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THIS IS OUR FIRST ISSUE THAT CAME together under the shadow of COVID-19. To be specific, we had already selected retail as our theme and had put in a lot of work before the scope of the pandemic in the US became clear.

Once we realized how pervasive the impact would be, we quickly executed a 180-degree pivot for the magazine and set about examining the effect the novel coronavirus is having on retail. The high-level headline news, of course, is that COVID-19 has completely upended the sector as stores across the US shut down. Furthermore, it is unclear when or whether shoppers will feel safe enough to venture into a physical store.

Going behind the headline news reveals a slightly more positive picture. Retail technology could go a long way in making consumers feel protected as they go back to their old routines. Also, retail in general had been in the midst of significant change even before the coronavirus reared its ugly head. Some, but hardly all, of the mall landlords had been nimbly adjusting to these changes. While the coronavirus represents a change never seen before or anticipated, these companies do have previous change management experience they can tap as they scramble to survive.

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Erika Morphy

 

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