Will small retailers take over? Wal-Mart needs to watch out for that Internet asteroid

Richardglobalheader (4)
Circuit City, Borders, Filene’s, Syms
and Sears have all, in their own way, suffered from the recession.   Are they failing and struggling due to bad business decisions or are they, like the dinosaurs, victims of a paradigm shift that is killing them off.
  Matthew Yglesias writing for Slate magazine thinks big box chains are in trouble and unlike the dinosaurs who took a hit from an asteroid, this disaster is coming from the Internet. 

The article’s title, “The End of Retail,” is certainly an attention getter but it is just that, an attention getter.  Yes, Yglesias does think that big box retail era is coming to an end but it is the beginning of the end rather than the end of the end; and not the end of all retail…just big box.  Here is how Yglesias puts it:  “Some people feel sentimental about independently owned neighborhood stores, and many of them will find ways to turn those good vibes into a viable business strategy. But nobody feels sentimental about Kmart and Sears.”

So, what does Yglesias think is going to happen?  He proposes in the article that the big box chains will begin to cannibalize each other as the consumers they can draw get fewer and fewer. 

If this is true, what does this mean for independent bricks and mortar retailers?  Will they like the mammals that had hidden from the dinosaurs before the asteroid hit, emerge and take over the bricks and mortar retail world after the big box stores become extinct? 





2 thoughts

  1. With the growth of the Food departments in B&M retailers causing a strong traffic flow weekly, I can see these large B&M forcing vendors to offer a larger variety of specialty items in there non-food departments to encourage other department shopping. Add this to the Walmarts Lay away program being a huge success this past season as a way to fight the e commerce business. I see these retailers fighting back.
    Being in the Toy industry, I have seen the market share for Amazon increase over the last few years. It has caught K Mart but is still a long way behind the other three. I beleive the battle will continue.

  2. It’s an interesting theory, but especially as relates to WalMart, they hardly seem to be suffering at present. WMT is up over the last 1 yr and even 3 yrs…and for what it’s worth they’re up 0.9% since the open today!
    I’d say the biggest hit on stores in general, not just big box stores, comes from online shopping. Personally, I buy virtually everything on Amazon these days. Go Amazon Prime and 2nd day delivery is free, with overnight delivery of anything, regardless of weight, just a couple of bucks. At the price of gas, and the value of my time, stores and malls just don’t interest me anymore.

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