Everywhere I go I see signs that stores are going out of business. Part of the problem is that declining sales make it harder and harder to pay the rent. One of the solutions that some brands might be embracing in 2009 is the concept of sharing space. It's hardly a new concept but it's one that has fallen out of vogue recently as stores each mounted their own massive flagship enterprises. Mike Duff of BNET reported recently on two such collaborations. Danish silver seller, Georg Jensen recently refurbished its Manhattan store and asked 25 Danish companies to distribute their products through its store in a barter arrangement. The store was outfitted with the products, which are not sold in the store but Georg Jensen showcases the brands such as Bang & Olufsen and provides details how to buy them.
Another closer arrangement involves Macy's and FAO Schwarz. Macy's is adding FAO Schwarz shops to more of its department stores. All the stores that have space will get one of the new toy stores, a full 675 stores. The arrangement works well for Macy's which gets the prestige of the FAO Schwarz name and the distinctive traditional toys FAO Schwarz develops for its stores like giant stuffed animals. The Macy's selection includes a mix of private-label toys with "some of the best-sellers" from other sources that customers would find at the New York FAO Schwarz store.
I anticipate that we will be seeing more deals like these as well as other arrangements in the coming months as stores try to find ways to boost sales and trim the bottom line.