E-commerce and online shopping are here to stay, but the explosion of new technology and the number of resources available to facilitate online shopping is an opportunity for retailers to embrace new ideas and concepts that will increase foot traffic to their physical locations. The store-within-a-store concept isn’t new, but the type of store-within-a-store retailers have conventionally seen is changing and bringing in new business. Continue Reading Retailers Should Ensure Flexibility in Lease Agreements for In-Store Partners

A local newspaper, The Desert Sun, has reported that downtown Palm Springs is in the midst of an economic revitalization. Locals have noticed an increase in foot traffic with the opening of several new stores (including Starbucks, MAC Cosmetics and H&M), and further development is planned. The city held a “grand opening” for the area in late 2017, and Palm Springs city council member Christy Holstege has even referred to a “Palm Springs renaissance.” Continue Reading Palm Springs Retail Revitalization Potentially at Risk

Due to volatile and record-breaking valuations, cryptocurrencies and their underlying technology, blockchain, have been at the forefront of financial news headlines. Blockchain technology is, very simply, a decentralized digital ledger that records economic transactions in a way that cannot be copied or destroyed, therefore eliminating fraudulent or duplicative transactions. Bitcoin is perhaps the best known cryptocurrency, and for which blockchain technology was invented. Bitcoins are discovered through “mining,” a process whereby computers use processing power to solve difficult puzzles. The miner who finds the solution receives bitcoins, essentially digital tokens, as a reward. Unlike traditional currencies, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies do not require a third party or central authority for its users to transfer value.  Continue Reading Cryptocurrency and the Concern for Retailers

The Westside Pavilion—the 755,000 square foot, 1970s fortress-style mall located in West Los Angeles—has been put up for sale by its owner, Santa Monica-based REIT Macerich Co. Tom O’Hern, Macerich’s CFO, predicted that the property would likely sell within a year. And although the Westside Pavilion is facing many of the same systemic pressures that other malls are facing nationwide, those are not the only reasons the mall is up for sale. Continue Reading A Unique Situation for a Unique Asset

Leveraged loans may have a role in recent retail bankruptcies. Leveraged loan volume is nearing pre-recession highs and is on track to surpass 2007 levels, concerning many regulators and investors. Leveraged loans are typically offered to companies that already have large amounts of debt, and therefore, leveraged loans carry higher interest rates due to an increased risk of borrower default. Companies often use leveraged loans to finance mergers, refinance debt or for general company purposes. Private equity firms also utilize leveraged loans in order to fund takeovers of companies, including struggling retailers. Loans issued to fund leveraged buyouts from private equity firms rose 74 percent in 2017 and totaled 88.5 billion dollars. Additionally, nearly a third of loans to companies backed by private equity firms are leveraged six times or more. Continue Reading Leveraged Loans Raise Bankruptcy Fears

It’s probably painfully obvious to companies in the retail industry and beyond that the old paradigm of the retail shopping center is being permanently altered by e-commerce, as well as changing consumer preferences. As the old-guard stalwarts of retail begin to shutter stores or fold completely, it is up to both landlords and existing anchor tenants to adapt to the changing landscape, or risk prolonged periods of high vacancy.

One of the areas which can hamper efforts to re-tenant spaces are the restrictive covenants contained in both declarations governing shopping centers and in anchor leases, put in place with the justification that such concepts are not retail-oriented or are parking intensive. As consumers move towards a more experience-based retail experience (i.e., restaurants, entertainment and fitness concepts), landlords may find their hands tied by such restrictive covenants when it comes to leasing vacant spaces. In light of this, landlord’s should be reviewing their restrictive covenants both in declarations and leases any time a lease is being amended, modified or renewed which may contain leasing restrictions.

Careful attention should be paid to those restrictions that can affect leasing to post-e-commerce era concepts, such as restaurants and small format fitness centers, both of which are becoming an increasing share of retail centers. Unless these issues are tackled head on, landlords may find themselves with vacant spaces for extended periods of time, which harms traffic to the shopping centers and, consequently, traffic to existing tenants. Landlords may find that tenants may be more willing to play ball on dropping these restrictions if they come to the realization that extended vacancies harm tenants more than the parking issues that these restrictions are intended to protect against.

Retail developers continue to experiment with new concept designs for creating a shopping environment that will bring consumers back to brick and mortar. Along this pursuit to deliver a more attractive retail experience, developers of open-air shopping centers have started lobbying for relaxed open-container ordinances that would enable patrons to explore their retail districts with an alcoholic drink in tow.  Continue Reading Developers Advocating for Open-Container Ordinances May Pose Issues for Retail Store Tenants

At the end of May, President Trump unveiled his latest proposed budget blueprint for 2018. The proposed budget contains significant funding cuts for many government programs, including more than a 25 percent cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP”), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program. Continue Reading Proposed Budget Cut to the Food Stamp Program Worries Many Food Retailers

The Maui County Liquor Control Commission, which regulates licenses for the importation, manufacture and sale of alcohol within Maui County, has liberalized certain County rules on the sale of alcohol: holders of liquor licenses are now generally permitted to sell alcohol to customers 24 hours per day. Retailers had previously been restricted to selling alcohol during the hours of 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., while hotels were permitted to serve until 4:00 a.m. Under the new rules, both are subject to the same standards. Continue Reading In Maui County, It’s Five O’Clock Around the Clock