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A recent report by Nielsen (via MediaPost) predicts the state of the retail industry in 2016, and for the most part, things will be very much the same. Today’s winners will continue to perform well, and the losers are likely to keep losing.

The retail sectors with the highest sales growth (in order) will be: ecommerce, warehouse clubs, dollar stores, supercenters and pet stores. The biggest losers, starting with the worst? Mass merchants (we’re guessing they mean department stores), toy stores, books and electronics.

So not much will change in 2016, though we do think it’s interesting to note that pet stores are the one specialty category that still has growth in its future.

There are some other predictions in the report that are a little more interesting.

This one, for example, is kind of out there: “An unconventional bent includes virtual stores in high-traffic subway stations, or a floating supermarket on the Amazon River designed to reach 800,000 consumers in just three weeks.”

We don’t see Safeway leasing a barge to go down the Amazon any time soon, but you never know, huh?

There is also a presumption in the report that Facebook, Google and Amazon.com will enter the physical world of retail. While we aren’t saying it won’t happen, it hardly seems like something that will happen for sure. What would Facebook or Google sell in their stores? And in the case of Amazon, a “store” would likely just connect the consumer with its site…making it more of a showroom.

Just because the crossover worked well for Apple, it doesn’t mean that model will work well for every tech/software company. The jury still seems to be out on Microsoft’s stores.

Finally, one more observation that we want to point out: “Stores will emerge as the social centers of communities.” Well, that just seems kind of vague. Weren’t malls and lifestyle centers supposed to be the answer for that? Are people going to start suddenly hanging out at Walmart instead of Starbucks?

What is your take on the future of retail?