Economic development professionals are feeling the pinch, doing more work with fewer resources. This blog post is aimed at those professionals looking to stay on top of retail trends and how those trends can relate to your community.
1. Growth of Dollar Stores. For the last five years dollar stores have grown an average of 4.3% each year. The $52 billion industry, once perceived as junk stores stocked with leftovers, now offer major brands at discount prices to the consumer and to the community opportunities for new development.
2. Shrinking of Store Size. Retailers are adapting smaller footprints to optimize sales in limited markets that cannot support big box retail. For communities, these smaller stores open up business recruitment and expansion possibilities in downtowns and underserved neighborhoods.
3. Convenience Stores add Healthy Foods. To improve access to healthy foods, particularly in urban areas, many convenience stores are now stocking fresh fruits and vegetables. The use of the New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) program to support separate healthy projects can help create new jobs and stimulate development in low-income areas.
4. Going Green with Farmers Markets. Community farmers markets have increased 64% in the last 5 years. And sales will reach $7 billion this year, nearly doubling since 2002. Some states now encourage buying food closer to its source by adapting regulations that allow small-scale food producers more leeway. These "cottage food producers" also offer communities economic development opportunities.