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Are Brick & Mortar Stores Near Extinction?

CAMS Weekly View from the Corner – Week ending 7/20/2018

July 23, 2018

Here we are in the middle of summer and it will not be long before the back-to-school rush will begin and with this the fall season will unfold in earnest.

With this mid-summer time I thought it would be a good time to step off the Weekly View grind of hyper-vigilantly checking up on you-name-it economic input or the stock market at large.  Rather, let’s take a look at a societal change that all of us have played a role in or at least witnessed in our everyday lives.

As a general collective narrative (as I understand it) in our society the view of on-line retailing completely taking over the retail landscape has become commonplace it seems.  The proverbial brick and mortar store front has been viewed as a near relic of the past and this will only get worse in time.

For my part I would be curious to hear what percent of sales the everyday shopper feels goes to on-line sales compared to the traditional approach of rolling up to the trusted store site and physically shopping for the goods that interest said shopper.

I may be wrong but I have a sense most would be surprised at the relatively small percentage of retail sales that take place on-line.  In keeping with tradition for the Weekly View content we will let a chart share the story for us.

FRED - E-Commerce Retail Sales

While the consistent up trend is certainly undeniable the overall number of less than 10 percent may surprise most.  With the broader acceptance of trusting on-line shopping back in 2000 we see the trend has indeed risen consistently.

Looked at through the lens of brick and mortar retailers this view offers that 90% of sales still take place the “old fashioned” way of shopping.  It is safe to assume the trend depicted above will continue but the expected near immediate demise of the good ole storefront may be with us far longer than most assume.

Enjoy the remaining summer!

I wish you well…

Ken Reinhart

Director, Market Research & Portfolio Analysis

Portfolio Manager, CAMS Spectrum Portfolio


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This commentary is presented only to provide perspectives on investment strategies and opportunities. The material contains opinions of the author, which are subject to markets change without notice. Statements concerning financial market trends are based on current market conditions which fluctuate. References to specific securities and issuers are for descriptive purposes only and are not intended to be, and should not be interpreted as, recommendations to purchase or sell such securities. There is no guarantee that any investment strategy will work under all market conditions. Each investor should evaluate their ability to invest for the long-term, especially during periods of downturn in the market. PERFORMANCE IS NOT GUARANTEED AND LOSSES CAN OCCUR WITH ANY INVESTMENT STRATEGY.

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