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Big Box Transitions

March 5, 2011 9:03:29.411

It looks like the multi-decade trend towards bigger and bigger "box store" outlets is coming to an end. It's harder to have more inventory than an online entity like Amazon:

U.S. retailers of all stripes super-sized their stores over the past two decades after big-box chains demonstrated the benefits of being larger than the competition. But many outsized outlets now look like dinosaurs in an age when's offerings dwarf even the most bountiful in-store selection, and advances in supply-chain management let retailers replenish shelves quickly without keeping heaps of merchandise handy in the back of the stores.

For most stuff I'd find at a big box store, it's easier to go to my browser and order it. Unless I need something right now, it's hard for me to justify the slog out to the box and the inevitable waiting in line. That even goes for the big grocery stores - I get over half of my groceries via Peapod now. I'd be much happier with a new specialist store (perhaps a real butcher?) than I would be in a new super store. The WSJ article indicates that I'm hardly the only person thinking that way.

That begs this question: what happens to all of those strip malls that are filled with huge box stores?

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posted by James Robertson


Re: Big Box Transitions

[anonymous] March 7, 2011 9:03:29.841

The world of commerce and purchasing will slowly mutate to more and more online stores. Consider this -- the time you wait in line at a store to purchase something will slowly translate into more online purchasing which means that the package shippers (UPS, Fedex, etc) will become more and more loaded. I don't know how that would effect cost in the end, but things will slowly change. My city now has few, if any, DVD / video rental stores because it is so easy to get them off of Netflix -- the rental stores went out of business. Changes will come.

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