There's a new class of retailers to pay attention to in 2019. And some of them could soon be opening up shop in your neighborhood.
As decades-old brands like Victoria's Secret, Gap, Claire's and Mattress Firm are shutting stores across the U.S., combating sluggish sales thanks to lack of innovation, a group up-and-coming retailers — many of them born on the internet — are starting to grow offline. Names like Outdoor Voices, Rothy's and Mirror are following in the footsteps of e-commerce brands like Warby Parker, Untuckit and Casper, which are slightly further along in their growth journeys at the start of the new year. These three companies already have a strong bricks-and-mortar presence throughout the country, and growing. Shirt brand Untuckit just hit 50 stores, glasses retailer Warby Parker is close to 100, and mattress maker Casper plans to have 200 locations open by 2021.
It's these direct-to-consumer brands — as they're often referred to because they're bypassing other outlets like department stores and selling goods directly to shoppers — that are going to be the next businesses to help "reinvigorate" antiquated shopping malls, according to Web Smith, founder of 2PM, a subscription platform that tracks retail start-ups and their growth.
Many e-commerce brands are getting to the point where they realize they can't grow any further through buying Facebook and Google ads, and so they're turning to opening stores, Smith, who also co-founded shirt brand Mizzen+Main, explained in a recent 2PM research report.
"Physical retail embodies a social and tangible experience that America's Amazon-driven format of online retail has yet to duplicate," he said. And so, "digital-first retailers are ... investing in extending their direct-to-consumer relationships by owning permanent storefronts in worthwhile locations." It's a theme that's expected to continue to ring out in retail this year. A study in 2018 by real estate research firm Green Street Advisors found so-called digitally native brands altogether have more than 600 stores blanketing the U.S., and counting.
Here are 9 companies to keep your eyes on in 2019, as many of them are looking to open more stores. HERE