Shopping on the internet will probably continue to disrupt legacy bricks-and mortar retailers for the foreseeable future, but one thing is likely to remain constant throughout.

That is the need for salespeople in the store to convert what shoppers do show up to actual spenders. [The need for] great salesmanship will not change, I don't see it ever going away," Macy's (M) - Get Report Chairman and CEO Terry Lundgren told a crowd (video below) on Sunday at the National Retail Federation's annual conference. 

Unfortunately, the environment surrounding those Macy's store workers -- and those at other retailers still reliant on physical stores -- continues to change dramatically. 

Macy's said recently it will close 68 stores by early spring and dive into a deeper reorganization, leading to roughly 10,100 people being displaced. Executives reiterated that Macy's plans to close 100 stores over the next few years.

Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) , which unlike rival Macy's is in dire financial straits, has also kicked off the new year with another major store closing campaign. The company will shut down 108 Kmart stores and 42 Sears stores by April, or about 10% of its store base.

Meanwhile, J.C. Penney (JCP) - Get Report CEO Marvin Ellison said at a real estate conference this week the company would move to close more stores -- after shuttering only seven last year -- following a lackluster holiday season.

"We have certain locations that we readily admit we have to downsize," Ellison said, adding, "There are some smaller market locations where we have to decide, does the mall or our store meet our brand standards?"

Cowen & Co. analyst Oliver Chen opined in a new note that J.C. Penney could slash its store count by about 30% over time, leaving it with roughly 700 locations.