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Tom Fidler’s Three New Retail Trends

Baltimore Retail

Why did the broker go to Florida? MacKenzie Commercial retail ace Tom Fidler thinks nothing of the sun and sand, of course. This very minute, he’s teaching at ICSC’s Miami University. Here are the hot topics from his classes.

1) Meeting new tenants in the information age


Don’t you dare cold call a retailer to see if they’re interested in your space without having done your homework. What they’ll want to know up front: How does your trade area align with their successful locations, how much do local consumers spend, and what do you know as the local expert about the area that diminishes risk? Oh, and if you don’t know what psychographics and tapestry segmentation are, look ’em up.

2) Food is tops


More than half—and maybe as many as 65%—of 2013 and 2014 retail deals have been related to food, Tom tells us. (He put trendy NoVa eatery Stone's Cove Kitbar into it's second location: 10997 Owings Mills Blvd, above.) That means not only quick-service and casual-dining restaurants but also specialty concepts like wine bistros, tea shops, and desserts. That’s causing problems for neighborhood shopping centers and even regional mall landlords and their brokers who are trying to navigate exclusivity and co-tenancy agreements. Often, landlords are revisiting existing leases and offering concessions to get new leases with similar tenants done.

3) Retailers want smaller boxes


Some national retailers are downsizing from their big boxes, thanks to Wall Street’s laser focus on earnings and operational efficiency. Above, is JC Penney's smaller-format JCP concept that Tom put into Boulevard at Box Hill. Tom’s students are battling with tenants’ requests to give back space and how to turn that into leasing opportunity, especially when one retailer occupies multiple stores within a single landlord’s portfolio.