WELCOME TO FORUM’S ANNUAL RETAIL
issue, published to coincide with the International
Council of Shopping Centers’ blowout RECon
event in Las Vegas. (Some of you may actually be
reading this there!)
Much of the content in this issue will center on
retail industry trends and the current state of affairs in the retail real estate
sector. Of course, no discussion of retail can take place without first looking
at the state of the economy.
Although it’s more a toddle than a march, there’s no denying the economy
is getting back on its feet. We received good news early this month in the
April jobs report, which showed that employment gains took an upswing—
one of the healthiest ever since the downturn, according to some observers.
The news—288,000 new jobs, pushing the unemployment rate from 6.7%
to 6.3%, marking the largest single-month decline since 1949—was indeed
a sweet surprise after a long, bitter winter season. It was made even sweeter
by upward revisions to previously announced numbers in February and
March. Cushman & Wakefield’s Ken McCarthy, senior managing director of
economic analysis and forecasting, said that the latest report shows that “the
underlying strength of the economy is finally starting to emerge.”
This may bode well for retail sales, but as a sector, retail has been losing
jobs. Despite adding 35,000 positions in April, retail trade employment has
been steadily declining, for a total of 327,000 fewer positions over the past 12
months. How is this possible, you may ask, since new retail stores and con-
cepts appear to be popping up around the country?
It’s simple. For every expanding retailer is another that’s contracting.
Blame the Internet, shifting customer shopping patterns, overexpansion
during the boom times—stores are shrinking for a variety of reasons. Just
weeks ago Office Depot announced it intends to close at least 400 US
stores, despite posting a Q1 pro forma profit of 111%, as it tries to absorb
the excess space accumulated from its acquisition of Office Max. Sears,
which has shuttered more than 500 stores since 2005, just announced
it plans additional closures soon as it tries to pull itself out of the red.
Radio Shack’s on the list, too, with 1,100 locations to shut in 2014, joined
by Family Dollar with 370 and Coldwater Creek with 365. Staples and
Abercrombie & Fitch plan to close 225 and 180 stores, respectively, through
2015. The list can go on, but you get the idea.
Yet there’s impressive growth in several areas, and not only necessity,
big-box and discount retailers. It looks like we’re really beginning to feel
the impact of the Millennial generation, who’d rather spend the bulk of
their weekly salaries at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods than traditional supermarkets, or share leisure time with their friends over wine and dinner at a
restaurant than go shopping in a mall.
All these trends, and more, are discussed by the experts featured on
the following pages. And I’m sure you’ll be hearing all about it during the
ICSC event. Look for us there!
6 REAL ESTATE FORUM MAY 2014
America’s Premier Real Estate Business Magazine
Vice President & Group Publisher
Michael G. Desiato
Sule Aygoren Gregg W. Christensen
Managing Editor Paul Bubny, firstname.lastname@example.org
Executive Editor, GlobeSt Natalie Dolce, email@example.com
East Coast Rayna Katz, firstname.lastname@example.org; Mid-Atlantic Antoinette
Martin, email@example.com, Erika Morphy, erika.morphy@gmail.
com; Southeast Jennifer LeClaire, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Midwest Brian Rogal, email@example.com; Southwest Katie
Hinderer, firstname.lastname@example.org, Kristian Seemeyer, polishedpage@
gmail.com; West Coast Kelsi Borland, email@example.com,
Carrie Rossenfeld, firstname.lastname@example.org
Art Director Nick Koutoufas, email@example.com;
Production Manager John Cusmano, firstname.lastname@example.org
Senior VP, Sales Gregg W. Christensen; Online Sales Executive
Donald O’Keefe; West Coast Sales Executive Sarah Quinn;
Business Directories Elaine Forchin, email@example.com
VP, Integrated Marketing & Sales Development Scott
Thompson, firstname.lastname@example.org; Manager, Audience
Development Alexa Faulkner; Online Marketing/Custom
Content Coordinator Jenna Zietara; Digital/Design Production
Editor Geoffery Metz; Art Director, Integrated Marketing Ron
Schoeffler; Marketing Copywriter Elizabeth Lande; List Rentals
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com; Executive Assistant Madina Wilson
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