Friday in 5 – interesting news bits from around the supply chain horn, served up in one spot to keep you up to date.

This week: A writer gets up close and personal with a gig worker; some stores are growing, some aren’t; and the beauty industry sees growth in online sales.

Up Close with the Gig Economy

Nathan Heller, in his The New Yorker article, Is The Gig Economy Working?, writes about his first-hand experience with a gig – or on demand – worker: “Not long ago, I moved apartments, and beneath the weight of work and lethargy a number of small, nagging tasks remained undone. There are surely reasons that some of us resist being wholly settled, but when the ballast of incompletion grew too much for me I logged on to TaskRabbit to finish what I had failed to start.”

Some stores aren’t just surviving, they’re growing

Retailers are closing thousands of stores in one of the biggest waves of closures in years. But it’s not all doom and gloom in the retail industry: several companies are rapidly expanding, with at least one — Dollar General — adding as many as 1,000 new stores this year. Read more in 22 companies defying the retail meltdown by opening hundreds of new stores, by Hayley Peterson.

But others aren’t so lucky

The number of retailers trimming or shutting down their store fleets has mounted in recent months. Some went bankrupt, like American Apparel, BCBG, and Wet Seal. Meanwhile, sprawling chains like Macy’s, Sears, and JC Penney are trying to course-correct in a world where many people prefer to shop online. We just don’t need as many stores anymore. So “everything must go.” But what is “everything,” and where does it go? For the answer, read How to Close a Store, by Eliza Brooke.

Digital content wins over the in-store buyer

The pre-purchase shopping routine today takes many twists and turns as consumers move from clicks to bricks with relative ease to browse and buy. While convenient for shoppers, it’s becoming harder for retailers to know exactly where and when the shopper journey actually begins. Consumers today have more tools than ever before to conduct pre-shopping product research online before heading into a store — and retailers that leverage best-in-class digital content, including photos and videos, consumer-generated product reviews, findability based on keywords, and search engine optimization, are more likely to win over the final sale. Read more in Sandy Skrovan’s article, Why researching online, shopping offline is the new norm.

Beauty goes digital

A recent study by Fung Global Retail & Tech found that in 2015, the industry saw $6.2 billion (nearly 8 percent) of its sales occur online. The global cosmetics market is anticipated to grow annually by 4.3 percent to reach $429.8 billion by 2022 — and at the rate these online brands are going, we can expect e-commerce sales to make up a nice piece of the pie. Learn more in Going ‘Rouge’: How Beauty Brands Are Winning at E-Commerce, by Nicole Spector.