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Jan 22, 2020

Dan O’Connor, retail expert and executive-in-residence with the HBS Managing the Future of Work project, traces the evolution of retail from the corner store through big-box, e-commerce, and the emergence of omni-faceted digital platforms. What are the implications for employers and employees throughout the sector? Retail accounts for more than 5 percent of US gross domestic product (GDP) and employs more than any other industry, roughly 16 million workers, or one in ten. Globally, the emergence of mega-platforms like Amazon and Alibaba, with their consolidated supply chains and mountains of customer data, is forcing the industry to adopt leaner and more responsive operating models while the workforce comes to terms with automation and other advances.