Notable Retail Quotes From RECon

I’m just back from the retail real estate industry’s annual confab, the International Council of Shopping Centers’ RECon, in Las Vegas. As part of the event, Faith Hope Consolo, chairman, Prudential Douglas Elliman, hosted a panel discussion of retailers at the Women’s Special Industry Group meeting. Here are some of the more notable quotes from the discussion:

- Brenda Godfrey, VP global store development, Starbucks Coffee Co.
“We are renovating over 1,700 stores and making a significant investment in our existing store fleet.”

Speaking about Starbucks recently-opened Evolution Fresh juice bar: “We’re very pleased with the results.  Based on its performance, we will be looking at future opportunities in other markets.”

With reference to Starbucks’ new small, 500-sq.-ft. store model: “With no seating, it’s a quick, in-and-out experience for our customers. So a smaller footprint, smaller rents, smaller build out costs. It’s a model that we can use as an infill strategy. ”

- David Chiovetti, senior VP North America retail/consumer direct, True Religion Brand Jeans
“Retail in Canada is underpenetrated in terms of shopping centers for us. Canada is a big opportunity for us.”

- Kitsy Ritter, director of real estate, Gap Inc.
“The days of asking landlords for rent reductions have really slowed.”

“We have 12 Athleta stores and they are performing very, very well. That number will double by the end of this year, with 50 by the end of next year.

“The Piperlime store will be a pilot for us to see how it does in brick-and-mortar.”

Mark Comstock, VP real estate, Sur La Table
“The greatest challenge in retail is [finding] good people.”

“We will grow at about 10% net (store count) for the next few years.”

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