Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Streetsblog.net

Salad Days Are Over for Walmart. Now What?

Same-store sales at Target and Walmart just haven't been on track since gas prices increased. Image: CNBC via Strong Towns
Same-store sales at Target and Walmart have stagnated as gas gets more expensive. Image: CNBC via Strong Towns
false

The business model for big box stores like Walmart just doesn't seem to be holding up quite like it did for so long. Wall Street analysts are suggesting some sweeping changes for the retail giant with the enormous parking lots. Chuck Marohn at Strong Towns points us to this snippet from CBS News:

The big-box discounter is in need of a bricks-and-mortar makeover, analysts said. To resonate with today's shopper, Wal-Mart needs to move its stores closer to major population centers, shrink the square footage of its superstores and shutter about 100 underperforming U.S. locations, they suggest.

"High sustained transportation costs and broader consumables distribution appear to be reshaping consumer shopping behavior," Credit Suisse analyst Michael Exstein said in a research note on Wednesday. "Wal-Mart and Target have been slow to react thus far, but we think the broader trend will call for the rollout of smaller 'big boxes.' "

So, what about all that public infrastructure and funding that got sunk into those outdated suburban big boxes? Marohn adds:

Unfortunately, the joke's ultimately on us, or at least our local governments. The big box development model -- build on cheap land on the edge of the community with taxpayers subsidizing your hard infrastructure/transportation costs, tilting the competitive landscape in your favor in the process -- is designed to be transitory. These buildings are, unlike the miles of public pipe and asphalt that serve them, quite disposable...

I wonder if planners, engineers and economic development advocates will embrace public support of downtown, boutique Wal-Marts and the systems they need to thrive the way they did the big box model.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Greater Greater Washington explains why residents of Loudoun County, Virginia, don't want their roads to be paved. Architect's Newspaper carries the recommendations of a transportation expert on rising to meet the challenge of Houston's rapid growth. And Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space lays out what could be a snow clearance agenda for advocates of safe, accessible city sidewalks in cities.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

Talking Headways Podcast: Have Cities Run Out of Land?

Chris Redfearn of USC and Anthony Orlando of Cal Poly Pomona on why "pro-business" Texas housing markets are catching up to "pro-regulation" California and what it might mean for future city growth.

July 25, 2024

The Paris Plan for Olympic Traffic? Build More Bike Lanes

A push to make Paris fully bikable for the Olympics is already paying dividends long before the opening ceremonies.

July 25, 2024

Thursday’s Headlines Face Our Fears

What happens if Republicans win the trifecta in November? Judging by the GOP-controlled House budget, a lot less money for transit, Smart Cities Dive reports.

July 25, 2024

N.Y. Gov Must Put Up or Shut Up on Congestion Pricing, New Senate Transportation Chair Says

Gov. Hochul must produce a "100-day plan" to replace the $16.5 billion MTA funding shortfall created by her decision to cancel congestion pricing.

July 24, 2024

Wednesday’s Headlines Are in a Good Place

How should we react to public indifference about the danger cars pose to society? Perhaps a sitcom has something to teach us.

July 24, 2024
See all posts