Executives from Walmart and Safeway didn’t say much of interest through their turn at Bisnow’s retail summit this morning at the St. Regis hotel. But then, the moderator asked an interesting question: Given your drothers, what kind of store would you most like to have next door to yours?
“The one that we like the best, based on the result, is Target,” answered Tim Baker, vice president of Safeway.
That makes sense. Target, until recently, hasn’t been a grocer. People will come to Target for their dry goods, and then go next door to Safeway, and be done. That’s why it sucked for Safeway that Target didn’t decide to come to Skyland, and Walmart came instead.
How about Walmart, then?
“We like to have Sam’s Club next to us,” said Fred Lutz, Walmart’s senior director for real estate, with a touch of smugness. Sam’s Club being the other big box chain that Walmart owns.
Considering that the massive company is making its first moves into cities, it might have been nice to hear Lutz say this, for example: “I know this sounds strange, but we’d really like to see healthy clusters of local, unique retailers develop around our stores as we enter these delicate urban neighborhoods. Even though we sell everything, we think they can do well with the right selection of inventory and strong relationships with the surrounding community.”
Pie in the sky, I know. But the fact that he couldn’t even talk the talk doesn’t bode well for Dix Street.