retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Call it the property line between the past and the future.

The Wall Street Journal this morning reports that the top four UK food retailers - Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury and William Morrison - all are facing major problems related to how much real estate they own there. It is a major shift from just a few years ago, when there was a kind of "space race" with retailers seeking to grab every space and obtain every possible advantage.

It was all about location, location, location.

But now, the story says, "customers increasingly shop online and favor convenience over 'destination' trips to sprawling superstores," and retailers are having to write down the value of stores that no longer seem as relevant as they once did.

It may be happening in the UK .... but it almost certainly is a scenario that we're likely to see again and again as the market continues to evolve.

And it poses a question with which all of these retailers will have to grapple. Is the best solution to close stores (especially big stores), or to find a way to make these stores more relevant and compelling to shoppers?

It is an Eye-Opening question that every retailer needs to ask itself. Now. Because even if they are not facing the problem facing UK retailers today, it won't be long before they do.
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