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Mid-America Blog

Don’t Fear the Reaper – Take Advantage of It


Written by Eric Unatin, Vice President

The Reaper is coming to a mall, shopping center, power center or free standing building near you soon if he hasn’t struck already.  The Reaper is also attending your clients Real Estate Committee meetings and dropping the ax on your pipeline.  The Reaper, more commonly known as E-Commerce/Omni channel retailing, is forever altering how we operate and transact in a field where you are only as good as your last deal.  Now more than ever it’s paramount to become a chameleon, adapt and take advantage of the new opportunities created in an industry undergoing a major transformation.

As consumer shopping trends and demands continue to shift towards The Reaper, the commercial real estate landscape has undergone a massive shakeup resulting in retailer bankruptcies, store closures, expansion scale backs and a plethora of vacancies.  The shopping patterns of consumers are clearly focused on instant gratification and e-commerce, resulting in billions of dollars in sales annually being spent online and not in bricks and mortar.

While most would see e-commerce as a threat to our business, I see it as an opportunity to capitalize.  Yes, The Reaper will have his victims but, in the same breath, he can and will be vigilant.  We cannot fall victim to an evolving market, we must adapt and create new opportunities for ourselves!

The flood gates are open, paving the path to utilize store closures and retailer adaptations to our advantage.  The effect from The Reaper’s chaos will result in retailer expansions and reinventions, with prototypes evolving and creating new deals.  Store closures create product dispositions, and redevelopments are coming online at a rapid pace.  These are opportunities that we as brokers cannot ignore.  While the gut shot felt from this retail upheaval hurts, it’s time to rethink how you think and seize new opportunities created by The Reaper. 

From the product standpoint, box tenants such as Kmart, HHGregg and J.C. Penny are falling victim to the internet creating the opportunity to list and transact on large space.  Other vacancies created by smaller retailers create additional listing work, opening the door to reposition local tenants situated in inferior locations.  There is also the disposition of excess space which is evolving into a large scale business and will continue to do so until the e-commerce playing field evens out.

The Reaper should be embraced, not feared.  It’s time to go back to the drawing board and retool your business plans to account for retail evolution, then execute.  Now is the time to become the chameleon, adapt to changing trends and take advantage of the opportunities being created by an industry undergoing rapid change.  While The Reaper might have altered your game plan, it’s time to play a new game! 

Eric B. Unatin | Vice President
Mid-America Real Estate-Michigan, Inc.
38500 Woodward Avenue, Suite 100 | Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304
Phone: 248-855-6800 | Direct: 248-385-5023 |Fax: 248-839-5203
eunatin@midamericagrp.com | www.midamericagrp.com

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