By Phil Wahba
December 27, 2017

Retailers seem to be pulling out of their years-long malaise, helped by a strong economy and their own efforts to finally adapt to the (amzn) world.

Companies like Target (tgt)and Kohl’s (kss) are finally starting to reap the dividends of billions in investments in e-commerce, such as retrofitting stores so they support online orders. Walmart has gone from defensive mode to offense, with big investments in tech to go with the raises its given to hundreds of thousands of store employees and major improvements to how its grocery offerings are presented. Even apparel chains like Gap Inc (gps), American Eagle Outfitters (aeo) and Abercrombie & Fitch (anf) are doing better.

But with the major shakeout in retail of 2017 out of the way, survivors will have to show customers and Wall Street that they can do more than just survive and bounce from one retail crisis to another. They’ve had several years now to adapt and react to Amazon’s threat and figure out what they stand for. Any retailer that has a poor 2018 has no one to blame but its own executives.

Department stores like Macy’s (m) have been talking changes and new initiatives for years, so next year is the time to put up or well, you know. Walmart is flying high now, even seen as an underdog to Amazon, but has to show that it can truly be a counterweight to its rival in online shoppers’ consideration set. The likes of Gap and Abercrombie have had several years to speed up their production process and shake up operations to be more flexible in reacting to fashion trends. And luxury players like Tapestry’s (tpr)Coach brand, Michael Kors, and Tiffany & Co (tif) have made major moves to refine their offerings. So now is the time to see the payoff.

Here are some of the retail stories we will be watching in 2018.


You May Like