Beyond the Build

Construction Trends

Takeaways from the C-Suite: ICSC Open Air

“If you dislike change, you’re going to dislike irrelevance even more,” General Eric Shinseki, former Chief of Staff of the Army.

To me, this quote sums up my takeaways from the OAC conference I attended this week. The conference limits itself to 400 attendees, mainly from the C suites and upper management of the country’s largest public and private companies.

From listening at the sessions and conversations during the breaks, here is my mixed bag of takeaways:

On technology…

  • The world is changing to one that is consumer led and technology driven.
  • When one googles the word “shoe” it takes less than a second to get 1,800,000,000 results…think about this.
  • Social Media is low cost with high leverage.

On branding and consumer trends…

  • Brand lifecycle compressions are getting tighter between the start and the decline for retail concepts: Fast, Faster, Fastest.
  • Jobs and wages impact consumers. Not weather, gas or 2% impact of taxes.
  • “Discount or Value” shopping continues to grow at an average annual growth rate of slightly less than 6% and those in the middle 60% income range are becoming much more voracious value seeking. Who would have thought H&M?
  • Health and wellness a growing frontier in the shopping experience with opportunities to attract more customers and connect to daily life.

On urban infill…

  • Revitalizing city center retail is driving more retail flexibility and will continue to be a great opportunity of growth for development.
  • Young people are moving to the city center like no generation before them.
Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.