Commentary: Death of Retail? Grandscape Says Not So Fast

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

“Retail is dead,” proclaims just about every financial headline these days, but Berkshire Hathaway continues to prove that wrong as it builds out Grandscape, a 400+ acre development featuring over 3 million square feet of retail, entertainment, dining, residential, office and attractions.

Anchored by Berkshire’s Nebraska Furniture Mart, which alone takes up 100 acres and has a 560,000 square foot retail showroom, Grandscape continues to use the bigger is better philosophy.

It’s a philosophy that’s attractive to other retailers that don’t want to simply bemoan the death of the bricks-and-mortar retail experience as a casualty of the internet.

The latest retailer to break ground at the development is SCHEELS, which is constructing a two-level, 331,000 square foot building that will be the largest All Sports Store in the world.

“After more than 10 years studying the Texas market, we found a great location to build our largest store yet,” said Steve D. Scheel, SCHEELS Chairman of the Board. “This one-of-a-kind retail adventure will attract sports enthusiasts, outdoor explorers and shoppers seeking a wide variety of fashion, footwear and homegoods. We are excited to bring our expertise and enthusiasm to Texas for the first time.”

In keeping with the trend to make shopping more experiential, SCHEELS will have a 65-foot, 16-car operating Ferris Wheel, a 16,000-gallon saltwater aquarium with more than 600 fish, and a wildlife mountain. Shoppers will get the chance to try out interactive arcade games and sports simulators.

Berkshire continues to believe in the retail experience, even as it is forced to evolve from the days of strip malls and malls with department stores as anchor tenants, and its $1.5 billion investment in Grandscape shows its putting its money where its mouth is.

© 2018 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.