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Portland's A Strong Market For Retailers, But Tricky

Portland is a growth market for retailers, but being successful here can be something of a challenge, according to CBRE Retail Services' Alex Martinac, based in the company's Portland office. 

Along with 80 of his colleagues from CBRE locations nationwide, Martinac recently completed an intensive, college-level retailing course created for the company by the University of Arizona. We had a chat with Martinac about the challenges facing retailers in Portland.


Bisnow: What is the biggest challenge facing retailers in establishing themselves in Portland?

Martinac: The biggest challenges would be Portland's uniqueness due to its landscape, weather and consumer behavior. It is a notoriously tricky market to get right from a retail perspective, despite good real estate generally being available.

Bisnow: The weather?

Martinac: Yes. The weather is also a major factor. An open-air shopping center concept that may see 24/7/365 foot traffic in California, may have a three or four month "window" in Portland in which to generate most of its revenue. 


Bisnow: Are Portlanders more inclinded to shop at local retailers?

Martinac: Consumers here have shown more loyalty to local and regional retailers, although that doesn't always hold true. Luxury is an especially challenging category, as luxury means something different in Portland than it does in New York or LA. Portlanders — like Northwesterners in general — have demonstrated that they are more financially conservative. 

Bisnow: Even so, retailers want to be here?

Martinac: Certainly. From the standpoint of population growth, income, education levels, real estate costs and brand, Portland is extremely attractive.