Retail leaders: If you're job searching, expand your definition of "retail" and uncover more opportunities
I hear from people pretty much every week who say "retail is dying" (or already dead), but what they really mean is that from their perspective retail is in decline. After all, that's the only point-of-view any of us can speak from - our own perspective. But in reality, the umbrella of "retail" is much larger than most of us normally think.
There are many, many retailers that are doing very well, opening new locations, and hiring a lot of people - we just need to expand our definition of what "retail" can actually encompass. Of course moving on to a whole different industry is fine too, but if you enjoy retail and worry there's no future, consider other sectors of the industry besides the one (or few) you have experience in. You might discover a whole new world of possibilities.
Here are some things to consider:
Store formats are different "types" of stores and this can include specialty stores, boutiques, factory outlets, small-box stores, big-box stores, junior department stores, major department stores, mass merchandise stores, warehouse stores, off-price stores, thrift & consignment stores, grocery stores, liquor stores, convenience stores, fuel stations, travel centers, auto dealerships, and more. (Of course some of these overlap in definition.)
Merchandise categories vary widely, as you know, and many can be found in multiple store formats. This can include apparel, accessories, jewelry, footwear, bed/bath/linens, cosmetics & beauty, electronics & wireless devices, drugstores & pharmacies, hardware & home improvement, home furnishings & decor, housewares, kitchen, appliances, lawn & garden, sporting goods, pet products, craft & party supplies, books, music & movies, office supplies, toys & games, handbags & luggage, automotive, optical & eye wear, tobacco, travel products, and more.
(Of course apparel itself is an umbrella that includes women's, men's, children's, junior, maternity, intimate apparel, casual wear, sportswear, athletic apparel, work wear, fashion forward, luxury apparel, and more.)
Service businesses can also be found under the retail umbrella, including auto service centers, travel agencies, dental & medical chains, insurance offices, banks & financial institutions, photo labs, hair care, beauty care, spas, wellness centers, shoe repair, jewelry repair, custom tailoring, and much more.
Food service establishments, for many, also fall under the definition of retail. This can include everything from coffee shops and fast food restaurants to cafeterias, full service restaurants, pubs & bars, fine dining restaurants, airport restaurants, lounges, catering companies, food trucks, and more.
Retail service providers are companies that serve retailers, and they may be a good career option for people with retail management experience. This can include contact centers, pop-up operators, inventory count services, shopping center management companies, mystery shop service providers, and more.
Entertainment is another segment closely related to retail that may be worth exploring, and that can include movie theaters, amusement parks, water parks, adventure parks, casinos, festivals, arcades, virtual reality, laser tag, escape rooms, ice rinks, bowling alleys, museums, art galleries, and more.
Hospitality & tourism is another closely related industry and I've seen many people move back and forth between retail and this field. Jobs can be found in hotels, motels, resorts, food & beverage, tour providers, cruise lines, airlines, scenic railways, event management companies, and many more.
I hope this list helps you map out your own career path. I wish you all the best in your journey!
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