Chicago Tribune

Bricks-and-mortar retail is dead? Don't tell hot online brands rushing to open stores in desirable urban neighborhoods

CHICAGO - Four days before Christmas, athletic apparel retailer Outdoor Voices opened a store in Chicago's Ranch Triangle neighborhood. It should feel at home among neighbors like Bonobos, Warby Parker and Marine Layer.

All are within a block of one another, and all began as online retailers before opening bricks-and-mortar stores. Soon, Outdoor Voices will be sandwiched between two more: home goods brand Parachute to the east and shoe retailer Allbirds to the west. Parachute opened temporarily for the holidays, but both plan to open their permanent stores this spring.

Brands that start online are increasingly recognizing the importance of bricks-and-mortar and amassing the resources to build physical stores. It's a bright spot in the retail sector, which has seen mass merchants like Sears, Toys R Us

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