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Survey: Increased focus on real estate for retailers in 2011

Chicago -- Jones Lang LaSalle, in a survey released Thursday, found that protecting and building the brand and driving responsible growth are the chief priorities of major retailers for 2011.

The survey, conducted by Jones Lang LaSalle at its recent Retail Executive Forum event, also revealed that the retail industry is placing increasing importance on the value of real estate as a key component of its business and brand strategies for next year.

Major retailers across a diverse cross-section of sectors including auto parts, entertainment, quick-service restaurants, and fashion were asked to disclose their key business priorities as well as their top corporate real estate challenges and opportunities.

The respondents indicated that protecting and building their brands and driving responsible growth were top business priorities. Ensuring aggressive cost reduction, winning the war for talent, and driving innovation were also listed as critical business concerns. To address these issues, respondents were focusing on more thoughtful, deliberate real estate decisions that generate brand awareness, cut costs, drive customer satisfaction, and promote employee attraction and retention.

“Continued ambiguity within our business climate- - coupled with unpredictable consumer demand, intense competition, and the rapid-fire development of new technologies -- is creating extreme complexity within the retail landscape,” said Joe Brady, managing director of Jones Lang LaSalle Corporate Retail Solutions. “Retailers who balance the drive to innovate and grow with smart fiscal planning, staying true to their brand, and attracting and developing talent will be able to leverage the many opportunities today’s market presents.”

The survey also asked retailers to identify their top corporate real estate challenges and opportunities. Developing long-range plans was listed as the top concern, followed by risk management, collecting and analyzing data, and adopting an appropriate CRE staffing model.

“Even though the rate of online shopping continues to increase, the retail industry understands that its real estate is one of its most brand-enhancing assets,” said Lew Kornberg, managing director of Jones Lang LaSalle Corporate Retail Solutions. “Leading-edge retailers are elevating their CRE function from the tactical approach of a decade ago to a high-level, strategic business solution platform that the C-suite can leverage to build the business.”

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