So what if mall traffic has been sapped by rising gas prices, high unemployment and Internet usage, and mall development in the U.S. has dried up. They see a future in downtown revitalizations, retrofitting malls, building outlet centers and forming partnerships overseas, primarily in Brazil, China, the Middle East and India, where there’s emerging consumerism and opportunities to build.
Developers generally had a good first quarter, buoyed by traffic that’s better than they’ve seen in awhile, and good retail sales. Yet it is a tale of two halves: The nation’s top malls, in major urban centers and tourist destinations, sometimes referred to as “A” malls, continue to show improving performances, while many “B” and “C” malls in secondary and tertiary markets still struggle and disappear.
“It was a really good quarter, especially for the property owners with the better malls,” said Glenn Rufrano, president and chief executive officer of Cushman & Wakefield Inc. “Expectations are for good results for the year. Occupancy rates and rents are increasing.”
Rufrano said that overall for malls, traffic has been declining, but it’s primarily the case in B malls. “I don’t think there is any question of mall viability as a concept. The As will be here. How many B malls there will be, that’s a question. It really depends on where they are and what’s the competition. A C mall is a mall that’s just dead.” RELATED STORY: Bal Harbour’s Exclusive Focus >>
Further optimism is being fueled by retailers being generally in good financial positions, having honed their operations to survive the great recession, and now many are looking for space for existing or emerging formats. There are also several overseas retailers eager to gain turf in America. Among the ones to watch: Joe Fresh, Desigual, Uniqlo, Topshop, Tesco Fresh and Marks & Spencer’s Simply Food. Zara and H&M continue to expand.
On the homegrown front, Forever 21, Gap Inc.’s Athleta, CityTarget, Urban Outfitters Inc.’s Free People, Bloomingdale’s, Wal-Mart Express, Victoria Secret’s Pink and even Lord & Taylor, which this year started opening stores after a 10-year hiatus, are among the retailers on the move, while Gap and Best Buy are aggressively closing stores.
"In a sense, retail is becoming bifurcated," said Michael Fascitelli, president and ceo of Vornado Realty Trust, referring to so-called "A," "B" and "C" malls. "The good gets better and the less good gets worse. The internet is exacerbating that."
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