It's not just Retail Traffic that's soothsaying the state of the retail business in 2010. At its 2003 Strategic Outlook Conference, consulting firm Retail Forward released a report entitled Twenty Trends for 2010: Retailing in an Age of Uncertainty. Here are some of the more dramatic trends and death knells — and their rankings — that the report highlights:

  • Wal-Mart will wait for no one.

  • Department stores are caught in a vicious circle propelled by escalating competition from mass retailers and lifestyle specialists; more consolidation and retrenchment are inevitable.

  • Malls aren't going away, but many will change almost beyond recognition.

  • Compressed life cycles for products, retail concepts and brands mean the days of the large, mass-merchandised specialty chain are over.

  • The selling of products and services via mobile devices will remain elusive.

  • Retailers will become brand managers on an unprecedented scale as the search for competitive differentiation accelerates.

  • Supplier direct-to-consumer will become a more viable scenario for the future.