REAL ESTATE

The fountains of retail sales

BY Julie Brinkerhoff-Jacobs

Shopping center owners are working hard to set their centers apart to drive sales with restaurants, entertainment venues, and public parks, but they still have to invest in calling attention to all of these new amenities. One effective way to do this is to incorporate thoughtfully designed water features.

Be it a single large-scale fountain or an interactive show set to lights and music, water entertainment features provide a natural focal point within a landscape retail environment. These fountains are “wow” factors that draw guests in and increase foot traffic with lengths of stay. A study conducted by Macerich found that shoppers spent an average of $25 more per visit at centers with interactive water features.

At The Point in El Segundo, California, we designed the landscape to incorporate a large circular fountain with a fire pit at its center, surrounded by a variety of outdoor seating areas for guests to gather and enjoy surrounding eateries or retailers. There is also a long, rectangular water feature encompassing five large planters that acts as a natural wall against the patio of a neighboring restaurant allowing views of the passersby.

Because of this highly activated area, shoppers continue to flock to The Point and retailers are willing to pay a premium for space in the center. Such demand allows center owners to curate a unique mix of tenants that guarantees tenants abundant traffic for years to come. The Point is one of the top retail destinations in its market and attracts thousands of people each day.

Water features also gives center operators a medium that can be activated both day and at night.

At The Village at Meridian in Meridian, Idaho, Lifescapes and Outside the Lines created a landscape design that features two sizable fountains within its European-style retail space. One water feature is a large lake-like fountain with a low waterfall bubbling over rock formations that serves as a gathering place for busy shoppers to meet, socialize and linger. At night, shoppers are drawn to the other fountain to witness dancing water streams set to music.

The simple fact is that, as e-commerce sales continue to rise, retail center owners have a need to integrate more experiential factors into their centers. Today, more and more of them are beginning to realize that water features are fountains of opportunity.

Julie Brinkerhoff-Jacobs is president and CFO of Lifescapes International, a landscape architectural firm whose clients include Caruso, Triple Five, and Federal Realty Investment Trust. She can be reached at [email protected].

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Consumer holiday spending to climb 4.5%; promotions will be key

BY Marianne Wilson

A new holiday forecast offers more good news for retailers.

Shoppers will spend $807 billion on holiday gifts and other item this year, an increase of 4.5% over last year, with $685 billion spent on gifts and other items and $122 billion on food and beverage, according to a survey by the International Council of Shopping Centers.

According to ICSC, 84% of shoppers will visit a mall or shopping center throughout the holidays, and retailers who embrace omnichannel will benefit the greatest. Of the 40% of consumers who will use click-and-collect, 82% expect to spend additional money at that store.

“Our annual Holiday Shopping Intentions Survey findings demonstrate that consumers remain confident in the economy,” said Tom McGee, president and CEO, ICSC. “Shoppers want a combination of convenience and experience, and the retailers with the best omnichannel strategy are poised for success this holiday season.”

According to the survey, the average consumer plans to spend $706.40 this holiday season, with $522.00 allotted for gifts. Overall, 92% of U.S. consumers plan to purchase holiday gifts and other holiday items. Over half (54%) plan to spend more this year than last year, with more than one quarter (28%) pointing to a change in job status or income as a factor in their increased spend.

Approximately one in four consumers are planning to buy big-ticket items such as household appliances or jewelry. Forty-percent are expected to buy electronics; 64% plan to buy gift cards; 52% plan to buy apparel and footwear; and 49% plan to buy toys and games.

The survey found that promotions will be one of the biggest influences in purchasing at a physical location this year:
• Overall, 74% of holiday shoppers say that promotions play a role in their holiday shopping.

• 63% plan their holiday shopping around specific promotional events/dates such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Super Saturday and/or other big sales.

• 47% state that once they are in a store, the promotions they see influence the holiday purchases they make.

• 20% state they are more influenced by promotions on social media compared with other mediums.

The ICSC survey comes on the heels of the National Retail Federation’s holiday forecast, which expects holiday retail sales in November and December — excluding automobiles, gasoline and restaurants — to increase between 4.3% and 4.8% over 2017 for a total of $717.45 billion to $720.89 billion.

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Jll to manage former Toys ‘R’ Us retail properties

BY Jennifer Setteducato

Jll’s retail management portfolio just got a lot bigger.

The firm announced today that it has been tapped by private real estate investment and advisory firm Raider Hill Advisors to manage the Toys “R” Us Propco I Portfolio, which contains former Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us retail properties, including building leases, ground leases, and fee simple owned buildings.

Jll will be responsible for the retail management, facility management, tenant coordination, construction, accounting and real estate tax services for the retail properties in the portfolio.

This move adds 13.4 million sq. ft. of retail space at approximately 275 properties across 46 states to JLL’s retail portfolio under management.

“JLL’s depth of experience with portfolio transitions of this scale gives us great confidence in their ability to seamlessly assume the property management responsibilities of Propco I,” said Joseph Tichar, president & COO of Raider Hill Advisors.

Raider Hill Advisors was named exclusive real estate advisor to Propco I in July, where it provided day-to-day operational oversight including leasing, redevelopment, asset management, and disposition activities for the portfolio.

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