Catchphrases like the "Death of Retail!" or the "Retail Apocalypse!" have been flying all over the media for around a decade now. Whales like Amazon and Walmart have been crushing the competition since way, way before the coronavirus upended life and commerce around the world.
Just take a look at this exchange-traded fund. I've been talking about it in my Markets Livestream because it's returned almost 5% this year. I'm talking about the ProShares Decline of the Retail Store ETF. And get this: It's trading under the ticker EMTY.
The name and ticker say it all, but still... Ouch. Someone on Wall Street has an edgy sense of humor...
In 2019, more than 9,300 store closings were announced, and the COVID-19 pandemic promises to eclipse that grim record. I'm reading now that Cushman & Wakefield estimate a whopping 12,000 big chain stores could fold in 2020.
Look - it would be unfair to lay all of this at the feet of Amazon and Walmart; for retailers, business conditions can be fluid at the best of times, and the COVID-19 pandemic has been absolutely brutal for most of the consumer spending-driven U.S. economy.
So the big players have clearly cemented their positions. But here's the thing: They're not the only game in town. Nor is all retail dead - not by a longshot.
To use an "SAT word," retail has almost completely bifurcated; there are now two separate retail sectors emerging.
Let me tell you all about the one you want for the long haul...