With spring now well entrenched, and Easter and Passover upon us, it’s clear that nothing — not even a holiday calendar shift and some iffy weather — can stop the economic and retail recovery.
The first quarter has shown that March chain store sales rose 2.0%, the high end of the predicted range, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers Chain Store Sales Index.
With Easter in late April this year, compared with April 4 in 2010, many sales will shift into this month. Bad weather in many parts of the country in March also depressed figures, so that 2% gain is extremely good. And while rising gas prices (ouch!) did account for a significant portion of the 12.1% gains at wholesale clubs, the luxury sector is continuing its surge, rising 7.0% as a sector.
And despite an 8.6-point decline in the Consumer Confidence Index in March, long-term expectations continue to be good, says the Conference Board.
March completes a quarter that saw shoppers remaining loyal to their favorite retailers, with sales usually topping expectations. January saw a 4.8% year-over-year increase, according to ICSC’s figures, while February saw a 4.2% gain. And everyone expects April’s figures to be healthy, as we do all our holiday shopping in the next few days.
We certainly haven’t seen any kind of blip or stall in New York City leasing.
Construction has begun on Nordstrom’s charity shop at 350 West Broadway, now officially named Treasure & Bond. The new agnès b. shop has opened at 50 Howard Street. Uniqlo has confirmed its rumored Herald Square shop, at 31 West 34th Street.
Published reports say Wal-Mart is considering pop-up shops in the city at the holidays. Sunglass Hut will open a flagship at 496 Broadway. J. Crew’s renovated Fifth Avenue store is completely open. Jean-Michel Cazabat is coming to Bleecker and West 10th Street. CB2, the little brother of Crate & Barrel, is taking space at 979 Third Avenue. Bond No. 9’s latest outpost will be at 430 West 14th Street. Xoos’ French shirts are coming to 7 Lispenard Street.
They join such major chains as Gap and Macy’s, which opened new concepts during the first three months of 2011, and expanding home furnishings retailers, including Arhaus, Nadeau and HomeGoods, which announced new stores in January. Cosmetics chains including M.A.C., Bond No. 9 and Inglot continue to find new spaces. And concepts are coming from everywhere, including Milano’s Etro (its second store) and Canada’s Joe Fresh (its first).
Also progressing full steam ahead is the 10th Anniversary Programs for NYcrew Network.
I’m honored to moderate this month’s Leading Ladies event, a panel discussion by “Women Leading New York’s Real Estate Families,” being held Thursday, April 28, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the offices of UBS, 1285 Avenue of the Americas.
Joining me will be Helena Durst, co-vice president of The Durst Organization; Andrea Olshan, COO of Mall Properties Inc.; and Lisa H. Silverstein, senior vice president of Silverstein Properties Inc. I’m looking forward to hearing their thoughts on honoring their families’ legacies while leading their companies in the 21st century. For more information and to register, visit www.nycrew.org.
And all of us involved with the International Council of Shopping Centers’ Women’s Special Interest Group Program are thrilled to announce the outstanding lineup for our first anniversary celebration at RECon in Las Vegas. “A ‘View’ From the Top: A Women’s SIG Spectacular.”
Formatted like ABC’s Emmy-winning daytime show “The View,” and moderated by SIG chairman Faith Hope Consolo, this session will offer a no-holds-barred discussion by industry leaders of the major topics affecting our work today, being held at the Las Vegas Hilton on Sunday, May 22 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Joining me in my best Barbara Walters mode will be: Holly Cohen, senior vice president, real estate, planning and construction of J. Crew Group, Renee West, president & chief operating officer, Luxor and Excalibur Hotel & Casino and Elaine Wynn, director Wynn Resorts, Ltd.
Join us for a meet-and-greet reception, followed by what’s bound to be one of the most talked-about sessions at RECon!
I can’t believe that it’s been a year since ICSC and I launched this program, which has succeeded beyond everyone’s wildest dreams. We’ve traveled around the country, offering roundtables and presentations that have allowed women in our industry the opportunity to meet, interact and learn with and from each other. And I’m looking forward to another year of new adventures, new friendships and new business!
A separate RSVP is required to attend the SIG, so visit www.icsc.org/2011SC to register both for RECon and our presentation.
The year has gotten off to a busy start – and I anticipate that the momentum will only build from here.
Faith Hope Consolo is chair of the Prudential Douglas Elliman Retail Group.