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Brick-and-Mortar Retail Isn’t Going Away

Robust e-commerce sales by traditional retailers during the COVID-19 pandemic create a lasting role for physical stores.

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The surge in online shopping at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic led to a series of rash proclamations about the demise of brick-and-mortar U.S. retail. Since then, much of the pandemic's initial boost to e-commerce adoption has already faded away, and we expect mass vaccination to bring further convergence to the pre-pandemic trend. Still, we've learned a lot about the future of e-commerce and U.S. retail thanks to the pandemic experiment.

The biggest surprise has been the rise of omnichannel (e-commerce sales by traditional retailers), which has astoundingly outperformed online retailers during the pandemic. We think this outperformance will continue into the next decade.

Preston Caldwell does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.