As part of Chain Store Age’s lead-up coverage to RECon 2012, to be held May 20-23 in Las Vegas, we talked with Forest City’s Joseph Boehm about what his expectations are for the big real estate show. Visit Forest City’s booth at RECon, Central Hall, C10 Union Street.
What are your expectations for RECon 2012 in terms of activity, attitude, priorities?
I would expect RECon to mirror the sentiment that seems to be pervasive throughout the real estate industry (i.e. cautiously optimistic yet pragmatic). I think the activity and attitude will be slightly improved over last year with expectations for better growth in new store openings looking out in 2013 and 2014. The priorities will continue to be for market efficiency and optimization and less about expansion and increasing market share.
What projects will you be focused on at your booth this year?
Focus will be on our newest opening, Ridge Hill (Yonkers, N.Y.), in addition to the plans for the redevelopment and expansion projects that would include South Bay Galleria in Redondo Beach, Calif., Sunset Galleria in Henderson, Nev., Ballston Commons in Arlington, Va., and Antelope Valley Mall in Palmdale, Calif.
What categories of retail do you feel will be actively in expansion mode in the back half of the year?
Retailers with an outlet presence have been and will continue to be the most active throughout the country. Additionally, several restaurant chains that are showing healthy sales and growth prospects will continue to be active in the back half of 2012. As home furnishings and home goods tend to be leaders out of recession, I would expect several of the retailers in those categories to demonstrate increased growth prospects.
What key convention indicators do you feel will tell the tale of the rest of the year in terms of recovery?
The key convention indicators would include attitude, margin improvement and top line sales improvement.