About 37,000 retailers, retail brokers, investors and other retail professionals doing business in U.S. and Philadelphia retail real estate markets gathered in Las Vegas recently amid a tangible sense of frustration during RECon, the industry’s largest trade convention.
That vexation was not as much about the retail commercial real estate market – including Philly retail space – which remains uniformly good, but rather over the gloomy headlines and negative narrative regarding store closures and retailer bankruptcies that have dominated recent headlines.
Attendees adopted a defensive stance with a hint of defiance about what many described as overblown sense of negativity by news outlets and industry analysts in reporting and dissecting the woes of those retailers in the U.S. and Philadelphia commercial real estate markets as Sears, JCPenney, Macy’s and a series of apparel chains and others that have announced closures.
This report on national and Philadelphia retail commercial properties is being made through Philadelphia commercial real estate broker Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.
Throughout the sessions, brokers, landlords and retailers dealing with U.S. and Philadelphia commercial real estate properties ridiculed headlines pronouncing a “retail Armageddon” and the death of brick-and-mortar stores.
“Contrary to so much media coverage, the world is not coming to an end by any means, for either physical retail or online retail. Just the opposite,” one industry leader told The CoStar Group. “Disruptive, yes, but great opportunities remain. We’re very, very bullish on the successful integration of the retail world with supply chain network.”
By the third day, however, the narrative at the annual celebration of global consumerism had shifted to hammering out deals involving national and Philadelphia retail commercial real estate listings and sharing sale and lease strategies in the changing environment. Conference goers worked their phones and packed the Las Vegas Convention Center floor scouting out potential deals.
Panel discussions involving the U.S. commercial real estate market – including Philly retail space – focused on repurposing malls and shopping centers with the latest food, beverage and entertainment concepts, redeveloping aging Class B properties and rooting out the “hidden money traps” in onerous leases.
Many major mall players have largely weeded out B and C properties and are focused on building ‘fortress’ investments in their best assets and locations. For example, one major mall owner announced plans to add restaurant and entertainment space throughout its U.S. and Philadelphia retail commercial real estate listings and to redevelop former department store sites to keep up with the changing preferences of its customers.
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