The first job I had out of university was writing for the newspaper in a resort town in the Canadian Rockies. It was a spectacular place to live, and the streets teemed with tourists all summer and during the ski season. The streets were packed with stores selling sportswear, t-shirts and fleece sweaters with the town's name on them, souvenir shops, fancy chocolate shops, lots of great restaurants and bars. But when I needed a screwdriver to fix something at my apartment, I discovered to my surprise there wasn't a single hardware store in town.
While that makes sense in a town with a little over 7,000 permanent residents and more than 4 million visitors each year, it's leads to a decidedly odd retail mix for the people who call it home.
Getting the right mix for your community can be tricky - you want to find that balance of stores that offer affordable pricing as well as high end boutiques. And that can feel even more daunting in a digital age, when pundits speak ominously of a "retail apocalypse" as more and more shoppers turn to online purchasing. But there are signs this doom may not be warranted. New businesses springing up are showing themselves to be nimble enough to capitalize on digital trends, using websites and apps to draw people into their physical stores.
This is a question of particular relevance right now, with ICSC ReCon around the corner. Economic developers everywhere are focusing on strategies to bring retail back to their communities. The International Council of Shopping Centers’ Chief of Staff and Chief Strategy Officer, Leslie Fox, will be joining us May 15th (2-3 p.m. EDT/ 11-noon PDT) to guest present at our complimentary webinar, Putting The Retail Evolution to Work for Your Community. She will share some of the trends that are impacting the industry and discuss how that is influencing the development of shopping centers in our communities. We’ll look at how your community can learn from the following trends:
- Physical vs. e-commerce sales
- The impact of demographics and the influence of millennials
- Growth in non-traditional tenant sectors
- Clicks-to-Bricks: online retailers opening stores