I walked the Rosedale Mall (Twin Cities) location this weekend and was gobsmacked by how threadbare the shelves were. It seriously looked like they'd had a going-out-of-business sale and somehow I snuck into the boarded-up building.
From a Twin Cities' perspective, this sounds like the ghost of Sid Applebaum wandered down I-35 and possessed another retailer to build his vision of the Hypermart. Sid managed to do it in the late 1980s with several Holiday Plus locations here (imagine a Meijer, ringed on the inside by an inward-facing strip mall), but of course it couldn't hold together.
Likewise, I've never had a problem with the layout - I look forward to new discoveries around every bend, and when I need to focus on just a few items, I know the "cheat codes" to the store. My issues have been persistently on checkout staffing, where wait times can easily stretch beyond a half-hour on weekends, or during back-to-school and holiday shopping periods, and on in-stock availability, which was always a nagging problem in the Before Times but has devastated the store in the During Times. Staffing up and using scan-and-go technology can help the former; moving more global production to North America can help the latter.
I'm sure someone at Target HQ will watch these hybrid locations closely; if any show success, they would be an inviting destination to drop a "mini" Target into. (Where's the best place to site a CVS? Kitty-corner from Walgreens, of course....)
Your comment about hearing the instruments in action makes me wonder if the RIAA is going to want a piece of this, since Decifrei is using an artist's performance to facilitate a sale? Granted, the Spotify model would suggest an artist will only get a penny off a guitar's sale, but these folks might be wading into an alligator-infested swamp.
The Bon Marche agglomeration used the same back-office and private label consolidation logic, but retained its local marks such as Herberger's and Carson Pirie Scott -- keeping a veneer of regionalization but in the end, as Gary says, blah. There is some organizational and geographic threshold (40 stores? 125 stores? 4 states? 7 states?) beyond which the corporate hive mind crushes any effective regionalization. Firing six more cost accountants, or buying another 20,000 sweaters in a lot, as a result of "centralization" just doesn't make a lot of difference to a national retailer. But it could lose the loyalty of a metro area. As we Gen Xers say here in the Twin Cities, "I want my Dayton's back!"
Given recent court rulings saying mandatory vaccination policies are acceptable, I can't see how insurers will permit companies to concentrate large groups at HQ facilities without proof of vaccination. If "every COVID-19 death is now preventable," then by extension any harm caused will have some degree of liability for the employer/building manager. Frankly, I'm amazed the lawyers haven't been all over this already.
They're already on it - I was exhibiting at an office products trade show in 2019 across the aisle from a Starbucks booth where they were demonstrating an all-in-one machine for corporate canteens. Pop in a clover capsule, punch in your selection, and you got a very respectable espresso drink with the mocha and foam. Sure, the machine was the size of a refrigerator on its side and cost over $10,000 - but it showed that the automation efforts for in-store use were also being spun out to enlarge the number of venues where the company's products could be enjoyed. I expect we'll be seeing robot Starbucks stands very soon.
DeAnn makes a good point. If we've accepted buying grilling equipment at Home Depot, why wouldn't we accept it at Best Buy? The newer ones with app-enabled sensors should be seen in the context of a home network.
T1 is just a few blocks from my house - containers with construction supplies are lined up in the outer lot for this summer's work, and the dust has barely settled on the e-commerce tweaks they installed last year! Their commitment to continuous updates keeps the experience fresh and my mind alert to new discoveries each time I walk in the door.
We're running out of paper, tagboard, and corrugated cardboard too - between the whipsaws of cleaning supplies/hygiene shortages, explosive growth in packaging needed for online shipments, and the climate-and-COVID-19-induced timber shortages, combined with the intentional closing of paper mills in the Before Times to constrict supply and raise prices. That's all a North American problem, and it won't resolve quickly; trees only grow so fast and the paper oligopoly isn't going to start building new capacity.