2017 is on track to set a record for most store closings. Credit Suisse estimates more than 8,000 stores could close by the end of the year. Already, 300 retailers filed for bankruptcy this year. That's 30 percent more than last year, and it's included giants like Payless, Gander Mountain and Gordman's. A majority of the businesses blame a change in the way people shop, with more money being spent online.
That trend was top of mind for Natasha Funderburk, as she set out on her new business venture. In health care for 12 years, she realized she was ready to make a big change. So she and her husband Chad launched Harper and Sky, a clothing boutique for women. They opted to keep the business exclusively online and skip the storefront.
Harper and Sky launched in May, with most items priced under $50. Natasha credits low overhead for her ability to offer quality designs at reasonable prices. Natasha relies on social media for much of the store's marketing. She uses locations in the Quad Cities for her photo shoots and employs local models.
"I want people to know we are based in a town that we love, with the people we love," she explained.
Online shopping now accounts for 8.5% of all retail sales. That's double what it was back in 2010.