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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 Amazon.com'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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