RECon 2019: The Retail Revolution

Our retail team joined more than 30,000 people at this year’s International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) RECon 2019: the leading conference for the retail real estate industry that provides attendees the opportunity to connect with retailers, tech companies, and learn the latest trends from the industry’s top professionals. The news coming out of this year’s conference was as exciting as it was informative. Our biggest takeaway? Brick and mortar retail isn’t going anywhere any time soon, but it it is rapidly evolving.

Traditional retail has been consistently challenged as online giants like Amazon continue to grow. Soft goods retailers in particular are feeling the pressure with some stores recently announcing that they are closing for good.

Despite the news of closures, however, most of the announcements made last week were all about the incredible innovations, advancements and trends that we can expect in the coming months and years in the industry.

One particularly exciting presentation was by Walgreens at the Health & Wellness Pavilion. According to Walgreens’ VP of Real Estate, Joe Brady III, every day, 10,000 baby boomers turn 65, which means their target demographic is shifting. In an effort to get out in front of the changes, Walgreens is generating partnerships with companies like Birch Box, FedEx, & Sprint to try to engage younger audiences and expand their offerings. Kroger has already begun occupying square footage inside select Walgreens stores so consumers can order their groceries online and pick them up while shopping for other goods. It’s all about creating a store within a store.

Food halls were also trending throughout the conference – and with good reason. Globe Street recently declared 2019 as “The Year of the Food Hall”, as the movement has experienced explosive growth and expansion in such a short amount of time. Food halls are becoming the standout amenity for mixed-use developers, and by adapting the co-working business model they are offering burgeoning chefs and restaurateurs more flexible and cost-saving options.

As for Cleveland’s market? We are seeing retail move towards smaller, much more specialized, innovative brands that are all about the consumer experience. As larger, big box retailers are impacted by economic factors, more hyper-focused, tech-savvy brands are on the rise – and will continue to shape this new age of retail.

To learn more about how CRESCO, Greater Cleveland’s leading commercial real estate company, can help you with your property needs, contact us at 216.520.1200, or fill out the form below. A CRESCO professional will contact you shortly.