Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 71

RETAIL TRENDS SOLUTION PROVIDER
Commercial Property Executive article,
"... the University of Michigan ... index
of consumer confidence ... average for
all of 2017 was the highest since 2000,
and only during the long expansions
of the 1960s and 1990s was confidence
significantly higher."
Similarly, in a recent ABC News
article, it was reported that "[c]onsumer confidence [was at a] 17-year high
... [and that] consumers' expectations
remain at historically strong levels, suggesting economic growth will continue
well into 2018."
Consumer confidence is fundamental
in any economic forecast. With high
levels of consumer confidence, coupled
with low unemployment and other
positive economic factors, the indicators
look good for the near future in retail.

Trends and Concerns
Although the metrics indicate that 2017
was good and productive for retail and
that 2018 is poised to grow that success,
there were some counter trends in 2017
for developers and retailers to manage.
Last year continued to see significant
store closings and retail bankruptcies.
Of particular significance, the year saw a
lot of department store closings, causing
great difficulties for mall owners. Owners
have had to be creative to replace these
tenants. In most cases, department store
buildings have had to be re-tenanted
with multiple tenants or their buildings
have had to be entirely re-purposed.
However, it should also be noted that
according to a recent National Retail
Federation report, there was a "net increase of 4,000 store openings projected
for 2017. For every closing, there are
2.7 openings. What is different today
is that the stores that are flourishing are
the ones which are willing to shed the
old skin of traditional retail and embrace
a newer model."
Retailers are adapting to changes in
the retail landscape. Many of these
changes are caused by e-commerce and
the fact that many consumers either

shop at home or shop on the Internet. Therefore, what we have found is
that many new stores require smaller
footprints and are more highly targeted
to specific demographics. These stores
are able to sell both from their brickand-mortar locations and from websites
(they offer "omnichannel" services).
Omnichannel service appears to be
something that most modernized retailers are striving to perfect.
On the flip side, we are also seeing some traditionally online retailers
starting to get into brick-and-mortar
business. With Amazon's recent purchase of Whole Foods and its openings
of Amazon bookstores, it appears that
even the largest online retailer sees the
benefit of in-person shopping. We see
this trend continuing to develop.
Another trend that we see continuing
is the growth of experiential operators in
retail projects. These operators provide
experiences that cannot be duplicated

online. Thus, as has been the case in the
last few years, we expect to see leases in
2018 to more restaurants, theatres, fitness clubs, and other types of uses that
involve a customer's presence. As retail
centers become more dependent on
these types of retailers, the uses become
more creative and unique.
The core fundamentals for continuing
a strong retail recovery into 2018 appear
good. The overall economy appears
strong, the stock markets are at all-time
highs, unemployment and interest rates
continue to remain low and consumer
confidence is high. So long as we do not
experience the unexpected, retail should
be in for a good year. O

Volume 58, Issue 2

Scott Grossfeld, a partner
at Cox, Castle & Nicholson, specializes in retail
development and commercial leasing.

RETAIL-MERCHANDISER.COM

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018

Contents
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - Cover1
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - Cover2
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 1
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - Contents
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 3
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 4
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 5
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 6
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - 7
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Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2018 - Cover3
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