The Future of Retail

The demise of retail is a myth. Retail is one of the largest—and most innovative--industries in the world. It includes established companies like Walmart and Macy’s as well as thousands of smaller ones that may someday become the next Amazon. 

The Retail Industry at a Glance

Retail sales (NAICS 44-45) for the nation increased 17.1%, from $5,572.0 billion in 2020 to $6,522.6 billion in 2021, according to new estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 Annual Retail Trade Survey (ARTS). The word retail is derived from the Norman French word retaille which means "to cut into small parts." This is essentially what retailers do—reduce bulk to allow for consumption by individuals. This broad view of retail is not constrained by the physical mechanism that delivers the value being consumed. It is independent of the form that creates the value. Retailers include restaurants that convert bulk food into on-site or delivered meals, stores like Amazon or Target who buy goods of all kinds in large quantities and deliver them to their individual customers, and even banks that bring in large amounts of money from the Federal Reserve and convert it into small loans for households. All of these entities are constantly innovating by employing smart people and technology to make it easier and more fun to acquire the things we need.

Retail Education and Research

The Center for Education and Research in Retail partners with students and companies to develop relevant curriculum to ensure students are successful in their careers. Graduates have gone on to executive leadership roles with retailers like The Home Depot, Macy’s, American Eagle Outfitters, and Meijer. Others have started their own retail businesses or work in retail consulting to advise companies.

The center offers opportunities and hosts events that bring students and retailers together and supports research in retail and general marketing. These include Retail Workshop, Retail Speed Networking, guest speakers, and the Haring Symposium.

Meet the Director

John Talbot, smiling, fair skin, blue glasses, wearing a blue pin-striped suit jacket and a red tie

John Talbott leads the center's educational and research initiatives.

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Gain A Global Perspective

Three men sit in chairs on a stage, discussing a topic during a conference

The center's faculty participate in global retail industry conversations, such as the World Department Store Forum hosted in Rome. Additionally, the center connects students to the alumni network of retail industry professionals through on-site visits and on-campus events.

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Connect with Faculty

Ray Burke, a male Kelley faculty member, presents a topic to a large group

The center supports faculty research in the retail industry. Meet our faculty and learn more about their contributions to knowledge in the field in areas such as data in retail, technology in marketing communications, and consumer behavior.

Meet the faculty