At the same time, most of the current department stores are eyesores that are wreaking havoc on the environment and frankly, I don’t care if most of them die out. I was a little confused about the end of your article, though. Why do you think the death of retail is overrated? Or could you link to the article you mentioned? I’d be curious to read it.

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