Times Square, one of the most famous places on the planet, where hundreds of thousands of people live, work and visit any given day or night, is losing stores amid ongoing changes in the retail sector, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday (Jan. 14).
With more and more shopping transactions conducted online, companies are even willing to concede pedestrian advantages of the iconic New York City location.
“Some retail is just antiquated,” said Brett Herschenfeld, manager of the retail unit of SL Green Realty Corp. Retail “hasn’t evolved with the times and they either fix it to the meet the consumer segment or they’re closing stores.”
Other famous Manhattan neighborhoods are hemorrhaging retailers faster than Times Square. But the latter has lost anchor stores such as Toys R Us in the last decade, compelling a strategic reevaluation of the heavily trafficked location.
“The most successful approach to Times Square will be to think outside of the large box,” said Phil Granof, chief marketing officer with NewStore, a mobile eCommerce platform within actual stores. “Breaking it down into smaller pieces, there might be more value there,” Granof added.
Times Square is very well known for massive digital signage. With so much advertising done on social media and smartphones, however, companies are now reevaluating even that level of exposure.
“The value that brands will pay for the exposure in Times Square on a permanent basis is under some pressure,” said Michael Hirschfeld with Jones Lang LaSalle Inc., a retail broker. “A lot of mass-market types of consumer brands are now reaching you directly on your phones or Instagram.”
Broker Steven Soutendijk with Cushman & Wakefield notes that despite the growing evacuation from traditional stores in Times Square, tenants and landlords are still interested in and excited by the world-famous New York City destination.
“It’s not just about marketing and branding anymore,” he said. “It’s about the footfall and the shoppers that are there.”