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Shopping Mall Execs Strike Optimistic Tone At ICSC Convention



Shopping mall executives have descended on Las Vegas this week for ICSC’ annual convention.

Shopping mall executives have descended on Las Vegas this week for the International Council of Shopping Centers’ annual convention, and that’s always a fantastic time to take the temperature of those around the industry to see what the prevailing sentiment is. As Bloomberg shares, the overriding message this year is one of optimism. 

The shopping mall industry and the overall retail sector have been beset by a right amount of negative stories in recent years, but a significant portion of them have been overplayed. While it’s true that there’s a transition underway, that doesn’t mean that the transition is one filled with negative undertones. It’s quite the opposite, as there are some exciting changes up ahead, and we haven’t even scratched the surface of what’s possible in many cases. Those in the know in the shopping mall and retail industry recognize that fact, and that’s a message they want to get out to the masses.

RECON-2017

Image: nreionline.com

“We’re trying to arm our people with facts so that when the questions are asked, we can say no, actually, these are the facts,” declared Greg Maloney, CEO of retail at Jones Lang LaSalle. “We know that it’s not the greatest environment right now. We don’t want people to think we have our heads in the sand.” 

That message should resonate with owners and investors alike. While it’s always prudent to use some caution, that doesn’t mean you have to stop moving forward when the opportunity presents itself.

“The clouds over bricks-and-mortar retail have been darkening throughout ’17,” said Jim Sullivan, president of the advisory organization at property researcher Green Street Advisors LLC. “A key question for stock market investors is either those fears are overly discounted in today’s share prices, particularly for retailers that are weathering the storm, as well as for the REITs that own high-quality malls and shopping centers.”

All in all, the ICSC convention is the industry’s biggest, and it serves as a bellwether of sorts for the entire industry. Those looking for a key takeaway should note that optimism is ruling the day, and we can take that as an incredibly positive sign for the sector as a whole.

“We’ll get their take on what’s going on and what they are going to do to address that,” said Stephen Lebovitz, CEO of CBL & Associates Inc. “It’s a great opportunity to understand how they see the rest of the year.”

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