Stores within Stores within Stores within…

Nov 07, 2002
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Stop & Shop and Marshall Field’s are the two latest retailers to announce store-within-a-store initiatives that each believes will provide them with a positive competitive point of differentiation in the minds of consumers.

Stop & Shop is opening new prototype stores in Walpole, MA and Rhinebeck, NY. The prototype incorporates branded departments within the store from well-known retailers such as Toys R Us, Office Depot, Dunkin’ Donuts and Boston Chicken according to a company press release.

“We’ve prided ourselves on offering customers a large variety of products at a great value,” said Stop & Shop President and CEO Marc Smith. “Now, we’re taking that commitment to the next step. Whatever you need, chances are you’ll find it at Stop & Shop.”

“We’re not moving away from what made us so popular with customers,” Mr. Smith said. “We’re building on it and offering our customers more-more products, more services, more choices. Our trademark quality service is still there, and our goal is still to make sure that customers leave our stores happy.”

Stop & Shop plans to open five additional prototype stores by the end of the year. The retailer will add stores in Glastonbury, CT, Springfield, MA, South Windsor, CT, Aberdeen Township, NJ, and Whitman, MA in addition to the Walpole and Rhinebeck openings.  

Marshall Field’s, a unit of Target, is looking to the store-within-a-store concept to reinvigorate sales and bring back customers that left the department store to shop elsewhere.

It announced that the British designer, Thomas Pink, has opened an upscale mens’ clothing shop inside its State Street (Chicago) flagship location.

Crain’s Chicago Business reports that Marshall Field’s is adding ” boutiques like Thomas Pink to its State Street store this year as part of an overhaul to invigorate its merchandise mix and stem falling sales.” Earlier in the year, the department store announced that retailers Mimi Maternity and Creative Kidstuff would open stores within Marshall Field’s locations.

Moderator’s Comment: What are your thoughts on the
store-within-a-store concept? Do retailers risk a loss of identity by following
this merchandising route?

Everything runs in cycles and right now, stores within
stores are all the rage.

The troubling thing, to us, is that in the race to differentiate
all these businesses seem more like they are in a sprint to see who can be the
same first. We’ve got KB Toys in CVS, Dunkin’ Donuts in Stop & Shop, Starbucks
in Target, etc. We can’t help thinking, however, that 15 years from now we’ll
be talking about retailers going away from the concept as being innovative.

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