The Great Clips Real Estate team joined more than 35,000 close friends in retailing and the shopping center industry this year at International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) annual RECon convention in Las Vegas. The RECon convention is the largest convention of the year in the shopping center industry and is attended by major retailers, landlords and developers. Great Clips has been present at the convention for the past 22 years.
This year, the Great Clips booth was strategically located among other well-known national retailers such as McDonalds, Jimmy John’s, Verizon Wireless and Bass Pro Shops. In addition to talking with the hundreds of landlords, developers and brokers in the booth, the Great Clips Real Estate Managers and executives attended approximately 300 landlord-focused meetings in the Las Vegas convention halls. All of these meetings are designed to do two things: flush out potential sites for us to consider, and secure those sites before another retailer can do so.
We were pleased to have CEO Rhoda Olsen join us again at this year’s RECon convention. Rhoda spent all day Tuesday going from one 30-minute meeting to another. Rhoda met with Presidents, COO’s, EVPs and SVPs – a smorgasbord of executive titles – of some of the largest shopping center companies in the world. She’s a passionate and energetic speaker, and her enthusiasm for our business clearly communicates to our landlord partners that we have great franchisees, great support, great technology and great people backing it all up.
The 2013 ICSC RECon convention provided many highlights:
Many retailers are no longer in defensive modes. Instead, with sales rising, they are signing extensions and looking for new sites to help increase their number of units. This is resulting in increased real estate competition for quality sites.
As landlords emerge from the recession, they are starting to flex their muscles in the market.
Vacancies are declining and rents are increasing due to the improving economic environment, retailer unit growth and the increasing values of properties (often times prompting rent increases to justify the ROI).
We are also seeing more “ground up” shopping center construction kick into gear.
• Strip and neighborhood shopping centers have the highest vacancy rate, at 10.4 percent, but they are starting to see a turnaround, with vacancies dropping some 11 percent year on year for the first time since 2009.
The retail real estate community is buzzing about Great Clips’ 296 signed leases in 2012. As we’re on track to sign more than 300 leases this year, we owe a great deal to the strong relationships we have with our ICSC partners: landlords, developers, brokers and vendors.