"Keep in mind when Best Buy couldn't keep flatscreen TVs in the store, they weren't talking about reducing the size of their square footage," Hurwitz said on a panel for the International Council of Shopping Centers conference last week. "And when they couldn't give away 3-D TVs, they thought their stores were too big."
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"If you're in the best piece of real estate in the United States and you have the wrong merchandise at the wrong time at the wrong price, you're going to lose," he said.
As more shoppers shift to online, analysts have pointed to the need for a number of retailers to shrink their square footage, to cut back on expenses. Although Hurwitz agreed that some retailers are not sized properly, he argued that the store's footprint shouldn't take all of the blame.
To his point, several U.S. retailers that are looking to shutter a large number of stores—RadioShack, Sears and Aéropostale, for example—have been unable to stem declining sales.
Analysts have also identified specialty stores such as Ann Taylor, teen retailers such as Abercrombie & Fitch, and department stores and big-boxers such as Wal-Mart, as being overstored.
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"Related to the digital shift, if a retailer could start from scratch today, we believe many would choose to operate with a lower number of stores than they have, particularly in the mall universe," Wells Fargo analyst Paul Lejuez wrote in a note to investors.