End of the Big Box Era

In Birmingham, Alabama, developers are seeing a lot of empty big box and anchor retail spaces, while smaller, neighborhood centers are actually seeing an increase in occupancy.

Michael Tomberlin writes, "Bankruptcies and closings by retailers such as Bruno's, Circuit City, Goody's and Linens 'N' Things have left hard-to-fill holes in many centers.

Graham said smaller retailers have been able to weather the storm, but a prolonged recession and slow business at neighboring anchors could start taking a toll."

Full Story: EGS report: Retail real estate stung by loss of 'big boxes'
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Michael Lewyn's picture
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Illustrates a worth while point

Specifically, that the relationship between big box stores and other retailers is not always a zero-sum game. Sometimes, the big box store is surrounded by other retailers that fill gaps by selling what the big boxes won't, like planets surrounding the big box sun. And when the sun goes out, the planets do as well.

Big Box Swindle and Retail Alternatives

The book Big Box Swindle by Stacy Mitchell is a good read on this topic.

The website www.newrules.org/retail is a good resource for ordinances to adopt to reign in big box stores. Communities can adopt ordinances that require big box retailers resell their store should they pull out so that there isn't a vacant store left standing following their departure; cap the size/scale of stores; require facade standards so the building fits in better with the community; conduct economic impact studies of the proposed big box store.

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