The hulking shells of former big box stores, victims of the economic downturn and the rise in online retailing, have quietly started filling up with commerce again.
The spaces formerly occupied by retail heavyweights including Circuit City, Linens 'n Things and Borders are now welcoming sellers of discounted designer jeans, used video games and surplus merchandise. Many of the new stores moving in trumpet terms such as "off-price," "discount" and "value" in their slogans.
Stores including Big Lots, Ross Dress for Less, Jo-Ann Fabrics and Nordstrom Rack are among the wave of retailers capitalizing on lower rents, the new frugality of shoppers and the struggle of mainstream retailers to retain consumers fleeing to better deals online.
With a business model that's better protected from online rivals -- selling items too cheap to be shipped cost-effectively -- discount retailers are expected to be a resilient player.