A new JLL study analyzes consumer opinions, store closures, same-store sales and e-commerce penetration to determine the outlook of several retail categories, both online and brick-and-mortar.
Naveen Jaggi, JLL president of retail brokerage, said, “Consumers have unique value systems for deciding how they buy and where they shop for certain items based on their attitudes toward time, touching the product and money.”
JLL predicted online sales will grow an average of 15.1 percent a year between 2015 and 2020. The percentage of retail sales that will occur online versus in-store will vary by category. Retailers that will stay entrenched in brick-and-mortar include dollar stores, whose e-commerce penetration is non-existent; off-pricers, which provide shoppers with the opportunity to find deals and treasures; as well as restaurants and furniture stores.
Off-pricers are beating the Internet at the price game, said JLL. About 76 percent of consumers surveyed said they prefer buying apparel at off-pricers. The channel’s same-store sales grew 3.4 percent last year and Ross and TJ Maxx/Marshalls plan to open 70 and 65 new locations, respectively. With such strong brick-and-mortar sales, off-pricers have been in no hurry to ramp up e-commerce, where penetration is a negligible 1 percent.
Groceries, children’s toys and sporting goods will continue to see a combination of online and physical retail traffic. Mass merchants such as Target Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. are investing capabilities such as buy online, pick up in store. Wal-Mart this week unveiled a partnership with Google to offer voice-activated shopping for hundreds of thousands of products. E-commerce penetration for mass merchants of 4.2 percent is poised to grow. With only a handful of store closings, JLL said the channel can maintain a strong physical presence.
Traditional middle-of-the-road department stores have a 40 percent merchandise overlap, creating seas of sameness across the retail channel. E-commerce penetration for the category is 13.3 percent, while same-store sales declined 4.5 percent in 2016. JLL sees significant department store consolidation and a shift to online sales. Some players will maintain a strong footprint, but hundreds of others will close.
JLL estimated that of the 2,408 store closures revealed so far this year, a majority are apparel specialty units. While consumers prefer buying apparel online, the shift continues from specialty retailers, particularly junior apparel, to fast fashion, ath-leisure and online native brands such as Bonobos and Fabletics.
JLL acknowledged that a significant number of stores have been shuttered, but pointed out that the sheer number of existing units means that only a small percentage, 1.8 percent, of all stores have closed.
Consumers clearly have preferred outlets for buying different products. Books, 68 percent; electronics, 67 percent; and office supplies, 51 percent; are overwhelmingly purchased online, while food, 5 percent; consumer packaged goods, 23 percent; and apparel, 24 percent; are bought in stores.