“We are on the edge of a precipice,” writes Walter Loeb, for Forbes. As the popularity of ecommerce increases, the security of the US retail industry becomes ever weaker. As an ever-increasing amount of sales take place online, the productivity of retail stores, as measured by sales per square foot, has been dropping. Add to this the fact that costs generally move in just one direction—up—and you will see clearly how many retail stores are rapidly approaching the tipping point. Already this year, 4,950 closings have been announced, writes Loeb.

Historically, the response of retail stores to sales declines has been the implementation of measures to increase productivity; however, online sales are destroying this ability. Loeb concludes that “innovation is urgently needed to bring consumers into the stores or the free fall off the precipice will accelerate.”

To read the article in full, see Forbes.