Despite the slowdown in retail sales in the U.S. several big box retailers have recently opened smaller concept stores in select cities around the country. The idea here is to test out new retail concepts and tap into new markets without making a heavy investment.
A prefect example of this trend is the recent Office Max openings of three smaller concept stores in the Seattle-area. The concept stores are called Ink, Paper, Scissors with each only occupying about 2,000 square feet of retail space. The locations offer basics like copy-making supplies and printer cartridge refills.
This trend doesn’t stop at Office Max as late last year Wal-Mart opened four specialty food stores in the Phoenix area, RadioShack unveiled three high-end wireless shops in Dallas, and Best Buy recently created 30 separate mobile phone stores.
“The concept is an interesting one for the larger chains as they can test out new ideas within a smaller format and bail quickly if it simply doesn’t work,” began retail analyst Lauren Sosik. “They can also enter new markets much more cost-effectively and hope that it really pays off when the economy gets back on its feet.”