Fmr. Wal-Mart U.S. CEO: Technology is Changing the Retail Platform

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Fmr. Wal-Mart U.S. CEO: Retail is in transition

Former Wal-Mart U.S. CEO Bill Simon says technology is driving a transition in retail.

Despite reports of a strong holiday season, some retailers aren’t feeling so jolly.

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The “Amazon (AMZN) Effect” is taking its toll on brick-and-mortar stores, including major brands like Macy’s (M) and Kohl’s (KSS). Both retailers reported a decline in comparable store sales of more than 2% during November and December versus the prior year. On Wednesday, Macy’s also said it would cut more than 10,000 jobs and close nearly 70 stores in 2017.

“Retail is in a transition clearly. There’s a lot of things that have been changing, but that has been the dynamic of retail really since the beginning,” said former Wal-Mart (WMT) U.S. CEO and President Bill Simon.

Simon, who left Wal-Mart in 2014, said while technology is the catalyst behind the latest trends in retail, fundamentally the industry hasn’t changed.

“Our lives have been impacted by technology in just ways we couldn’t have imagined over the last 10 years,” Simon said. “I think the winners in retail will be the ones who find a way to take this fantastic technology that we’re dealing with and bring it to the retail store.”

Despite the fact that some retailers have had a rough time over the past few years, Simon doesn’t see the demise of the brick-and-mortar store coming anytime soon.

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“[Brick-and-mortar retail] will just adapt,” he said. “And the ones who adapt the best and change and find a way to meet consumer demands win.”

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