Overheard at ICSC
You didn't buy enough PS4s, Xbox Ones, socks, Hug Me Elmos, and Monster High Dolls on Black Friday. Whether you were still in a turkey coma or just didn't feel like navigating the crowds, sales were weak this year, reports ICSC CEO Michael Kercheval (right, snapped with Urstadt Biddle Properties director of acquisitions/conference chair James Aries and Forest City Enterprises CEO/ICSC chair David LaRue at yesterday's ICSC New York National Conference). But retailers shouldn't fret: Overall November-December sales will be up 3.4% over last year. The next few weeks will be critical, but history has shown Black Friday isn't a good indicator of final numbers. And overall unemployment is down to 7%, which means there's a lot more discretionary income to spend, David says.
The top three retail stories to watch in 2014, according to Cushman & Wakefield's Americas retail services leader Matt Winn (snapped with NY senior directorÂ Steven Soutendijk): 1) the continued rise of luxury as it branches into off-prime locations-- think Ulaanbaatar couture; 2) further urbanization worldwide as people move back to cities--50% of Asians live in cities today, projected at 75% by 2040; and 3) a greater focus on outlets--"on fire, everywhere, every brand... people want a perception of value," he says. Over 7,000 retail-related pros attended this year's conference, held at the New York Hilton and Sheraton.