Retail at the End of 2017

Perspectives from N. David Milder, PhD — Overall, consumer demand and behavior have changed significantly over the past decade.  At the end of 2017, those changes are having a lasting impact on the industry.

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empty mall

Storemageddon

Downtown Economics Newsletter – MARCH, 2016. Storemageddon: The end of retail as we know it.
An ever-larger number of communities are investing their economic development resources into attraction programs targeting retail and related businesses.

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A Profile in Wisconsin’s Small Town Downtowns

Downtown districts in Wisconsin’s small cities and villages have significantly different demographic and economic characteristics from those in larger cities.  This article profiles small town downtowns from the perspective of who lives downtown, who works there, and what businesses operate in the commercial district.

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Who Lives in Wisconsin’s Downtowns?

Housing has become an important element in comprehensive downtown revitalization efforts. Downtown housing contributes to an active environment that extends activity beyond traditional business hours. Downtown residents who live within a half mile of the middle of a downtown provide a captured market for convenience retail and services. Demographic data provides a foundation to help downtown business operators understand the nearby resident market.

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Creating Third Places – Places where Communities Gather

Third places differ from the places where we live and work (first and second places); they are the places where communities gather. Third places take many shapes. But, it is not the physical nature of the place that makes it a third place. Instead, a third place is characterized by social interaction. This article discusses the characteristics and significance of third places within town.
~Thumbnail by Bruce Richter of UW Wisconsin

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“Soul of the Community” and the Economic Vitality of Downtowns

A recent Gallup Poll discovered a significant link between the emotional attachment residents feel toward their community and the economic growth of that community. The more emotionally attached residents are to their community, the more likely they will stay there – and spend their money there. The synergistic relationship between successful downtowns and their host community is powerful. Downtowns play instrumental roles in creating communities that people will choose to live in, while people living in and near downtowns help sustain an economically vibrant business environment. This article will discuss the role of downtowns in creating these important place-based attachments. The Gallop results will be compared with two additional surveys to test whether these findings are equally relevant for small and large communities and their downtowns. Special attention will be given to attracting and retaining young people, as the loss of young people is a common problem facing many communities.

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Promoting Downtown Living to Retirees

Retirees can be an important demographic in revitalizing downtown economies. 78.2 million ‘baby boomers’ are likely to retire within the next decade. Making downtowns friendly to seniors and insuring sufficient downtown housing can be decisive in encouraging seniors to retire downtown. Creating downtown environments that are both highly livable and accessible to seniors can be a great revitalization opportunity for many cities and towns.

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Convenience as a Downtown Niche During Tough Economic Times

While current economic conditions are not as dire as the Great Depression, many downtown merchants are still struggling. As some stores are closing and vacancies are increasing, downtowns and their businesses should focus on opportunities to reposition themselves. One opportunity available to many downtowns is aligning their business mix with day-to-day convenience shopping, then connecting the concept of “convenience” with “value.”

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Lessons and Strategies of a Recession

This article is from an Iowa State University report that presents data and analysis for decision makers, retail business owners, and concerned residents to determine the local impacts of tough economic times and offer solutions and means of adapting. This issue focuses on the recession as it relates to consumer behavior.

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Consumer Behavior During Difficult Economic Times

Many economic and retail experts predict a dismal holiday shopping season. An unstable economic environment is worsening as we head into the holiday season. The National Retail Federation expects holiday sales to grow at the slowest pace in years as shoppers worry about jobs, the housing market, stock market, and rising prices. America’s Research Group recently predicted that U.S. holiday retail sales will fall by 1 percent this year. This article summarizes insights from various retail analysts and explains why spending has slowed and what people are buying during these tough economic times.

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