Big boxes becoming smaller boxes (click for full article) "Are big boxes on the way out? The announcement this week that Best Buy will shutter 50 of its big box stores and open smaller stores instead seemed to some observers to be one more sign that big boxes may be ending their reign over the American retail landscape. "Today, the once-invincible Walmart is scrambling to recover its competitive edge," Doug Stephens, president of the consulting group Retail Prophet, recently wrote in Advertising Age. "Target is setting up shop outside the U.S. in search of growth, Kohl's is building significantly smaller stores and Kmart is on deathwatch." Facing an onslaught of Internet competition -- hmmm, Amazon -- many companies have indeed been finding it harder to make the economics of running ever bigger stores work. "I think in general, the trend toward larger and larger stores, which is how it played out for a long time, is over," said Matt Arnold, a retail analyst with Edward Jones in Des Peres. "The days of all these different chains telling analysts we can't build these big enough, that's over. There's no doubt about it." Walmart is still continuing to build supercenters with gusto. But its prototype for new supercenters is a bit smaller, Arnold said. At the same time, the world's largest retailer is also rolling out smaller-format Walmart Express stores. And Target is experimenting with a shrunken City Target model."