The rise of e-commerce and the struggle many brick-and-mortar retail stores face is nothing new. Customers are increasingly choosing to shop for clothes, furniture and even groceries from the convenience of their own homes. More recently, however, this shift in the way consumers shop has given rise to new types of retail stores – small showrooms and “pop-up shops.” While showrooms are not entirely new concepts, purely digital companies are increasingly opening up physical showrooms where customers can see and touch merchandise before deciding to buy, while the actual transactions often remain online. Pop-up shops – another retail store model – allow retailers (often online or seasonal retailers) to have a physical presence for a limited duration to essentially test run whether a permanent store would be lucrative. Continue Reading From Digital to Physical: New Considerations for Retail Leasing with the Rise of E-Commerce into Physical Spaces
Hunton Andrews Kurth restructuring partner J.R. Smith joins the latest installment of Debtwire’s Middle Market Podcast to discuss challenges faced by the restaurant industry, particularly the casual dining franchise space. Continue Reading Hunton Partner Speaks on Challenges Faced by Restaurant Industry
Most retail tenants desire to locate their respective businesses amongst other retail businesses in malls, retail shopping centers or other mixed-use centers. Therefore, when negotiating retail leases, some of the most heavily discussed provisions involve the tenant’s share of Common Area Maintenance (“CAM”) expenses. CAM expenses essentially determine how much money a tenant will contribute to the upkeep and maintenance of the surrounding shopping center owned by the landlord. Continue Reading Considerations When Negotiating Common Area Maintenance Costs in Retail Leases
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
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.
The Santa Barbara City Council, in an effort to combat the retail malaise on State Street in Downtown Santa Barbara, has approved a pilot program that would streamline the permit and review process for potential commercial tenants. Continue Reading Santa Barbara City Council Strikes Back Against Retail Malaise
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
Recently, the Fourth Circuit affirmed a $31 million dollar jury award in favor of retailer Lord & Taylor for lost profits in connection with a breach of its reciprocal easement agreement (“REA”) with D.C.-area mall owner White Flint, LP. The court found White Flint’s efforts to redevelop the regional mall into a mixed-use project violated the terms of the REA under which the mall landlord agreed to maintain the site as a “first-class high fashion regional Shopping Center.” Continue Reading Why Retail Developers and Tenants Should Reconsider the Use of Detailed REAs