Just a few weeks into 2022, the retail industry has already seen signs for what the year ahead could bring — some good and some bad. President Biden's vaccine mandate for large employers was struck down by the Supreme Court in mid-January, but that doesn't mean retailers are done dealing with vaccine regulations. The U.S. Department of Labor is still pursuing a permanent standard and some companies have chosen to keep mandates in place despite the ruling.
The spread of the omicron variant, like COVID-19 surges in the past, is once again putting retailers on their toes, causing some to shift operations even as analysts predict the strain's economic impacts will be short term rather than long term. Store closures are down over last year and retail sales finished out the year strong, but supply chains are still challenging the industry and causing significant financial hits.
Some of the forces that will shape the retail landscape in 2022 will only become clear later on in the year, but for the moment, we've gathered a collection of stories that speak to where the industry is now and what retailers could face going forward. That includes everything from the next phase of growth at beauty retailers to what we expect from DTC brands. Here's a glimpse at retail in 2022.