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.”
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye