LOOKING SHARP

Those TV infomercials pitching Ionic breeze air filters are paying off for The Sharper Image. The retailer generated a profit in each quarter of 2003; comp sales were up 30 percent in February alone. Historically, The Sharper Image's products have appealed to men 45 and older with annual household incomes exceeding $100,000. But in recent years management has diversified the customer base by introducing health, personal care, travel and lower price point items to attract females and customers with lower incomes. The broader appeal has resulted in better real estate deals from mall developers on more attractive lease terms. Some more specifics on The Sharper Image:

$4.7 million average annual sales volume per store

57% of revenues from retail stores

149 number of stores

15-20% target annual square footage growth

$1,222 average sales per sq. ft. in 2003

42% of store base is on East Coast

$550,000 average investment to open a new store

26 new locations will open in 2004

Southeast, Pacific Northwest: markets where the concept has yet to gain critical mass

75% of merchandise is proprietary

3,993 square feet average store size

CALIENTE CITIES

Los Angeles, Miami, Houston and New York may be the biggest Hispanic markets, but a number of second-tier areas are booming as well. Outside of major areas of immigration or “gateway” metropolitan areas, these are the top 15 counties and the metros within them that have seen an influx of Hispanics between the ages of 18 and 34.

Top Second-Tier Hispanic Markets
County name Growth in 18-34 Hispanic population (1990-2000) City/Metro Area
Clark 75,280 Las Vegas
Denver 26,192 Denver
Salt Lake 25,412 Salt Lake City
Gwinnett 24,673 Atlanta
Adams 20,523 Denver
Mecklenberg 20,085 Charlotte/Gastonia/Rock Hill N.C./S.C.
DeKalb 19,832 Atlanta
Fairfax 17,665 Washington, D.C.
Cobb 17,565 Atlanta
Fulton 17,268 Atlanta
Hennepin 15,288 Minneapolis/St. Paul
Milwaukee 14,813 Milwaukee
Wake 14,447 Raleigh/Durham
Multnomah 13,358 Portland, Ore.
Source: American Demographics, Geoscape International

THE BIERI REPORT

Minneapolis Foot Traffic Counts
CENTER COUNT YEAR
Burnsville Center B-/C+ 2003
Ridgedale Center B 2003
Mall of America A+* 2001
Maplewood Mall C+ 2003
Brookdale Center B-/C+ 2003
Eden Prairie Center B- 2003
Rosedale Center A- 2003
Southdale Center A 2003
Northtown Mall B-/C+ 2003
Galleria at Edina C 2003
Minneapolis City Center B+/B 2003
*The Mall of America would not release a new foot traffic estimate, this ranking is for a 2001 number.

Mall of America was at one time the largest tourist attraction in the country. That's not true today, but it still boasts enormous foot traffic numbers. Galleria at Edina is not a high traffic center but its sales per square foot are the highest in the market due to its upscale stores and customers. City Center brings in higher numbers of shoppers than many other centers due to its downtown location and the number of office workers and the daytime/weekday population. Arbor Lakes, a new lifestyle center, has recently opened and it is difficult to tell how successful this center will be.

EATING OUT

After the weakest year in more than a decade, fast-food hamburger chains such as McDonald's and Burger King are leading the restaurant industry recovery, according to research from The NPD Group. Traffic at hamburger outlets rose 6 percent between September and November 2003 from a year earlier. Sales rose 7 percent. Major chains, rather than regional and independent operators, are fueling growth. The big chains, which account for about half the number of stores, experienced a 4 percent increase in traffic for the September to November period. Quick service and casual dining chains' traffic increased 5 percent.

KEEPING UP WITH THE NEIGHBORS

Neighborhood centers are tied to the fates of the communities they serve. A Merrill Lynch survey examined the demographics of the three-mile areas surrounding the grocery-anchored shopping centers owned by eight major public landlords. The REITs with the highest median incomes are Federal Realty Investment Trust and Regency Centers.

Grocery-anchored REITs Demographic Statistics
REIT (2001-2006) in % Growth of Households Income in $ Median Household
Federal Realty 5.30 64,640
Regency Centers 12.80 57,447
Kimco 4.90 48,598
Heritage 5.50 48,307
Pan Pacific 9.40 47,335
Developers Diversified 7.20 47,232
Weingarten 8.80 44,841
New Plan Excel 6.00 43,239
U.S. 6.20 41,368