RECON 2012: An interview with DLC Management Corp.
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 DLC’s Daniel Taub about what his expectations are for the big real estate show. Visit DLC’s booth at RECon, Upper South Hall, S2235.
What are your expectations for RECon 2012 in terms of activity, attitude, priorities?
Our industry is defined by relationships of every kind, which are vital to our ability to be successful in all facets of our business. Therefore for us, RECon 2012 is about creating new relationships and fostering and developing existing relationships. In particular, as we do every year, we focus on the three (but by no means the only) most important relationships critical to our business: tenants/retailers, prospective acquisition sources and key intermediaries — both equity/debt providers and partners.
Given our focus on relationships, we are expecting solid activity in our discussions with all three of our primary relationships we will be meeting with during RECon. Based upon existing discussions and transactions completed and in process, there is good reason to believe that the generally positive, albeit slow, forward progress we are seeing will be evident in Vegas in all of our meetings, knowing that some of our meetings are to discuss situations where there is both transition and opportunity to work through and with our retailer partners.
Our priority is always, day in and day out, focused on our relationships and how they can assist us in executing our overall business plan, on sourcing sound, fundamentally solid, well-located retail centers, and on where we can apply our entrepreneurial skills and create and increase value.
What projects will you be focused on at your booth this year?
Very simple. Every asset we own, operate and manage and lease is a focus. Clearly, assets, like a living, breathing thing, are in various and different life cycles, and some will require more or special attention; however, balancing all of our centers is what we are responsible for doing every day. Vegas is just every day on steroids!
Both our existing asset base of centers and our new, growing development arm share priority, and we come to Vegas with our respective staff who knows their business models and goals and understands in the context of ‘relationships’ what is needed in each and every meeting (formally set or out of happenstance), and what it is we are trying to achieve.
What categories of retail do you feel will be actively making deals at RECon 2012?
I would envision a similar pattern as to those retailers that have been posting strong and consistent sales figures, quarter over quarter. In addition, retailers that are providing value-add to the consumer, and are focusing on the consumers’ needs, and doing so with a quality product and a strong sense of customer service, should continue to be more aggressive than other retailers and be the ones able to create new brands, offshoots of their core labels and identify areas that are being underserved, or poorly served.
What key indicators do you feel will tell the tale of the rest of the year in terms of recovery?
Housing. Unemployment. Oil prices. Lending to consumer and small- to mid-sized business. Economies of Europe. Terrorism and/or another uncontrollable catastrophic even. And, the presidential election – just to name a few.
Irrational Exuberance is a Thing of the Past
This might not come as a huge surprise, but “irrational exuberance” is unlikely to be on prominent display. What have, in the past, been lavish spending habits of RECon attendees have been diminished in recent years, and I think the 2012 event will be no exception.
While optimism abounds throughout the industry, the lessons of the recession are far too fresh in everyone’s mind, and excessive consumption is out of style. Don’t get me wrong, this is still an important event, and much of the money that is spent here—even in the social arena—represents an investment in the kind of networking opportunities that cannot really be found anywhere else. But the overall attitude seems to have changed. That was perhaps inevitable in the wake of several years where attendance has been down, as companies were sending the bare minimum of attendees (and in many cases, simply not attending the conference at all).
I see some loosening of the purse strings in the sense that participants are now more willing and able to pay for more staff members to attend—negotiated rates at hotels have also helped, by coming down enough in price to the point where that is more feasible—but I doubt attendees will be willing to spend nearly as much on parties and entertainment as was customary before the recession hit. I think the recent General Service Administration spending scandal (in Las Vegas, no less) only makes that relative restraint more likely.
What do you think? Have you received any interesting party invitations? Are you hosting a party for the first time in years? Do you expect to see more parties this year than the recent past? Please make a public comment below or feel free to e-mail me privately at [email protected].
Click here for past columns by Jeff Green.