Mark Lieberman and Thomas C. Frohlich, 24/7 Wall Street via USA TODAY
(USA Today)—With the growth of e-commerce still outpacing the overall growth of retail sales, retailers are continuing to close brick-and-mortar outlets.
While total U.S. retail sales grew 3.7% in the fourth quarter of 2014 compared to the same quarter in 2013, e-commerce sales jumped 14.6% in the fourth quarter. One year earlier, total sales grew 3.8% year-over-year, while e-commerce sales increased 16.0%.
As e-commerce increasingly grabs a larger share of retail sales, several major retailers are reducing their physical presence, including department stores and specialty retailers such as clothing stores, bookstores and electronics outlets. Some retailers saw sales reduced due to strategic mistakes or consolidation through mergers and still others due to over-expansion. According to Dorothy Lakner, managing director at Topeka Capital Markets, “The new ideal store count for a U.S. national chain [of clothing retailers] is 600 to 700 stores.”