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ICSC Changing Its Name To ICSC

ICSC New York expo in 2019

The International Council of Shopping Centers is switching up its name to move with the times, though it is keeping the initials for which it is known. 

ICSC now stands for Innovating Commerce Serving Communities, the global trade association for retail real estate announced Monday. The idea is to better reflect the shifting retail landscape and modern shopping habits.

“The terminology ‘shopping centers’ or ‘retail real estate’ are still clearly an important part of our membership,” ICSC President and CEO Tom McGee told CNBC. “But they’re somewhat descriptive to the historical nature of who our membership was, from a demographic standpoint ... The property type that it was. As opposed to the impact that the industry has upon communities.”

He added that the membership base of the group, which is now more than six decades old, is broadening beyond traditional retail real estate to welcome other kinds of firms, like startups and real estate service providers. The rebranding efforts took nine months and are also part of an attempt to attract younger members. McGee said it was less of a rebranding, rather the group is "evolving" with the industry itself. 

Retail was facing major disruption before the coronavirus pandemic, and the past 18 months have brought enormous challenges for companies and retail landlords. In Manhattan, retail space availability set a new record last quarter.

And as the economic impacts of the pandemic continue to play out in the retail universe, many retailers and their landlords are locked in lawsuits over unpaid rent and lease terms. Malls, for which many owners were already seeking alternative uses, are facing an uncertain future — with Class-B properties up against a particularly challenging time. 

Still, opportunities have emerged for the retail sector in the last year. In New York City, many smaller, independent retailers have taken advantage of the tenant-friendly market and grabbed the opportunity to sign deals for locations. Plus sliding value of retail properties has also given some retailers the chance to buy their prime own real estate in New York City, as Bisnow reported earlier this year. 

Related Topics: ICSC, Retail NYC