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The Charlotte Observer has an interview with Kevin Kelley, co-owner of design firm Shook Kelley, in which he talks about the changes that retailers will have to make if they are to adapt to new competition and the urbanization of the country.

“Learn to think small,” Kelley says he tells retailers. The reason:

“Lidl, which is coming to Charlotte, are getting more customers,” the Observer writes. “Because they’re small, it’s easier and faster to find your way through them, and they can focus narrowly on the foods you’ll buy. You’re also seeing smaller, tighter grocery offerings in unusual stores, such as Target.”

And, the story goes on:

“The giant ‘we have everything’ food stores, like Walmart, Costco and larger chain supermarkets, have to change their model to survive, Kelley says. And many supermarket chains still resist that notion. ‘They really struggle with editing,’ he says. ‘No, no – we have to have 70 feet of sodas.’ Even though soda sales are going down.”
KC's View:
In a basic sense, I believe that retailers that traditionally have run 75,000 square foot stores need to start designing 40,000 square foot units. The folks running 40,000 square foot stores ought to be thinking about 25,000 square feet. The people running 25,000’s out to be focused on 15,000’s. And so on … because you have to start thinking now about the changes that may take place tomorrow. You have to prepare for what can happen, not just for what you hope/guess will happen.

I also think that retailers and store designers ought to approach every new building by deciding where the click-and-collect station will be, and from what section of the store deliveries will be implemented. Not that these both will be offered right away, but you have to start planning now for the future.

This is not about size. This is about mindset.