Beyond the Build

Construction Trends

In Retail, Physical Locations Matter

Several years ago, when eBooks came on the scene, I remember most everyone predicting the demise of both the corner bookstore and national bookstores. It did not happen. There is something special about holding a book or conversations in a bookstore.

When eCommerce started accelerating, we heard about the total demise of bricks and mortar looming around the corner. We have seen a lot of under-performing stores and chains close at record rates and vacant signs popping up, some even in prime retail spots. But as we emerge from the pandemic, the “retail reimagined” trends we’ve been reading about seem to be playing out in a more positive way. I came across a recent Wall Street Journal article that validated the shifts we’ve been feeling. Retailers are expected to open more stores this year than they close. It’s the first time that’s happened since 2017.

I talked to my daughter about it, and she confirmed that she often researches her options online before shopping, and when possible, goes to the store to make the purchase. You always get a more accurate representation of the product in person, and the online research allows you to factor reviews into the decision. It’s all evolving, and the more recent reports do seem encouraging.



Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.