REI attributes its 5.5% sales growth last year to being organized as a cooperative, listening to customers, and setting itself apart as a retailer that centers its strategy around valuing the outdoors.
The Community Land Use and Economics Group is a small, specialized, consulting firm that helps community leaders create vibrant downtowns and neighborhood commercial centers. Our work focuses on developing forward-looking economic transformation strategies, with particular emphasis on cultivating locally owned businesses, removing regulatory and financial barriers, creating effective incentives to stimulate new investment, reusing older and historic commercial buildings, and outlining practical implementation plans. Our clients include local and state governments, nonprofit organizations, business improvement districts, developers, and planning firms in the US and abroad.
Retail prognosticator Deborah Weinswig predicts that minimalism, environmentalism, and the Marie Kondo-fueled decluttering movement mean that people will buy less in the future, investing in products that last longer. She cites the five principles of Patagonia's Common Threads program as an example: reduce, repair, reuse, recycle, and reimagine. "Consumers' future priorities will be ethics, a concept of 'disownership' and sustainability", she says in her November 2016 report "Decluttering: Anatomy of a Consumer Trend and How Retailers Can Win".
Chain Store Age reminds us that Baby Boomers still have greater disposable income than Millennials. Like Millennials, Boomers place a high value on convenience. But, unlike Millennials, Boomers aren't particularly brand-loyal, and they have a pronounced (but not exclusive) preference for shopping in physical stores rather than shopping online.
The Kauffmann Foundation's Index of Main Street Entrepreneurship (which measures the economic health of small businesses operating for more than five years) has found that small business survival rates are higher than at any time in the past three decades. And the smallest businesses are the ones with the greatest growth.
Morningstar reports that dying shopping malls - particularly those that have lost a department store or that were refinanced in the mid-2000s - are causing a drag on the commercial mortgage-backed securities market, with big losses continuing on the horizon.