[Part 4 of a series of posts from ICSC’s RetailGreen conference. Posted in response to The Wall Street Journal’s article “Malls Get Face-Lift to Pull In Shoppers“, which stated that “the era of new-mall development in the U.S. is drawing to a close.”]
Brad Hutensky, ICSC Chairman, gave an interesting talk about the state of the retail industry, and he debunked a common refrain of the last five years, that the internet is killing bricks and mortar stores. His evidence was compelling. First, in 2012, retailers have opened over 5,000 stores, not a small number. And for good reason, as customers still value the human experience and the instant gratification of a cash purchase. Moreover, twelve of the top 20 online sellers in sales revenue have physical stores, among them Apple and one of Arrowstreet’s clients, LL Bean.
Now, this was an audience eager to hear these positive views of the retail development industry. We’re architects, developers and retailers, all serving the built environment side of the retail industry. And although the down economy of the previous 3 years has been a challenge to recover, it has been moving in the last 12-18 months in a positive direction. Last statistic: 80% of the shopping centers in the United States are over 15 years old. As the economy grows stronger, and more retail stores get built, these older shopping centers are going to be renovated. Our hope is that as the whole industry builds back again, we all prosper with great new investments in exciting projects which reward us all with shopping centers full of activity and fun events, better and better revenues, and lastly, that we build it all more sustainably.