Another ICSC RECon in the books. Another chance to reflect. And another chance to look ahead.
As we all settle back in and prepare to put the discussions and ideas to work (and maybe catch up on some sleep), we want to take a moment to revisit the show. So, here is a look at some of the biggest takeaways, from a developer’s perspective, we had from RECon 2019.
A Slight Return to Normal Activity Levels
Overall, the industry seems to be seeing a slight slowdown in activity. It’s nothing drastic and it doesn’t mean we’re headed in the wrong direction. It simply means that in comparison to about a decade of monumental growth in the sector, we’re seeing a return to normal activity levels.
Deals Are Getting Harder to Find
Retailers are still expanding but deals that make sense for both sides are getting somewhat harder to find. If the site and terms make sense, there are still many retailers eager to grow.
From a development perspective, construction costs and land prices are making a number of projects uneconomical. This is leading to a lot of groups working to repurpose vacant big boxes.
Overall, people are still optimistic and comfortable with their continued expansions.
Customer Experience Concepts Are In Full Swing
Retail isn’t dead. We’re just seeing a change in what’s thriving. Retailers offering value (i.e. dollar stores), convenience stores, auto parts and service, QSRs, fast food, and fitness are all faring well. For example, the number of fitness tenants at shopping centers has more than doubled over the past decade. These are part of the 7 F’s of Retail we looked at previously as playing a huge role in the evolution of retail.
NNN Retail Market Remains Strong
The NNN retail market remains healthy, with many QSR and specialty retailers highlighting 5-7 year national expansion efforts. Retailers are still actively looking to expand into new markets and franchise growth is on the rise. The takeaway is that retailers are still expanding but have evolved to be more cautious with their building footprints and site selection.
Overall, the industry still has a long road ahead. However, there are good stabilizing factors that will help benefit continued growth and revitalization.