How Do You See the Retail Market Evolving?

Rick Chichester, President and CEO, was asked to participate in a panel discussion regarding the evolution of the retail market. Below is his excerpt:

“We’d all like to have a crystal ball to answer this question with clarity. The fact is, compared to 15 years ago, the world truly is a “global” village and a we are all subject to the vagaries of the global economy. The U.S. is still considered a safe haven for investment as nations like China continue to emerge; unrest continues to plague the Middle East and the ramifications of having a common European currency come to bear. On the macroeconomic level, retail and retail investment will ebb and flow as these global forces filter and manifest at the local level. For consumers and retailers, technological innovation will continue to drive changes in the retail experience and the way we buy. However, just as we breathed a collective sigh of relief when Y2K didn’t obliterate decades of American data, fortunately I think we are finally moving away from the idea that the internet will obliterate bricks-and-mortar retail. Instead, it is adding a new and exciting dimension to the buying experience. Retailers will continue to integrate technology to become multi-channel businesses, with the internet complementing bricks and mortar to drive more traffic to the store and vice versa. As an overall trend, we will continue to see the redevelopment or re-purposing of retail spaces to suit the evolving needs and desires of the Millennials as they continue through major life stages. Current trends would indicate that to mean more high tech, urban and mixed-use spaces with flexible live/work/play amenities. The Boomers will still be relevant, but will not be the generation driving retail evolution as they are more focused on retirement and rebuilding wealth lost in the downturn. Finally, the continued increase in ethnic diversity and the growing spending power of certain ethnic groups will drive changes in tenant mix, product mix and retailer marketing and communications.”

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