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The "Retail Ice Age" isn't just a problem for Wal-Mart and Sears. The rise of e-commerce could spell doom for the companies whose sales largely come from brick-and-mortar retailers...
Companies like Hershey Co. (NYSE: HSY), America's favorite chocolatier. Think about it.
When you buy a candy bar or a bag of Hershey's kisses, where do you purchase it from?
If you said brick-and-mortar retailers, you're in the majority. Usually, it's when you're in the checkout line.
But here's the problem...
These retailers are being forced to shutter their doors at an alarming rate. In fact, America will lose more than 147 million square feet of retail space this year alone, according to an April report by Credit Suisse.
That means fewer opportunities for you to impulsively snag a candy bar while you're waiting at the register. Instead, you'll be virtually adding items to your shopping cart on your cell phone.
Fortunately for Hershey - and its investors - the 123-year-old chocolatier is embracing the change.
Hershey Is Rethinking Its Entire E-Commerce Strategy
"I think it is fair to say that we are dialing up," said Hershey CEO Michelle Buck during the company's conference call yesterday (July 26.)
According to Buck, the company is taking a preemptive stance on e-commerce before the company (and its stock) becomes negatively affected.
In order to get ahead of the trend, Buck said Hershey's was reinvesting additional resources in the e-commerce initiative and partnering with customers. She also said there was major interest among the company's brick-and-mortar partners to expand online offerings.
In the interim, Hershey's remains confident about its push into online retail and says its in-store sales are holding up just fine.
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"We have been able to win in-store even as e-commerce has accelerated," the company's president, Todd Tillemans, told Business Insider on July 27. "Right now, we're focused on partnering with retailers and investing in capabilities to unlock growth for our brands online," he said.
"I believe we are in a really good position to win in an omnichannel world."
Indeed, the beloved chocolatier had strong performance throughout 2016 - and is expected to carry that over into this year. Full-year net sales are expected to increase 2% to 3% this year, according to Nasdaq.
While the retail apocalypse is eating up retailers, pharmacies, and even grocery stores, it's important for investors to know which industries - and which companies - are still thriving.
Let's look at a few...
These American Greats Aren't Going Anywhere
Money Morning Executive Editor - and champion stock picker - Bill Patalon sees amazing profit potential in these two American greats: Boeing and Ford.
Bill has long been following Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA). In fact, he first recommended it to his readers in September 2011 - and those who bought in have seen shares rise over 252%.
And those who didn't - or who rushed to sell when Boeing took a dip - lost out.
"This is a company that has a proven record of taking cash flow and giving it back to shareholders in the form of dividends, stock buybacks, and other kinds of financial engineering," says Bill.
"It's a company that comes back time and time and time again," says Bill. "It's a quality that is ingrained in its corporate DNA."
Second, Bill loves Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F). In fact, he's calling it his "No. 1 Buy for 2017."
"Every year I put together a shopping list of stocks for the new year, and Ford is at the top of my list," says Bill.
That's because Bill sees it as much more than just a car company.
"Ford is a technology company. It's a materials company," says Bill. "It's also a performance company and a racing company."
"Ford is trying to bring new objectives under one roof, with one focus, and one strategy," says Bill. "And I know they're going to succeed."
Recent changes in leadership and lower than average U.S. industry sales have caused the stock to see a dip recently - making it all the more profitable for investors who get in now.
Check out the video below for Bill's complete Ford prediction - including how to play this stock now for maximum profits:
Why Ford Is My No.1 Buy for 2017
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