Retail Roundup from ICSC: Trends, Projects, and Market Evolution

Trademark’s leasing team brings you the latest retail trends and insights straight from ICSC Las Vegas 2024. They discuss topics capturing retailers’ attention, from health and wellness brands driving retail expansion to brands that are making a comeback. Plus, leasing trends shaping our portfolio at in-demand properties like Market Street Woodlands and Galleria Dallas.

Hosted by: Daniel Goldware, SVP of Leasing
David Pratt, VP of Leasing
David Laughlin, Leasing Representative
Doug Hermann, Director of Leasing and Development

Listen Below:



Terry Montesi: Welcome to Leaning In, a commercial real estate podcast hosted by Trademark Property Company. Join me, Terry Montesi, CEO and founder of Trademark, and other Trademark leaders as we talk to industry experts about the future of retail, multifamily, and mixed-use real estate. Thanks for checking us out. And now it’s time to lean in.

Daniel Goldware: Welcome to another episode of Leaning In, the Trademark Property Company podcast, where we dive deep into the trends, insights, and strategies shaping the commercial real estate and retail industries. I will be your host today, Daniel Goldware, Senior Vice President of Leasing at Trademark Property Company. Today, we have a couple of special guests for an episode where we will be recapping the ICSC Las Vegas show, one of the most significant events in the retail real estate calendar. We’ll be hearing from three of our talented leasing team members who attended the conference. They’ll share their experiences, what they learned, and the latest shopping trends and retailer insights. With me today, I have David Pratt.

David Pratt: Hey guys.

Daniel Goldware: David Laughlin.

David Laughlin: Hey everybody.

Daniel Goldware: And Doug Hermann.

Doug Hermann: Excited to be here.

Daniel Goldware: We’re all excited to talk about what we have just experienced at the Vegas ICSC. So we’ll start with the first question. Obviously, we just spent a day and a half, two days at ICSC Las Vegas show, a bunch of meetings. I think we had a record number of meetings in our booth this year, but obviously some great conversations. David, Doug, David, just curious, what were the major takeaways from the ICSC Las Vegas show regarding retail leasing trends expansion?

David Pratt: I think I’ll take this one, Daniel. Again, I think one of the things that we saw, and I know we’ve talked about this quite a bit since we circled back, I think we’re seeing a number of these athleisure brands continue to expand. Whether it’s Lulu, Vuori, Aloe, Rung, whether they’re expanding, doing new stores, there’s also a number of them who are actually expanding their spaces. If you look at Lulu, for example, if they do have a good store, they’re taking it from, in some cases, 6,000 up to 10,000. I know we’re talking to them about a couple of centers where they’re doing really well that they again want to expand. We actually are also taking a number of their stores, talking about Lulu again, from about 3,500 to, in many cases, 6,000 to 6,500, right sizing them. But again, a lot of activity from our friends at Aloe, Vuori, Rung. The other ones, like for example, on a much larger scale, we’ve seen that like Dick’s Sporting Goods is very active. Doug, I know you talked to them. How big are you saying their largest stores are at this point?

Doug Hermann: Yeah, their House of Sport concept, we met with them, 120,000 square feet with an outdoor athletic field that they’re doing. So, you see some retailers maybe getting a little bit smaller. They’re going the other way and saying, no, we’re getting bigger. We’re doing these super regional locations. So yeah, that was interesting. And you’re seeing this health and wellness, I felt like a lot of the med spas, like you said, the athleisure guys.

David Pratt: And SkinSpirit, a lot of those guys are expanding.

Doug Hermann: OrangeTwist, Of Me. And then I think, I guess other takeaways in general, a lot of open to buys. Sales were a little soft. Some retailers were expressing sales are a little soft. So, I think,  what that translates to is tenants are looking for centers that have proven sales history. There’s a flight to quality, I think is probably maybe the best way to sum it up. A lot of the meetings that I had, I work on Market Street Woodlands with Pratt, and we had a lot of interest in that project, and over the past call it five to seven years, the sales continue to tick up, and so tenants notice that and they appreciate it.

David Pratt: Well, I think in the same vein of also the athleisure, and again, I know that we had a big meeting with Lifetime Fitness where Daniel and I work on a project in Annapolis where we’re actually expanding them. It just opened and now they’re expanding already, adding the pickleball concept, which obviously from an entertainment standpoint, we’re seeing a lot of different, a lot of activity from that entertainment standpoint. But Lifetime, again, we continue to see them expanding with this Lifetime living concept where not only- You know a little more about that than I do. But again, I know that’s like hotel in some cases even.

Doug Hermann: Yeah, and apartments. I think if I remember correctly, they said something like when they add in this component, where they have this living component to it, and Lifetime is structuring their stores in such a way or their gyms in such a way where it’s not just a gym anymore, they’ve got co-working, they have restaurants in there with healthy foods. And so, they’re seeing, and they can track this because people have to log in, multiple times a day, their customers are coming, and at Lifetime, they’re a great tenant and they bring that elevated, higher income user that landlords want to see.

Daniel Goldware: Thanks guys. Yeah, I really think that you hit the key takeaways from the show, and related along that, I’m really excited post ICSC about the Trademark portfolio in general. I mean, no question, we believe retail has to continue to evolve, and there’s great stories of what’s happening in each of our different projects. The next question, I’m curious, was there one property that stood out that retailers were really excited about?

David Pratt: Yeah. Daniel, one that’s really near and dear to my heart is obviously the Galleria. We’ve got a lot going on in Dallas with the project, a number of new tenants that we’ve just recently signed, including one of the first Uniqlo stores in Texas, if not the first, will be opening up there. We also did the first H&M Home within, I don’t know how many states, but it’s one of the very first in Texas for sure, it is the first, that just opened in the same vein of what we’re talking about, the athleisure. We are working with a number of different folks who want to come to the Galleria, and we’re also expanding the Lulu Lemon from what is a smaller 3,000 square foot store to close to 6,500 square feet. I think the biggest announcement we have we can’t really talk about today, but it’s actually on June 18th, we will have a new tenant going in what was the Belk space, the anchor there. We used jokingly the word ‘game changer’ maybe a little more often than we should, but this one truly will be a game changer. I think it, again, will be announced on the 18th of June. And we’re really excited because we feel like it’s not only going to take our leasing from what has been really good lately to maybe next level.

Daniel Goldware: Yeah, there’s very few, I guess, retail leases that we work on that become national stories, but there’s no question that one will be a national story for retail. LP, I’m curious, was there a project that really stood out from you in terms of interest? I know we’re doing a couple new developments that are starting to pop up, and Dunham Pointe seemed to be one where retailers are really starting to ask about Lincoln Square too. So, I’m curious what you thought and what you’re hearing on exciting projects that retailers were excited to hear about.

David Pratt: Maybe you should explain who LP is, David Laughlin. Anyway, go ahead. Sorry.

David Laughlin: Yeah. So, there was a major interest in Lincoln Square, soon to be named Anthem. North Arlington is definitely in need of a new retail project. It’s to be the gateway of the entertainment district, and this certainly has the potential to do so. There’s really no project in the area that can kind of serve as the meet in the middle grounds for Fort Worth and Dallas. And this has the opportunity to do so. We did get a lot of interest with F&B to really take this project in this area up to the next level.

Daniel Goldware: Great. Doug, was there a project that you saw in our portfolio that really stood out?

Doug Hermann: Yeah, I mentioned Market Street Woodlands. That one is a great one, but also I’ve got a project down in Austin, Great Hills Market and Great Hills Station. What’s unique about this is it kind of goes back to that flight to quality or just the supply and demand out there. Austin, I think everyone knows, is a flaming hot market right now. Everybody wants to be there. In this particular property that we have, it’s North Austin, Northwest Austin, west of Domain, not too far from Domain, but there’s just not a lot of inventory over there. And so, we have a space, we have an out parcel building, an old Macaroni Grill that’s getting torn down. We’re going to rebuild a multi-tenant building out there. And just because there is nothing else like it, I mean, the interest that we’ve had has just been overwhelming. It’s great. We have a lot of interest. It’s a great position for a landlord to be in. But even some of our big box stuff, I don’t think I can- the lease isn’t signed yet, but we had a Tuesday Morning leave 18,000 square feet and we’ve got a great user that’s going to backfill that. I would say we have a lot of interest and just not a lot of space, but that’s Austin right now. Austin’s just on fire on the retail side. I know on the multifamily, it’s been very hot as well.

Daniel Goldware: Thanks, Doug. You talked about how Austin is just a hot market right now and retails want to expand there. David, I’m just curious, what other markets where we’re working just really resonated with retailers in terms of open buys and looking to grow in those markets?

David Laughlin: So, Daniel, that’s a good question. Again, we talked about this earlier when we were talking about what we were going to discuss. It sounds a little self-serving, but since we have so many different projects in Texas, but I think there continues to be a high degree of interest in the DFW market, a lot of new projects that are being announced, whether it’s to the north of us, continues on. We kind of joke about the DFW market is, all of a sudden, going to be tapping on the Oklahoma borderline here before you know it. But again, it’s impressive when you see all the new development going to the north of Dallas-Fort Worth, including our headquarters here in Fort Worth, a lot going on here. Fort Worth is hot, hot, hot. Everything you read about Fort Worth, it’s been really positive as of late. Houston, obviously, there’s an article in, I believe it’s actually the Chicago Business Journal that talked about how Houston is now about to surpass, if it hasn’t already, Chicago in size. And I think that you see a lot of new projects that are popping up, including our Dunham Pointe.

Daniel Goldware: Yeah, they’re in Cypress.

David Laughlin: You might want to touch on that.

David Pratt: I’ll say, just from what I’ve seen, and I’m not working directly on it, but the amount of demand, pent of demand for Cypress has just been outrageous.

Daniel Goldware: Yeah, that Cypress market’s interesting because it has the benefit of great existing income and population today. So, you’ve got a great trade area today, but it’s just going to just explode in growth as well over the next couple of years. Then we just took over Legacy Place in Palm Beach Gardens there in Florida and talk about Florida as a place that just continues to want to expand, retailers want to add, and a project that we’re going to be coming in to evolve, redo the streetscapes, the facades, signage, and fantastic location with great income, and I’m really excited about the direction that we can take that project.

David Laughlin: Yeah. We mentioned, to get out of our great state, we talked about, for example, another market that has been really active, especially for us, is the DC market. We have a center in Annapolis, which is outside of DC, but still considered a sub-market. But I know that our friends that are in the DC market have talked about how active they have been as well, and I think that’s definitely a pinpoint for a lot of retailers to fill in holes that they have. But Annapolis has been one of our most active projects we’ve had in probably the past couple of years. It’s been a lot of fun to watch and work on.

Daniel Goldware: It seems Annapolis is a great example of what Trademark does. We took it over, and it was a property that had done well but needed to evolve, so we doubled the size of the public space. We added better connection to parking. We redid the facades. I’m curious, when talking about different projects at ICSC, were there any improvements that we’re making to properties that retailers really grabbed onto?

David Laughlin: Well, I mean, I think again, it’s what we talked about originally with Market Street Woodlands. I think one of the best things we did from a redevelopment standpoint was go in, and not only, we already had that big public green area that we all love, but we went in there and did a next level 2.0 version of that. That has continued to be one of our- a lot of different retailers say we want to be somewhere near the greens, similar to what we did, like you just said, in Annapolis, a lot of public space.

David Pratt: Yeah, and I think the tenants appreciate, and the tenants and the customers, the placemaking aspect that Trademark brings to the table, the public arts, the murals, sculptures. They like a place where they can be.

Daniel Goldware: And Galleria, David, with the addition of North and the new Paseo there.

David Pratt: And continued on redevelopment of the existing common areas. And again, like you said, it’s important to keep it fresh, upgrade it. Again, an overused term, but 2.0 version, which I think is important. And I think that one of the things that is important is to get these retailers back into these projects to see what’s happened and what’s transpired. And I’ll tell you that that has been fun at the Galleria. It’s like people are like, wow, this really has gotten so much better. And so again, I think that Paseo, like you said, Daniel, is a great example of what we did right outside the North. And again, we have another restaurant space we need to lease across from, but we have a tremendous amount of opportunity and options.

Daniel Goldware: Thanks, David. Good to see that even a veteran of the game can still find valuable takeaways from the Vegas show. Next, we’ll jump into more of the challenges. David Laughlin, just curious, based on talking to other landlords and then talking to tenants as well, what are the big challenges you’re hearing from them on just the operating in general?

David Laughlin: Yeah, I think cost of new buildouts and everything else is getting more and more challenging, whether it be just kind of HVAC charges or just build-out cost in general. We’re seeing increases in all fronts on that. In addition to that, we’re seeing deals are taking longer, tenants are getting harder to get open quicker, permitting, all those contributing factors. So, I think that makes it difficult, and we’ll see how we can overcome those.  

Doug Hermann: Also, I mean, just something we’ve got to talk about, interest rates are still up, and that’s affecting people, on the spending side, the consumers, but also, financing for some of the retailers.

David Pratt: I do think there’s – Pratt, Mr. Sunshine here – but there are some positives that we did find out about some of these construction costs. I do think in some cases we are seeing them come down a little bit, especially obviously right after the pandemic, they seem to be higher than we’ve ever seen, whether it’s storefronts or HVAC or whatever it is from a construction standpoint. It definitely seems to be stabilizing for sure, but in some cases, coming back down a little bit, hopefully.

Daniel Goldware: Everything’s gotten more expensive. I wonder if that’s one of the big reasons why we’re starting to see some softness in sales. Is it finally catching up to the consumer?

David Laughlin: Wait for a second. Let’s flip this over. Daniel, I’m going to ask you. I have my own opinions of this, but I did find that there were a few retailers out there that we hadn’t heard from in a while that all of a sudden seem to be back. It’s fun to see some of these retailers having a second life. Do you have any examples of what you saw?

Daniel Goldware: There seem to be a couple of those out there. Abercrombie is a perfect example. You can just walk by one of their new stores and see a huge difference in the way it’s merchandised and who the customer they’re going after is and where they want to be in the mall and who they want to be next to. So I think that’s one. And we’ve seen sales up 30%.

David Laughlin: 30% in the first quarter of this year. It’s amazing.

Daniel Goldware: And there’s guys like Hugo Boss, which is a brand that really lost some luster but is really coming back with sales, and they seem to be hitting the marketing channels right.

David Laughlin: Yeah. You’re seeing them on a lot of new plans too. I know we’ve been active with them, but yeah, it seems like some of these, whether it’s a new project or projects that are being re-merchandised, you’re seeing a lot of Hugo Bosses. It’s interesting to see. What about you guys?

David Pratt: Victoria’s Secrets may be another one. I mean, they’re building out different looking stores, new product, changing their prototype, getting smaller. They don’t need as much space as they needed before, but it allows them to move within the mall.

Doug Hermann: Yeah. I’ll tell you one that went away altogether in the US that’s come back and is thriving is Mango. We just opened a store with them at the Galleria. They’ve been hitting predominantly the Texas market as well as the Florida market. But it’s exciting to see because they are doing really well and they’re a hot brand right now. That’s another one that literally closed, I think, all their US stores and have reopened.

David Pratt: Yeah. And I think, maybe we’ve talked about this before on previous podcasts, I know other people have, a store like Abercrombie or American Eagle, some of those traditional mall tenants are starting to look at lifestyle centers. I don’t want to-

David Laughlin: Or even power centers.

David Pratt: Yeah, even power centers. I don’t want to- Yeah, Sephora’s a great one. good retailers that are seeing, hey, we have some great malls out there, but we have these great lifestyle centers as well. And what’s great about working on the Trademark portfolio is a lot of our properties and projects are these lifestyle outdoor open air centers that these guys want to be in. I’m talking with Abercrombie about an outdoor open-air lifestyle center now that traditionally, 10 years ago, probably wouldn’t have been a fit, but today it is.

Daniel Goldware: So Doug, I’m curious your thoughts. Obviously there hasn’t been a ton of new development on the retail side in many years. Rents seem to be going up across our portfolio. I’d just love to hear more with your conversations with retailers, how that’s playing out in those conversations and in those negotiations?

Doug Hermann: Yeah, that’s a great question. Like you said and kind of how I pointed out, like with our Austin project, there’s not a lot of supply down there, but there is a lot of demand, tenants that want to be in Austin. So, we’re able to ask some pretty high rents for the market, and tenants are stepping up and paying them. I think also we’re seeing, think back to COVID, the tenants, I mean, I say the tenants had a lot of leverage, nobody knew what was going on. So the landlords didn’t want to lose tenants, the tenants didn’t want to lose stores, things were shut down, there was a lot of rent relief or deferred rents. And now we’re in a position where, hey, the market’s come back, we’ve got a lot of demand, a lot of pent-up demand, and there’s just not a lot of supply out there. And so now is a great time to be in the retail space. It’s a great time to buy retail and the landlords…

David Laughlin: And build retail.

Doug Hermann: Yeah, build retail. Landlords have got a little bit of an advantage right now, I think.

David Laughlin: Saddle Creek’s one where we’re definitely seeing that rent pressure. It’s proven itself as the center to be in that market. With the amount of leasing you’ve done there, creating that mousetrap, rents just continue to go up and great looking center. It’s operated in a great way.

Doug Hermann: Yeah, we’ve got a great onsite team. Like you said, we’ve had retailers come in that want to be in the market, and they’ve told us, hey, it’s Saddle Creek or nothing else. And so that’s been a huge blessing.

Daniel Goldware: Okay. So, we’ll take it home here now. Just kind of final thoughts on just leasing today. What are the big trends? What didn’t we hit on that you think is something that we should talk about? Doug, do you want to start?

Doug Hermann: Yeah, I think just something we’ve heard about over the past few years I think is still very relevant, the entertainment concepts are still an important part in merchandising, bringing the customer back to the center by providing new installations to some of these entertainment concepts or new things that they can do. That’s been important. Groups like Puttshack you’re starting to see, F1 Arcade. Yeah, the emerging concepts. They have some great…

David Pratt: Well, and again, the pickleball, we’ve talked about it earlier, Lifetime getting into that with their expansion of some of their, again, health clubs, the whole pickleball.

Doug Hermann: Yeah, and it helps increase that dwell time. That’s a metric that some of the retailers and the landlords for sure are tracking is how long are people staying at our center. And these entertainment concepts help boost that.

David Pratt: It’s that big one that we can’t announce.

Doug Hermann: Soon enough, maybe by the time this podcast comes out.

David Pratt: Yeah, on takeaways, I will tell you, I think one of the things that continues to be an area where we continue to expand is the home goods guys or the home furnishings guys continue to expand whether it’s, I think, for the right locations, restoration is still out there looking for the right spot. I think you look at Williams Sonoma Group is very active. We’ve done a lot of work with them and continue to do a lot of work with them, whether it’s Pottery Barn or Williams Sonoma. Our House had a great deal of activity over the past couple of years, and we continue to see them doing more stores and talking to them. Some of the smaller guys, though, it’s kind of interesting, you look at like Visual Comfort, and they’re doing a number of new stores. I guess it used to be Circle Lighting, now it’s Visual Comfort, coupled with, like even to the really small, like Framebridge. I mean, it’s not really home furnishings. Or the Shade Store is another example.

Daniel Goldware: Love Sack.

David Pratt: Love Sack. Again, the other guys, like this new one, this Paradise Grill, the Mason guys are doing these outdoor kitchen concepts, and they’ve got a number of locations, but they’re very active and expanding as well.

David Laughlin: Yeah. Another term we’re seeing just continued growth on is just the presence of outdoor amenities, whether that be green spaces, parks, lakes, anything that you can add in that perspective. And shoppers are really valuing walkability and accessibility. And we’re seeing those just continue to grow. The highest rents that we’re getting in our projects are typically around green spaces where families can come and have a drink or have dinner and watch their kids play on the green area in a safe available area.

Daniel Goldware: Well, thanks everyone for joining us today as we wrap up the very special episode of the Leasing Takes on the Leaning In Trademark Property podcast. David, David, Doug, thank you for joining us today and continuing to complete deals and evolve our projects for the community. So we’ll talk soon.

Terry Montesi: Thank you for listening. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the next episode. To learn more about Trademark Property Company and to see how we elevate the everyday, visit TrademarkProperty.com.

For media inquiries, please contact our press office:

Liana Moran
770-905-9915 Contact via e-mail