Coming in 2023: The Return of the Store

Brick-and-mortar is making a comeback

By Alan Wolf, YSN

News alert: Retail stores are back in style.

According to veteran retail industry analyst and consumer behavior expert Marshal Cohen, 2023 will be the year that physical showrooms reclaim at least some of their place in the hearts and minds of shoppers.

In a column last week for The NPD Group — a global business consultancy and market research firm where he serves as chief retail industry advisor — Cohen argued that brick-and-mortar storefronts are winning back some degree of online customers whose habits had been swayed by the pandemic. Now that the COVID surges have passed and e-commerce has evolved from novelty to necessity to commonplace, the ability to touch, feel and demo products in-store is, for many, once again becoming as compelling as the convenience of a “buy” button.

“Welcome back to the world of shopping ‘in real life’ versus the one-dimensional online environment,” Cohen said.

Source: The NPD Group/Annual Holiday Survey

Also driving physical retail’s renaissance are attractive lease deals and buildouts by landlords that will be extended to entice newcomers to fill vacant storefronts. “More antiquated retail locations will have the opportunity for a functional facelift, moving to new locations with updated spaces and demographics that better match their needs,” he argued.

See: Carmona’s Makes a Big Move

Other manifestations of the return of the store include the revitalization of shopping malls and an increase in vendor-, designer- and celebrity-driven pop-up shops, he said.

“Shopping is changing, and stores are an integral part of the new dynamic,” Cohen said. 

Upcoming Events