California Centers

SEP 2017

California Centers Magazine serves retailers, developers, shopping center owners, investment sales brokers and tenant representation firms throughout the state of California.

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26 California Centers Magazine | September 2017 C C T he holidays are a time for joy, laughter, celebration and fam- ily. Unless you're in the retail business. Then it's your critical time to shine, knowing those end-of-year numbers may greatly impact the vi- tality and perception of your brand in the New Year. The final quarter has grown all the more important over the past few holiday seasons as online shopping continues to entice consum- ers with deals and holidays of its own — including Cyber Monday — that can be hard to resist from the comfort of one's couch. The good news is that holiday retail sales between November and Decem- ber 2016 were up 4 percent, to $658.3 billion, when compared to the 2015 numbers, according to the Nation- al Retail Federation (NRF). The bad news is that $122.9 billion of those to- tal sales were completed online, a 12.6 percent increase over the year prior. "There has been a lot of talk about online versus in-store retail in the past few months, but that comes from peo- ple who don't realize that online and retail today are the same thing," said Matthew Shay, NRF's president and CEO, in reaction to the 2016 figures. "In the new distributed commerce world that allows consumers to buy any product, anytime, anywhere, it re- ally doesn't matter whether a custom- er shops in a company's store or on its website or mobile app. It's all retail. Today's retailers sell to shoppers any way they want to buy." EMBRACING TECHNOLOGY Many of California's largest shop- ping center owners are taking this advice to heart. Instead of cursing the evolution of technology, these land- lords are making sure they're using the platforms to their full advantage. This includes updating their mobile apps, social media sites and in-store applications to ensure no one mech- anism gets overlooked or overloaded during this busy time of year. "The omnichannel environment creates tremendous opportunity for brick-and-mortar stores and land- lords as the nature of the offering is seamless across the digital and physical," says William Hecht, chief operating officer for Westfield's U.S. operations. "Digital can promote activities and events being held in shopping centers and stores, while the stores can support digital by act- ing as brand showrooms where cus- tomers can try on, experience, and even return or exchange merchandise as needed." GGP's Glendale Galleria makes sure amenities like parking operations are on-point at the holidays to create a better shopping atmosphere for customers. Westfield focuses on bringing exclusive retailers to centers — even pop-ups — to create an experience that can't be found online. RETAIL PREPARES FOR THE LONG HOLIDAY ROAD Mall Santas, parking wars and long lines might be holiday staples, but most California consumers demand more this holiday season. By Nellie Day

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