Over storedOf course retailing has a history of fads, where someone prospers and everyone else copies the latest formula.Penneys seemed to prosper in the suburban department store era, when Sears was king. Sears and Penney were the downscale alternative to the big suburban department stores usually in covered malls.That trend was followed by the big box stores. Sears eventually was acquired by Eddie Lampert, whose strategy was essentially real estate based. He planned to redevelop or sell the high value mall real estate. But the economy slowed down that effort.JC Penney has done a bit better than Sears with a bit more fashionable image, but still downscale compared to the typical middle class mall shopper. Their customers have migrated to big box stores such as Kohls.At least in some segments like electronics, toys, and small appliances, big box stores seem to be overbuilt. Online retailers like Amazon are taking market share. So Best Buy for one seems headed for smaller stores with less staff and less overhead. Perhaps one day we will have the old Catalog showrooms again (like Service Merchandise) but with merchandise shipped from the warehouse rather than from the back room.Penney's is trying to compete with more fashions and brand names, but so far results have been less than spectacular. Meanwhile, "over-stored" means all of the over-built categories are looking for a formula that keeps them alive. Otherwise, there may be lots of vacancies.I wonder if the accumulating vacant mall stores can be converted into server farms--so they benefit from the cloud? They would probably need fewer parking spaces and could even build more buildings.
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