Coping with the Decline of Retail
The Local Government Commission (LGC) is a local non-profit organization that, among other things, advises local officials and staff, gives presentations and offers conference planning services that support education on various issues that confront local government in California. This week, LGC Executive Director Kate Meis wrote on the LGC web site about how local governments can deal with the current downward retail business trend. Given the current interest in the Arden Creek Town Center proposal for Watt and Arden, her article provides some timely perspectives. In a nutshell, the article attributes retail decline to 1) e-commerce, 2) consumer spending patterns and 3) too many brick-and-mortar shopping centers. Given that, and especially considering #3, can any commercial project succeed at Watt and Arden? According to the LGC article, the key is ensuring a good customer experience: accessibility, inviting/welcoming spaces, public amenities and the like. The LGC advises local governments to focus on livability, mixed use and local businesses instead of just luring national chain stores. One can only hope that Sacramento County will be open to that message.
“Stores surrounded by higher-density housing, restaurants, bars and other entertainment attractions tend to be more resilient than traditional malls.
— Kate Meis, Local Government Commission (www.lgc.org on 6/26/17)