Retailing & Chain Stores Market Research

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Retailing & Chain Stores OVERVIEW

Retail, with nearly 15.7 million employees in America alone at the beginning of 2022 (about one out of 10 people in the workforce), is one of the largest industries in the world.  Retail sales of all types in the U.S. totaled an estimated $8.070.9 trillion (on a broad basis) during 2022, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.  (Sales at stores selling general merchandise, apparel, furniture and specialty items, referred to as “GAFO,” totaled $1.53 trillion in 2022.  GAFO is an important distinction.  In contrast, retail sales of all types are considered to include automobiles, gasoline and restaurants.)
The Coronavirus caused many firms to go under.  While roughly 17 major U.S. retailers took bankruptcy during 2019, including Payless and Charming Charlie, 2020’s total was 32 major chains, including long-term department store giants JC Penney, Neiman Marcus, Stein Mart, Stage Stores and Lord & Taylor, as well as leading apparel sellers J. Crew and Brooks Brothers, plus home goods sellers Pier 1 and Sur La Table.  Bankruptcies among retailers slowed to about 14 in 2021, including L’Occitane and Belk department stores.  While many bankrupt firms gained new investors and resumed business under lower overhead and less debt, some liquidated and closed shop entirely.
A retailer without a significant competitive advantage doesn’t stand a chance.  Some consumers are using stores as showrooms where they can touch and feel the merchandise, and then making their purchases at lower costs online at sites like  Online selling at deep discounts is even making inroads into major consumer purchases such as jewelry.  An online shopping event in China known as “Singles Day,” garnered about $156 billion during a single day in November 2023, up from $74 billion during one day in November 2020.
In addition to intense competition among physical retail stores, retailers also must compete with ecommerce.  Analysts at eMarketer estimated worldwide ecommerce sales of $5.90 trillion in 2022, up from $4.921 trillion in 2021 and $4.213 trillion in 2020.  (These revenues include products or services ordered using the internet, regardless of the method of payment or fulfillment, but exclude travel, event tickets, money transfers food services and gambling.)
On a U.S. basis, eMarketer estimates ecommerce for 2023 at $1.3 trillion, up from $1.1 trillion during 2022.  (These numbers exclude travel and event tickets.)
Throughout most of the 2000’s, retailers of all types have been seeking creative ways to cut operating expenses.  Methods range from reducing the size of stores, to lowering the employee count, to reducing inventory exposure.  Reduced inventory leads to fewer sales events and enables retailers to achieve better sell-through at full prices.  
Retailers, including Gap and Target are using dedicated space within stores as fulfillment centers.  Gap reported that it used its stores to fulfill more than 90% of its ecommerce sales during a recent quarter.  In 2022, Walmart announced plans to build small, automated fulfillment centers attached to about 100 existing stores over the midterm.  The intent is to fill online orders more quickly without blocking store aisles with employees filling online orders.  This concept is referred to as “micro fulfillment” by logistics experts.  Walmart acquired Alert Innovation in 2022, a robotics company that specializes in merchandise handling automation for such centers.
Some employees are shifting from waiting on customers to fulfilling online orders and running items outside for curbside pickup.  Elsewhere, chains are retraining their store personnel to have split duties—taking care of store walk-ins when needed, but otherwise spending their time chatting with, and making purchase suggestions to, customers who are browsing the chains’ websites.
Consumers worldwide are focused on seeking the best possible prices.  This means that revenues have been strong at other outlets that are known for exceptionally low prices—provided that they also offer convenience and great service, such as easy returns.
Private-label items are increasingly popular, providing retailers with higher profit margins than they see on branded merchandise.  Consumers are enthusiastic buyers of private-label (sometimes called store-label) merchandise, recognizing good quality and good prices.
In emerging nations, the development of a robust retail sector (and related, vital supply chains) can require many years. However, ecommerce is growing so rapidly in many emerging markets, that the importance of store-front retailing will be diminished by online purchases. 
In China, many of the world’s leading retail chains have opened large numbers of stores, and new malls have been developed at a rapid clip, even in remote cities.  This retail trend in China includes middle-of-the-road chains such as Nike and Starbucks, automotive centers including car dealers and tire and accessory stores such as Goodyear, as well as the world’s top luxury retailers, including Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Fendi.

Plunkett’s Four Keys to Successful Retailing:
=         Very Competitive Prices:  For most retail chains, the goal is to give the consumer confidence that the store faithfully delivers everyday low prices—meanwhile, managing the firm in a manner that provides a viable profit margin.  (At the other end of the spectrum, true luxury stores often operate on a combination of unique styles and fashion, but nonetheless rely on frequent sale events to boost traffic.)
=         Superior Service:  In-store help, follow-up service, problem-solving, installation and repairs offered easily and quickly, along with the ability to make returns and exchanges must be part of the package, with an absolute minimum of inconvenience to the consumer.
=         Seamless Integration of Bricks and Clicks:  Successful firms integrate their online endeavors with their physical presence in a manner that provides the highest possible level of convenience to customers.
Great example:  Costco
ü Reasonable product selection, including quality store brands as well as name brands that have good reputations.  Costco succeeds by carrying a vastly smaller, carefully selected and priced merchandise selection than its competitor Walmart.
ü Consistent, everyday low prices.
ü An easy-to-find, always-staffed customer service desk.  Also, rules about returns are generous and clear-cut.
ü An easy-to-use web site with in-depth customer service information.  When desired, customers may order merchandise online but return it to a store.  Large items, upon request, can be picked up at the customer’s home for return.


Top Companies Profiled

The following is a partial listing for this industry. As a subscriber, you will have access to the leading companies and top growth companies. This includes publicly-held, private, subsidiary and joint venture companies, on a global basis as well as in the U.S.

Hundreds of Top Companies Profiled, Including:


Key Findings:

A complete market research report, including forecasts and market estimates, technologies analysis and developments at innovative firms within the Retail Industry. Gain vital insights that can help shape strategy for business development, product development and investments.

Key Features:

  • Business trends analysis
  • In-depth industry overview
  • Technology trends analysis
  • Forecasts
  • Spending, investment, and consumption discussions
  • In-depth industry statistics and metrics
  • Industry employment numbers

Additional Key Features Include:

Industry Glossary

Industry Contacts list, including Professional Societies and Industry Associations

Profiles of industry-leading companies

  • U.S. and Global Firms
  • Publicly held, Private and Subsidiaries
  • Executive Contacts
  • Revenues
  • For Public Companies: Detailed Financial Summaries

Pages: 646

Statistical Tables Provided: 13

Companies Profiled: 500

Geographic Focus: Global

Price: $399.99

Key Questions Answered Include:

  • How is the industry evolving?
  • How is the industry being shaped by new technologies?
  • How is demand growing in emerging markets and mature economies?
  • What is the size of the market now and in the future?
  • What are the financial results of the leading companies?
  • What are the names and titles of top executives?
  • What are the top companies and what are their revenues?

This feature-rich report covers competitive intelligence, market research and business analysis—everything you need to know about the Retail Industry.

Plunkett Research Provides Unique Analysis of the Following Major Trends Affecting the Retail Industry

  1. Introduction to the Retail Industry
  2. The Retail Industry in the Post-COVID Era
  3. Walmart Still Leads the Retail Industry, but Invests in Web Presence to Battle Amazon
  4. ALDI Scores Big Market Share in the U.S., UK and Europe with its Discount Supermarkets and Aggressive Investment/Walmart Dominates Grocery Retailing
  5. Department Stores Grow Online Sales/ Modernize Retail Approach
  6. Private Label Brands Grow in Share of Total Store Sales
  7. Diverse Selling Techniques Boost Direct Marketers and Non-Store Sales
  8. Apple Sets the Bar for Showcase Stores and Super-Merchandisers
  9. Bricks, Clicks and Catalogs Create Synergies While Online Sales Growth Surges
  10. Designers and Manufacturers Bypass the Middleman with Direct-to-Consumer Online Business Models
  11. Retail Technologies and Artificial Intelligence (AI) Advance for Store Checkout and Restaurant Orders
  12. Robotics in Retailing and Ecommerce Fulfillment
  13. RFID Drives Inventory Management Evolution
  14. Smartphones and Financial Technology (FinTech) Enable New Mobile Payment Methods
  15. Self-Service Apparel Fitting Technologies Grow
  16. Retailers Look for Long-Term Growth in Emerging Markets, Including China and India
  17. Mall and Shopping Center Occupancy Challenged as Online Sales Hurt Stores
  18. Entertainment-Based Retailing, including Power Towns
  19. Malls Remodel to Boost Sales and Attract Shoppers
  20. Fast Fashion: Designers and Retailers Speed Up
  21. LOHAS-Socially Conscious Consumers Create Challenges and Opportunities for Advertisers and Marketers
  22. Plus-Size and Vanity Sizing Target Overweight Consumers
  23. Demand for Home Grocery Delivery Service Such as Instacart and Amazon Fresh Soars
  24. Super Beauty Stores Combine Shopping with Personal Care Services
  25. Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality and 3-D Technologies Create Opportunities for the Tech Industry/Immersion Games to Grow
  26. How to Interpret Reports of Retail Sales

Plunkett Research Provides In-Depth Tables for the Following Retail Industry Statistics

  1. U.S. Retail Industry Statistics and Market Size Overview
  2. Annual Consumer Price Index, 1950-2023, U.S.
  3. Exports, General Imports & Trade Balance in Goods, U.S.: 1990-2nd Quarter 2023
  4. Total U.S. Retail Sales & Annual Percent Change: 1993-August 2023
  5. U.S. Retail Trade Corporation Statistics, 2nd Quarter 2023
  6. Total Annual Sales of Merchant Wholesalers, U.S.: 2017-2022
  7. Retail & Food Services Sales by Kind of Business, U.S.: 2017-2022
  8. Total U.S. Disposable Income, Expenditures & Gross Domestic & National Product Per Capita: Selected Years, 1960-2022
  9. Average Annual Expenditures of All Consumer Households: 2016-2022, U.S.
  10. Distribution of Total U.S. Annual Household Expenditures, by Major Category: 2022
  11. Resident Population Estimates by Age, U.S.: 2016-2022
  12. Employment in the Retail Industry, U.S.: 2016-September 2023

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eBook or Book:

This industry onlyPublication date: Dec 2023
ISBN-13: 978-1-64788-511-3
ISBN-13: 978-1-64788-019-4