Saturday, September 11, 2010
One of my students observed the other day that the number of large retail buildings (big boxes like Lowes, Kohls and Walmart) being built seems to have really slowed. I agreed on an anecdotal level because you just don't seem to see as many new big boxes under construction.
If this is the case, then it obviously could have a huge effect on land use patterns since big boxes where the anchors for so many commercial development sites over the last two decades.
All of this led me to a recent guest post on the Zero Hedge blog that includes some fascinating insights into the future of big box development:
Retail America has run directly into a brick wall. Below are charts detailing the expansion history of four of the most admired retailers in America. Lowes grew their store count from 600 to 1,700 over the course of the decade, a 183% increase. Wal-Mart grew their store count from 4,000 to 8,500, a 113% increase. Target grew their store count from 1,000 to 1,750, a 75% increase. Kohl’s grew their store count from 300 to 1,050, a 250% increase. Same store sales are the true measure of a retailer’s health. When comp store sales are +5% or better, retailers make substantial profits and confidently build new stores. As the charts below clearly show, comp store sales have been in a substantial downtrend since 2006. The new stores that have been built in existing markets are over cannibalizing their existing stores.
Lowes has 500 more stores today than it had in 2005, $4 billion more sales, and $1 billion less profits. Target has 340 more stores today than it had in 2005, $12 billion more sales, and the same profit. Kohl’s has 240 more stores than it had in 2006, $1.6 billion more sales, and $100 million less profit. Only Wal-Mart has kept the profits flowing, mostly due to its international expansion. The tough times have only just begun for these retailers.
These are some very startling numbers. If accurate, then the whole commercial development system of anchor store, sub-anchors, narrow bays, and outparcels is unlikely to reappear anytime soon on any level approaching the past.
--Chad Emerson, Faulkner U.
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