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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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The changing world of retailers

Uploaded: Apr 28, 2016
The Internet has wrecked the traditional business model for the print media industry, particularly newspapers. That’s not news—online access also is transforming other industries as well.
It’s also disrupted the retail world. Online platforms such as Amazon and EBay, have revolutionized the industry and allow forward-thinking mom-and-pop stores to compete nationally if not internationally. The major retailers also have embraced the Internet, which has resulted in dropping sales per square foot of retail space—the key metric in that industry.
I have read a number of reports in recent days about how major retail chains need to shed locations with lower sales per foot if they are going to regain profitability. For instance, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that Sears would need to close 43 percent of its stores to get back to the sales-per-square-foot level of 2006. It’s 31 percent for J.C. Penney and even 25 percent (30 stores) for Nordstrom.
An earlier article described the trends with the headline “get Fancy or Perish.” For getting fancy, look no farther than the major overhaul in downtown Walnut Creek that is taking an already upscale area further up the ritzy level. The San Francisco Bay Premium Outlets in Livermore meet that upscale test with its range of high-profile stores.
The study showed that just 3.5 percent of the malls (the fanciest) accounted for 22 percent of all value. The so-called A-level malls (302 across the country) accounted for 75 percent of the value, while the other 702 malls account for the other 25 percent in value. It pays to cater to the wealthy shopper.
As a result, retailers are leaving malls, changing the strategy of grabbing locations wherever possible to focus on selective malls and to drive online sales. There’s an additional factor—the United States has a glut of retail space (24 square feet per person vs. 15 in Canada and 5 in the Great Britain). And the Internet, when you take out grocery, home improvement and other items not conducive to online sales, the Internet accounts for about 20 percent of retail activity.
Stoneridge attracts an upscale shopper, but has a broader mix of stores with Nordstrom and Macy as well as J.C. Penney and Sears.
One quick personal example: we have large wood-burning stove that heats our family room with the help of a fan that blows the hot air out of vents. The stove is more than 30 years old, yet I was able to find the replacement parts for the fan online from a small hardware store in the South. Without the Internet search, good luck finding those parts.
Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Apr 28, 2016 at 9:39 am

DKHSK is a registered user.

Great topic.

Two examples:

I used to subscribe to the Tri-Valley Herald back in the late 90's early 00's. Haven't so much as picked up a newspaper since 2005, and there's absolutely no reason to do so.
I view the online Pleasanton Weekly for local news, and for national, international and tech news I peruse 9 other sites.

Who needs paper?

For shopping, I'm to the point where almost all of my holiday shopping is done through online sites. I buy certain household items and clothes through Amazon. For example, recently I was looking at some hiking shirts at a big box sports store that cost $55. When I looked at Amazon I found the exact same shirts for $22. Why would anyone want to shop big box? Sometimes I go to the mall but its much less than in the past.

I'm trying to make the leap to online grocery shopping but there's something about someone picking out meat/fruits/vegetables that turns me off.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Apr 28, 2016 at 5:13 pm

Who cares where you shop? I certainly don't...none of my business.

I read lots of newspapers, mags, and online news daily....luv it!!!


Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Apr 28, 2016 at 8:20 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.

Um...its called a "data point", genius.

I know (you say) you're retired, but do try to keep up with the times.


Posted by Scott Hale, a resident of another community,
on Apr 30, 2016 at 10:52 am

Scott Hale is a registered user.

Problem with 'papers' for the last 10 years is their news is all quite old and aged by the time you open it. You've seen the news online as it happened or soon after. Sure, newspapers might give more in-depth reporting, but still aged.
and shopping online is always more convenient and sometimes cheaper.

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