"The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated."
That quote is attributed to famed American author Mark Twain, who supposedly uttered it following a false report of his death.
It seemingly rings true now more than a century later concerning the country's vast retail universe, which has been under siege from stiff competition offered by online competitors.
Readers might quickly and conveniently think of Amazon as a go-to example of rivals to department stores and other mall and shopping-center outlets that one recent media report notes are putting physical (i.e., brick-and-mortar) retailers under intense pressure.
That pressure is expressly acknowledged by Macy's executives. The company's CEO recently stated that "this is the most competitive retail environment that I've ever seen."
Macy's is conceivably doing all it can to fight back, and recent sales numbers relevant to its initial quarter of operations this year seem to confirm that the company's newly employed strategies to stay competitive are reaping results.
In short, they reverse a multi-year trend, with company coffers being enriched thus far during 2018 being up by more than 4%.
That surprises many industry analysts, and it additionally buoys the spirits of retail principals all across the country. Although the spotlighted success is relatively short-term, lessons from Macy's new upside seem to be clearly imparted to industry managers.
Among other things, a clear takeaway seems to be that stores vying with online actors for profit need to better incorporate developing technologies into their businesses. That can mean one or more departments offering a virtual-shopping experience, a section of a store that routinely changes its look and feel, and/or quicker transactions offered consumers via scanning/purchasing done on smartphones.
Notwithstanding Macy's upbeat and surprising numbers, some business commentators are quick to note that the results could be more short-term and aberrational than reflective of a sustained revitalization. The American business realm is changing in fast and unprecedented ways, with future realities being hard to predict.