What does the changing face of retail look like today?

The dynamic consumer – you and me – want and need experiential, entertaining and technologically filled outings. We listen to iTunes at the same time as texting and surfing the web on our phones for a good deal on a product, while sitting at our favorite restaurant or coffee house. You may be able to buy a lot online, but remember you can’t drink or eat over the internet!

U.S. shopping centers seem to be moving from fast food to fancy food. Tired mall food courts are transforming into foodie hubs. Out with Hot Dog on a Stick and in with Fig & Olive. Upscale restaurants are making a splash, even
replacing department stores as mall anchors.

An increasing portion of shopping center revenues are coming from food. Owners are battling growing online shopping options and free shipping offers. Furthermore, as the job market recovers and we busily get back to work,
consumers are making purchases from the convenience of their phones and computers.

Industry statistics show that restaurants at malls are outperforming those centers’ fast-food outlets. Sales at mall restaurants grew 4.3% in the year that ended in May, while mall fast food purveyors posted a 0.3% decline.

Having said all that, shoppers still place an emphasis on value. The dollar stores are among the most active expanding retailers. Think dollar wars! Here is a list of 10 of the fastest expanding retailers according to National Real Estate Investor:

1. Dollar General—1,300
Dollar General already operates 10,500 locations, but the chain plans to open 1,300 new stores over the next 24 months.

2. Family Dollar—1,000
Family Dollar currently has 7,000 units. It would like to grow by another 1,000 in the next two years.

3. 7-Eleven—600
Convenience store operator 7-Eleven has a whopping 41,000 locations. But it keeps on growing, with plans for 600 new stores.

4. CVS/Pharmacy—600
CVS/Pharmacy is a fierce competitor in the drug-store space. Today, it operates 7,314 locations around the country. By 2016, the number will likely rise to 7,914.

5. Dollar Tree—600
Not to be outdone by Dollar General, Dollar Tree has made public plans for 600 new store openings in the next two years. It currently operates 4,600 stores.

6. T-Mobile—600
In no doubt driven by Americans’ love affair with their tech gadgets, T-Mobile wants to grow its 2,000-store portfolio by another 600 locations in the near-term.

7. Cash Store—450
Cash checking chain Cash Store has ambitions to expand the number of its stores by 280 from the current 450.

8. GameStop—400
Another retail outlier, GameStop, already operates 6,582 stores. But it sees opportunities for another 400.

9. Great Clips—400
Hair salon and spa Great Clips operates 3,000 locations. By 2016, it will add another 400 to the mix.

10. Mail Box
—400 It may be somewhat under the radar, but Mail Box Stores provides a wide array of offerings. It currently has 2,000 stores, with plans to open another 400 over a two-year period.

Ready to make some deals?! Hope to see you all at the Western Division Conference in San Diego, September 18-20.

My co-chair, Ken Gatt, and I, along with the program committee and ICSC’s Casey Adams have worked hard to plan a content- and format-rich event!

Feel free to contact me at (949) 226-0288 or
to get involved in ICSC.

Thank you.

Ken K. Hira
Kosmont Companies
Southern California State Director