LET’S GET REAL ABOUT DOWNTOWN RETAIL COMING BACK

By N. David Milder

INTRODUCTION

A few weeks ago, an article appeared in the Congress for
the New Urbanism’s ( CNU) online journal Public
Square titled “Why downtown retail is coming back ” (1).  While the article had some valid and
encouraging points, overall it blurred over a very complex situation in which
retail in different types of  downtowns
have different prospects for retail rejuvenation and growth. Most importantly,
there was no discussion of the enormous process of creative destruction that
the retail industry is experiencing, one that …

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Capturing “Up for Grabs Shoppers” is an Important Key to Downtown Retail Success

By N. David Milder

Who Are They?

Many downtown retail growth strategies are doomed because
they try to avoid some key facts. One is that, except in the very rarest of
rare situations, downtown retailers, be they new or old, large or small, must compete
for and win sufficient market share to prosper. Another, and closely related
fact,  is that beneath the venerated
“leaked” sales to merchants located beyond the downtown’s trade area, and the
45% of GAFO sales now being e-leaked to online merchants, is a group …

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SOME MORE THOUGHTS ABOUT DOWNTOWN RETAIL

GAFO E-Sales

In my retail recruitment experience, I’ve found that there
are types of retail stores that clients need and those that they want. The need
category generally includes groceries, specialty food shops, pharmacies, etc.,
while the want category overwhelmingly includes GAFO operations — i.e.,  general merchandise, clothing and footwear,
home furnishings, electronics and appliances, sporting goods, book and music
stores, and office supply stores. The shops that respond to needs did relatively
well through and after the Great Recession, while the GAFO stores have been …

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Some Soul Searching About Why Do We Do Economic Development

By N. David Milder

Jobs, Incentives and
Huge New Expensive Projects

In the last few weeks I confronted an intellectual jolt that
made me ask some very basic questions about economic development, the field I
have been professionally active in for over 40 years. The causes of this jolt
were the discussions in the traditional media and on LinkedIn about Amazon’s
Long Island City 2HQ project and the opening of the huge $25 billion Hudson
Yards project on the West Side of Manhattan’s Midtown CBD. The merits of …

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