The New York Times

Retailers Experiment With a New Philosophy: Smaller Is Better

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

Brick-and-mortar retail chains, known for sprawling stores that stock a bit of everything, are trying to lift sagging sales using a different strategy: cozier spaces that sell very little of anything.

Showrooms — a retail model popular with bridal designers, car dealers and, recently, online apparel startups — are now inspiring mass-market heavyweights like Nordstrom and Urban Outfitters.

In intimate salons, some the size of a cafe, shoppers can examine a limited selection of merchandise and place orders for products to be delivered or collected later. The customer service is often luxurious, but so is the time commitment.

This is the antithesis of the standard shopping mall experience: the overwhelming assortment of products, the glazed apathy of part-time store workers, the

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