Justine Griffin / Herald Tribune – Jeff Green is the owner of Jeff Green Partners, a retail consulting agency based in Phoenix. Green has experience consulting on a wide range of retail-related topics, from feasibility studies for development to sales projections for specific retail brands. He’s in Las Vegas this week at the annual International Council of Shopping Centers RECon convention, meeting with retailers and investment companies, keeping a close eye on trends and themes in the industry this year.
Herald-Tribune retail reporter, Justine Griffin, spent a few minutes with Green on a busy last day of the retail conference.
Justine Griffin: So what’s the feel like in Vegas this year?
Jeff Green: It’s very busy, but it doesn’t appear to be as busy in previous years because they opened an additional hall in the convention center. Plus there are a lot of mall operators doing business off site. But everyone here is very upbeat about the future and business seems to be going well.
Griffin: What are some trends you’re seeing at the conference?
Green: There’s still a lot of urban redevelopment and developers wanting to in-fill locations. We saw a lot of that last year too but it’s like on steroids this year. Most centers in development are mixed use plazas that have a residential or hotel component to them. You’re seeing developers move away from office and retail space combos and go more residential and retail this year. There’s a lot of demand for that.
As for restaurants, you’re seeing the landscape change significantly. There are so many independent chefs that have multiple concepts in the marketplace, from a white tablecloth setting to fast casual. They’re starting to understand that they don’t need to have an upscale concept to make a name for themselves. Chefs can put their stamp on something that’s not in a high-end location. Informal concepts that appeal to younger customers and are value oriented can be just as successful. It’s all about the environment and the excitement of the brand these days.
Griffin: So finding a niche with younger shoppers is a big focus for retailers?
Green: Oh my gosh, yes. You look at the booths here in Vegas – Church’s Chicken, Dunkin Donuts, Chipotle. By far the busiest of those chains are the ones that appeal to the younger consumer. Developers are realizing this too.