Getting shoppers into stores takes more than inventory

The Ralph Lauren Fifth Avenue Polo store in Manhattan last year. Lauren is one of the pioneers of the "retail residence" concept. For his first flagship store in the 1980s on the corner of 72nd Street and Madison Avenue in New York City, he renovated
The Ralph Lauren Fifth Avenue Polo store in Manhattan last year. Lauren is one of the pioneers of the "retail residence" concept. For his first flagship store in the 1980s on the corner of 72nd Street and Madison Avenue in New York City, he renovated and decorated the space, turning it into one where shoppers can sit down and enjoy coffee or champagne. The store is still referred to by the company and fashion experts as "the Mansion".PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
The Ralph Lauren Fifth Avenue Polo store in Manhattan last year. Lauren is one of the pioneers of the "retail residence" concept. For his first flagship store in the 1980s on the corner of 72nd Street and Madison Avenue in New York City, he renovated
Fashion designer Prabal Gurung says his just-opened boutique on Bleecker Street in Manhattan's West Village is "not the typical retail space where you just sell clothes". Rather, the store is focused primarily on telling (and experiencing) stories - of the designer's American dream come true.PHOTO: NYTIMES

Retailers turn to activities, events to keep customers coming back

As many as 12,000 stores are expected to close in the United States this year, according to Cushman & Wakefield, a commercial real estate firm. Nine thousand storefronts shut down last year.

Yet despite this very real reckoning, countless retailers are not only surviving but also thriving.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 29, 2018, with the headline 'Getting shoppers into stores takes more than inventory'. Print Edition | Subscribe