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Dispatch, Ep 15: Hate shopping? Just disrupt it!

A mannequin stands in a fairly empty department store December 23, 2009 at Tyson's Corner mall in McLean, Virginia. PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

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Oh, poor retail.

I’m headed to Las Vegas Sunday for a conference called Shoptalk, which is all about commerce and retail and tech. And since it’s coming one week after a series of disastrous Q1 earnings reports by the likes of Macy’s, Gap and (most likely) J.C. Penney. Rough. I’m getting pitches for meetings at the event with subject lines like, “Retail is dying. Bloodbath in e-commerce. What’s next for shoppers?” and offers to meet with companies working on a “Hybrid On-Site, On-Demand Workforce armed with NextGen Mobile Tech.”

But I suspect there will be some interesting conversations there about how to reboot retail — I’m moderating one panel that’s all about a retail model focused specifically on connected devices and opening stores where it doesn’t really matter if anyone buys anything.

So I’m thinking it’s a bit soon to whistle retail dead for good. Sure, it’s moving online, and sure it’s moving to mobile, but there may still be some use for stores–and some interesting store models that haven’t yet been explored.

That’s all in this week’s episode. Next week: I’m going to Google I/O! And while I’m still holding out hope for skydiving CEOs, I’ll settle for knowing what the next version of Android will be called, whether Google is working on an Amazon Echo competitor, and the inevitable virtual reality demos. Tune in for that report next Friday!

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