REAL ESTATE

Sprouts-anchored center acquired

BY Al Urbanski

Riverstone Capital Group has purchased the 43,199-sq.-ft. Shops at Lexington Circle in the Atlanta suburb of Peachtree City.

Anchored by a Sprouts Farmers Market and located on the West Highway 54 retail corridor, the property offered for sale by Mirabeland Investments and Concordia Properties was not on the market long, according to the deal’s broker.

“As a newly developed shopping center with an exciting grocery anchor, The Shops at Lexington Circle garnered significant interest from the investment community,” said JLL managing director Margaret Caldwell.

Continued growth is expected for the area with the recent opening of Pinewood Studios about five miles from the center. It is reputed to be the largest purpose-built studio complex outside of Los Angeles.


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REAL ESTATE

L.L. Bean opens at Virginia lifestyle center

BY Al Urbanski

Chains close stores, and chains open stores. Legendary cataloger and online retailer L.L. Bean is one of the latter, opening its 33rd store outside of Maine and its fourth in the state of Virginia.

This week’s debut came at The Shops at Stonefield, a 265,000-sq.-ft. lifestyle center in Charlottesville that was acquired by O’Connor Capital Partners last year.

“Charlottesville is an active, vibrant city with an abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities and a population base that regularly takes advantage of these resources,” said Ken Kacere, senior VP and GM of retail at L.L. Bean.

The Residences at Stonefield, a community with 104 townhomes, is under development in the area, and the center is two miles from the campus of the University of Virginia.

“The Shops at Stonefield offers a prime example of why we believe there is still potential in retail,” said O’Connor CEO William Q. O’Connor. “It’s a destination property with a pleasing outdoor atmosphere and plenty of shopping, dining and entertainment choice, located in the midst of a densely-populated, vibrant and growing region.”


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REAL ESTATE

Forget bricks vs. clicks, it’s all about distribution

BY Al Urbanski

Everything you know about the battle between online and physical retail is probably wrong, according to a report issued this week by CBRE.

As business analysts and retail pundits focus on store closings, they miss the fact that 58% of retail warehouse space was leased by brick-and-mortar retailers in 2015 and 2016. Only a third of such space was leased by pure-play Internet sellers.

“As the brick-and-mortar brands continue to do more online business, they can’t rely on the single distribution center anymore. They’re realizing that they need more, smaller warehouses that are closer to their consumers,” said Melina Cordero, CBRE’s head of retail research for the Americas.

In the report, “Is the e-pocalypse here?” CBRE points out that 90% of retail sales still take place in stores and that traditional brick-and-mortar retailers account for more than half of e-commerce receipts. When it comes to the so-called GAFO categories (general merchandise, apparel, furniture, and other), three-quarters of purchases took place in stores during first quarter 2017, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics.

At the same time, the report points out, several brick-and-mortar mainstays are implementing successful omnichannel strategies. In Q1, Williams Sonoma did 51.8% of its business online, Restoration Hardware 44.8%, and J. Crew 37.7%.

“The number one thing that surprises people when they see this list is the fact that less than 10% of retail sales take place online, but the fact is that the apparel category is still very fragmented and big brands like this are still a small percentage of the whole,” Cordero said.

The bottom line, according to Cordero, is that retailers are shifting to the most efficient supply chains in order to survive. That, in some cases, even means stores serving as local fulfillment centers.

“One retailer told me that they’ve started having store associates receive local online orders and then package them and send them,” she said.


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