Retail

Within the retail sector, there are new players with room to boom, established brands that have adapted well to the constantly changing market, and struggling classics that may still be able to right their course. Retail has most certainly evolved over recent decades. Consumers aren’t required to go to the store to buy something, and the existence of the internet customer service model, along with the explosion of fast shipping, has upped consumer expectations. If a store does not offer experiences and offerings beyond merchandise for people to visit, in many cases, they won't. Without a doubt, Amazon has shaped the retail marketplace in recent years. The online retail entity is now a global leader on pricing and convenience, and shows no signs of slowing. Brick-and-mortar retail chains weren’t fast to adapt initially, leading to an unprecedented amount of bankruptcies and store closures. Over the past three years, J.C. Penney has lost nearly 65% of its market value and Nordstrom almost 50%. That is beginning to change, however, as chains are finding ways to adapt and even thrive. Heavy discounters like Dollar General and Costco are some of the “Amazon-proof” retailers, as have been Lowes and Home Depot. Retail is a sector in which both novice and experienced investors can participate. It's a market that's easy to understand, and while there are some tricks to the trade, this is a space where you can invest in what you know. Retail also offers a chance to invest in well-established companies that offer income in the form of dividends -- a semi-regular distribution of a portion of a company's earnings to shareholders. In fact, there are a number of “dividend aristocrats” in the retail sector, defined as members of the S&P 500 index that have had a minimum of one dividend increase annually for at least the last 25 consecutive years. This form of passive income can be attractive for more risk-averse investors. Although the digital retail shake-up has been tumultuous for the industry, opportunities aplenty exist for investors.

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