Phillips Edison & Company (PECO) , one of the nation's largest owners and operators of grocery-anchored shopping centers, released today its insights on the top shopping center trends to watch in 2022 as part of ICSC's Here, We Go event.
Among the trends PECO is tracking, the company noted various ways retailers are finding to get closer to their consumers, including a focus among traditionally bigger-box brands to open smaller-format concepts. Leading retailers including Target, Kohls, Bloomingdales and Panera Bread have all announced models that integrate smaller footprints. Curbside pickup and buy-online-pick-up-in-store (BOPIS), which exploded during the pandemic, have also been found to meet clear needs among consumers and will continue to be a significant demand driver.
Technology is creating new and better ways for brands to engage with consumers and further enhance their omni-channel strategies. Specifically, social selling has become a prominent way for consumers to find and purchase goods that appeal to their personal preferences - and virtual and augmented reality are making it even easier for retailers to bridge the gap between online and in-store shopping, offering new ways to "try before you buy." Retailers continue to invest in automation tools that make the entire process, from order through delivery, more efficient.
"With supply chain issues dominating headlines as we navigate the holiday season, automation is playing a critical role in how retailers are getting product from point A to point B," said Mike Conway, Vice President of National Accounts and Retail Partnerships at PECO. "These tools can help brands to better track, identify and analyze issues, informing their decision-making and also allowing them to better and more proactively communicate with customers to set expectations and handle delays. Automation also provides critical predictive analytics that allow retailers to take a hyper-localized approach to stocking their shelves at neighborhood shopping centers like ours, advancing their last-mile delivery strategies. We expect to see continued investment in automation and supply chain technology."
Ashley Casey, Director of National Accounts at PECO, added, "We continue to see retailers pushing the envelope when it comes to leveraging the latest technologies - both on and offline - to create better experiences and foster greater loyalty among their customers. The highest-growth categories we're seeing across our portfolio include medical offices and services in the health and wellness category. Another sector that has been exciting to track has been quick-service restaurants. These operators, which cover everything from fast food through specialty concepts and ghost kitchens, have shown incredible agility and innovation over the last couple of years, and we believe this points to significant growth for the entire category."
As it relates to both technology and quick-service restaurants, Dunkin' and Chipotle are two leading brands that have launched digital-only restaurants with intentions to scale. Further, Taco Bell has introduced its Defy model, which features four drive-thru lanes - three of which are dedicated to mobile orders - and Panera Bread is rolling out double drive-thrus and updated kiosks to expedite ordering. A growing number of restaurants including Wendy's, Quiznos and Cracker Barrel are also utilizing ghost kitchens - which represent a growing $43 billion industry led by the likes of Kitchen United, CloudKitchens, REEF, and All Day Kitchens - across their active markets. These trends point to the restaurant industry's drive to accommodate the significant demand for off-premise dining, which is likely to continue growing long beyond the pandemic. Outdoor and patio seating, which many quick-service restaurants worked to implement during the pandemic, is also likely to remain a focus for on-premise dining for the foreseeable future.
These insights are produced by PECO's National Accounts and Emerging Trends team, which consists of a group of highly specialized leasing professionals that tracks over 400 accounts and actively engages with 150 growing retailers. This team travels the country meeting with brands to learn how they are evolving to identify creative ways that PECO can advance their real estate objectives. In the process, the team closely tracks and documents developing trends across different retail categories including grocery, restaurant, fitness, health and beauty, medical, entertainment and discount.
This deliberate information gathering approach has proved extremely beneficial to PECO since the team was formed in 2016. This focus leads to collecting a copious amount of data that is constantly informing the company's leasing strategies as well as how, where and when it chooses to deploy capital. The team's efforts have resulted in new and stronger relationships with a wide range of innovative retailers that are redefining the retail landscape and customer experiences.
For more insight from the Emerging Trends team, visit Phillips Edison's booth (#4928) this week at ICSC Here, We Go and connect with the Company on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. Also, listen to Retail Intel, a podcast series hosted by Mike Conway and Ashley Casey.
About Phillips Edison & Company
Phillips Edison & Company, Inc. ("PECO"), an internally-managed REIT, is one of the nation's largest owners and operators of grocery-anchored shopping centers. Founded in 1991, PECO has generated strong results through its vertically-integrated operating platform and national footprint of well-occupied shopping centers. PECO's centers feature a mix of national and regional retailers providing necessity-based goods and services in fundamentally strong markets throughout the United States. PECO's top grocery anchors include Kroger, Publix, Ahold Delhaize, and Albertsons. As of September 30, 2021, PECO manages 289 shopping centers, including 267 wholly-owned centers comprising 30.4 million square feet across 31 states, and 22 shopping centers owned in two institutional joint ventures. PECO is exclusively focused on creating great omni-channel grocery-anchored shopping experiences and improving communities, one shopping center at a time.
PECO uses, and intends to continue to use, its Investors website, which can be found at https://investors.phillipsedison.com, as a means of disclosing material nonpublic information and for complying with its disclosure obligations under Regulation FD.
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