“In our evolving business we continue to see the rise of retailers that have identified what it takes to remain relevant and evolved in the fall of those that have not.” That is according to Hap Stein, chairman and CEO of Regency Centers Corp.
On the firm’s Q3 call, he said that “as we all know, Sears was once a successful brand, but in the ebb and flow of the retail industry their declining performance over the last decade, further hindered by excessive debt illustrates how critical it is for retailers to keep the pulse of consumer preferences and expectations.”
Sears failure, he said, along with the success of numerous winning retailers also demonstrates the importance of having the capital to invest in the betterment of store, customer service and experience, as well as a technology platform that supports multi-channel retailing.
“The best in class retailers including Amazon, Whole Foods, Kroger, Target, Publix and TJX just to name a few continue to make sizeable investments in the bricks and mortar footprints. Based upon our many conversations that we’ve had with key retailers, it is clear the physical stores remain a very critical component of a multi-channel strategy. This is really apparent in how retailers are investing in the physical footprints and providing a seamless and differentiated shopping experience to meet the evolving needs of their customers.”
Kroger is not only enhancing their technology and delivery platform, but investing in their store with a restocked Kroger initiative, which focuses on customer experience, value and talent development, he explained. “Safeway Albertsons while partnering with Instacart and rolling out Drive-up is also remerchandising 400 of their stores. Publix continues to heavily invest in both new and existing locations with plans to redevelop over 130 stores this year as part of their $1.5 billion capital plan.”
He notes that the REIT’s “well-conceived and well-merchandised shopping centers located in trade areas with substantial purchasing power appeal to these and other outstanding retailers and restaurants. Regency’s proven strategy which our team has successfully executed with astute capital allocation and intense asset management has been distinguished by sector leading NOI growth over the last six years.”
He noted that the company spends a significant amount of time ensuring that it stays relevant. “First, earning a high-quality portfolio that sustains sector leading same property in our growth; second, creating substantial value to our national development and redevelopment platform; third, maintaining a very conservative balance sheet; and fourth, engaging a team that is best in the shopping center business is guided by Regency’s special culture and operators efficiently with industry leading systems.”