"The new mantra is small box. While Best Buy, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) and Target Corp. (TGT) are still opening large stores, all are putting increasing emphasis on smaller ones. Best Buy plans to double the number of its smaller Best Buy Mobile stores by 2016. Wal-Mart is building as many as 100 small-format stores this year, while Target is opening five CityTarget locations.
After 50 years of putting mom and pops out of business, big-box retail is having a mid-life crisis. A slow economy has hurt same-store sales, narrowing margins at big stores. Meanwhile, consumers, armed with price-comparison technology, are visiting more stores seeking deals or exclusive merchandise rather than making one-stop, fill-the-cart excursions."
"Since the recession, big-box retailers have struggled. Until its third fiscal quarter last year, Wal-Mart had posted eight consecutive quarters of declining sales at stores open more than 12 months."
"Other forces are conspiring against the big-box model. Baby Boomers no longer have kids at home and don’t need to stock up on food and packaged goods."
"'The biggest challenge for big boxes is increasing consumer confidence in making online purchases,' said Matt Arnold, an analyst at Edward Jones & Co. in Des Peres, Missouri, who rates Best Buy and Wal-Mart as buys."
"'While big-box retailers are struggling, they aren’t going away,' Arnold said in a telephone interview. 'They are shifting to smaller formats and investing in online retailing.'"
One can't help but wonder if Yelm's 9.5% retail sales decline in the 2nd half of 2011 was led by a sales decline at the local Wal-Mart.
Remember these things about the Yelm Wal-Mart:
The Yelm City Council approved the Yelm Wal-Mart to be built here in violation their own requirements to mitigate the store's traffic with the Bypass, which stated the Bypass would be operational within 7 years to handle Wal-Mart's traffic.
EVERYONE knew that was not going to happen, since the City of Yelm requested the Wal-Mart end of the Bypass funding be transferred to the High School end of the Bypass, so that section could be completed first. The mayor & city council were tripping all over themselves to get this store approved, no matter what, for the promised sales-tax revenue.
2. EFFECTS ON LOCAL BUSINESSES
The July 18, 2007 opening of Yelm's Wal-Mart was a contributing factor to QFC closing their grocery store here and other long-time Yelm businesses closing. Indeed, driving through town now and you'll see over 1/3 of Nisqually Plaza vacant and many other vacant store fronts from The Wal-Mart Effect - locally-owned businesses closing after a Wal-Mart arrival.
A very astute Jim Zukowski wrote this guest blog entry on June 22, 2007, about the effects of a Yelm Wal-Mart opening,
3. "WAL-MART THE LOW PRICE LEADER? THINK AGAIN."
From September, 2007:
4. MAJOR NATIONAL CHAINS THROW IN THE TOWEL ON YELM
From January, 2008:
"Applebees & Walgreens scrap plans to build in Yelm. The Wal-Mart Effect is alive and well in Yelm, as predicted.
5. YELM'S 'MORATORIUM ON MORATORIUMS' GARNERS NATIONAL MEDIA ATTENTION
The Yelm Commerce Group was formed in 2005 to stop Yelm's Wal-Mart.
From the Seattle Times:
"...the city passed a moratorium on moratoriums. Meeting minutes say Council Member Bob Isom moved that 'no moratoriums be imposed and that the issue not be brought before the council again.'"
The Associated Press ran this story June 23, 2005:
Wal-Mart is a dirty word in Yelm
ACLU criticizes town council's ban on 'Wal-Mart' comments
6. YELM'S COUNCIL GETS BLACK-EYE FROM 2006 JEFFERSON MUZZLE AWARD
And the dubious distinction of the Jefferson Muzzle Award went to Yelm in 2006:
"A number of people requested that City Council place a “moratorium” on so-called big box stores while the city’s staff reviewed Yelm’s decades-old zoning laws. Apparently, so many people made this request that City Council tired of hearing about the issue and, in April 2005, voted to prohibit future discussion of the topic—a moratorium on moratoriums. This did not, however, prohibit citizens from continuing to voice their opposition to Wal-Mart so, in June 2005, City Council expressly prohibited citizens from using the terms “Wal-Mart” or “big box stores” when addressing the Council."
THE WAL-MART EFFECT IS ALIVE & WELL IN YELM.