Reimagining stores for retail’s next normal – McKinsey & Company

Written by Praveen Adhi, Andrew Davis, Jai Jayakumar, and Sarah Touse

As the COVID-19 pandemic erupted, hundreds of thousands of stores across the United States shut their doors, unsure as to when they would reopen. Retail workers have been furloughed or laid off en masse, causing widespread economic pain and deepening the devastation of an unprecedented public-health crisis.

At some point, stores will reopen and people will return to work, as evidenced in countries like China where the pandemic has passed its peak. The timing is uncertain and will differ across US markets, but what’s certain is that stores can’t simply pick up where they left off. COVID-19 has changed consumer behavior, perhaps permanently, and retail stores will need to take these new behaviors into account.

To maximize their potential when they emerge from the crisis, retailers must factor in the realities of the post-coronavirus world. In this article, we share a perspective on the trends that will affect US apparel and specialty retail stores postcrisis and the strategic imperatives that will enable them to thrive in the “next normal.”

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By Valerie Barrios
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