ATLANTA — If attendance at the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) Southeast Conference is any indication of how the retail market is performing, things are looking up. This year’s conference, held Oct. 28 – Oct. 30 in Atlanta, attracted more than 2,500 attendees, up 9 percent from last year.
In addition to the seminars offered, meetings with our clients and colleagues enabled us to observe retail trends in the marketplace firsthand. For example, one trend we have examined is that retailers are willing to think outside the box in terms of their space needs. While most national retailers have a preferred footprint or space arrangement, they are now willing to be more flexible than they previously had been in order to get into the right centers or markets.
Another trend we have observed in the Southeast is that national retailers are willing to look at secondary or tertiary markets for new stores so as not to cannibalize current store sales. If retailers want multiple stores within the same vicinity, they have to make sure they aren’t taking away from their customer base by adding too many stores too close together. This has led retail tenants to look at sites in locations that they previously would not have considered.
Nationwide, we are still seeing the expansion of dollar store concepts. While eventually we anticipate a slowdown, we don’t see any signs of that on the horizon.
Sporting goods concepts like Cabela’s, which recently announced two new stores in Georgia, continue to expand as well. Dental and medical tenants, in addition to fast-casual restaurants are also on the hunt for new locations and have made their presence known throughout the Southeast.
At this year’s ICSC Southeast Conference, the technology panels remained the most popular among attendees. Always staying on top of the newest technology is important for professionals in the commercial real estate industry as it often allows us to work more efficiently. As chairman of the planning committee for the ICSC Southeast Retail Connection, which will take place on Jan. 16, 2014, we are working to create innovative panels that will help attendees think about retail in a new way.
During the next year, barring any unforeseen circumstances, we anticipate more of the same steady growth in the retail market. Because job creation is tied so closely to consumer confidence, the slowly improving economy will continue to be the main driver behind retail recovery. Download PDF