Why the retail industry is broken and what can be done to fix it
The news is full of stories about disappearing retail chains, from BHS and Maplin in the UK to Toys’R’Us, Aeropostale and A&P in the US. Recognised names are vanishing overnight with the loss of hundreds of stores and thousands of jobs. As such large organisations disappear, so the malls, shopping centres, high streets and main streets become less appealing to visit.
Mark Pilkington argues that, while the decline in manufacturing receives more news attention, the retail sector is more important in terms of job numbers. Anything that jeopardises this sector will therefore have a deep and lasting impact on millions of lives, as well as on public policy.
While many people point a finger at the ‘Amazon effect’, this is an oversimplification. Deeper forces are at work that are changing people’s relationships with brands, the balance of power between producers and consumers, and the whole nature of the supply chain that has existed since the industrial revolution.