Sunday, 01 Oct 2023

The real reasons stores such as Walmart and Starbucks are closing in big cities


The real reasons stores such as Walmart and Starbucks are closing in big cities

Nordstrom. Walmart. Whole Foods. Starbucks. CVS.

These big chains and others have closed stores in major US cities recently, raising alarm about the future of retail in some of the country's most prominent downtowns and business districts.

Several forces are pushing chains out of some city centers: a glut of stores, people working from home, online shopping, exorbitant rents, crime and public safety concerns, and difficulty hiring workers.

To reinvent downtown retail, drastic changes may be required.

That means denser neighborhoods with a broader mix of affordable housing, experiential retail, restaurants, entertainment, parks and other amenities, which won't happen overnight.

"Once [these cities] become true urban neighborhoods, then you will find retailing start to come back in different ways and forms," said Terry Shook, a founding partner at consulting firm Shook Kelly.

How policymakers remake their downtowns - with retail as a crucial attraction - will be crucial to cities' fiscal health and regional economies.

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