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Retailers Think Smaller in Urban Push

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    Retailers’ Idea: Think Smaller in Urban Push


    Published: July 25, 2012

    With little room to expand in the suburbs, retailers, including Office Depot, Wal-Mart and Target, are betting that opening small city stores will help their growth.

    It is a significant shift from their approach in the past, when they tried to cram their big-box formats into cities, often prompting big fights. This time, the retailers studied city dwellers with anthropological intensity and overhauled things as varied as store sizes (the city stores are a small fraction of the size of the suburban ones), packages (they must be compact enough for pedestrians) and signs (they are simple, so shoppers can get in and out within minutes).

    READ MORE: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/26/business/retailers-expand-into-cities-by-opening-smaller-stores.html

    Previous discussion:

    • WalMart is “Going Urban” with New Stores

    • Target Considering Smaller Stores to Expand in Cities



    Big-Box Shrinkage: Retailers Embrace Sales on a Smaller Scale
    By BRAD TUTTLE July 27, 2012

    While the big-box retail model is far from dead, stores such as Walmart, Best Buy, and Cabela’s are realizing that the enormous, one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work for all shoppers—nor all locations. To grow, many retailers are shrinking, sometimes with smaller stores, sometimes by introducing smaller, more intimate and approachable locations within larger stores.

    Here are a few of the retailers that are evolving by going small:

    READ MORE: http://moneyland.time.com/2012/07/27/big-box-shrinkage-retailers-embrace-sales-on-a-smaller-scale/


    Just a matter of time before Columbus Test Market City welcomes a big box retailer somewhere along High Street either Downtown or in its vicinity.

    Love this trend nationwide, and I hope Columbus is able to reap the benefits of it, and soon.



    There was a rumor that Walmart was going into former Timken property off of 5th Ave. I am not sure if they would try to make it more urban, though that is a very large site. I think Walmart would do really well there.

    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans

    Photos of the Walmart Neighborhood Market concept:




    Looking at Wal-Mart’s urban concept is just going to make the announcement of a suburban SuperCenter at the Timken site hurt that much more.



    If Wal-Mart put in a more urban-scale store on that site, though, what would fill the rest of it? Just an even bigger parking lot for an even smaller Wal-Mart?

    I’ve actually thought that Wal-Mart and other big-box, general-purpose retailers ought to look at branching out into mixed use development (via joint ventures if they’re not comfortable trying to develop such expertise in-house). While many people on these boards would cringe at the thought of living above a Wal-Mart, I think there are still lots of people out there (especially poorer seniors) who might actually be interested, and the average rooftop space of a single Wal-Mart is such that it ought to be architecturally possible to have room for all the necessary exterior mechanicals and still have room for many apartments as well.

    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans

    gramarye said:
    If Wal-Mart put in a more urban-scale store on that site, though, what would fill the rest of it?

    Other stuff.



    Looks perfect… for a densified Dublin.



    Speaking of urban retail, …

    This is a bit of news out this week which reminded me of similar announcements we saw in Columbus time and again recently with the closures of Lazarus, Jacobsons, Marshall Fields, Macys, etc. Eventually leading to Downtown being emptied of big retail.

    The story says that half (three) of the locations Macy’s is closing are “downtown,” but really five out of the six are what I would consider to be urban or downtown, every one except for the Las Vegas store.

    Macy’s to close six stores in 2013
    By Lucy May, Senior Staff Reporter
    Cincinnati Business Courier
    Thursday, January 3, 2013, 9:13am EST

    Cincinnati-based Macy’s Inc. will close six stores in early spring, three of which are in downtown locations.

    The stores to be closed are:
    • Bloomingdale’s’ Fashion Show Home Store in Las Vegas. The store is 99,000 square feet. It opened in 2002 and has 35 employees.
    • Macy’s Paseo Colorado in Pasadena, Calif. The store is 158,000 square feet. It opened in 1980 and has 116 employees.
    • Macy’s in Belmont, Mass. The store is 75,000 square feet and opened in 1978. It has 101 employees.
    • Macy’s in downtown Honolulu, Hawaii. The store is 80,000 square feet and opened in 1850. It has 91 employees.
    • Macy’s in downtown St. Paul, Minn. It’s 362,000 square feet and opened in 1963. It has 153 employees.
    • Macy’s in downtown Houston, Texas. It’s 791,000 square feet and opened in 1947. It has 138 employees.

    The fact that half the Macy’s stores closings are in downtown locations is not indicative of a larger strategy, said Jim Sluzewski, senior vice president of corporate communications and external affairs for Macy’s Inc.




    It would be hard to put a handle on that without more information. One of the aspects would be the age (except for LV) and possibly nonstandard format of the stores. Probably store performance also played into it.

    The downtown Macy’s in Houston is the opposite of ‘thinking smaller’.


    Oddly, there are still two Macy’s in the Galleria.


    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans

    mrpoppinzs said:
    Oddly, there are still two Macy’s in the Galleria.

    I think there might still be two at Tuttle. When Macy’s bought Lazarus (or maybe it was a different buyout) they rebranded the stores. I assume they’re keeping them open out of long-term lease agreements with the malls.

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