Five openings foretell the future of retail

Several forward-looking trends in retail real estate are embodied in five new stores that opened in January 2023.

February 08, 2023
  • James Cook

Sometimes new retail openings can just fly by under the radar. Especially when it feels like there’s nothing new or notable about them. But in the past month I noticed five new locations that each in their own way foretell the future of retail.

Dollar General, 1502 East Zora, Joplin, MO

It looks like just another Dollar General, but this one is different. This is the 19,000th store in the chain. Yes, that’s right - 19,000 stores! 

To celebrate 19,000 stores, Dollar General donated $19,000 to a Joplin elementary school.
Image source: Dollar General

The discount variety chain has been opening more stores than any other American retailer for several years. Dollar General plans to open more than 1,000 new stores and do more than 2,000 remodels in 2023. As inflation continues to impact family budgets, more shoppers see the grocery options at dollar stores as a more affordable alternative. And even in a good economy, low prices never seem to go out of style.

Addie’s, 911 Boston Providence Hwy, Norwood, MA

Unlike your local supermarket, which is designed to foster impulse buying and experiential browsing, the interior of Addies has all the charm of a small warehouse. But that’s okay because Addie’s was designed for pickup only. The 22,000-square-foot store is optimized for efficiency with 14 pickup lanes and a custom inventory management system that always knows where every item is in the store. 

Image source: Addie’s

Addie’s has received $10.1 million in new seed funding and is planning for more stores in the future. Many grocers have found it inefficient and expensive to offer click-and-collect. Perhaps the opportunity for more suburban small-footprint dark stores is on the horizon.

Barnes & Noble, 194 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

Here’s something we haven’t seen in a while. A book chain is adding new stores. Barnes & Noble plans to open thirty new locations in 2023. Barnes & Noble relocated one of its two Brooklyn locations into a space formerly occupied by department store Barneys. 

Image source: Barnes & Noble

Bookstores offer an experience one can’t find online. This location features the new Barnes & Noble store design, which includes cozy curated book rooms that welcome browsing and lingering. The chain now gives each store manager the freedom to stock items that meet the needs of the local community. 

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, 3519 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 

Alamo Drafthouse shows Hollywood fare alongside a rotating list of classics and cult favorites. It has a scratch kitchen and serves up full meals, snacks, and drinks in theater. It caters to film lovers with a strict “no talking” policy. 

This six-screen location just opened directly across from Wrigley Field, part of a chain that is now in 22 markets.

Alamo Drafthouse has a video store where patrons can borrow tapes and discs for free.
Image source: Alamo Drafthouse

I talked with Chief Development Officer Chris Drazba for the Where We Buy podcast in December. He explained that the design of each theater is unique to its location. In the case of Wrigleyville, a car smashes through a glass window, recreating the classic scene from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. 

Image source: JLL

Alamo Drafthouse and cinemas like it offer the kinds of things that will draw Netflix streamers out of their living rooms: a unique place, with quality food and drink where one can see the latest blockbuster or a favorite John Hughes classic on the big screen.

Foxtrot, 888 17th St NW, Washington DC

Foxtrot is a café, corner store and delivery service for everyday grocery items. On Jan 31st the chain opened its seventh location in the DC area, the second one that month. Foxtrot has 24 locations in Chicago, DC, and Dallas, with plans to open more stores in those markets as well as Austin, Texas.

Foxtrot offers a mix of nationally known brands, but private label goods account for about 30% of items for sale. Foxtrot plans to expand to 100 locations by the end of 2024. Foxtrot recently received $100 million in Series C funding.

Image source: Foxtrot

We’ve often said that the road to success in retail is to pick either convenience or experience and that you can’t excel at both. But Foxtrot is one of the few concepts that attempts to be both fast and experiential in the same location. It’s a place to grab a snack to go, hang out with a coffee or get 30-minute delivery of party drinks and snacks. 

JLL Research: Holiday Recap + Employment Growth Chart

This week we’re sharing two research items of interest produced by other JLL research teams. 

This chart of the week from JLL Office Research finds that current tech layoffs will affect certain cities more than others.

This holiday trends recap from Big Red Rooster identifies eight trends that shaped the 2022 retail season.

Contact James Cook

Americas Director of Research, Retail, JLL