I’ve never been a big fan of the retail sector as an economic development focus. I was reminded of this fact after reading this article discuss the great length communities are going to in their desire to attract Apple Stores. The article suggests that Salt Lake City may have even offered free rent to attract the store.
The logic is that Apple Stores will be draws for retail traffic that otherwise would not have come. This is the reason why municipal governments will attempt to attract big box or niche retailers (such as outlets).
This has multiple benefits including a broader range of retail options for local residents they would otherwise not have been able to access locally and potentially more tax revenue for governments.
It’s still not my favourite sector. Wages are low and value add is limited.
But like President Obama, my position on this is ‘evolving’.