Ralph Hughes has a word for what’s happening at the Marshall Field’s flagship on Chicago’s State Street. “Nuts. Isn’t this nuts?” Pausing by the Australian Homemade ice cream and chocolate shop, Marshall Field’s regional director expresses the irony of selling such simple indulgences on real estate usually reserved for higher-priced, higher-volume skin care or handbags.

He cuts over to Uroda, a leased florist, right by an entrance on the main floor. “This is not as productive as if I had cosmetics here,” he said. “But if I had cosmetics here, I would look like everyone else [in retailing].”

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