There are very few thriving physical retailers these days outside of the daily consumables markets. I did a quick analysis on the high-level health of the National Retail Federation’s list of the Top 100 retailers in 2012, focusing on merchandise retailers that would likely be located in malls (removing grocery, drug, restaurant and online retailers). I looked at three measures of retailer health: total sales growth, comp store sales growth and number of stores.The Death of the American Shopping Mall
The analysis doesn’t paint a very pretty picture regarding the health of the leading physical retailers in the United States. Total sales growth is mixed and is negative for 20 percent of the sample. Comp store sales growth—arguably the key measure of retailer health—is also mixed and a quarter of the sample is negative. And note that many of these sales results include the retailers’ online segments, so the picture for their physical stores is even worse. Lastly, store counts are simply stagnant—about as many top retailers shrank their store count as expanded it, and precious few are expanding aggressively. The largest retailers in the U.S. do not look very healthy. And if they’re struggling, it’s likely that their more marginal physical competitors are struggling even more.