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Vice President Pence at NRF Retail Advocacy Summit, July 18, 2017

National Retail Federation

Vice President Pence at NRF Retail Advocacy Summit, July 18, 2017

Traditional, long-established retailers feel much like sitting ducks today. While the National Retail Federation tries to encourage the industry with Vice President Pence playing cheerleader this past week at the NRF Retail Advocacy Summit saying “The best days for American retailers are ahead,” most of those in the audience must have agreed, simply because retail seems so bad now.

In just the first half of this year, retailers are falling in record numbers: 8,640 will close shop, according to a recent Credit Suisse report, which is 40% higher than at its 2008 peak when 6,200 were shuttered. Further, it predicts that 275 malls, 25% of the nation’s 1,200 total, will close within the next five short years.

NRF president Matthew Shay can “push back on the apocalyptic narrative,” but if he got down off the stage and out into the stores and the malls, he couldn’t ignore the obvious: retailers have been slow, way too slow, in responding to the shifting patterns and preferences of American shoppers.

Amazon…