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Commercial Basis: Retail Reality Check

Thought Leadership // Feb 27, 2017

RLG-38

Commercial Basis explores how technology, branding and demographic preferences are shaping office and retail real estate in New York City. As these forces break down the barriers from where we live to where we work and shop, Lead Commercial Specialist Alex Cohen assesses the impact on real estate values and opportunities.

I was honored to be a panelist at Columbia Business School’s annual Retail & Luxury Conference on February 17th.  Alongside chef and restaurateur Daniel Boulud and other inspiring entrepreneurs, I debated creativity in retail amidst an environment of disruption.  The conference’s keynote speaker, Geatano Sciuto, President of Fendi Americas, presented Fendi’s successful rebranding (and doubling of business) by blending a change in the “content,” new focus on fashion accessories and uber-luxury and change in the “container” (the store). Sciuto highlighted the development of the Palazzo Fendi Rome flagship into a hub of experiences, combining a ready-to wear store, private shopping suite, boutique hotel and Zuma restaurant as well as the dramatic renovation of the Fendi 57th Street New York flagship (See: Commercial Basis: Shopper as Flaneur) to captivate Fendi’s customers with “surprise and delight.”

I discussed how the new retail reality of ultra-pricey high-street store rents often requires brands to test new retail concepts and new markets with a pop-up to permanent strategy and explained why engaging uni-brand and multi-brand concept stores are the new department stores as formulaic shopping experiences continue to decline in popularity.  Finally, I detailed how brands like Adidas and Uniqlo are thinking about entire building occupancy that can convey their identity and values not only to consumers, but also attract and retain the critical creative class of workers they need to thrive.

Photo credit: Columbia Business School Retail & Luxury Goods Club