Will The Rapidly Shrinking Store Save Retail?

by MR Magazine Staff

With holiday shopping in full swing, Sears decided it was time to host a “grand reopening” for its department store at Fair Oaks Mall in Northern Virginia, complete with magic shows, jugglers, face painting and free cotton candy. The biggest change for the decades-old shopping center anchor? It was now just half its size. The store had done away with its entire second floor, concentrating its efforts on its appliance and mattress departments on the ground level. The apparel departments were smaller, and the store’s many cash registers had been consolidated into one sleek, white checkout counter that looked like it had been borrowed from the Apple store. It had taken more than a year to renovate the store, part of a companywide effort to square a difficult retailing circle. Sears Holdings, which hasn’t posted an annual profit since 2010, is trying to pare costs while making its stores attractive to a generation of shoppers who are increasingly buying online. “The business is evolving and we’re evolving with it,” said Matt Trautwein, the company’s district manager. Sears is not the only store cutting back on real estate. Across the country, retailers such as Walmart, Target, Macy’s and Nordstrom are experimenting with ways to distill their inventory into smaller, more-focused locations. Read more at The Washington Post.