Is Wal-Mart's Online Strategy the Key to Saving Brick-And-Mortar Retail?

While brick-and-mortar retailers struggle to stay afloat as consumers take their shopping habits online, Walmart (NYSE:WMT) appears to be defying the odds, with shares hitting a 52-week high following the company’s better-than-expected quarterly sales on Thursday.

The retail giant, which has a seen a 63% increase in online sales, has shifted its focus to promoting a stronger ecommerce presence in order to rival companies like Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) – a winning strategy that other retailers need to mimic, said Matt Shay, CEO of the National Retail Federation.

“Consumers are moving dramatically in new directions, and the retailers that are going to win – both the online and bricks-and-mortar guys are going to be the folks that are able to move to the middle, or at least closer to the middle…and Walmart clearly demonstrated that,” said Shay.

The shift to online consumerism has been especially difficult for traditional retailers such as Macy’s (NYSE:M), JCPenney (NYSE:JCP) and Sears (NASDAQ:SHLD), but Shay argues brick-and-mortar is actually growing, and people who spout a message of imminent death for the retail industry are not telling the full story.

“We don’t talk about all the online retailers that are actually involving themselves in brick-and-mortar real estate. So, I think there’s recognition whether you’re online or whether you’re brick-and-mortar, consumers are going to want things different ways at different times – you need to be in both places,” Said Shay, who went on to add that “while some stores close, others are opening.”

Shay also touched on tax reform, and reinforced his opposition to a border adjustment tax.

“We should move on to another plan that makes more sense. We should drop the conversation about the border adjustment tax, and let’s talk about something we can get done and bring about real meaningful change,” said Shay.