Retail Sales Up

Sales volume is improving at many shopping centers, despite customers’ briefer store visits. The trend runs contrary to a retailing maxim that longer dwell time goes hand in hand with increased spending. The shift has landlords wondering whether the trend is a temporary aberration or some other quirk in a growing list of recent changes in consumer behavior. “We’re seeing sales numbers rise, but traffic isn’t necessarily back to pre-COVID numbers,” said Centennial president and COO Whitney Livingston. “That proves out that our projects can be successful without dwell time needing to be, at least right now, a key

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Commercial lease provisions targeted by state legislatures

Over the last year, state legislatures across the country have been focused on pandemic recovery efforts, business continuity and budgets. ICSC has weighed in on specific legislation that seeks to change various provisions of a commercial lease for businesses impacted by COVID-19 mandated closures.In recent months such bills were introduced (and subsequently stopped with opposition from ICSC and other business groups) in California and Hawaii. More recently, however, a bill in Maryland (HB 719) prohibiting enforcement of a personal guaranty clause for a period of time has cleared the legislature and is awaiting action by Governor Larry Hogan. ICSC

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Starbucks is using artificial intelligence to help choose new locations and tighten controls

Starbucks has been making noise about its artificial intelligence (AI) projects of late – and specifically how they can be applied into marketing and customer experience activities.

Speaking to analysts following the company’s Q4 2019 earnings release at the end of last month, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson noted how Deep Brew, an initiative focused on the coffee house’s AI investments, is taking shape.

“Deep Brew will increasingly power our personalisation engine, optimise store labour allocations, and drive inventory management in our stores,” said Johnson. “We plan to leverage Deep Brew in ways that free up our partners, so that

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Report Debunks Retail Apocalypse: More Stores Opening Than Closing

Don’t believe the hype — physical retail is still growing, particularly in three key segments. Retailers are opening 4,080 more stores in 2017 than they are closing, according to a new research report from IHL Group, and they plan to open over 5,500 more in 2018. Mass-merchandisers, including off-pricers and value chains, are the fastest-growing retail segment (+1,905 stores), followed by convenience stores (+1,700 stores) and grocery retailers (+674 stores).

The research for the report, “Debunking the Retail Apocalypse,” reviewed more than 1,800 retail chains with more than 50 U.S. stores in 10 retail vertical segments. It found that for

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NRTA urges retail CFO's to audit occupancy costs in their leases

EAST LONGMEADOW, Mass., July 13, 2016 — Many retail CFOs are seeing that occupancy costs as a % of sales have grown significantly in the last few years and are seen as a major obstacle to achieving the profitability targets CEOs desire. According to Paul Kinney, executive director of the National Retail Tenants Association (NRTA), in an environment of weakened in-store sales and occupancy costs as a % of sales, it’s a critical time to adopt a clear lease audit strategy.

He explains that retail CFOs

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Lease Accounting Changes Effect on Retailers

Retailers might soon be forced to recognize a higher lease liability on their balance sheets. John Meedzan of Technology Management does a great job explaining:

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) and the International Accounting Standards Board (“IASB”) (collectively “the Boards”) are in the process of completing a major Joint Accounting Project which will dramatically change the way that lessees account for their portfolio of leases. The objective of the Boards’ Joint Project was convergence on lease accounting, namely, an international standard for lease accounting applicable to all business entities. And the Boards have achieved the major guiding principle

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Frequently Asked Questions About Lease Auditing

Why can’t my internal accounting team perform my lease audit?

Because lease auditing is a real estate function, not an accounting issue. You need the knowledge and experience necessary to uncover and successfully recover variances from real estate industry standards. Internal accounting teams rarely have this necessary experience and may miss out on valuable savings.

My company has performed a desktop audit—isn’t that enough?

A desktop audit is a limited view. It only shows you a review of the mathematical calculations, high-level lease compliance and the landlord’s explanations for large year over year variances. A lease

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Fighting Occupancy Cost Overcharges

Ahhh, the joys of managing leases. It’s like herding cats through a field of mice sometimes. Even though I’m a “dog guy”, we have 2 spoiled, lovable cats that I sometimes think were landlords in a past life, only without the opposable thumbs, Bluetooth device and power of attorney. I’m with America’s largest, most experienced real estate lease recovery audit firm, OAG, The Occupancy Cost Audit Group (can you say plug?) and we identify and recover mistaken overpayments of occupancy costs to landlords on a contingency basis.

At several of our clients, we see a

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