REAL ESTATE

Positive outlook for retail leasing, construction in Northeast

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — The outlook for retail in the Northeast remains quite positive, with demand from national, local and franchise companies across a broad range of categories, according to Levin Management.

“Vacancies are declining and rents are trending up at quality properties,” said Matthew K. Harding, president, Levin Management, North Plainfield, New Jersey. “Importantly, developers have again become active in our region, which indicates growing confidence in the future of the retail sector here. Improving fundamentals also have led to an increase in investor interest, and we are seeing more properties trading than in the recent past.”

Leasing has picked up markedly among tenants looking to establish or expand their footprints in the Northeast, Levin said, with grocers, affordable fitness chains, off-price retailers and fast-casual restaurants among the most active categories.

“A continued low interest rate environment bodes well for the positive construction and investment activity we are seeing, and, as such, we will be keeping a close eye on that critical driver in the months ahead,” Levin said.

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Survey: Consumers will drive to save; like rebates

BY Dan Berthiaume

Lewisville, Texas – Consumers are still sensitive to price, so they’re willing to drive at least five-to-10 minutes out of their way to get a better deal. According to the new Parago shopper study "Ring Up More Holiday Sales," 81% of consumers would drive five to 10 minutes out of their way for a $10 rebate on a $50 item.

In addition, 80% of shoppers would like to use their smartphone to submit rebates, and 83% of 1,400 U.S. adult consumers surveyed said they found rebates attractive for both online and in-store purchases. More than seven in 10 (72%) consumers find rebates easy to use

"With the holidays fast approaching, retailers are looking for new ways to increase foot traffic and account for the shift to online retail. They know customers have high expectations for deals when they come in store, but what they may not know is that customers will drive a bit further to find those deals," said Rodney Mason, CMO of Parago, a global incentives and engagement company. "With rebates, retailers can offer these deal-hungry customers the very lowest price, but also protect margins, unlike across-the-board discounting or online price matching."

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FINANCE

NPD Group: E-commerce boosts back-to-school spending

BY Dan Berthiaume

Port Washington, N.Y. – Spending during the total back-to-school season (nine weeks ending Sept. 6, 2014) on traditional supplies increased 2% from 2013, with e-commerce acting as a key catalyst at more than 20% growth during the same time period. According to new data from The NPD Group Inc., most back-to-school shopping occurs at retail brick-and-mortar stores (88%), but 2014 online sales claimed an estimated $33 million previously held by brick-and-mortar retailers.

This season’s growth resulted in an overall increase of $74 million in sales for the 2014 back-to-school season, and almost half ($35) million of it came from the e-commerce channel. The 2014 NPD Back-to-School Monitor indicates that most important factors consumers consider when selecting a back-to-school shopping destination are low prices and a well-stocked school supply section. More than 40% of consumers will shop at more than one retailer to find a specific item, despite preferring one-stop-shopping, but only 17% of consumers shop around for a better price. Consumers are finding ways to save time and money by doing pre-shopping research online, and more of them are using smartphones and tablets to do so.

Growth in spending on traditional supplies in the pre-college segments, combined with the usage of school lists for shopping by 75% of consumers, underscores the importance of knowing what is on school lists. Manufacturers and retailers can utilize this information to effectively plan their product lineup and marketing efforts. In many cases, teachers specify a brand preference for the items included on school lists

“Channel lines are blurring as consumers are finding ways to do more with less time and money,” said Leen Nsouli, office supplies category specialist, The NPD Group Inc. “The use of social media and online content may have more effectively engaged consumers, simplifying the process of getting the school supplies they want, for the price they want to pay, and in some cases shopping online while in-store or without physically shopping around.”

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