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.”
In honor of Rihanna’s 30th birthday, we took a look back at an interview with the Barbados-native when she was just 18 years old. Here, she talked about her second album, “A Girl Like Me” in 2006. “I want to be me. I want people to fall in love with who Rihanna is, and that’s why I want the album to be about me so people can really find out who this girl Rihanna is, because they only know the ‘Pon de Replay’ girl.” Fast forward 12 years, and she’s released six more albums and has become a powerhouse in both the fashion and music industries. Happy birthday, @badgalriri 🎈(📷: Pavel Antonov) #wwdarchive
For @simonerocha_‘s fall show, hairstylist @jamespecis created a look inspired by the painter John Constable. Models’ hair was pulled back, tied into knots and topped off with a bow. (📷: @kukukuba) #wwdbeauty #lfw
Queen Elizabeth made a surprise appearance at @richardquinn1's London Fashion Week show to present the designer with the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design. The new award will be handed out annually to an emerging British fashion designer who shows exceptional talent, while demonstrating value to the community and sustainable policies. #wwdfashion #lfw (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)