With mall traffic down, retailers cutting back and construction costs rising, U.S. developers are under increasing pressure.
That reality hit home last week during the RECon convention in Las Vegas organized by the International Council of Shopping Centers. Although busy, the event was not as robust as in recent years, executives said.
However, they sought to present a positive front by unveiling plans for new projects and beefing up existing facilities with an eye for the long term and hopes that by early 2009, if not sooner, the economy could start to bounce back.
Many described the mood going forward as somewhat optimistic and said retailers were targeting 2010 to resume more aggressive expansions after staying conservative through 2009.
"It actually seems to be better than one has anticipated," John Bucksbaum, chief executive officer of General Growth Properties Inc., said in describing the business climate at RECon. "Business is maybe not as bad as the press generally makes it to be. But no one is doing cartwheels or handstands."
David Solomon, president and ceo of NAI Global's ReStore division, suggested more tough times ahead.
"Nobody is doing really well, though the high end is more insulated than any other area," he said. "It's the broad middle that's really sucking wind, and there will likely be more shakeout before things improve."
Anthony Buono, CB Richard Ellis' executive managing director for retail services, said, "The good news about the market is that it's a lot more measured now and not so much froth. It's an opportunity. If you are an equity investor this is a terrific time."
Aside from the economy's impact on development and leasing, the major themes to emerge at RECon were continuing global growth, sustainability and strengthening mixed-use centers with better tenants.
Developers cited CostCo, Wal-Mart and Target as highly desirable tenants in a down economy, largely because of their pricing and their grocery offerings, which have fared well. Westfield Group, for example, will house Target as well as Neiman Marcus as anchors this year in its Topanga center near Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley.
Some shopping center operators said they were exploring Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certification for projects in development to achieve long-term cost savings and attract an eco-minded consumers.
“What he has done at Vuitton is really exceptional,” said @gameofthrones’ actress Gwendoline Christie on @mrkimjones’ final show for @louisvuitton. “He has rebooted luxury in terms of making it commercial, viable and contemporary. And most importantly artistic. He has never compromised his artistic vision for the sake of commodity.” (📷: @zefashioninsider)
After seeing a demand for men’s wear from its customers, British contemporary women’s wear label @ariesarise has added a men’s wear component and will launch a unisex collection with @mrporterlive. The 20-piece collection includes jackets, denim, logo T-shirts and more with deconstructed ‘90s vibes. Set to launch on January 18, you can shop the pieces on Aries’ website and on mrporter.com. #wwdfashion
“And so spending so much time with a character who thinks like that, inevitability you try and analyze yourself and go back and think about your own demons and dark chapters that you had in your life,” says @thedanielbruhl of his role in TNT’s “The Alienist.” The show, set in the Gilded Age of New York, also stars Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans. Head to WWD.com to read about how 39-year-old Brühl prepared for the role and why he thinks the show is so relevant to today #wwdeye ( 📷: @Eriktanner)
Now that Celine Dion’s collection has topped $10 million in sales, the pop superstar, fashion icon and newly-minted industry player is eyeing growth in Asia. Read the full report by @tiffanyap, link in bio. #wwdnews #celinedion
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
Among the familiar faces at @off____white’s show was a surprise figure: Japanese artist @takashipom, pictured here on Wednesday morning. Other show-goers included @jerrylorenzo, who spoke about his upcoming project: a @nike collaboration for back to school, with designs inspired by his childhood on the West Coast. Sitting in the front row were Future, Don Crawley, @miguel and more. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: Stephane Feugere)
According to @laurentsai, former “Terrace House: Aloha State” cast member, she didn’t know she was auditioning for the Japanese version of “Real World.” “I was telling a couple of my friends and someone’s like, ‘That sounds a lot like Terrace House.’ I was like, ’No it can’t be.’” Turns out, it was. But Tsai isn’t just a reality star — she’s an illustrator who has worked with Starbucks Japan and most recently, she’s dipping her toes into the fashion world. Head to WWD.com to read about her time on the show, modeling and her art. #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
More changes are coming to New York Fashion Week: Beginning with the spring 2019 collection, @alexanderwangny will move his New York show to June from September, adopting a biannual schedule with collections shown in June and December. Additionally, the @cfda is planning for an official summer/winter fashion season taking place as soon as June and December 2018. Read more about the upcoming changes on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @slovekinpics)