Retail

Shopping Mall CEOs Stay Positive About Retail

Although there have been many signs pointing to the retail apocalypse, demise of brick-and-mortar or the big hurdle physical stores in front of them thanks to digital's impact, many in the shopping mall C-suite are not seeing things the same way — and they want the negative rhetoric to stop.

As far as mall real estate investment trusts go, there has been a positive trajectory for the major players in the industry. This includes the likes of shopping mall real estate owners Simon Property Group, Taubman Centers and Macerich, to name a few.

"Continued results [from the retail REITs], like what we've just seen, will eventually get people to wake up," said Floris van Dijkum, analyst at financial firm Boenning & Scattergood, in a recent interview with news platform CNBC. "You have to be somewhat patient."

Shopping mall stock shares are moving steadily in a positive direction, and patience is likely going to be a key aspect of future strategies. Simon Property Group saw its full-year earnings forecast shift from $6.20 up to $6.28 per share, four cents above the predicted REIT estimate earlier in 2017.

"I think the retail community has been overly negative about the mall product," said Simon Property Group's CEO, David Simon. "I don't know why they do it, but we're just going to get up off the mat [and] keep doing what we do. ... This isn't sugar coating."

While retail bankruptcies are hitting shopping mall centers hard, these executives and shopping center landlords are doing their best to lure in eRetailers like Bonobos and Fabletics. Many in the industry point to new eCommerce partnerships with brick-and-mortar locations as a sign that physical stores are yet not on their way out — and might not be for quite some time.

Kimco Realty's CEO Conor Flynn highlighted the implications of this move to join eCommerce with brick-and-mortar.

"I think it is fair to say that the debate surrounding the death of physical retail is over," Flynn said. "The Amazon-Whole Foods transaction, Alibaba's growing grocery concept in China, Walmart's click-and-collect ... program integrated with Jet.com and Target's flex format Express — all point to a vibrant, albeit different-looking, retail real estate world."

As it looks now, the retail apocalypse isn't upon us and the physical store arena is not ready to throw in the towel just yet.

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