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The True State of Retail — According to Yelp

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Is the ‘apocalypse’ real?

You’ve no doubt been hearing a lot about the “retail apocalypse.”

But just how real is it?

Major chains such as Macy’s and Sears have announced closing after closing, but when you look at the big picture, things aren’t so clear, Bloomberg reports. An analysis by Euromonitor, for example, found that in 2017, the total number of U.S. stores fell just 0.1 percent.

Many mall operators, in fact, “bemoan what they see as sensationalized coverage and doomish predictions” about the state of retail, according to Bloomberg.

For another perspective, Bloomberg looked beyond the usual data sources, such as the U.S. Census. It turned to Yelp.

Harvard researchers have found that the review site’s data can, in some case, be better than the census for figuring out where the economy is headed.

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Unfortunately, the news according to Yelp data is not great. In 2017, the closure rate for stores, at just under 4 percent, slightly exceeded the opening rate. It was the only time that happened in the four years of Yelp data that Bloomberg reviewed.

Jewelers, of course, have industry-specific data available from the Jewelers Board of Trade. The organization found that 817 U.S. jewelry retailers stopped doing business in 2017.

Read more at Bloomberg

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