Do You Know These Huge Headlines and Happenings from 2019?

This was certainly a notable year in the history of retail. Records were set – good and bad – as the retail apocalypse gave us perhaps the harshest year yet for physical retail and eCommerce continued to soar. Big moves were made with massive implications for the future, and we saw a few pretty unpredictable curveballs that caught everyone by surprise.

The retail landscape has been evolving rapidly. Have you been paying attention to the headlines that will shape the future of our business? Take our 2019 Year-In-Review Trivia and put your knowledge to the test.

  1. 2019 has been a difficult year for physical retail, with a record number of store closures. Approximately how many retailers have closed up shop in 2019?
  1. 6,700
  2. 7,600
  3. 8,400
  4. 9,300

Answer D. 9,300. Coresight Research has been keeping a running weekly counter with the rising number of store closures throughout the year. The 9,300 store closures easily topped 2017’s record of just over 8,000. Among those to shutter their doors were 2,500 Payless ShoeSource stores, 650 Dress Barn locations, 520 Fred’s stores and 371 Shopko locations. On the plus side, 4,392 new stores have opened their doors, but the game has certainly changed.

  1. In spite of physical retail’s struggles in 2019, which major retailer announced plans in September to open up 800 new stores in the coming years?
  1. Gap
  2. Old Navy
  3. Abercrombie & Fitch
  4. American Eagle

Answer: B. Old Navy announced they would be splitting from their struggling parent company Gap, Inc. back in February, and shocked observers when they announced plans to open an additional 800 stores a few months later. In spite of the struggles of physical retailers as a whole, Old Navy continues to perform well.

America loves discount clothing and retailers like Old Navy, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Home Goods and Nordstrom Rack are seeing solid growth. Old Navy grew 3% last year.

  1. The BOPIS concept has grown tremendously in 2019. Which major retailer announced a pick-up-only store in Chicago earlier this year?
  1. Walmart
  2. Target
  3. Walgreens
  4. Kroger

Answer: A. Walmart began piloting a pick-up and delivery -only location, called a Walmart Pickup Point, in Lincolnwood, Il this July. While it carries everything a typical Walmart would, there is no retail space inside the store. Customers order via the Walmart App and pull into a pickup bay where they receive their goods.

Inside the 42,000 square foot location, automated machinery loads, unloads and sorts the merchandise. It’s a strategically located hub for Walmart’s growing delivery service, with a $7.95-$9.95 standard charge for deliveries (based on the time of day), and a smaller $4.95 fee for pickup.

  1. In June, we saw the largest private real estate deal in history as Blackstone purchased a massive amount of warehouse space from GLP for eCommerce logistics. How much was the deal worth?
  1. $8.9 billion
  2. $13.1 billion
  3. $18.7 billion
  4. $23.2 billion

Answer: C. $18.7 billion. Blackstone purchased a stunning 179 million square feet of urban, infill logistics assets. The purchase nearly doubles their U.S. footprint. According to Ken Caplan, co-head of Blackstone’s real estate business, “Logistics is our highest conviction global investment theme today. We look forward to building on our existing portfolio to meet the growing e-commerce demand.”

Amazon alone occupies over 288 million square feet of physical warehouse space to accommodate their massive logistics needs. As the demand for more and faster eCommerce continues to rise, it’s a great time to get in the game as a logistics warehousing landlord.

  1. In June, we also saw a landmark event as Kroger broke ground on their first automated fulfillment center. Where is the first “Shed” located?
  1. Monroe, OH
  2. Houston, TX
  3. Redmond, WA
  4. Forest Park, GA

Answer A. Monroe, OH. Kroger’s partnership with British grocer Ocado will have huge implications for the future of grocery and retail in general. Ocado warehouses use autonomous robots to pack online orders for delivery, a model we will likely see duplicated frequently, to one degree or another, in the years to come.

This first groundbreaking is the first of 20 planned “Sheds” to be built in the U.S. in the coming years. Kroger announced a second upcoming location planned for Forest Park, GA soon after.

  1. In April, Amazon stunned investors when they announced they would be undergoing a huge effort to shorten Prime delivery from 2-days to 1-day. How much did Amazon invest in the effort?
  1. $500 million
  2. $600 million
  3. $700 million
  4. $800 million

Answer D. $800 million. In a move that shook the industry to its core, Amazon plugged nearly a billion dollars into their logistics operations to shorten Amazon Prime’s standard delivery window from two days to one. Walmart responded swiftly, immediately enacting their own one-day shipping program – change that played out in interesting fashion, as Walmart was the most downloaded eCommerce app on Black Friday this year.

In another arm of the response, Walmart and Target also enhanced their BOPIS efforts substantially, which has been growing far faster than many people expected.

  1. This year we saw a new single day record set for eCommerce sales. What was the occasion?
  1. Amazon Prime Day
  2. Black Friday
  3. Cyber Monday
  4. Alibaba Singles Day

Answer D. Alibaba’s Singles Day Sale in China blew every eCommerce record out of the water with a whopping $38.4 billion in sales. This was the 11th year of the 11/11 tradition, who topped last year’s total by nearly $8 billion. Alibaba crossed the $1 billion sales mark in just 68 seconds, and after the first hour, they were already sitting at $13 billion. Fulfilling the orders was a complex undertaking, which required trucks, planes and high-speed bullet trains to move the packages throughout the country.

By every measure, the event was a huge success for Alibaba, and great reason for optimism in China, whose economy has been growing at a snail’s pace in 2019.

We hope you enjoyed our 2019 Year-In-Review Trivia. This is our final blog of 2019. We would like to thank all of our loyal readers and wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season. We will be returning to our regular newsletter, blog and podcast schedule on January 8th, 2020.

Until then, Happy Holidays from all of us at the CMA & SIMA!