Barclays strategist Ryan Preclaw explains some of his recent research on how much right-sizing needs to be done in traditional retail. Preclaw estimates that brick and mortar retail capacity needs to come down more than 10%. This would imply 750k to one million jobs being eliminated according to Barclays model. Following is a transcript of the video.
Henry Blodget: One of the stories we’ve been covering recently on Business Insider and on The Bottom Line is the hammering that traditional retail is taking, specifically department stores. Our guest today, Ryan Preclaw, who’s a senior strategist at Barclays, thinks that in one segment of the market the carnage is only at the beginning.
Ryan Preclaw: I’m not sure if it’s that dire but you know I think we need to be realistic about the fact that the world away from, you know, traditional brick-and-mortar retailers and as a result of that is just too many of them out there in terms of stores. You know, so we built a big model the looked at what the right size of the industry should be, and I think that it could shrink maybe 10 to 15% if it was to be the right size today.
Blodget: So what is that mean in terms of jobs?
Preclaw: I mean — it’s a substantial number of jobs. You have to keep in mind retailers — and in the way we think about here is sort of the specific definition that covers department stores and clothing retailers and some other things, employs about 8 million Americans. That’s a lot of people. And so, we think that 10 to 15 cut could be 750,000 to million jobs that would need to be lost to get it at, you know — into the right place.
Blodget: And what you’ve said in one of your recent reports is that the industry overbuilt way ahead of sales, but that this wasn’t a drunken sailor thing that ended up crazy, it’s actually the impact of e-commerce just caught everybody by surprise.
Preclaw: Yeah look, I think that you can have a situation where you had a perfectly rational decision that, that was made to build these stores. You know, if you look at the returns on assets that retailers were getting even in 2008, 2009, 2010, were way ahead of what you could have expected to get in like the S&P. So what do you do? You build another store. Just happens to be that we now arrived to the place where e-commerce is starting to take a meaningful real share away from them. So it’s just too big and it’s not going to get any better in the future.
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