"Retailers ought to be prepared for the worst," said Les Moeller, a vice president at Booz & Co.'s consumer and media practice. "This way they can take constructive bets."
Beyond cost-cutting and marketing, there are creative suggestions for retailers and shopping center operators to consider when facing the pending closure of a neighboring store, particularly when it is a large, high-profile store, known as an anchor store, which helps to draw traffic to the shopping area.
When another anchor tenant isn’t available, one solution is to stack retailers, says David Schmitz, vice president of the retail and entertainment practice at designer . For example, a Best Buy can be placed on the first floor, an Office Depot on the second floor and a Barnes and Noble on the third. Although the stores are different, their products are related, he says.
Another alternative is to carve up the space into smaller pieces, or rent only the first floor.
However, if it’s not possible to fill the open space with another retailer, it may pay to think of other types of uses for it, if only to give the area a sense of life, Schmitz says.
This may mean turning the space into a food court and movie theater complex, as RTKL did at Tyson Corner Center in McLean, Va., or housing a public library, as was done in at North Park Center, an upscale Dallas shopping mall.