ICSC: The Pre-eminent Voice of Retail Real Estate
International Council of Shopping Centers:
Experiential retail, reinvention of shopping centers, in-store and mall experiences were widely discussed, and the ICSC invited retail-tech and property-tech startups to give presentations on ways to revive brick-and-mortar retail…
The International Council of Shopping Centers’ (ICSC) annual RECon convention for retail real estate professionals took place in Las Vegas in May 2018. The convention bills itself as the world’s largest global gathering of retail real estate professionals.
Experiential retail and the reinvention of shopping centers were the dominant topics of conversation. The in-store experience and the mall experience were also widely discussed, and the ICSC invited retail-tech and property-tech startups to give presentations on ways to revive brick-and-mortar retail. Optimism abounded during the ͤrst day of the show, though some industry insiders expressed concerns related to how to navigate the loss of bigbox tenants and ͤnding the right tenant mix for retail properties.
Many shopping centers are dedicating more space to foodservice offerings, including food halls. Mall operators are also moving beyond apparel stores clustered around anchor stores to create a mix of leisure and entertainment venues, gaming and virtual-reality concepts, art installations, business services.
Shopping-center owners are also building in permanent popup spaces and are incorporating shorter leases to adapt to the change in retail real estate. Investing in Tech, Microfactories According to the Coresight Research team, while the industry is in agreement is that retail square footage will shrink in the near future, it is holding out hope that micro factories – which make products on demand – could reverse this trend, by allowing for personalization, customisation and improved on-shelf availability thereby supporting consumer demand for physical stores. The Coresight team also stresses on the fact that real estate owners must ensure that the return on investment is proven and only then invest capital in the same.
The Omnichannel Era
As it has every year in the last decade, the topic of Omnichannel retail dominated the convention. The industry was of the view that the importance of Omnichannel in new retail cannot be overlooked and that e-commerce can activate store-based commerce.
The Coresight Research team gave examples of this saying that retailers can achieve an Omnichannel environment by offering buy-online, pick-upin-store and reserve-online, pick-up-in-store services. This can be done by partnering and collaborating with e-commerce players or by making their store functions consumer friendly.