Retail N Illinois

Keith Lord: Retail always cycles through changes, but now faster than ever before

  
Photo by Sara Freund / RE Journals

The retail sector goes through major changes after every cycle, but this time the transformation is happening faster than it ever has been, said Keith Lord of The Lord Companies at RE Journals’ Retail + Mixed-Use Conference on Thursday morning.

During Lord’s keynote speech he named several big disrupters accelerating the change in the retail landscape. One of them is sitting right in your pocket—it’s your phone. Whatever you want to order or get delivered whether its groceries or furniture you can do with your phone now. It’s fundamentally changed what consumers shop for and how they shop.

Lord touched on all sectors of retail, including grocery, which has taken the spotlight recently. Grocery stores are struggling—investors don’t see it as a valuable anchor anymore. One reason is because shopping at a grocery store is an unpleasant experience. Millennials don’t even own cars to lug big bulk items from Costco, and why would they? They could order groceries and have them delivered with just a few taps on their phones. The biggest takeaways for retailers, according to Lord, is that they must focus on creating a social experience and making sure it’s convenient.

The first panel, moderated by Andy Hochberg of Next Realty, included panelists Marci Carl of Crate & Barrel, Larry Kilduff of JLL, John C. Melaniphy III of Melaniphy & Associates, Ben Andrews of Newport Capital Partners and Mike Demetriou of Baum Realty. The group discussed the state of the retail and mixed-use market covering how technologies, like facial recognition, can help and hurt retail and how data is key to survival.

“Retailers who know their customers are doing well,” said Demetriou. Andrews then added, “Informtaion is our capital, however its becoming a commodity and whats more important is how you implement what you know.”

The second panel, moderated by Chad Richman of Freeborn & Peters LLP, included Art Rendak of Inland Mortgage Capital, Keith Campbell of CallisonRTKL, Liz Holland of Abbell Associates and Richard Krause of Path Construction Company. This panel echoed much of what Lord addressed in his keynote speech and discussed development, management and financing trends within the sector.

Lord said in his keynote speech that the enclosed mall is dead. The second panel expanded on this idea saying that retailers must focus on how to better serve customers with different behaviors than previous generations.

“In today’s market, you have to be convenient or a destination. Those are the two drivers that determine success,” said Holland.

Interested in networking and learning more from key players in the commercial real estate industry? Join RE Jounals’ at our 13th Annual Property Management Conference on September 19.