The retail real estate business has bounced back, but it’s unclear just how big the bounce will be.
After recession-era pronouncements about the demise of the mall and the takeover of brick-and-mortar by online competitors cast a pall over the sector in the past few years, shopping-center owners and operators are now decidedly cheery that most retailers seem to have turned the corner, retail unit growth is being considered again, shoppers haven’t abandoned malls and retail rents are increasing at core properties and streets.
But questions raised during the recession remain, including the fate of middle-income consumers, the sort of store footprints suited to a digital world, the retail environments that should be cultivated to pull people away from their devices, and the lack of new mall development.
“Business is better,” declared Peter Lowy, co-chief executive officer of Westfield Group, the world’s largest mall owner with 105 shopping centers in five countries, which saw net profits advance 18.3 percent in 2012 to 1.72 billion Australian dollars, or roughly $1.66 billion at current exchange, and average specialty rents at U.S. malls rise 2.3 percent for the year to $63.56 a square foot. “We are comfortable that the recovery that has been going on for the last two or three years, while slow, is continuing. Retailers are expanding. There is big demand for the top centers around the world.”
The recent International Council of Shopping Centers RECon in Las Vegas reflected the renewed confidence. “There’s a lot more optimism and definitely a risk on versus risk off mentality,” said Anthony Buono, executive managing director for retail services at commercial real estate services and investment firm CBRE Group Inc. “The mood is positive,” concurred Rick Caruso, founder and ceo of Caruso Affiliated, owner of The Grove, The Americana at Brand and The Commons at Calabasas in the Los Angeles area, among other properties. “The bankers realize their job is more challenging. That means there is a good economy, and they have competition.”
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over the top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty