RECon Revisited, a Series: Part 2

As part of our ongoing coverage of RECon, the annual retail real estate convention conducted by the International Council of Shopping Centers and held May 22-25 in Las Vegas, Chain Store Age talked with Andy Graiser, co-president of DJM Realty, a Gordon Brothers Group company, based in Melville, N.Y., about his key takeaways from RECon 2011.

Now that RECon 2011 has drawn to a close and we are all settling back into our daily work routines, what are your key takeaways from this year’s show?
The most obvious takeaway for me is that we are clearly seeing a lot of retailers interested in growth. We are starting to see retailers thinking about new concepts, both large and small.  And we are seeing a good bit of demand in the 10,000 to 15,000-sq.-ft. range.

The development opportunities, as you might expect, are still very small, and we will see effective growth into surplus real estate as some of the vacant spaces will be getting absorbed.  But RECon 2011 also told us that there will be new development coming out of the ground three to five years from now, which is encouraging news.  Land numbers are starting to get a little more aggressive. All in all, it was a positive show.

What do you anticipate we will see from the industry between now and the conclusion of the 2011 holiday shopping season?
I think we will continue to see good demand in the high-end markets.  As well, the discounters have done an incredibly good job with merchandising and price points, and they will continue to do well.  I think we will continue to see quick-serve restaurants and furniture retailers struggle in the middle of the country. And the small, independent grocers will start to shrink a little, as they feel more and more squeeze from major players such as Costco, Sam’s Club and BJ’s.