A new smaller face for NYC’s big-box retail

TRD New York /
May.May 07, 2012 01:30 PM

Online shopping, steep Manhattan rents and tight margins are changing the face of New York City’s big-box retail chains, according to the Wall Street Journal. Now that Borders is gone and with Circuit City, Best Buy and Barnes & Noble scaling back, landlords are readapting their buildings for smaller tenants.

“Finding a 25,000-square-foot single-use tenant in this landscape is more difficult than it would have been 10 years ago,” R. Webber Hudson, executive vice president of Related Urban, said.

Even when big-box retailers are opening new stores, they are smaller than ever. As The Real Deal previously reported, when Staples opened its 442 Fifth Avenue store in the HSBC building, it was trimmed to some 17,000 square feet.

“Everybody in some way shape or format is reducing their footprint,” Gene Spiegelman, an executive vice president at Cushman & Wakefield, said. Even so, some large retailers are staying big. For instance, the Crate & Barrel on Broadway and Houston Street is still happily occupying a mammoth two-story space. “I still think we’re quite far away from the eradication of brick-and-mortar retail,” Spiegelman added. [WSJ]

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