The American consumer remains fairly strong, and yet the retail sector is not keeping pace with the broader market. What is wrong with retail then? Our view, which is consistent with those of portfolio managers that we follow and respect, is that the US is simply “over-retailed”. There are too many ways and places to buy the exact same things. Yes we are seeing structural changes as we lurch forward (backward?) to the good old days of catalog shopping and home delivery, just in the shiny wrapper of smart phone apps and curated boxes. But, the old channels are suffering but have not gone away. Yet. There are zombie brands that should have winked out of existence years ago that trudge along on fumes, debt or hedge fund and private investment. We are still surrounded by big boxes, shopping centers, strip malls, mega-malls, outlet malls and Main Street, but what we can buy across all channels, physical and virtual, is homogeneous. Experiences are driving consumer channel behavior. Service, price and convenience are the factors that will force the inevitable and messy shakeout. Until there is some real carnage and consolidation, expect retail to be a challenging place to outperform.