As construction and deal flow continues to increase in Las Vegas, particularly on the strip, WWD asked shopping center executives how they see Las Vegas retail evolving over the next several years and what challenges they expect the market will face. Here are some of their thoughts.
“We are seeing a shift toward more non-apparel concepts. F&B, beauty, personal services, electronics and technology are coming to the forefront of retailer offerings. I’m expecting to see more super short-term pop-up shops, such as the Kanye West store we hosted last year, and mid-longer term, two-month to 12-month [deals], to service short-term trends. We welcome retailers who experiment in this format with new concepts and products to the market. We are also seeing retailers who emerged online move to brick-and-mortar concepts to support their business growth, such as Untuckit, which we will be opening at Fashion Show soon.
“I hate to use the term ‘experiential,’ as it’s becoming cliché, but it’s really true that retailers who infuse an element of experience succeed. Continued integration of entertainment, sports and celebrity — not just domestic, but international as well — into the retail space creates an urgency and relevancy to the customer’s visit. We’re seeing that a lot here in Vegas, as we evolve into a city with professional sports teams, music festivals and individual artist performances. A good example of this is our Kendra Scott concept, with a well-recognized name and an interactive color bar.
“Our biggest challenge continues to be the overwhelming competition for the guests’ time. In the past it was day clubs and nightclubs. Now it’s music festivals, and in a few years it will be hockey and football fans in our hotel rooms. The name of the game is always stay compelling, and that starts with offering the best collection of retailers, dining establishments, experience and value. Surround it with a compelling environment and we will succeed. We’ve engineered that at Fashion Show with 35 exclusive retailers you can’t find anywhere else, such as Kendra Scott and Tory Sport, and our state-of-the-art runway in the Great Hall.” — Jim Heilmann, senior general manager of Fashion Show
“Our customer here in Las Vegas is changing. The growth of the international market and domestic luxury market is key in future positioning, which means we have to adjust both retailer and restaurant mixes to better serve tastes and style. For example, Grand Canal Shoppes added Louis Vuitton last year, to much success. This is one of the top five luxury brands sought after by the Brazilians, Chinese and other key markets. Additionally, we added both Sugar Cane Raw Bar and Chica to the restaurant collection for the true foodies, both domestic and international, that Las Vegas now attracts.
“In a highly competitive market it’s crucial to maintain continual awareness of key brands and restaurants that guests want. Once they decide to visit our establishment, we then have to exceed their expectations in authenticity of experience, amenities, location and collection. We are lucky in that Grand Canal Shoppes is in an iconic, must-see location because of the authentic Venetian experience, from window shopping via gondola to strolling through St. Mark’s Square with classically trained entertainers performing daily. Here, those extra special amenities matter, in addition to housing a collection of the world’s most coveted brands such as Barneys New York, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Armani Collezioni and Bauman Rare Books.” — John M. Zilliken, senior general manager of Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian | The Palazzo
“Crystals has a great niche in the industry: it is the only luxury-exclusive shopping center in the entire country. Guests are drawn to Crystals because of the amazing experience we provide our customers from the second they step foot on-property to the moment they leave. Uber luxury shopping centers such as Crystals will stand up to other facets of retail, including the online shopping trend, because our shoppers value quality, experience and luxury over bargains and savings. For example, many Crystals’ retailers will open exclusively for celebrity and top clients, and many offer unique amenities including VIP rooms with limited-edition items, décor, custom tailoring and alterations, Champagne and worldwide delivery.
“As we look forward and continue to provide incredible shopping options for our customers, we’re constantly looking for the most fashion-forward and well-known luxury retailers to add to our already impressive roster of brands. We’re well on our way to meeting this goal, as demonstrated by the recent additions of Aquazzura, Dsquared2 and Philipp Plein. As time goes by, we wish to continue to impress shoppers with the best lineup of retail boutiques in the world under one roof.” — Lea Willingham, general manager of The Shops at Crystals
“I think you see some of this now with retailers that have merged how well they can do online and brick-and-mortar together and I think you’re going to see more retailers try to figure out how they can be more complementary to the online and then also create a reason to come to the store. More retailers will transition the way you see a lot of larger stores out there right now adding retail bars and cafes to create more than a place to buy some jeans.
“Obviously, the restaurants have been doing that for a while. Wonderland Bakery [at Downtown Summerlin] has a great party room where they host huge parties back there and it’s changing the way the traditional bakery is relative to the market. There’s a new concept for Lucky Brand on the property that has a coffee bar in the back. There’s another retailer with a coffee and wine bar inside called Lindbergh. It doesn’t always work for folks in terms of giving up the floor space but you’re starting to see more of that.
“The mall itself, the indoor mall, is evolving into something that’s entertainment driven and community hub driven.” — Andy Ciarrocchi, general manager of Downtown Summerlin