retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times reports on retail clutter, and how it works to sell stuff.

“After the recessionary years of shedding inventory and clearing store lanes for a cleaner, appealing look,” the Times writes, “retailers are reversing course and redesigning their spaces to add clutter.

“Dollar General is raising the height of its standard shelves to more than six feet; J. C. Penney is turning its empty walls into jewelry and accessory displays; Old Navy is adding lanes lined with items like water bottles, candy and lunchboxes; and Best Buy is testing wheeling in bigger items, like Segways and bicycles, to suck up the space created by thinner TVs and smaller speakers.”

Walmart is the poster child for re-cluttering stores, “adding back inventory, plopping stacks of stuff into aisles and stacking shelves with a dizzying array of merchandise” after an effort started two years ago to streamline its aisles coincided with a seven-quarter run of stagnant or declining same-store sales.

“As it turns out, the messier and more confusing a store looks, the better the deals it projects. 

‘Historically, the more a store is packed, the more people think of it as value — just as when you walk into a store and there are fewer things on the floor, you tend to think they’re expensive,’ said Paco Underhill, founder and chief executive of Envirosell, who studies shopper behavior.”
KC's View:
If “messy” and “confusing” are to be equated with effective, then I must have the most effective office space on the planet.