REAL ESTATE

Off-course golfing center brings its concept to Detroit

BY Al Urbanski

Topgolf has announced a mission to take its open-to-everybody golf experience worldwide, and its next stop is Detroit.

Mid-America Real Estate reported that it has brokered the purchase of a site at the junction of Interstate 75 and Joslyn Road in Auburn Hills on behalf of Topgolf. The location is close by Great Lakes Crossing Outlets, Legoland Discovery Center Michigan, and Fieldstone Golf Club. Topgolf’s three-level, 65,000 sq. ft. facility is slated for a winter 2018 opening.

Topgolf is the leading provider of what the National Golf Foundation calls “off-course participation,” a controlled experience that is the driving factor behind a resurgence in the popularity of golf in the U.S. While the number of “green grass” golfers fell 1.2% to 23.8 million in 2016, according to the NGF, the number of off-course golf participants grew 11% to more than 20 million.

Topgolf facilities are essentially high-tech driving ranges where players can compete against each other by hitting balls into targeted areas and registering scores. Players awaiting their turns can lounge, eat, and drink in area that resembles a posh bowling alley.

Topgolf offers several options for golfers to test themselves on the range and provides lessons for beginners. The company says it expects 450,000 players to visit the Auburn Hills location in its first year, each spending between $25 and $45 for balls and club rentals.

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ICSC: Holiday recap

BY Marianne Wilson

The average spend on gifts and other holiday-related items was $841.50 this season, compared to $711 last year.

That’s according to the International Council of Shopping Centers’ Post-Holiday Shopping Survey today. This year’s survey found that consumers used a variety of channels for holiday shopping, with 90% making purchases in a physical store, 40% using click and collect and 46% ordering online from retailers with a physical presence and shipping the product home.

Of those who used click and collect, 90% bought additional items once in stores. Sixty-two percent of holiday shoppers ordered from pure play online retailers.

Retailers benefited from the longer season with almost 30% of consumers beginning their shopping in October or earlier and 51% completing their shopping the week before Christmas, according to the survey. Ten percent of those surveyed finished their shopping on Super Saturday, showing the shopping season runs right through the final holiday weekend.

In other findings:

• The most popular gifts this season were similar to last year’s top items. Gift cards led the way (68% compared to 63% in 2016), with apparel/footwear (48% compared to 50%) a close second, and toys and games (37% compared to 44%) rounding out the top three.

• Sixty-six percent of consumers shopped at discount stores followed by 47% who shopped at traditional department stores. The third most frequented store category for the holiday season was supermarkets or wholesale clubs where 34% of respondents made a purchase.

• Shoppers cited the ability to see, touch, browse, and try on items (44%), to take advantage of deals/promotions (36%) and to get items immediately (34%) as the primary reasons for shopping in store.

• Consumers continue to integrate mobile in their in-store shopping experience with 53% using devices to compare prices, 37% checking for inventory/ product availability and 36% looking for discounts or coupons.

“Overall, the 2017 holiday season was a big win for retailers,” said Tom McGee, president and CEO of ICSC. “As we begin 2018, both shopping centers and their tenants need to continue to innovate and deliver the products, experiences and services that consumers expect.”

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H&M to occupy J.C. Penney space at Illinois mall

BY Al Urbanski

CBL Properties has announced the signing of H&M and Planet Fitness to fill an emptied J.C. Penney store at its mall in Bloomington, Ill.

“We are thrilled to kick off 2018 by announcing a major anchor redevelopment project at Eastland Mall,” said CBL president and CEO Stephen Lebovitz. “Dining, value, and fitness are increasingly in demand, and we are pleased to deliver names that not only meet this demand, but elevate the overall customer experience.”

Eastland has also signed Outback Steakhouse as a new tenant at another site in the mall. Construction has begun on all three spaces, which should be ready to open for the 2018 holiday season.

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