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A trend toward smaller
But a smaller store footprint is also more efficient, and Cabela’s certainly isn’t the first retailer to test its mettle in a smaller pond. Twin Cities-based Target Corp. and Best Buy Co. Inc. and others nationally have rolled out smaller stores, as well.
“The trend is to be more agile with your footprint,” said Bruce Cohen, a retail strategist with the New York management consulting firm Kurt Salmon. “It’s not a strategy where you have one box that you slap down all across the country. Not every community can support a 150,000-square-foot palace.”
The customer base in the outdoors sector is fragmented, too, Cohen said. He breaks it down to technical users — the rare breed ready to scale Mount McKinley. The enthusiasts are long-standing lovers of outdoors activities who engage in them on a regular basis. “They don’t need gear the astronauts use, but they do appreciate quality,” Cohen said.
The final customer on Cohen’s list is the car-camping casual consumer of outdoors gear. “They might go to Wal-Mart to buy a fishing pole that they use once a year,” he said. “They might feel overwhelmed in a Cabela’s or Gander Mountain store.”
The trick for all retailers in the outdoors segment is to entice new consumers without alienating their core customer, said Silburn. “The market is so fragmented and so competitive, and now [with Cabela’s in the immediate metro area] they’re so much closer to each other.”
Janet Moore • 612-673-7752