Small-footprint brick & mortar spaces catching on

Mar 9, 2023
Written by WR Communications

Big retailers are sprouting small retail shops with a fraction of their typical footprint.

A recent report published by highlights the numerous benefits that small-format stores offer businesses. By opting for smaller store sizes, retailers can cater to specific demographics, curate personalized shopping experiences, and test out new brand directions. This trend has gained traction among companies striving to improve their customer experience.

A smaller format store with the right mix of in-store products can often mean more efficient sales strategies. Even with the smaller footprint, stores can bring brand awareness to neighborhoods and customer convenience by buying online and picking up in-store (BOPIS) with a personalized in-person shopping experience.

Placer’s report outlines four key takeaways:

  • Smaller stores can increase visitor density, enabling greater efficiency in areas where large format stores don’t fit or are cost-prohibitive.
  • Retailers can use smaller stores to cater to key demographic segments.
  • Small-format stores can offer more experiential retail possibilities by focusing on specific audiences.

Companies can draw on smaller stores to double down on convenience.

Several big retailers now operating small-format stores include:

Target: Target plans to open 30 new stores this year, including smaller- to mid-size locations in suburban locations and city centers.

Walmart: In addition to its existing smaller-format Neighborhood Markets, Walmart introduced a new small-format general store in collaboration with Getaway, a cabin retreat company, last year. This partnership resulted in five 75-square-foot general stores on Getaway properties throughout the United States.

Macy’s: Macy’s has eight Market by Macy’s and two Bloomies small-format shops that are performing well and play an integral role in supporting their omnichannel ecosystem. The shops are typically 20% of the size of a traditional Macy’s or Bloomingdale’s store and outperformed their traditional stores by a significant margin in the fourth quarter of 2022.

The Container Store: Following the successful launch of its first smaller store in Colorado Springs, Colorado, last fall, The Container Store has decided to expand its investment in smaller stores across the United States. The Colorado Springs store has surpassed the company’s expectations in terms of sales and productivity, prompting The Container Store to pursue similar ventures elsewhere.

Read about other big retailers embracing the small-footprint strategy.


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