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AMERICAN RETAIL

Retail and Decor news from around the country

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The instore deli was one of the grocery departments hit hardest by COVID. Hot bars, salad bars and other deli staples were either scaled back sharply or shut down entirely due to food safety concerns — whether, hindsight being 20/20, it was warranted or not.

But in 2021, things started to get back to normal, and the instore delis of 2022 look even more like their pre-pandemic versions.

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Although meat department sales hit a record $81.8 billion in 2021, inflation drove some of this growth due to increases in meat prices. Inflation will cause a dip in meat sales this year, but meat will still be a staple in American freezers, and most people would still rather buy their meat where they are getting the rest of their groceries.

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Nearly three in four (74%) retail execs say they already offer—or are open to offering—secondhand apparel to their customers, up 14 percentage points from 2020, according to ThredUp’s latest resale report with GlobalData.

 

Published today, the report predicts that the secondhand market in the US will double to $82 billion by 2026.

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The minimalist aesthetic that was so popular among millennials is coming to a close, and you can thank Gen Z. They look for products with attitude and personality, explained Hamish Campbell, VP executive creative director at the brand design agency Pearlfisher: “We’re now into maximalism.”

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Signage and lighting are only a couple of elements of effective store design. A well-planned and designed store will convey its personality and values to its customers with all of its decor, not only at the entrance, and not only with its signage, but throughout each department of the entire establishment.

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2020 shocked. 2021 reset. 2022, and beyond, will define. Retail’s next frontier promises infinite possibility – but it won’t be for everyone. Moves made today will decide retail’s leaders versus laggards. Which will you be?

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Asian-inspired cuisine continues to surprise and delight consumers with traditional options, innovative fusions and hyper-authenticity. 

Food is often thought of a necessity, but in truth it offers the potential of so much more. At its finest, food is an exploratory medium. Today, ever-increasing cross-cultural connections allow consumers to experience the world through food like never before. With 449 countries and six regions, Asia, the world’s largest continent, offers a never-ending cornucopia of flavors, ingredients and combinations. 

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Coaxing customers to linger in a store longer is something all retailers aspire to do. But getting in and out as quickly as possible is what most customers are accustomed to doing. Retailers who improve the shopping experience through interior design and services will lengthen shoppers' visits and this will increase sales.

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A creative shift in retail design isn’t a new, post-Covid development. Serious changes were happening before the pandemic, which kicked the creativity and the need to stay relevant, up a gear. Long before Covid, retailers were lacking a certain originality having become too transactional, but in the years leading up to 2020, imaginative changes were already being made to re-engage consumers.

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The environmental story is compelling. I won’t bother with the litany of facts the industry touts — you can find some of them here — but was particularly struck by these two tidbits: 95 percent of wooden pallets are used multiple times and, when they are no longer usable or repairable, 97 percent end up as new products, such as boiler fuel, mulch, animal bedding or pellets to make biofuel.

That’s an enviable sustainability story to tell, although the industry is finding it difficult to break through.

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Inflation in February was higher than it has been in forty years, and food prices are soaring. Unfortunately, the forecast for groceries the rest of the year is not promising either because supply chain issues that started with the pandemic seem never-ending, and gas prices seem to keep skyrocketing.  

But there are sectors in supermarkets that will see growth in the coming months.

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Organic farming isn’t more climate-friendly than conventional agriculture when looking strictly at emissions. In a comparative analysis of the environmental impacts of different agricultural production systems, Michael Clark and David Tilman at the University of Minnesota found that “organic and conventional systems did not significantly differ in their greenhouse gas emissions.” But that’s not all that matters.