REAL ESTATE

Texas retail center valuations boom

BY Michael Fickes

Houston — Exceptional job growth, population gains and improved retail fundamentals have significantly elevated the sales prices for shopping centers in Texas over the last year, according to Deal Sikes & Associates, a Houston-based real estate valuation and counseling firm.

Some retail properties have increased in value more than 20 percent in 2013, compared to last year, added Matthew Deal, principal at Deal Sikes & Associates.

“The residential market has improved significantly in recent years and that has increased the demand for shopping center space to serve the growing population,” Deal said. “Construction of new retail space has been very modest over the last three or four years. This imbalance in supply and demand has been pushing up the values of existing retail-oriented real estate.”

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REAL ESTATE

Sarah’s Kitchen inks Midtown Manhattan lease

BY Michael Fickes

New York — Sarah’s Kitchen has signed a lease for a 9,150-sq.-ft. space at 270 Madison Ave., between East 39th and East 40th Streets in Midtown Manhattan. Expected to open in third quarter 2014, the eatery will occupy approximately 6,350 sq. ft. on the ground floor and 2,800 sq. ft. in a mezzanine.

PD Properties represented Sarah’s Kitchen, which is part of the same restaurant group that operates Delmonico’s Gourmet Food Market. Winick Realty Group represented the landlord, ABS Partners in the transaction.

The 5,200-sq.-ft. corner restaurant space in the building, formerly occupied by Salute is now available. A 13,250-sq.-ft. space on the second floor will also become available in first quarter 2014.

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Amazon is top U.S. retailer for holiday on Pinterest

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Amazon.com is the most popular U.S. online retail site when it comes to having web content shared on Pinterest, the pin-board style social network, in the run up to Christmas 2013. The findings come from a study by digital marketing software and services specialist Searchmetrics.

In a study of ten top U.S. retail sites, images and pages from Amazon.com are being shared most frequently on Pinterest, with Walmart and Apple taking second and third positions respectively.

Content from Amazon.com currently generates the highest average number of pins (shares) per week (16,360) on Pinterest, followed by Walmart.com (5,778) with Apple.com (3,871) taking third place.

In total 1,740,314 links to content on Amazon.com were found to have been pinned (shared) by Pinterest users at the time of the study (w/e November 29, 2013). Apple.com had received a total of 1,111,959 pins, followed by Walmart.com with a total of 529,992 pins identified.

To make it easier for people to share their online content, all of the ten retail sites in the study were found to have set up their own official Pinterest pages4 although the sears.com Pinterest page currently appears to be inactive with no content actually uploaded to the virtual ‘boards’ that have been created. QVC.com, led the way, with the highest number of Pinterest followers, with 42,683 compared to Walmart.com with 33,337 followers.

Many retailers have set up festive Pinterest boards and promotions to generate interest in their products in the Christmas run up. Walmart.com has set up ten separate holiday 
boards, covering entertaining, baking, gifts, dressing the tree and festive decorating. These include pins of festive content from other sites, including recipes and make up tips from shoppers’ own blogs, as well as promoting stock from its own site.

“Pinterest provides a powerful way of sharing content that increases engagement and helps retail brands develop closer relationships with their customers. While Amazon.com leads the way due to its strong online presence, retailers such as QVC seem to be investing heavily in using Pinterest to connect with consumers,” explained Marcus Tober, CTO and founder of Searchmetrics, which collects weekly data including an analysis of links shared on Pinterest and other social networks as part of its search and social analytics software.

“Successful use of Pinterest is not just about pushing your own content but being social and trying to share content that your followers on Pinterest might find useful or entertaining – even if it doesn’t produce a sale for you. Walmart seems to be particularly good at this, explaining why it has gained a significant number of followers on the social network. We’re also seeing retailers starting to get creative by running festive themed Pinterest boards and promotions linking their Pinterest with their other promotional activity such as band sponsorship as well coordinating with their other social channels,” added Tober.

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