REAL ESTATE

Colliers: Retailers investing in technology, opening stores and updating existing units

BY Marianne Wilson

Seattle — Retail companies are more able and willing to reinvest in their businesses, as evidenced by sharp increases in 2012 capital expenditure budgets, according to a new white paper released by Colliers International.

The report, “On the Road Again: What’s Driving Retail Real Estate’s Recovery and Who’s Getting There First,” finds that technology improvements are focused on improving and integrating all sales channels: brick-and-mortar, online, mobile and catalog operations. Retailers are also investing in opening new stores, upgrading existing locations and experimenting with smaller prototypes.

Other key findings in the report include:

  • Retailers currently out front in the market, such as Apple Stores, offer customers an in-store experience that’s highly personalized — contrasted with the online experience–and one that allows customers to truly engage with their products and their brand. Those who reward customers for their footwork — enabling them to research and test products in stores and enjoy a multisensory experience — are gaining the most ground.
  • Future store closings are far more likely to impact businesses that sell goods than those focused on services, which are more difficult (if not impossible) to transact over the web. A higher percentage of service uses forces lenders and appraisers to rethink how they value real estate projects.
  • More than 90% of the 158 regional malls that generate the highest in-line sales are owned in full or in part by publicly traded Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs). REITs have larger portfolios to refinance debt at better rates than smaller competitors, among other advantages. Retailers in smaller markets need to be creative to maintain a unique tenant mix, possibly accepting lower rents short-term for long-term stability and cash flow.

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REAL ESTATE

7-Eleven to add 630 stores in 2012

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — 7-Eleven Inc. said that it plans to add 630 new stores in the United States and Canada by yearend. In 2011, the chain added some 600 locations, with the stores either built, acquired or transitioned from another business to the 7-Eleven banner

“7-Eleven’s U.S. growth strategy includes building greater market presence and adding quality locations in metropolitan areas where the company already has stores as a means to increase efficiencies and leverage the company’s scale and daily-delivery infrastructure," said 7-Eleven president and CEO Joe DePinto in a statement.

In 2012, 7-Eleven is re-entering two markets — Jacksonville, Fla., and Charlotte, N.C. — where it previously had operated stores until the 1980s. The company also has announced plans to double its 20-store presence in Manhattan in the next year and grow to about 135 units by 2017.

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REAL ESTATE

Target to open single-level store in New Mexico

BY Staff Writer

Minneapolis — Target will open a single-level store in New Mexico, the first of its kind in the state. The store, located in Albuquerque, is scheduled to open in 2013 and will occupy 155,000 sq. ft.

The store will feature covered, ground-level parking, with the store elevated directly above. It will offer guests the everyday essentials and exclusive brands they have come to expect from Target. In addition, the store will include a selection of fresh produce, fresh packaged meat and pre-packaged baked goods to further enhance guests’ experience.

“Target is excited to open a new store in Albuquerque,” said Cary Strouse, Target’s SVP stores in the Western region. “New Mexico continues to be a great market for Target. We are committed to being a good neighbor and developing long-lasting relationships with guests and the Albuquerque community.”

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