|Original Downtown Sears|
The verdict is in. Sears plans to close 100 to 120 of its Sears and Kmart stores, 81 of which are in small towns. [As Sears Plans Closings, Cities Fight to Keep Stores, Huffington Post]. The traditional downtown anchor is going the way of the dinosaur. So what will take its place?
What we do know is this. Sears is going to force some serious introspection on the part of downtown advocates. This is creative destruction in action. For those unwilling to think outside the box, we will see knee jerk reactions as communities jump into action quickly, expending scarce resources trying to attract similar downtown retail anchors. My prediction is that most of these efforts will end in failure. The communities that succeed will be those that think outside of the box. Downtown anchors are changing rapidly. And we need to recognize that the “new” downtown anchors are the cultural facilities, restaurants, theatres, hospitals, libraries, universities and educational institutions that draw visitors for more than just shopping…
Reference: Here is another piece I wrote on this…”Redefining the Downtown Anchor”: http://tinyurl.com/dwntownanchor