8B — November 23 - December 13, 2018 — New York Deal Making — Shopping Centers — M id A tlantic

Real Estate Journal


N ew Y ork D eal M aking

etailers are gearing up for a “green” holi- day season, accord- Annual survey finds high expectations amid reports of strong YTD performance Levin Management: Retailers gearing up for a jolly holiday season R nesses that generate a large part of their annual revenue during the last two months of the year.”

In fact, 87.1% of survey respondents – store manag- ers from within LMC’s 15 million-square-foot, retail- focused portfolio – anticipate their holiday sales will meet or exceed last season. That is the highest percentage in the history of the LMC poll and compares to a trailing four- year average of 80.2% . “The holiday season is such an important selling period for retailers, and our tenants traditionally express optimism heading in,” Harding said. “But this year is exceptional and very good news for busi-

the first time since 2015. Performance among LMC tenants reflects the industry’s momentum. A record 72.1% of Pre-Holiday Survey partici- pants report year-to-date sales levels at or above their volume last year at this time. This is up from 71.0% – the former record – posted just months ago in LMC’s Mid-Year 2018 retailer survey results. The LMC survey asked par- ticipants when they expect their holiday sales to peak. Nearly half of respondents Getting Ready for the Season

anticipate peak sales prior to Thanksgiving (23.2%) and during the Thanksgiving/ Black Friday weekend (25.5%). The balance of peak sales ex- pectations distributes fairly evenly through early Decem- ber (12.9%), mid-December (17.5%), and the weekend be- fore Christmas (12.9%), with a smaller%age (8.3%) expecting their highest volume between Christmas and New Year’s. “2018 will continue the trend of people shopping earlier,” Harding noted. “That pre- Thanksgiving number has hov- ered just under 25% for three years straight. That’s double the%ages we were seeing prior to 2016 – which reflects a sig- nificant and sustained shift in consumer patterns.” How are retailers preparing for the holiday boom? Seasonal sales and promotions are a favored strategy, planned by just over 44% of LMC survey respondents, while approxi- mately one-third are boosting inventory. And it looks like they are on the right track. In the NRF’s 2018 Holiday Spending Survey, 71% of con- sumer respondents cited sales and discounts as their primary reason for choosing a retailer, while quality and selection of merchandise came in second (cited by 60%). Many LMC retailers are ramping up staff for the holi- days. Nearly 38% are hiring seasonal team members – a level that falls in line with the trailing four-year Pre-Holiday Survey average of 38.6%. It also bodes well that re- tailers are branching out with plans to enhance their cus- tomers’ in-store holiday shop- ping experiences. Nearly 32% are experimenting with new motivators – ranging from exclusive coupons; to in-store pick-up for online orders; to events such as free classes, tastings, trunk shows and product demonstrations. Nur- turing existing customers also comes through as a focus, with many retailers planning “invitation-only” events and new loyalty/rewards programs. “As brick-and-mortar retail- ers compete in a world offering the convenience of ecommerce, they are finding creative ways to drive traffic to their stores,” noted Melissa Sievwright, vice president of marketing. “Certain aspects – such as in- dividualized customer service, continued on page 14B

ing to Levin Management Corporation (LMC). The North Plain- field-based commercial real estate services firm released the

This positive outlook comes at a time of positive shifting in retail overall. The National Retail Federation (NRF) over the summer adjusted its re- tail sales forecast for 2018, anticipating annual sales to increase at least 4.5% over 2017 (upped from an increase of 3.8 to 4.4% forecasted earlier this year). In October, Moody’s made headlines when it raised its outlook for the retail sector from "stable" to "positive" for


findings of its annual Pre-Hol- iday Retail Sentiment Survey, and expectations are high, ac- cording to Matthew Harding, president.

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