NEW YORK CITY ? With more young Americans relocating to cities, big-box retailers are following suit, but at a smaller size, the New York Times reports. With the suburbs filled up, retailers are hoping that small city locations will spur growth.
The shift to smaller sizes marks a change from previous attempts to make big-box formats fit into a city?s smaller footprint. This time around, retailers are paying more attention to city residents to change store sizes, packaging and signage.
?The suburbs are basically saturated with retailers,? said Patrick L. Phillips, chief executive of the Urban Land Institute. ?But it?s easy to develop stores in the suburbs, and hard to develop stores in cities.?
Office Depot is one retailer who redesigned its stores to develop an ?economically defensible? way of opening locations in cities, said Kevin Peters, Office Depot?s president of North America.
City shoppers want to get in and out of a store quickly. Office Depot?s Hoboken, N.J., store has a scant 5,000 square feet with shelves around 6-feet tall. Aisle signs are simple. A service desk that has copiers and package services is large enough to be easily noticed. The store also has about half of a typical Office Depot location, with more emphasis on immediate-replacement items rather than stock-up product packages.
Target?s City Targets opened in Seattle, Los Angeles and Chicago this week. At just about half the size of a revamped location, City Targets carry items aimed more at urban customers than suburban shoppers.
?We see this as an opportunity for the people who live, work and play downtown, who probably have a suburban Target they call their home base,? said Molly Snyder, Target spokesperson. ?You?ll see less 12-packs of paper towels and more four-packs, knowing most people will arrive by foot or public transportation and will have to carry it home.?