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The Future of Retail Is Stores That Aren’t Stores

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Retailers are, very consciously, promoting in-store “experiences”—or at least, they are doing so at the flagship stores in big cities that they like to draw attention to. It’s a reaction to the fact that buying is now something that can be done anywhere. “There is no question that people are trying to get away from the use of the word store as well as mall,” says Leonard Schlesinger, a professor of management at Harvard Business School. “They are increasingly perceived as remnants of a retail world which is increasingly under siege.” This is exactly the thinking that more retailers should be experimenting with as they adjust to the buy-anywhere reality of the internet, according to Oliver Chen, the head of retail and luxury equity research at Cowen and Company. Two questions he says retailers are asking are, “What are modern consumers enjoying doing, and then how can retail solve into that experience?” And “that experience,” he says, usually means “eating and drinking and working out and concerns about health and wellness.”

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THE ATLANTIC 9/14/2017

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