Think that overseas retail development lags behind the United States? Think again. These three international retail strategies can put you ahead at home.
For years, the American shopping center has been a popular export to places where no precedent for modern shopping existed. And it still is. This year, Callison's retail projects have taken us as far as Russia, Qatar, China and India — proof that half the firm's retail/mixed-use practice now lies beyond U.S. borders.
But lately we're seeing how various cultures are taking the “American” shopping center and making it their own, adapting the model in both form and function to meet local needs.
Now it's our turn to import. As we rethink the U.S. shopping center, three international shopping strategies prove relevant.
In the absence of a department store anchor, many non-U.S. shopping centers create zones of like retailers. Given the growing difficulty of doing a department store deal in the U.S., this strategy makes sense. A precinct destination (e.g., a home, entertainment or electronic zone) is less costly, can extend hours and increase promotional opportunities. The net result is on par with, if not better than, the traditional route.
Land is at a premium in much of the world, and shopping goes up as a result. As more U.S. jurisdictions regulate to discourage sprawl and encourage sustainable development, retail-based, vertical mixed-use projects will increase. Projects like the Gardens Galleria in India or Shanghai's Nanjing Road East make excellent models for U.S. developers to build on.
Food and Beverage
While Americans have stuck to their cars and suburbs, the rest of the world has a long tradition of getting out, hanging out and eating out. As a result, food and beverage is a much bigger part of the overseas shopping experience — up to half the tenant roster. As a way to boost frequency and duration of visits, a collection of restaurants works better than any other “entertainment” approach. Westcor's La Encantada and General Growth's Jordan Creek Town Center are good examples, and there's room to expand the concept for even greater return.
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