Cincinnati — Phillips Edison & Company (PECO), an internally-managed real estate investment trust (REIT) and one of the nation’s largest owners and operators of grocery-anchored shopping centers, has released its insights on the top shopping center trends to watch in 2020 as part of ICSC’s New York Deal Making event.
As experience continues to drive success, retailers are finding new and innovative ways to make it more fun to shop in-store. Moreover, the increasing demand for custom experiences is leading to a rise in the number of boutique specialty concepts devoted to specific hobbies and activities that target smaller — but highly engaged — groups of consumers. PECO points to the expansion of Games Workshop, a manufacturer of miniature war games that hosts painting and modeling sessions for hobbyists, and the proliferation of children’s activities such as indoor trampoline parks and theme parks as well as interactive museums, including Play Street Museum in Texas, as key indications of this growing trend.
“What our research shows, and what is playing out in shopping centers across America, is that there is a growing market for retailers that appeal to niche interests and experiences,” says Ashley Casey, PECO’s director of national accounts – West. “This trend reinforces the fact that people with common interests are eager to gather and engage in activities that allow them to form connections and relationships. In addition, it’s another proof point that these brands recognize the importance of establishing a physical footprint to bring them closer to their consumers. It’s also a prime example of how savvy retailers are curating truly unique atmospheres that can only be experienced in the physical realm.”
When it comes to groceries, takeout and shopping for specific items, consumers continue to seek new, innovative options that make the process faster and more efficient. This speaks to a continually growing need among consumers to be able to get in and out of stores quickly, and brands are rising to the occasion. Hair salons including Sport Clips and Great Clips were ahead of the curve on this trend years ago, introducing apps allowing customers to track the nearest locations and wait times to limit the time they spend in the shop. Now, as online ordering for pickup of food and products has taken off, retailers are finding new ways to make this experience even easier, which in turn will keep customers coming back.
“Brands remain heavily focused on finding ways to provide consumers with greater levels of convenience,” says Ryan Mitzel, PECO’s director of national accounts – East. “In many instances, it’s become less about finding ways to get people to spend more time in-store and more about providing them with a faster way to get what they need. While counterintuitive to the traditional retail model, this helps to drive stronger levels of brand loyalty by increasing the value provided to the consumer. Look no further than the growing number of stores introducing designated online pickup areas and Chipotle’s ‘Chipotlane’ drive-thru for prime examples of this trend.”
Phillips Edison & Company, Inc. (PECO), an internally-managed REIT, is one of the nation’s largest owners and operators of grocery-anchored shopping centers. The company manages a portfolio of 330 properties, including 294 wholly-owned properties comprising approximately 33.2 million square feet across 32 states (as of September 30, 2019). For more information, visit www.phillipsedison.com.
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SOURCE: Phillips Edison & Company, Inc.