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Thread: Wal-Mart and Home Depot: smaller stores

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    Wal-Mart and Home Depot: smaller stores

    According to this article, these big box retailers are planning significantly smaller stores for some areas. I can't speak for Home Depot, but I've been following Wal-Mart's business practices for a while now. It seems like they're really struggling to find a new identity or something. They've been trying to attract more upscale customers by upgrading their stores and merchandise, but have only had limited, if any, success with that. Citizens are becoming stronger in their opposition to new big boxes, especially super Wal-Marts, in their communities. I'm not too sure that a much smaller store is going to help the company's image or even serve its original purpose - to provide lower price to its customers. However, I'm curious to see how this will pan out.
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  2. #2
    The Neighborhood Market thing isn't new. As the article said, they've been building them since 1998. I don't think they will ever replace Wal-Mart's big-box strategy, they are just a way to tap smaller markets and fill the gaps between their supercenter catchments.

    I don't think Wal-Mart's core problems really relate to the size or makeup of their stores. Even more than Home Depot, Wal-Mart has been made a big scapegoat for all that is wrong in America. So this poor public image is really hurting it. They've also positioned themselves as the place for "low prices," which worked for awhile but now the market wants "cheap chic" (i.e. Target). And of course they are so big and so built-out that it's tough to get more market share without cannibalizing older stores.

    Regardless, I like the idea of smaller stores that are customized to local communities. Obviously they can't take advantage of the full convenience and cost-savings of big box Home Depots and Wal-Marts, but they can really improve areas with limited and overpriced retail options.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    I think it is as simple as wanted to be in as many markets as possible, so smaller stores are tailored to smaller markets.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Places like malls and even Wal-mart go to great links to fabricate the basic elements of a good "Main Street" indoors. Now that there is a renewed interest in actual Main Streets (through activities like the National Main Street program, New Urbanism, Historic Preservation initiative and lots of local initiatives to revive older downtowns and promote small business activity) people don't just want a replica of downtown - they want the real thing.

    The degree to which these larger places can forge a strategy for fitting into this fabric will determine their ability to capture these market shares. Wal-mart in particular has been trying like the dickens to get into tight urban settings like Manhattan and Chicago for years and this may be part of a strategy to do just that.

    My own objections to Wal-mart and similar places cover far more than energy efficiency, eating up prime undeveloped land, or surrounding themselves with a sea of asphalt, but even a small step forward helps, I suppose.
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  5. #5
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Wal-Mart and other retailers are looking at the composition of sales in their stores and are beginning to favor smaller stores with a more limited number of SKU's. The idea is that low-volume items are usually not sriving sales so much as they are taking up space. Of course, this bucks the trend of many manufacturers who try to increase sales by constantly introducing new products and seeking more shelf space. Think about how many scents of deodorant or furniture cleaner some brands offer. Wal-Mart and others are telling them to limit it. The result of all this is that instead of the 220,000 square foot big box we may have seen a few years ago, we are getting a store of 175,000 square feet or so.
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  6. #6
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Sorry Walmart, I think Family Dollar has beat you at your game!
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
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    Home Depot pays its employees well, offers health benefits and stock options but HD is experiencing high turn over. Maybe the employees are getting lost in all the aisles.

    I remeber when HD employees new something about the department in which they worked now they seem to be little more that disgruntled tour guides.
    "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less" General Eric Shinseki

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