Wells Fargo (Access5) LSEA
January 7, 2015

Retail: It's All About the Experience

Job growth, income growth and a young population is a recipe for new and adventurous retail growth. That's why we're excited to present Seattle Retail: Hot Spots, Big Players, and New Deals this Friday, Jan. 9, at 7:30am at the Four Seasons Seattle.

Lake Union Partners principal Joe Ferguson, who will be a speaker at our event, tells us that he's bullish on retail prospects for 2015, but even so it's tricky getting the right retailer in the right place. Joe says that rents are rising, but in a world of urban mixed-use projects, a landlord who wants to attract "dynamic operators" still faces stiff competition.

Lake Union Partners aims to "run one level deeper" than other developers by recruiting up-and-coming retailers with interesting concepts, Joe adds. Such retail is an integral part of the mixed-use projects that LUP has developed in Seattle and Portland, such as the 50-unit 19 Mercer development in Capitol Hill, which includes Tallulah's restaurant, Cone & Steiner, the Herbalist and Hello Robin and Molly (pictured).

Elvis will also be at our event. Actually, that's Callison design principal Bret Wiggins, who plays Elvis in his free time. At our event, Bret will be speaking about retail trends. “People shop differently today,” he says. “Omni channeling--all forms of retailing, whether bricks and mortar, the Internet, mobile devices, television--is ever-present.” Shoppers are going online, but still prefer to see and feel the products before buying. Online retail sales are still increasing (14% last year), but growth appears to be slowing down. Many Internet-only stores are going offline, finding out that there is a lot of money to be made in a bricks-and-mortar experience, he says.  

Bret notes that the key word now is experience. “As a retail designer, it's imperative that we design for the end user and create experiential retail for the shopper,” he explains. “If we create a memorable experience with great food and beverage offerings, and cater to great retail, customers stay longer and come back often.” That, he emphasizes, is essential for the future of retail (and what gets him excited to come to work in the morning). Pictured: Shekou Sea World Plaza in China, a recent project in which Bret was lead designer, which he says is “all about the experience.” Sign up for Seattle Retail: Hot Spots, Big Players, and New Deals this Friday, Jan. 9, at 7:30am at the Four Seasons Seattle. (Register here.)

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