As 2017 closed with high holiday sales results across online and brick and mortar retailers, predictions for 2018 and beyond are very positive. After years of news reports of store closings and retailer bankruptcies, 2017 had more store openings than closings and that pattern is expected to continue through 2021. A newly released study by Zebra Technologies, conducted by IHL Group, shows that 42% of retailers had a net increase in stores, while only 15% had a net decrease. The study also projects North America and Europe sales through 2021, to rise 3% annually. That equates to growth to $5.5 trillion in sales. Retailer feedback to the study about their focus indicated a continuation of what appears to be working: providing customers with engaging experiences, and increasing technology in stores to manage inventory and improve the in-store returns process after online purchasing.