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No More Big Boxes?

Dallas-Ft. Worth
No More Big Boxes?
Seeking an edge, chains like Target, Kroger, J.C. Penney and other national retailers are changing direction by creating smaller urban prototypes, UCR managing partner Jean Smith tells us.
Jean Smith
We snapped Jean this week with some family history—he’s a third-generation retailer (his grandfather and father operated Smith Furniture Co. in Dallas). He tells us the retailers who opened in emerging and suburban markets know growth is coming, but density is not there right now. The stores are doing okay, but don’t have high volume. “By going into an urban format, they can take advantage of density there,” Jean says. The larger stores haven’t been able to make that entry because they typically need 12 to 15 acres. With an urban format, they may be getting by with four acres, and they’re backfilling in these more urban markets.
Sprouts Farmers Market
Jean tells us grocery stores have been the bread and butter of retail for the past few years: People are eating at home more. UCR, which represents more than 100 retailers and restaurants, manages 7M SF (under UCR Asset Services), and has sold $2.8B in retail properties totaling more than 15M SF (through UCR Investment Sales), reps two growing DFW chains: Aldi  and Sprouts Farmers Market (pictured at 220 Randol Mill Ave. in Southlake). This year, UCR has rolled out 29 Aldi locations in DFW and Sprouts has opened 11 locally in the past few years. When he’s not working, Jean and his two sons (12 and 15) are involved in Boy Scouts, which marks its 100th anniversary this year with a big event coming up. This bodes well for our Oct. 26 Retail Summit at the Westin Galleria Dallas, where Jean is a panelist. After he tells us what to expect in 2011, he can show us how to tie a bowlineDon't miss it!