Is The Anti-Mall The Wave Of The Future?

With continuing problems for enclosed shopping malls and standalone big-box stores, especially in suburbs, some retail observers are singing the praises of "walkable retail." "Even the suburbs are figuring out that walkable retail, not enclosed malls surrounded by parking lots, is the way to go in the twenty-first century," according to Kaid Benfield, a lawyer with the anti-sprawl Natural Resources Defense Council, in the Atlantic. Politics aside, he has a point that's purely about business: Retailers are now looking to more densely populated urban areas for their more upscale stores, including Target's (NYSE:TGT) scaled-down CityTarget locations and Walmart's (NYSE:WMT) small-format stores for urban sites where big boxes won't fit. Close-in suburbs are also good candidates for strip-mall replacements that can combine easy walking between stores with cafes and other amenities. Story