|Fitness centers are coveted tenants in shopping centers.|
In the 1960s and 70s, the paradigm for shopping changed from downtown main streets to suburban shopping malls, and downtowns took a blow that they are only half a century later beginning to recover from. Since the beginning of the millennium, that retail paradigm has begun to change to online shopping, and the massive inventory of shopping centers around the country now faces the challenge of how to stay relevant.
There are certain things about real live brick and mortar shopping that cannot easily be co-opted by online ordering, and here are some of those trends that keep your local shopping center in the mix.
Hunter Communications Original News Source:
The Washington Post
Link to article:
Excerpt: "More than 2,000 local retailers, developers and franchisees gathered at the Gaylord National last week to discuss the changing retail industry as part of the International Council of Shopping Centers’ annual Mid-Atlantic Conference. Here are five trends to watch in the coming year.
Outlet malls have expanded rapidly in recent years, making them the fastest-growing segment in retail, and that’s not about to change, according to Jay Klug, principal of the JBG Cos., a Chevy Chase-based real estate developer.
'Outlets clearly are the darlings of retail right now,' Klug said.
There are currently more than 225 outlet centers in the United States, with at least 40 new openings since 2006, according to ICSC.
Long built on the outskirts of town, outlet centers are moving closer to major cities.
Tanger Outlets opened in National Harbor — just four miles from downtown Alexandria — in November. Simon Property Group, the largest outlet mall developer, is in the process of building an outlet mall in upper Montgomery County. Clarksburg Premium Outlets at Cabin Branch is scheduled to open as early as 2015.
More fitness centers as retail anchors
Big-box retailers and grocery stores have long been among the most sought-after anchors for shopping centers. But that is quickly changing, as developers look to large gyms and fitness centers to help draw a stream of regular customers.
'It used to be that [fitness centers] were thought to be an ugly use of space,' Klug said. But now 'fitness is a huge category.'
Gyms such as Equinox, which has locations in Tysons Corner and Bethesda, and L.A. Fitness have become coveted mainstays. As more and more consumers shop online for clothing and other household needs, fitness centers are one of the last remaining businesses that can draw regular crowds on a daily — or perhaps, weekly — basis, industry insiders said.
Mobile capabilities being used in new ways, not just by retailers, but also by entire shopping centers
A number of brands, from Aston Martin to Zara, have their own apps. Now shopping centers and malls are joining the fray.
'This is the year of the mobile phone,' said Michael Kercheval, president and chief executive officer of the International Council of Shopping Centers. 'It is the new gatekeeper.'
A mobile app by Simon Property Group, for example, reminds customers where their cars are parked, provides a mall directory and alerts them to discounts at nearby stores. Westfield’s app, meanwhile, directs shoppers to the closest bathroom or food court.
'Shopping center managers now have the opportunity to speak directly to shoppers as they walk in,' Kercheval said, adding that smaller developments should create similar apps to help guide customers."