Brands born on the internet embrace physical stores

SHORT HILLS, N.J. (AP) — A growing number of brands born on the internet from Casper to Indochino are now opening physical stores and moving into the suburban malls once considered doomed as more Americans shopped online.

Digital natives are now finding it’s become more expensive to acquire customers through banner ads and email giveaways. At the same time, opening a store has become more affordable as higher mall vacancies have caused landlords to offer flexible leases and other perks. It can be 10 times more expensive to acquire a new customer online as it is with a physical store, says Jim Ward, who heads up recruiting for online brands for mall owner CBL.

The store openings mark a major shift for online-only brands that just a few years ago believed they didn’t need a physical presence to generate robust sales growth.

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