REAL ESTATE

Jeff Green blog: Reflections on RECon 2013

BY Jeff Green

“One of the strange ironies of the 2013 convention is that — despite more bookings, a sold-out convention and more activity than we’ve seen in years — the convention doesn’t feel as busy as it has in years past. I suspect this is largely because three of the biggest names in the industry, Macerich, Simon, and Westfield, don’t have booths at the convention center this year. Make no mistake, they are still here in Vegas — they have just moved over to Caesar’s Palace. The impact on the floor traffic here at the convention proper is noticeable, and it’s obvious that those three names have siphoned some people away from the convention floor. From the perspective of a convention-goer, fewer crowds are a welcome convenience, but that’s outweighed by logistical headaches that this fragmentation has created. If you’ve ever stood in a taxi line in Las Vegas during RECon, you know how challenging it can be to get from one location to another.”

A new development: New developments
“Going in to this year’s RECon I expected to see a lot of momentum building around redevelopment opportunities. To my surprise, however, it seems like there is much more interest than expected in new development, as well — particularly in urban areas and brownfield sites. It has been a real eye-opener, and it might be a sign that things are moving faster and that the industry is heading into a new post-recovery mini-boom a little faster than many might have suspected not too long ago.”

Made to order
“One of the most distinctive new retail trends I’ve noticed so far at RECon is in the restaurant category, where unique chef-driven concepts keep coming up again and again. It seems like this trend is indicative of the fact that some in the industry are starting to look at the restaurant component in a new light: as an opportunity to define your project and help transform a retail or mixed-use development into a true destination. Generally speaking, the more unique your restaurant concept, the greater the size of the trade area you can pull from. Couple that with the fact that there simply aren’t too many defining, difference-making tenants out there — this has been and will continue to be largely an industry of chains and familiar brands — and it’s not too hard to see why chic new chef-driven restaurants are starting to become the de rigueur choice to serve as defining entertainment anchors.”

Everything’s bigger better in Texas
“It’s not a new observation to point out the State of Texas has a historical knack for resisting large-scale economic downturns and outperforming the national marketplace during recessionary slowdowns. For a number of reasons, the Lone Star States’ economy and housing market always seem to hold up better than most states/regions. 2013 has driven that point home to me again, because it’s clear that many retailers are performing totally differently in Texas than in other areas of the country. With a good bit of retail development momentum in the state, it doesn’t look like that will be changing any time soon.”


Jeff Green is president and CEO of Phoenix-based Jeff Green Partners, a leading consulting firm specializing in retail real estate feasibility, retail expansion planning, medical retail planning, location analysis and commercial land use. Read his column here.

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FINANCE

Staples disappoints as Q1 profit falls 9.2%

BY Marianne Wilson

Framingham, Mass. — Staples reported that its first-quarter profit was $169.9 million, down from $187.1 million in the year-ago period, hurt by a stronger dollar and weak same-store sales in North America and Europe. Its results missed Wall Street forecasts.

Total sales fell 3.5% to $5.81 billion, also falling short of estimates. In North America, same-store sales were down 2% on weak demand for computers, software and technology accessories.

Online sales from Staples.com posted a strong quarter, recording sales growth of 3% amid new product offerings. Staples said it has added over 90,000 new items on its website over the last year.

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L.Diaz says:
May-23-2013 12:09 am

Not surprised one bit. I am
Not surprised one bit. I am not a fan of Staples.

L.Diaz says:
May-23-2013 12:09 am

Not surprised one bit. I am not a fan of Staples.

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OPERATIONS

Wal-Mart hires Hill+Knowlton exec and former Bush advisor as VP of corporate affairs

BY Marianne Wilson

Bentonville, Ark. — Walmart announced that Dan Bartlett will become the company’s new executive VP of corporate affairs in late June. Bartlett, 41, most recently served as president and CEO of the U. S. arm of Hill+Knowlton Strategies, a global business advisory firm serving corporations, non-profits and associations in 52 countries.

Bartlett will report to Mike Duke, Walmart’s president and CEO, and will serve as a member of the company’s executive council. His responsibilities will include oversight of external communications, government relations and sustainability, as well as the Walmart Foundation, which contributed more than $1 billion in cash and in-kind donations last year.

Prior to joining Hill+Knowlton, Bartlett was a senior counselor to President George W. Bush. In this role he was responsible for all aspects of the president’s strategic communications planning, formulation of policy and implementation of the president’s agenda.

"Growing up in a small Texas town, I’ve seen first-hand the opportunity Walmart provides and the positive impact it can have on local communities," said Bartlett. "Now Walmart is in a unique position to make a difference in the lives of millions of people around the world. I am honored and excited to be part of that."

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