Forecast: Mobile generation demands more from DFW retail

Candace Carlisle | Dallas Business Journal

After years of uncertainty on how online shopping and bricks-and-mortar real estate will function together, longtime retail guruHerb Weitzman said the two types of retail are working together in a strong partnership.

“In the early 1990s, the World Wide Web was born and the world as we know it has never been the same,” Weitzman told the audience of more than 350 real estate professionals and retail executives at The Weitzman’s 25th Annual Shopping Center Survey and Forecast Breakfast at Nick & Sam’s in Uptown Wednesday morning.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, along with JLL’s Roger Staubach, spoke at the event and also gave their insight into Dallas-Fort Worth’s commercial real estate business and the region’s opportunities for growth.

The Millennial generation — folks born in the 1980s and 1990s — are the second largest demographic group only to the Baby Boomers and are apt to use their phones as a digital remote control to order items or find bricks-and-mortar locations with the products they want in stock, he said.

When Weitzman, executive chairman of The Weitzman Group and Cencor Realty Services, told the audience when he was at the International Council of Shopping Centers meeting in New York in December, retailers were tailoring their plans to the mobile generation.

“Retailers told me, in most instances, they are cutting way back on store openings for 2015 and 2016,” he said. “Last year, 40,000 retail locations opened nationwide last year. In 2008, it was 115,000 (stores).

“Online shopping is approaching 10 percent of all retail sales … and mobile shopping is a big reason why,” Weitzman added.

But bricks-and-mortar locations still account for 90 percent of all retail sales, he said. Mobile devices let shoppers know where to find what they want, when they want it.

Weitzman said store traffic may be down, but store sales are up. Throughout the United States, same store sales for November and December were up 4.4 percent.

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