Monday, April 25, 2011

Shopping centers, malls are transforming as “Big Box” retailers seek smaller stores, developers seek new uses, says WeinPlus chief executive

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. --- Retailers eyeing smaller, smarter retail facilities could change the look and feel of some malls and retail centers across Florida, says one Florida real estate strategist.

Rachel Elias Wein (top right photo), AIA, founder and principal of WeinPlus Real Estate Advisory Services in St. Petersburg, said many “big box” retailers are opting for smaller facilities that are more efficient.

“Retailers have begun to focus more on smaller real estate footprints, with larger inventory turnover, more sales per square foot and more sales per individual customer,” Wein said. “A store that can meet its sales objectives in 8,000 square feet or 10,000 square feet instead of 14,000 square feet can be much more profitable,” she said.

Wein said Office Depot, Target, Best Buy, Gap and even Wal-Mart are all considering smaller, smarter retail store footprints.

“Wal-Mart plans to open more than 30 smaller format stores in 2011, focusing on grocery products and a smaller inventory of general merchandise,” Wein said.

“Target’s CityTarget concept aims at smaller stores with more targeted merchandise in urban areas.

Smaller, “Big Box” stores offer strategic advantages, Wein said.

Smaller footprints are more efficient, and that means more stores — and more consumer choices — in a single retail center,” she said.

Lowered operating expenses, which include everything from energy costs and maintenance to the workforce, will help retailers economize.

“We should see several changes as developers and retailers shift strategies to accommodate the recession,” Wein said.

For more information, contact

Rachel Elias Wein, AIA, Founder / Principal, WeinPlus, 727-386-9346,
Larry Vershel or Beth Payan, Larry Vershel Communications 407-644-4142,

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