The word “e-commerce” did not even come up until the very end of a Monday presentation about retail real estate’s challenges. Instead, speaker Suzanne Mulvee, research director at CoStar Group, talked about a perfect storm of overbuilding during the 30 years leading up to the Great Recession; a demographic shift that she said “turned against” retailers; and a change in consumer shopping preferences.

But the healing has begun, asserted Mulvee, in her session, titled “Shrink to Grow,” and it is time for developers and retailers in the strong trade markets to go on the offense. Mulvee cited store closures as being one of the biggest reasons for this recovery. And in fact, she noted, more closures are to come: With some 95 million square feet of store closures already announced thus far this year, it is a sure bet that 2018 will surpass last year’s 105 million square feet.

“A lot of folks like to point to the disruption in the retail market and say, ‘It’s about online shopping,’ ” Mulvee said. “I don’t think it’s about online shopping — I think it’s about oversupply; I think it’s about demographics; and it’s about weathering the worst recession since the Great Depression.”

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