Chains Stores Are Thinking Outside the Big Box

Could a place like downtown Provo someday be filled with a bunch of pseudo boutiques run by chains like Walmart and Walgreens?

I hope not but that’s what Slate’s Matthew Yglesias seems to suggest might happen in this piece.

Yglesias is probably talking more about bigger cities, but his point is that chain retailers are trying to “go urban” in an effort to save themselves:

…the underlying issue continues to be secular decline in the demand for brick-and-mortar retail.

Yglesias goes on to note that the efforts of chain retailers to move into cities is a result of the “low hanging fruit” of the suburbs being gone. In other words, there simply isn’t anywhere else for these stores to go.

This information comes on the heels of the articles I recently shared in this post. It also complicates the picture for places like downtown Provo; if chain retailers are trying to create “experiential” stores that are more like like small shops or boutiques, what will be left for the real small shops? How will they cope?



Filed under Development, Downtown, economics

2 responses to “Chains Stores Are Thinking Outside the Big Box

  1. Julie

    I think they can cope by offering the best experience. People who move to cities because they prefer a certain experience will also shop at stores where they prefer the experience. A bike shop run and staffed by actual cycling experts who genuinely love and know bikes will offer an experience that is better than a disguised WalMart-owned “boutique” (especially if it follows WalMart’s model of keeping prices low by reducing staff costs). There is a reason why no serious cyclist buys a bike at WalMart, and that’s not going to change unless WalMart somehow miraculously becomes radically more personalized.

  2. mmm

    Thank heaven. We need to get rid of all those garbage shops on center street. It is such a dirty and run down place.

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