Following the Starbucks model, experts say that smaller stores closer together would maximize profits. Walmart is ahead of the trend, says Retail Traffic Magazine:
"In 2011, Wal-Mart Stores plans to open between 30 and 40 smaller format stores, representing a combination of its Walmart Market and Walmart Express units, according to a company spokesman. Walmart Express stores will measure up to 30,000 square feet and will focus on grocery products and a limited selection of general merchandise. The company is already working on two Walmart Express stores in Chicago and three in Northwest Arkansas."
Elaine Misonzhnik writes that the move to smaller, urban stores could be crucial to the success of these businesses as the outlook for "power centers" (malls based around large retail stores) remains dicey.