Smart Cities

Brick-and-Mortar Retail Must Get Smart to Survive the Pandemic Era

This week, the 250-year-old UK department store Debenhams finally announced it would close all of its 178 outlets after nine months of struggle with the restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the US, the 118-year-old US department store J.C. Penney filed for bankruptcy in May 2020, just 2-months after the pandemic began. Business Insider reports that approximately 12,000 retail stores went out of business in 2020, in the US alone. Through fear of infection in public indoor environments and restrictions that explicitly prevent stores opening, it would be safe to say that few industries have suffered more from the pandemic than brick-and-mortar retail. On the flip side, the online shopping industry is seen as one of the big winners of the pandemic. Consumer spending on Amazon between May and July 2020 was up 60% from the same period in 2019, according to the financial data firm Facteus. Amazon has gained half a trillion […]

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