A recent trip to ICSC’s RECon show in Las Vegas to meet with clients and get an overall feel for the country’s retail real estate climate assured me that retail is not dead.

Even though mass store closures, like the recently announced Dress Barn demise often takes center stage, and it seems that a lot of stores and major chains are expanding and growing, such as Aldi and Dollar General. 

There is still plenty of retail development in the works. In the Cleveland market alone, where I am based, there is one million square feet of new projects underway, including two new Menard’s home-improvement stores.  Downtown’s mixed-use nuCLEus project calls for 80,000 square feet of stores.

However, retail is still down from an investment standpoint compared to other asset classes, such as industrial and multifamily, which are both booming without much of an end in sight.

Technology continues to play a major role in how companies are locating their next investments. They are using different technologies, such as tools that apply Google Analytics, to analyze the income data for their potential clients/customers in the area. This makes sight selection for retailers very specific, if they can find shopping centers with appropriate spaces in the areas they are targeting.

Currently there is no slowing of transactions in CRE. After all, CBRE says that 2018 was the strongest year for transaction investment volume. I didn’t hear anyone say that they expected a slow down any time soon. There is speculation that in 12 to 18 months things may slow but no one pointed to an exact reason why that would happen, as interest rates don’t seem to be on the rise any time soon, and the economy still chugs along strongly.

GRS Group clients commented that they have been happy with the service that we have been providing.  We are standing amongst the best in terms of service and pricing, but more importantly, GRS has can handle more resources than any other firm.  I hear from clients that third-party reports are a very important part of their business and having someone that will answer their calls, and return their calls quickly, is so important to their businesses.

If transaction volume stays the same, or improves, it seems as though we will gladly have a continuing stream of calls to field and service. 

About GRS Group

GRS Group is a leading provider of commercial real estate (“CRE”) services worldwide. With offices across the United States, Europe, and affiliates around the globe, GRS Group provides local market knowledge with a global perspective for institutional real estate investors, occupiers and lenders worldwide. The GRS Group team has evaluated and advised on over $1 trillion in CRE transactions.

Through the company’s proprietary management process, Global Services Connection, GRS Group delivers an integrated suite of services including Financial Advisory, Transaction Management, Assessment and Title Insurance.  We provide a single point of contact, capable of leveraging the GRS Group portfolio of companies and delivering customized solutions to assist our clients in achieving their investment goals.