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Black Friday—How to Keep Your Retail Out of the Red

The retail market may not be shrinking, but it’s definitely shifting. What can lenders and investors do to efficiently manage retail portfolios?

With the first official day of the holiday shopping season right around the corner, property owners are waiting to see how Black Friday sales will impact their retail investments. While brick and mortar store closures make the headlines, retail store openings have actually increased in the past year. A study by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) predicts a 3.8 percent year-over-year growth in retail holiday sales. The ICSC study also says 91 percent of shoppers plan to shop at brick-and-mortar stores during the holiday season. Nonetheless, it seems that investors are cautious when it comes to investing in or placing debt on many retail properties.

Based on the ICSC study the retail market may not be shrinking, but it’s definitely shifting. Large e-commerce retailers like Amazon are starting to open physical stores, but so are smaller, niche e-retailers like Warby Parker and Bonobos—retailers who recognize that being able to see and touch products adds value for their customers. Meanwhile, retail experiences that are “chores”, like grocery shopping, are moving to online ordering and delivery models—models that require less showroom space and more warehouse and fulfillment space.

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Frank Romeo