Review: ICSC/CSCA Reseach Seminar, May 5 in Toronto

The International Council of Shopping Centres (ICSC) held a Canadian retail research seminar in Toronto on May 5 of this year. The seminar was presented by ICSC and the Centre for the Study of Commercial Activity (CSCA) at Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University.

A total of 135 people registered for the event, which took place over the course of the day. Retail Insider analyst and GIS specialist Paul Amato attended the seminar and noted a few key takeaways. 

ICSC Vice President of research, Jean Lambert, said: “We are witnessing a more complex consumer journey” and according to Paul Amato, the seminar shined a light on this phenomenon, as it explored topics such as Food and Entertainment as the new anchor, who Millennials are and what drives them, The Customer Experience, and related topics. 

John Crombie, Senior Vice President OF Retail Leasing at Triovest Realty Advisors, presented on the topic of Canada’s Retail Leasing and Investment Market, and Mr. Amato provided us with the following key points from the discussion: 
•    National shopping centre sales is productivity are up 1.6% at $732 this year over last,
•    In 2016, there’s 9.3 million square feet of new space being added (mall expansions and redevelopments)
•    The HENRY’S consumer group (High Earners Not Rich Yet) account for the increase in consumer spending, however are the most volatile.
•    Big malls are getting bigger, focus on luxury retailers/goods
•    Urban mixed-use projects on the rise, as is the growth in fitness centres/clubs
•    Grocery battles for “click & collect” business heats up (+3% higher margins in pick-up versus home delivery)
•    Food and Beverage as the new anchor – with 2015 total spending at restaurants and bars having exceeded grocery for the first time (US)
•    Transportation hubs expanding the retail offer
•    Rental apartments now offer more retail
•    M&A activity continued in 2015-16
•    Experiential retail gains momentum (Starbucks, Barbie and UBISOFT)
•    Un-branding trend in retail, with Lululemon opening new store in New York offering bespoke and customizable fashions.

The seminar went on to discuss Food and Entertainment ‘as the new anchor’, with the following key points of discussion: 
•    Consumption of prepared foods on rise
•    Millennials and boomers, the two largest consumer groups, are both seeking curated quality meals
•    The hunt for hangouts and communal food experiences driving this trend
•    Food Halls – hybrid of supermarket, food court, farmer’s market and restaurant, that also carry lifestyle goods that complement the food experience:
-Stir Market, LA
-Latinicity, Chicago
-Chophouse, Seattle, and
-Bourbain Market, New York

Food in the department store trend, with Beaumont Kitchen in Saks Fifth Avenue at CF Sherway Gardens, Nordstrom’s three concepts (Habitat, eBar and Bazille), La Maison Simons with Cafe Eve -- the objective is to encourage the “dwell and sell” objective of retailers, according to the presentation. 

The seminar then went on to discuss the consumer experience, and how it’s transforming brick-and-mortar retailing. Six major trends identified were: 
Consumer Experience – Transforming Bricks & Mortar
The 6 major trends:
o    Experience cramming – Frank & Oak
o    Minimal Consumption – H&M wedding dress (value-priced fashions)
o    Personalization – customizable shoes at Salvatore Ferragamo
o    Accessibility/cashless – Uber
o    Care for others – TOMS, Panera Cares
o    Mindful Living & Ecourban

For more information on the International Council of Shopping Centres and their related education programs and other initiatives, visit: