Harvard Square's chain-store backlash - Boston Business Journal:
Call it chain-store hangover. Independent retailers are gaining leverage in Harvard Square after years of taking a back seat to flashy national players.
Abercrombie & Fitch, Pacific Sunwear, HMV Records and The Limited were willing to pay record rents -- up to $120 per square foot or more in the 1990s -- to have a nameplate in the square better known for its arts and culture than cargo pants. But those chains failed, misreading the demographics and leaving behind artificially raised rents and a 4 percent vacancy rate.