Here They Are: The 7 Retail Survivors

We know that retail has undergone a massive change in the last few years, even more so this past year. You can officially buy (almost) anything you want online. You can even interact with brands and study stores without ever needing to step into one. Who is aware of this? The big Retail survivors. And what happens when a retail store doesn’t adapt to these changes? Sadly, they fail and close. Not right away, but over time regardless. Here on the blog, we have touched on the history of retail and its changes before. According to Forbes, “the strategy you’re using to adapt isn’t working well enough.” In comparison the seven survivors of retail, of which are multi-brand stores, make do by adapting to the online shopping experience. These retailers catalog and merchandise everything online and have formatted to be the competitive retail survivors.

You would probably would have never ever thought that there would be a phrase like “retail survivors.” Years ago, thinking that a conglomerate of brands sold at one place wouldn’t last forever was preposterous. It’s still the case, it’s just moved over into a different platform: online. Retail survivors adapted and created the same purchase format online. They understood the reason for customers to come into their store was mainly convenience. If being able to grab everything you need at one place is the golden opportunity, then adapting it online would be the logical next choice. Forbes split the retail survivors into three categories, and here they are:

The Seattle Gang

amazon retail survivorsAmazon: This is no surprise considering they have grown exponentially from the jump. With such low cost in capital and ability to experience, they’re only expected to keep growing as one of the major retail survivors.


costco retail survivors

Costco: They’ve placed value on the customer loyalty relationship with highly discounted prices and membership exclusivity. Costco has a strong brand presence and identity with an already cost-efficient business system. It’s not shocking to think they’re one of the retail survivors as well.


nordstrom retail survivorsNordstrom: This department store operated with care around customer service. This is a big reason why they’ve maintained to be among these retail survivors. Their focus on service and EXPERIENCE is what has differentiated this retailer from others.

The Mid-Country Group

walmart retail survivorsWal-mart: They’re future and brand has been questionable at times, but you can’t deny that they’ve maintained control of being cost efficient and one of the biggest names out there. With their financial strength, they’re willing to try as many things as possible to keep their future in play. Their acquisition of and the subsequent related acquisitions show potential to adapt consumer preferences.



target retail survivorsTarget: According to Forbes, their financial position hasn’t always been strong. Today it’s the modern merchandising and deals with brands such as Casper, among other designers, that keeps Target interesting. Like Walmart, their willingness to adapt and try new things will keep them around.



kohls retail survivorsKohl’s: This company has taken advantage of this change and challenged themselves. They did a partnership test with Amazon having drop-ff and pick-up services provided in a number of stores. Customers had an 80% overlap cause of this partnership. This adaption to integrate traditional retail with online selling is an example of great forward-thinking adaption.

The Wildcard

hudson retail survivorsHudson’s Bay: Buying Gilt was another example of a forward-thinking move. They converted their flagship Lord & Taylor store in New York to mostly WeWork. This was very innovative and smart from a financial standpoint. Their willingness to use their brands and space to adapt gives them an edge.


There’s a great consensus that retailers need to adapt to consumers’ new behaviors to maintain relevancy in the market. That’s why there are these seven retail survivors. These retailers took risks and maintained a market advantage to stay relevant in consumer minds. To stay afloat and have a consistent financial position is great. However, to truly thrive and outlast other retailers, you need to be innovative and create something more, something future-thinking, for your brand. These seven retailers made “investments in customer experience in-store and online with a clear focus on new customer acquisition, value, service and convenience.” Where do you think you are with your retail store? After reading about this major retailers, where can you improve and thrive in your market?