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Bricks-and-Mortar Is Alive & Well

Los Angeles

Every retailer has to become a merchant says LA’s Caruso Affiliated CEO Rick Caruso, in town to keynote the National Retail Federation’s 2014 conference at Javits. Among his properties is LA’s The Grove, which gets more foot traffic than Disneyland. We chatted with him after his speech (and before his interview today with CNBC. The ability of staff to help and connect with the customer is brick-and-mortar’s big advantage, he says. He advises investors to sell Class-B or C but hold on to good real estate in good locations forever. Whenever the Californian is in NYC, he tells us, he makes sure to grab dinner at 21 and walk Madison Avenue and SoHo.

Rick also spoke on a panel with CNBC Power Lunch’s Sue Herera, Nordstrom president Blake Nordstrom (whose store will enter NYC in 2018 in Extell’s 217 W 57th St, Cupcake Wars’ Candace Nelson, and fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff. His focus has shifted from getting customers to enter a store, buy, and leave to staying at a shopping center as long as possible. That includes keeping the husband and kids happy so the woman of the house (understood to be the primary shopper) can shop uninterrupted. Rebecca’s playing with brick-and-mortar experiences from nighttime parties with drinks and shopping, stocking fitting rooms according to a shopper’s online preferences, and pop-up stores.