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BrandBox and Neighborhood Goods – Is Everything Old New Again?

Neighborhood Goods – a re-invented department store concept – will open shortly in Plano, Texas.  The 14,000 square foot location will showcase a rotating portfolio of previously digital-only consumer brands, dining options and a community space. The concept describes itself as a department store with a story.  Alongside this news, property owner and manager Macerich announced a new concept opening at Tyson’s Corner – BrandBox.  BrandBox is a dedicated space in the A-level mall featuring a similar portfolio of emerging digitally native brands in their own mini-storefronts, built-out and operated by Macerich.  Short-term leases are provided to encourage a rotating selection of new brands.

Both are experiments in creating physical shopping spaces that entice the consumer to visit, making a set of promises to the shopper, brand, and property manager.

To the consumer:

  1. The space will deliver an ever-changing assortment of newness.
  2. The space will provide a reason to linger.

To the brand:

  1. The space will make it easy to test physical retail.

To the property manager:

  1. The space will be a millennial magnet, drawing the next generation’s spending power.
  2. The space will gather data on which brands and concepts are winning and will serve as a pipeline of future long-term tenants.

These aren’t the first attempts to deliver these promises.  A few other examples include: B8ta, the Kickstarter of the physical world (or a new Brookstone.);    IRL, a 2017 experiment orchestrated by the Lion’esque Group & GGP at Chicago’s Water Tower Place;  The Edit at Roosevelt Fields, a B8ta focused on more than consumer electronics;  and Macerich’s existing BrandExp, a short-term service available in many of their locations that you could describe as a physical Shopify.

Do these concepts work?

The rules that apply to all retailers apply here as well.  To succeed, these locations must deliver:

  • An attractive collection of brands and products
  • A well-merchandised store
  • A trained sales staff
  • A location that has the right type of traffic
  • An ongoing source of newness

In other words, these locations require the same skills that retailers must implement effectively everywhere.  Whether or not property managers can develop these skills will determine their success in the future.

By David Weiss


McMillanDoolittle is a premier international retail consultancy bringing deep experience with world class clients. Our partners have extensive experience interpreting the retail marketplace and converting insights into successful strategies. We help clients develop innovative solutions in strategy development, the customer experience, new concepts, brand performance, retail performance improvement and retail intelligence services.

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