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Why so few department stores now in Greenville?

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As late as the 1980s and 1990s, Greenville had slews of department stores: downtown, at each mall, in strip malls in small towns around Greenville and small Belk stores even near mall Belks, such as at Lewis Plaza.  There were 10 of over 100,000 square feet each if you include only the ones at Haywood, McAlister and Greenville malls, plus smaller ones all around.

Now Greenville is down to the 5 large ones at Haywood plus a few smaller ones downtown (I count Mast as one) and in strip malls.

First, why haven’t mainline department stores flooded Greenville with their off-price versions like in other cities?  There is a Nordstrom Rack but that’s it.

Second, we all know that department stores generally have lost market share.  If they have in Greenville, it’s no wonder since they have only half of the large-format locations that they had even 20 years ago when Greenville was smaller.  Why haven’t they opened up more larger locations?  The County Square site could be a good replacement for the ones that served the McAlister Square trading area but I haven’t seen any of them express interest.

Third, department stores are starting to open small locations again; Nordstrom for one is.  Why hasn’t that happened in Greenville; if Belk has so many tiny stores around years ago, why not now?

I don’t use Amazon much and I dislike boutiques even in malls; I prefer one-stop shopping in big stores.  So I hope that the department stores era in Greenville isn’t over or ending.

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Greenville better have the population base for a 3000SF "Nordstrom Local." But I'm not convinced that Greenville lacks the base for a regular Nordstrom, when you factor in the entire region. What we lack is a proper setting--there's no place I'm aware of in Greenville that's high-end retail with a big enough site. It's conceivable they might have gone to GM if it had succeeded in its re-positioning, but HM will likely never have that kind of store (I remember when everybody was so jazzed that Greenville finally had a Rich's when HM opened).

Where else to put it? Maybe eventually in a "lifestyle center" that's well-situated, after the next wave of department store bankruptcies further sorts that sector out.

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There is Macy's Backstage at Haywood now .

There are many more retailers now like the TJMaxx, Target and Kohls of the world with so many locations than when Greenville had all that variety of D. Stores back in the 80's and 90's. All those big box category killer stores like BabiesRUs;LinensNThings; Bed BathBeyond etc. that sprang up in the 90's also took away from them. I think the continuing loss of some of those category big box  chains and smaller clothing chains to bankruptcy will benefit the remaining department stores as sales shift back. 

I don't buy into the Amazon has killed the department stores thing. I think there is room for both. Some of them  have done a better job blending  their brick and mortar with online sales like Macy's, Belk and Kohl's. I think Amazon knows they need a physical presence eventually as well. They just teamed up with Kohl's to take their returns. 

I don't think Greenville gets a full line Nordstrom especially after their stores closed in Orlando and Mall of Georgia.



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