In Hub magazine Tim Dorgan's article "Little Guy Lessons" brings to light some interesting ideas focused around small, innovatiave retail chains. Using strategies that shake up the mega-retailer, the smaller stores win over with unique customer service, creative merchandising, niche-marketing, and solid vendor relations.
Along this same line is Dan Jablon's article "Giant Tools for Would-be Giants" where he looked into the technology used by one particular large retail chain, 7-Eleven, and how smaller retailers could use technology to the same advantage that 7-Eleven does.
Today, word has it that Wal-Mart is slowing down and cutting back on new store openings to focus on "fixing problems at its current stores; in effect, stop competing with itself."
Maybe some of the big guys could learn from the small guys?