Pondering MiniMe Retailers…

TC ponders a brick and mortal trend — the smaller footprint Macy’s and IKEA. Does it make sense? Read on! – the editor

A lot of press is covering the changes in retail. While not new, I have always monitored the biz, especially when it affects me. Case in point… I found out a new Macy’s is opening near me.

Macy’s??? Is there a new mall opening I don’t know about?
Actually, this “Macy’s” will open next to a Walmart, Home Depot, and many discount stores. And the reason for the quotation marks… This Macy’s is a mini Macy’s.

[See for yourself here.]

The days of a 300,000 square foot flagship with a full line store (including a restaurant) are practically gone. They have fallen out of favor with the work from home crowd. Macy’s may be easier to shop at 60,000 square feet [doing math… that’s 80% smaller], right next to your Walmart, or Home Depot.

This has been tried before. Sears tried a lifestyle concept 6 years ago, similar to the old catalog desks they had in smaller towns. Appliances, mattresses, and tools did not work alone. The Sears brand was damaged by neglect.

JCPenney also had smaller assortment stores in smaller towns. Sage Stores had tiny department stores in even smaller cities, where a staff of 4 could handle the traffic visiting these outposts. These locations have disappeared, mostly through bankruptcy via COVID-19.

This will be the first time Macy’s will operate thee tiny stores under its nameplate (previously known as Market by Macy’s). It may be the future. Macy’s in a smaller big box.

Target has dropped tiny Target stores in urban settings and by college and universities. It worked to some degree, until COVID. Many have closed or severely cut back or limit higher ticket merchandise. Work from home means the little Target around the corner by the office made no sense.

Most of these tiny stores are a form of brand extension (Could easily be the topic of another ponderable…).

The next experiment on tap is the tiny IKEA, opening on Market Street in San Francisco.

With the present day situation there (homeless environment, sky high rent and theft), it is a bit of a head scratcher. Six years ago? A Downtown San Francisco IKEA as a gateway for demand generation leading to sales at their full-size Big Box locations in Emeryville and Palo Alto, would have made a lot more sense (timing is everything).

IMHO, the jury is out on this concept. It just might work.

That’s a Wrap!

For sure, this is not your mother’s Macy’s or your father’s IKEA. Like Bob Dylan noted, these times…they are a changing.
Stay tuned for more ponderables.
Thanks for reading! (and pondering with me)! -TC


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