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STATE OF PLAY

Five ways stores are evolving as e-commerce takes off

3d illustration of information pouring through a business building
Illustration by Vasya Kolotusha
  • Marc Bain
By Marc Bain

Fashion reporter

Published Last updated on

The e-commerce surge of the past year was astounding. Because of Covid-19, shoppers turned to the internet to buy everything from groceries to sporting goods at rates that would have taken years to reach under normal conditions. Experts believe a lot of the digital shopping habits consumers picked up during the pandemic are here to stay, even if e-commerce sales moderate some as life eventually returns to normal.

It doesn’t sound great for stores. Online shopping has been siphoning sales from brick-and-mortar shops in countries such as the US and UK for years, and it looks set to continue, making many stores less productive. UBS, an investment bank, predicts roughly 80,000 stores could close by 2026 in the US alone as online shopping grows even more common.

It’s the beginning of the end for brick-and-mortar shops, right?

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