Introducing Counter Culture!

Welcome to Counter Culture,’s new blog on the retail industry.

The addition of this page to is actually the first in a series of new special-section pages that will roll into the lineup over the next few weeks and months. The impetus is internal as well as external. As we at Real Estate Media look to integrate our online, print and conference products the retail industry is undergoing some major shifts that demand a new coverage approach, not the least of which is the increasingly blurred lines between retail and other product types.

It’s getting harder to find a new project out there in the retail world that doesn’t have an office or multifamily component. And most major mall owners are looking at ways to add other uses to their existing properties. Even ProLogis, a long-time industrial giant, is getting more involved in retail.

In this space, Counter Culture will deal with the retail end of real estate and the many trends that impact the sector. Posts to the blog will go up at least once a week, and we encourage you, the reader, to voice your opinions on the topics we hit by responding in the comments section below.

So here it goes…

One item that grabbed our attention last week was the announcement by two major apparel retailers that they are closing down the operations of spin-off concepts. Pacific Sunwear is closing its remaining 154 Demo stores, which focus on urban apparel. Talbots, meanwhile, is shutting its 78 children’s and men’s stores.

The closures make us wonder about all of the new retail concepts that major apparel chains have rolled out over the last few years, from Gap Inc. and American Eagle Outfitters to Chico’s FAS. The newest one on the horizon is the highly anticipated roll out that Ann Taylor executives have planned, geared toward the “modern Boomer,”whatever that phrase means.

When these concepts are first announced, they are often cited as the next big thing for their parent companies. But some of them are failing.

Pacific Sunwear executives at one time said One Thousand Steps, a footwear chain that launched last February — and subsequently shut down before the end of 2007 — would at one point total 600 to 800 locations. Gap Inc. shut its 19-unit Forth & Towne concept last year. But when it rolled out the year before, management said that it would be huge.

So what is going on? Are executives of these chains making hasty decisions in trying to grow their companies, or are they just victims of ripples in the economy?


1 Response to “Introducing Counter Culture!”

  1. 1 Mike Corbitt January 10, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    I think a lot of these retailers should follow the In & Out Burger concept. Do a few things very well and stick to it, otherwise In & Out is exactly where these executives will be working next and it wont be in the front office.

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