Retailing Wet Seals and Whale Songs

Despite the recession in retailing, a market niche is where you make it

With the recession hanging on like a pall, many of the nation's big retail outlets are beginning to resemble mausoleums. Merchandise sales are dismally flat this year. Still, not every store is an echo chamber. A few novel retailing ideas have captured the attention of otherwise moribund buyers. The success of some may signal that shopping preferences and rituals are changing, while others may be nothing more than passing fads. As the great philosopher Confucius -- yes, Confucius! -- once said, "To open a shop is easy; to keep it open is an art." Here are three works of modern retailing...

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