Monday, June 27, 2011

How will the "Mature Market" Affect Downtown?

As baby boomers mature, retailers are getting smart to their changing needs. [Read Derek Dunam's post: On The Retail Level: For The Aging Boomer, Smaller Can Sometimes Be Better]. What this means is that all the hype around small format stores isn't just good news for city folks, it is also good news for seniors. Simply put, smaller stores mean less need for walking - something that maturing market will increasingly come to appreciate. In fact, one German retailer has gone so far as to add "non-slip floors, extra-wide aisles and checkouts, bright overhead lighting, shelves fitted with steps and magnifying glasses, talking produce scales, and light, easy-to-maneuver carts fitted with adult-size seats."

So, will urban commercial districts also benefit from the growing mature market? Will the compact nature of these districts, including smaller store size and walkability help build stronger markets for traditional downtowns?

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