As part of Chain Store Age’s lead-up coverage to RECon 2012, to be held May 20-23 in Las Vegas, we talked with Jones Lang LaSalle’s Lew Kornberg about what his expectations are for the big real estate show. Visit JLL’s booth at RECon, Central Hall, C1001.
What are your expectations for RECon 2012 in terms of activity, attitude, priorities?
We can expect an overall, upbeat attitude from those attending RECON ’12 including retailers, landlords and brokers. I anticipate deal-making activity to be vibrant and the level of energy to be better than last year.
For many/most established retailers, the priority remains the same—control costs, optimize their existing portfolios, while relocating/adding net new locations in a thoughtful and methodical manner with a continued emphasis on taking advantage, opportunistically, on those areas where rental rates remain somewhat compressed, but where consumer confidence and employment are trending higher.
The number one priority for landlords will be to ensure stability in their owned assets. Those landlords with greater access to operating capital will continue to have more flexibility in what remains a volatile economy. The ability to structure more attractive lease terms and conditions will help these landlords attract a broader base of credit worthy tenants.
What will be your primary focus at your booth this year?
Helping clients—existing and prospective—understand, harness and benefit from the full depth and breadth of Jones Lang LaSalle’s fully integrated service offering. Now, more than ever before, retailer and landlord clients alike need access to a full array of integrated retail services to navigate and succeed in today’s dynamic and challenging environment.
We will also be introducing our local market leaders and new NYC brokerage team. Jones Lang LaSalle has traditionally been a national business supporting our clients centrally; however, we know that retail is becoming hyper-local and are expanding in select local markets across the country – Florida, the Midwest, New York and California.
What categories of retail do you feel will be actively in expansion mode in the back half of the year?
Because of the lag time from site acquisition to new store opening, don’t be surprised to see continued strong growth from low cost/value oriented retailers. Likewise, the quick casual food segment should continue to expand. The lack of new, ground-up development will limit growth opportunities and force those retailers adding new locations to look closely at creative ways in which to adaptively re-use second and third generation space in order to meet their store opening goals.
What key convention indicators do you feel will tell the tale of the rest of the year in terms of recovery?
The number one indicator to watch will be attendance, as it is highly correlated with the overall health of the industry.