Shopping under the influence

NRF, retail's big show, this past January was all about experience, with alcohol becoming a larger part of the experience. As I wrote last month:

Nordstrom is offering alcohol while you shop, with Co-President Erik Nordstrom saying to the crowd at NRF, "I don't know why it took us so long to put drinking and shoes together, but it's a great combination." A great combination presumably because the drunker you get, the longer you'll stay and more you'll spend.

This piece goes deeper into the phenomenon, a good look and how retailers are trying to take advantage of their physical retail space.

Across the country, shopping centers, malls and major chains like Nordstrom, Crate & Barrel, Whole Foods and Giant are increasingly allowing — even encouraging — customers to imbibe while they browse. It’s the latest attempt by stores to offer shoppers an experience they can’t get online, like in-store climbing walls and designer trunk shows but with a much bigger reach: Retailers say customers tend to stay longer and spend more freely when they’re drinking.
But public health experts find the trend troubling, even out of touch, given the rise of “sober curious” culture and hashtag-friendly challenges such as Dry January. In fact, alcohol consumption is on the decline worldwide, down 1.6 percent in 2018, according to the International Wines and Spirits Record.


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