In the United States, it is no secret that the nature of business for traditional retailers has been under massive amounts of pressure for years in recent history as online retailers have cut into sales for traditional “foot-traffic” retailers, but the current COVID 19 pandemic could really bring about the end of an era, causing some retailers to go out of business entirely, or atleast change their operations completely. Before the pandemic hit the United States, there was ample evidence of technology steadily chipping away at traditional retailers in the past couple of decades, but Coronavirus will likely radically change retail shopping in one giant, sweeping landscape alteration.The pain is being felt not just by retail brands themselves, but also by landlords, lenders, and suppliers. With all the upheaval, landlords and creditors, who have the ability to put a retailer into bankruptcy are slow to act.
It is simply extremely difficult to know how the landscape will look post-Coronavirus, thus it is very hard to make strategic decisions that are of long-term benefit. As bankruptcy is really not an option that helps many retailers solve their structural problems and cash-flow issues, in the short-term, for most retailers, the only choice they have is to cut costs. Many retailers have simply furloughed most of their employees.
Retailers are also slashing investment, side-lining new projects, and looking at other expenses to cut to try to make their operations as lean as possible. As mentioned, the biggest issue is retailers do not know when the virus will be eradicated, nor do they know how a changed world will look and what it will mean for their operations, while the longer the effects of this viral pandemic linger, the worse off many retail stores will be when the dust settles.