Beyond the Build

Continuing Education

Trending Now for Open Air Retail

Last week I was able to attend ICSC’s Open Air Center (OAC) Summit in Scottsdale. This is my fourth time to attend the annual event, which is closed to 400 attendees running the gamut from landlords to brokers and folks like me. It’s always good discussion of key trends, challenges and the opportunities current to the retail industry, taking a long range position.

Beyond discussions with other attendees (always good), to me, one of the more interesting sessions was the Open Air Trends panel, consisting of 3 C-suite REIT executives and the senior real estate executive for an international retailer.

A few nuggets:

  • In the food arena, there is certainly a trend toward healthier eating. As the health and wellness trends continue to go more mainstream, look for continued exploitation.
  • Flexibility in format and layout is a must if a retailer is to fit within the urban fabric.
  • Location still king. As densification continues without our cities, consumers wish to be surrounded by retail amenities without the need to travel. It’s important to be in the present and “be there now.”
  • Beyond what is stocked on shelves, stores are acting as fulfillment centers with an “endless aisle” concept into the online arena. Micro-moment marketing is changing the rules.
  • Customer-centric personalization will become much more targeted as retailers data mine on what customers are going to want and when.

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Merrill Stewart Jr.

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