Originally Posted by fjtorres
Take leases, for one. B&N runs massive warehouse-style stores as regional draws and the place them at or near big malls. That drives up their leases. A neighborhood-focused indie typically runs in a strip Mall. I haven't priced strip mall rental rates but I doubt many leases run $400K a year like this particularly stupid Borders lease:
I wasn't comparing a B&N lease with a smaller strip mall one directly. But, relatively speaking even the smaller retail places have expensive leases. In my area they vary considerably $14-30/sq ft per year. Add in all their other expenses and they would have to pull in some serious sales to break even. This may explain why the few indies left in NJ are in more upscale areas.
If this business was easy, there would have been more stores opening to replace my Border's and B&N that have closed.
Of course, this applies to all retail. I've lost Office Max, Office Depot, Staples, 6th Ave, furniture stores (they may be returning thanks to Sandy), several grocery stores, banks, restaurants, Joanne's and dozens of smaller businesses. High leases usually is the #1 reason given.