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Top Five Retail Shopping Center Trends

Michael Conway from Phillips Edison company provides industry insight at ICSC’s RECon event in Las Vegas.
The views were formed by the firm’s emerging trends team, led by Michael Conway, Vice President of Phillips Edison.

As the face of retail resumes to change, Mr. Conway and the team, who tracks emerging retail trends, brings and retains new merchant relationships and fosters actual retailer relationships, believe there is a tremendous opportunity for out-of-the-box concepts and creative retail strategies.

“The retail industry at large continues to step-up their game,” said Mr. Conway. “E-commerce, ease of delivery have encouraged brick and mortar retailers to innovate and improve their in-store experience.”

The emerging trends team has identified some retail concepts that are breaking out this year. Here are the most encouraging and significant developments of note:

Grocery Technology


Delivery programs, “click and pick” options and prepared meals are examples of how regular grocers like Kroger and Publix have adapted and responded to customers needs and help compete against businesses like Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, and Plated. Grocerants and restaurants within stores are also becoming more prevalent.

Clicks to Bricks

Rent the Runway

Showrooms like Rent the Runway, Bonobos, Gap’s Athleta, and BaubleBar, will continue to develop as online retailers find it as a way to achieve growth within brick and mortar locations. Even online players like Amazon and Google are jumping on this trend with the opening of bookstores and grocery stores in the main areas.

Personal Fitness

Coul cycle

The trend of group fitness continues to grow. Studios like CycleBar, Soul Cycle, Orange Theory Fitness, Core Power Yoga, Pure Barre and Club Pilates will be added to tenant mix and infiltrate shopping malls as an experiential retailer.

Health Conscious Fast Casual Restaurants


Quick service restaurant options are making healthier and stylish with salad concepts like Grabbagreen, Chopt and fresh/organic ingredients options like Core Life Eatery, BibibBob, sweetgreen, Newks, and Taziki’s.

Food Halls

Eataly Brasil

It is expected that there will be 200 Food Halls in the U.S. by 2020, which is more than double the amount we have today. Millennials and the foodie culture have fueled this idea, so we will continue to see the planning and development of projects. Eataly, the leading food hall creator, has 35 locations alone and plans for several other food halls in the next years.

Retailers and landlords alike are reacting to consumers’ need for the experience by blurring the lines between retail, experience, and restaurants. Shopping centers are becoming a social arena where shoppers can eat, drink, socialize and shop. “There’s a good chance that the shopping center as we know it will look completely different ten years from now,” added Mr. Conway. “We all have to continue to adapt; when you have an innovative mindset new ideas come to light. It’s a pivotal time for the industry, and we feel lucky to be a part of its evolution.”

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