People sit at tables at the Stanford Shopping Center, a Simon Property Group outdoor mall in Palo Alto, Calif. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

Burrowing out and ready to gather food, the otherwise lowly gopher pops his head out of the ground, and takes a good look all around. That’s how he survives. And any brethren who happen to take a narrower look, well, let’s just say, they might not last so long.

Curiously, it’s the same in Retail.

The winners and “soon to be winners” have widened their views for a successful future. They’re not relying on a dimming charm, nostalgia, or romantic remembrance of retail’s yesteryear.

The future of retail… is “omni”- short for “omnichannel.”

Sure, retail’s getting challenged, rightly so. The natural evolutions of demographics, technology, and cultural discourse, have combined to force smarter retailers into thinking differently: in effect, having to look all the way around… to best serve their customers, vendors, suppliers, and landlords, and survive (and even thrive) in the retail landscape.

I’ve written before about the so-called pervasive “Retail Apocalypse” – debunking it, and favoring instead (and showing evidence for), a “Retail Renaissance.”

I cover the world of REITs, as editor of the monthly Forbes Real Estate Investor. While putting together the newsletter’s October issue (which comes out Monday), I noticed an excellent assessment of the retail space by Marcus & Millichap, a firm specializing in commercial real estate investment…