The Wall Street Journal recently reported that nearly a year after shutting down, many Borders store spaces remain empty and those that have been filled are bringing in lower rents:
A new survey of 205 closed Borders stores shows that one-third are still vacant, according to brokerage Colliers International. Those stores that filled the former Borders space are leasing at rates roughly 30% lower on average than what Borders paid, Colliers said.
Some industry watchers believe that big-box centers are facing problems that go beyond a weak economy. Rather, they suggest that these shopping centers are going to suffer long-term declines because Internet shopping offers more choice and greater ease.
The last time I was up at the Riverwoods, Provo’s own former Borders store was empty, emphasizing on a local level the idea that these spaces continue to struggle.
Slate’s Matthew Yglesias broke down these findings, agreeing that they reveal problems with the big box approach to retail:
[…] there’s just not as much need for giant stores full of physical items as there used to be. Small spaces work well enough as branding showcases.
I’ve heard people in Provo express interest in bringing in big box retailers despite the possible decline of that business model. This is a topic I previously tackled in this post, but I hope that local store vacancies as well as nationally-oriented research prompts the community to take a more critical eye to big box development.